#126 Montana Men's Basketball 2019-2020 Preview

Montana Grizzlies
2019-2020 Overall Rank: #126
Conference Rank: #2 Big Sky
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Montana has been to the NCAA Tournament the last two seasons and has won at least a share of the Big Sky title three times in Coach Travis Decuireā€™s five seasons leading the program. However, this is a big rebuilding job with five key players gone and this group will not likely be able to dominate the conference like Montana has done over the last two years. But there is still talent on the roster and they just need to prove that they can be productive.
2018-19 Record: 26-9, 16-4
2018-19 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Travis DeCuire
Coach Record: 83-49 at, 83-49 overall
Key Departed Players:
Jamar Akoh, Forward, 15.5 ppg
Donaven Dorsey, Guard, 6.2 ppg
Bobby Moorehead, Guard, 5.4 ppg
Michael Oguine, Guard, 12.9 ppg
Ahmaad Rorie, Guard, 14.9 ppg
Key Returning Players:
Sayeed Pridgett, Senior, Guard, 15.1 ppg
Kendal Manuel, Senior, Guard, 8.7 ppg
Timmy Falls, Junior, Guard, 4.7 ppg
Mack Anderson, Sophomore, Forward, 2.3 ppg
Key New Players:
Josh Vazquez, Freshman, Guard
Kyle Owens, Freshman, Forward
Derrick Carter-Hollinger, Freshman, Forward
Jahshire Hardnett, Senior, Guard, Grad Transfer from BYU
Jared Samuelson, Senior, Forward, Grad Transfer from Rocky Mountain
Yagizhan Selcuk, Sophomore, Forward, Transfer from Towson, Eligible 2nd Semester
Michael Steadman, Senior, Forward, Transfer from San Jose State, Not eligible
Sayeed Pridgett is the clear star of the team after averaging 15.1 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.3 steals last season. The 6-5 senior does not look to hit outside shots too often, but he is not a terrible shooter. That may change, especially early in the campaign, while Pridgett puts more of the scoring load on his shoulders. The Grizzlies do have a proven shooter on the roster though in senior Kendal Manuel. He ranked second on the team with 57 made three-pointers and was a big reason why Montana was the most consistent three-point shooting team in the Big Sky. Junior Timmy Falls will get the first shot at running the point. He took a backseat to the star studded backcourt last season and now will get the chance to emerge as a leader. Sophomore Mack Anderson is the only other returning player on the roster. He earned some valuable experience after Jamar Akoh went down with an injury in February, but still averaged fewer than nine minutes per game. The addition of Jahshire Hardnett, a graduate transfer from BYU, will add another experienced player and proven scorer to the backcourt, while Jared Samuelson and Yagizhan Selcuk will add much needed experience to the frontcourt. Samuelson spent his freshman campaign with the Grizzlies before heading to Rocky Mountain College where he earned NAIA third-team All-American accolades. It may take a little time for this group to come together, but the pieces are there for another run towards a conference title. This is usually a team that can take care of the basketball and find quality shots. If Falls is ready to run the point efficiently, Montana may not slide down the Big Sky pecking order at all.
Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI/CIT
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 76.1 (82nd in nation, 5th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 68.5 (90, 1)
Field-Goal Percentage: 49.2 (10, 1)
Field-Goal Defense: 43.2 (138, 3)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 8.2 (123, 6)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 37.6 (38, 1)
Free-Throw Percentage: 68.9 (237, 11)
Rebound Margin: 2.3 (105, 3)
Assists Per Game: 14.6 (80, 2)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.9 (82, 3)