#92 Montana Men's Basketball 2013-2014 Preview

Montana Grizzlies

2013-2014 Overall Rank: #92
Conference Rank: #2 Big Sky

Montana Team Page#92 Montana Men's Basketball 2013-2014 PreviewBuy Montana Basketball Tickets

The lasting memory of the 2012-2013 season for Montana was a bad loss to Syracuse in the NCAA Tournament. But the Grizzlies still won 25 games and posted an impressive 19-1 record in Big Sky play. Another conference title and trip to the NCAA Tournament will be the goal but, as usual, Weber State will be right there with them.

2012-13 Record: 25-7, 19-1
2012-13 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Wayne Tinkle
Coach Record: 141-78 at Montana, 141-78 overall

Who’s Out:
Montana does lose two big time players in forward Mathias Ward and guard Will Cherry. Ward led the squad with 14.8 points per game. Cherry had a bit of a disappointing senior season due to a shooting slump, but he was still one of the best all-around players in the conference, averaging 13.3 points, 3.9 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 1.9 steals. Spencer Coleman, a part-time starting forward, and Kevin Henderson, a promising wing, are not returning for the 2013-2014 season. Replacing Ward and Cherry will not be simple, yet the Grizzlies played a pretty big chunk of the season without them anyway and did perfectly fine.

Who’s In:
Coach Wayne Tinkle needed some options on the perimeter with this class and he got them. Australian Jack Lopez and redshirt freshmen Riley Bradshaw could both crack the regular rotation. Lopez is a big, tough forward who can shoot. Bradshaw spent a year redshirting at Utah State and will be eligible after the fall semester. Brandon Gfeller will add even more depth off the ball. Mario Dunn Jr. will likely be the point guard of the future, but for now he can learn behind a few others. The frontcourt could use some depth too and Chris Kemp could provide more than just depth. Kemp spent some time at West Texas College and his experience in the junior college ranks gives him the skills to step right in and contribute. He is a good athlete and an explosive scorer around the rim. More importantly, Kemp is a solid rebounder and defender and that is what this team needs the most.

Who to Watch:
Even without Cherry, Montana boasts a dynamic and talented backcourt. Kareem Jamar was already a superstar after averaging 14.2 points, 4.0 assists and 5.9 rebounds, yet now he will be the main scoring option. The 6-5 wing can knock down the long ball with ease and finish around the basket. There is not much lacking in his game. Jordan Gregory should see a huge boost in his scoring numbers, as long as he can get over the separation from his guinea pig. Gregory is the most potent shooter on the squad and that is why Keron DeShields needs to be ready to run the show. Gregory, and Jamar for that matter, are both capable of handling the ball, but will be much more useful as a shooter off of the ball. DeShields has the experience and talent to earn a full-time starting job with Gregory backing him up as necessary. DeSheilds can knock down the long ball enough to keep the opposition honest and will make things happen attacking the basket. As long as he can keep the turnovers to a minimum, he can leave the perimeter scoring to Jamar and Gregory.

Final Projection:
The frontcourt will miss Ward and Coleman. Mark Weisner will probably start at the four spot for now. Kemp could take over that job, yet it may depend on what type of player Coach Tinkle needs on the floor. Weisner is virtually nothing but a shooter offensively. He is a great shooter though and connected on 46.5 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc as a sophomore. Weisner will stretch out the defense while Kemp slashes. Mike Weisner is the interior scoring threat returning. However, he averaged just 3.3 points per game. Andy Martin should see an increased role after the seven-footer showed potential as a freshman. Bigger and stronger, Martin is capable of having a surprise season. And somebody will need to in the frontcourt if the Grizzlies hope to win another Big Sky title. Otherwise, Weber State may finally get the best of Montana.

Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI/CIT

Projected Starting Five:
Keron DeShields, Junior, Guard, 6.6 points per game
Jordan Gregory, Junior, Guard, 8.2 points per game
Kareem Jamar, Senior, Guard, 14.2 points per game
Mike Weisner, Junior, Forward, 6.0 points per game
Eric Hutchinson, Senior, Center, 3.3 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 69.0 (109th in nation, 4th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 65.5 (141, 3)
Field-Goal Percentage: 46.5 (35, 2)
Field-Goal Defense: 43.0 (181, 2)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.8 (103, 3)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 37.2 (45, 4)
Free-Throw Percentage: 76.7 (5, 1)
Rebound Margin: -1.4 (231, 6)
Assists Per Game: 12.7 (171, 6)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.2 (88, 5)


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