Lucas Gebhart

Sports Editor

It’s a put up or shut up year for the Idaho State men’s basketball team.

The big question surrounding the team this year is how they will fair without Ethan Telfair, a player whose NBA draft stock looked promising after his junior season, but for whatever reason plummeted after his senior year. 

During Telfair’s junior year, Idaho State went 16-15 and clinched a first-round bye in the conference tournament. Last year, ISU went 6-26 and was bounced in the first-round of the Big Sky tournament.

Which season is the outlier? Only time will tell.

My opinion is that a Telfair buzzer-beater in Reed Gym against Weber State a couple years ago sparked a run and the team lost its swagger when the Big Sky tournament rolled around.

So far, this season hasn’t been much better than last. Idaho State has lost its first five games of the season, but only one of those was at home. It’s also November, far too early to tell who’s a pretender and who’s a contender, but much of last year’s problems still linger.

Idaho State did almost outrebounded Washington State, but the score was nowhere close to where I can give that much merit.

Last season I saw a team whose offense looked out of sync, defense couldn’t guard anybody and was outrebounded on a nightly basis. Put those three things together and you have a perfect formula for losing 26 basketball games.

How did this happen? How did a team that won 16 games the previous season turn around and win six the following season while returning its most valuable player?

With a personality that was as big as Telfair’s, I almost wonder what that locker room was like when things started to go bad last year. Nobody called anybody out publicly, but multiple players this season have mentioned how this year’s team has better chemistry. 

I’ll let you read in-between the lines and make your own judgement on what that means. 

Were there issues in the locker room? Did certain players have problems with other certain players or dare I say it, was the coaching staff too soft on that group of players? Was Telfair the source of these problems, if these were even the problems?

I don’t know what it was, but I think the issues of last year’s team go a little deeper then Kyle Ingram and Gary Chivichyan being out for most the year.

During the next couple weeks, the basketball team has an opportunity to send a message and show that they are no longer the 20-loss pushover the rest of the conference has come to know.

Idaho State’s next four games are at home, all of which are winnable. It’s an opportunity to get the season back in track, but if they don’t win at least three, I don’t see this team winning more than 10 games this season.

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