The 2008-2009 season was a disappointing year for the Bison. They finished 8-23 for the season and 6-10 in the conference. There was however a couple of bright spots that the team could use to build on for this upcoming year.
One of the bright spots was the huge win over the Oregon State Beavers in the Burr Gymnasium last year. The gym was packed to capacity with the anticipation that new president Barack Obama would attend to watch his brother-in-law Craig Robinson coach the game.
The game was a nail-biter that went down to the wire and the Bison won the game. Beating a Pac-10 team, something they have never done before. Another big accomplishment the Bison had last year were the five consecutive home wins they had during conference play. Just when things were starting to look-up for the Bison, inconsistency reared it's ugly head and they lost there last four games including the first round lost to Florida A&M in the MEAC conference tournament.
The Bison have to replace a awful lot this year. First team All Conference guard Eugene Myatt has graduated. He was the only Bison to average double figures (15ppg) and over 30 minutes a game last season. His scoring will be missed.
Also gone is Randy Hampton. He did everything for the Bison score, rebound, defend, etc. Hampton filled up the stat sheets every game and the team needs a viable replacement.
The Bison had three players transfer over the summer. They would have made major contributions to the team this year. Torrance Timothy who was a versatile player with three point range transferred to Blinn College. Guard, Chris McHenry who was putting up some impressive offensive numbers his freshman year, transferred to Garden City. McHenry scored a freshman record 29 points against Wyoming last season. Sophomore forward Anthony Thomas, who was a solid rebounder off the bench left for American International.
With all the turn over on the Bison roster. They actually have a nucleus of experienced players. The senior class of Paul Kirkpatrick, Kandi Mukole, Curtis White & Nate Cooper have all been contributing since their freshman year.
Adam Walker the junior forward from the famed High School Christ The King is expected to take his game to the next level with the losses of Hampton and Myatt. Also expected to pick up the scoring slack is guard Kyle Riley. Riley is a high flyer who can put up in points in a hurry.
After missing the second half of the season, point guard Calvin Thompson is expected to have an immediate impact. Thompson can get anywhere he wants on the court and loves attacking the basket. He will be looked upon to get teammates involved as well as put points on the board.
Two unexpected contributors helped the team during an injury spell last season. Those players are Yannick Braimbridge who was a solid defensive presence on the perimeter and C.J. Prince who turned out to be a dangerous three point specialist off the bench..
7.Yes, the Bison have seven new freshman on the roster. Some of these freshman will have to play and make an immediate impact if the Bison want to make some noise this season. There are three big men Charles DeCosta, Mike Phillips & Luke Russell. All 3 are 6'8 and bring much needed height. The rest are forwards Dadrian Collins, Gary Lawrence and guards Anton Dickerson & Tyreak Johnson.
In order for the Bison to have a good season the experienced nucleus are going to need to step up their offensive production.
Starting with Calvin Thompson who has the skill to excel on the court. He is a sound player on both sides of the ball. It's just a matter of him staying healthy and putting his mind to it.
White is a big time three point threat and is efficient offensively, but has been playing out of position for some time now. His return to the perimeter should increase his offensive output. Kyle Riley should led the team in scoring this year. He is no longer coming off the bench and should have his best season so far.
Walker is a terror on the boards and can alter the game with his shot blocking. He is also gifted offensively but has not quite put it all together, will this be the year? His back-up is Kandi Mukole. Mukole can stretch the floor with his shooting and is a menace on the boards. If he can become a presence down low this season that would be a huge boost
Kirkpatrick is also a good shot-blocker and is a dunking machine, he dunks everything. He is the x-factor for the Bison. If he can become a go-to guy in the post he will open up the game for the rest of the players and make the Bison a tough team to beat come conference time. Nate Cooper the backup center is a defensive presence who rebounds and has a knack for drawing charges.
The Bison open up the season against the Indiana Hoosiers in South Bend. The Hoosiers are also bringing in a load of freshman. This game should go to the wire and if the Bison are up for the challenge like they were against Oregon St then a upset may be in store.