#134 Montana Men's Basketball 2021-2022 Preview

Montana Grizzlies
2021-2022 Overall Rank: #134
Conference Rank: #3 Big Sky
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Montana finished a disappointing sixth in the Big Sky last season. That was their worst finish under Coach Travis DeCuire during his seven seasons leading the program. However, with four starters returning, the Grizzlies should not stay down for long. Their only key departure is Michael Steadman, who averaged 9.9 points and 5.4 rebounds last season. Montana picked up Idaho transfer Scott Blakney to fill the void. Blakney, a 6-8 forward, averaged 10.7 points and 3.0 rebounds for the Vandals last season.
2020-21 Record: 15-13, 7-9
2020-21 Postseason: None
Coach: Travis DeCuire
Coach Record: 142-84 at Montana, 142-84 overall
Key Departed Players:
Michael Steadman, Forward, 9.9 ppg
Eddy Egun, Guard, 3.6 ppg
Key Returning Players:
Kyle Owens, Junior, Forward, 10.5 ppg
Robby Beasley III, Sophomore, Guard, 10.5 ppg
Brandon Whitney, Sophomore, Guard, 10.0 ppg
Josh Bannan, Sophomore, Forward, 8.6 ppg
Josh Vazquez, Junior, Guard, 7.9 ppg
Cameron Parker, Senior, Guard, 8.4 ppg
Mack Anderson, Senior, Forward, 4.2 ppg
Derrick Carter-Hollinger, Junior, Forward, 3.7 ppg
Freddy Brown III, Sophomore, Guard, 1.9 ppg
Key New Players:
Scott Blakney, Senior, Forward, Transfer from Idaho
Johnny Braggs, Freshman, Guard
Lonnell Martin Jr, Junior, Guard, JC Transfer
Six players are back who started at least ten games last season. Kyle Owens, Josh Bannan, Derrick Carter-Hollinger and Mack Anderson will join Blakney to form a very experienced frontcourt. Owens led the team with 10.5 points per game last season and added 5.5 rebounds. Bannan is the best rebounder of the group, leading the way with 5.9 per game. In order for Montana to make a jump up the Big Sky standings, the backcourt will need to be more effective. This is not a prolific shooting team, hitting a mere 5.5 three-pointers per game last season. Robby Beasley and Josh Vazquez are very good shooters and are certainly capable of making those big shots when needed. Beasley tallied 10.5 points per game as a freshman last season and he could be in for a huge sophomore season. Brandon Whitney is another very promising sophomore and averaged 10.0 points per game as a freshman. Cameron Parker is the player who makes the entire backcourt tick. The senior is not a regular starter, but he will be on the floor when Montana needs it the most. Parker dished out 4.7 assists per game in 2020-2021 and if he can continue to set up his teammates, Montana will compete for a Big Sky title.
Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI/CIT
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 70.8 (186th in nation, 6th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 67.0 (79, 3)
Field-Goal Percentage: 46.0 (66, 4)
Field-Goal Defense: 42.9 (153, 6)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.5 (313, 11)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 36.2 (61, 4)
Free-Throw Percentage: 78.2 (15, 3)
Rebound Margin: 0.5 (165, 8)
Assists Per Game: 12.7 (210, 5)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.2 (183, 7)