ISU LANDS NWAC PLAYER OF THE YEAR AND THREE OTHERS

Sam Dowd at right amid basketball gameLucas Gebhart

Sports Editor

The Idaho State men’s basketball team added four new transfer players this offseason, including the reigning Northwest Athletic Conference Player of the Year, Jacob McCord.

McCord and five-foot-seven-point guard, Sam Dowd, out of North Idaho College and Blake Truman, who spent the last two seasons with Snow College, were all added last week. Utah Valley transfer, Jared Stutzman, signed earlier in the offseason and is the only one of the four that will be required to redshirt next season.

“They have four divisions in the NWAC and [McCord] was the MVP of the entire league,” said head coach Bill Evans. “Jake will rebound the ball at a very high level. He plays with an edge. He has a great motor and great maturity.”

ISU will lose Clark Wilkinson, Keshawn Liggins, Robert Jones III and Stephen Lennox, who have all elected to leave the program for varying reasons.

Jones III and Liggins are leaving ISU after transferring to Pocatello last season – Jones III from Northwestern College and Liggins from Big Bend.

Jones III played in 31 games for ISU last season, starting 21 of them and averaged 23.5 minutes per game. Liggins playes in 15 games and his redshirt was pulled about midway through the season.

Lennox played in 31 games last year, coming off the bench to average 3.2 points and 2.2 rebounds per game.

Wilkinson appeared 17 times last season, averaging 3.8 minutes per game.

In 30 games last season for Big Bend, McCord averaged a double-double, averaging 25.6 points and 12 rebounds per game.

McCord was held to single-digit points once and hauled in double-digit rebounds 20 different times.

His season-high in points last season was 41 while he grabbed a season-high of 21 rebounds as he lead Big Bend to an 11-5 conference record.

Dowd comes to ISU from North Idaho College and is a true point guard who can help relieve the gaping hole at point guard left by Ethan Telfair, who was a senior last season.

“He is small in stature but his intangibles are incredible,” Evans said. “I talked to a coach in that league who said he is the best leader on an opposing team that he has seen in 30 years. He has the ability to bring guys together. He’s a winner.”

ISU finished the year 10th in the Big Sky in defensive rebounds and ninth in offensive rebounds per game.

North Idaho College won its region in the NWAC last season and held the best conference record (13-3) out of all four divisions.

Dowd averaged 17.7 points and 7.2 assists per game as the Seattle native shot 48 percent from the field, 39 percent from three-point land and 75 percent from the foul line.

In his final season at North Idaho, Dowd averaged 35.1 minutes per game and had eight or more assists 15 times while ISU finished last in the Big Sky in assists per game.

Truman spent two seasons at Snow College where he registered 23.6 minutes per game in 15 starts.

Truman averaged 11.5 points and 6.8 rebounds per game while shooting 50 percent from the field and 37.5 percent from behind the arc.

“I think Blake’s greatest skill is that he is a very good teammate,” Evans said. “He has a great feel for the game and he is a terrific passer for a big kid. He is a more than capable perimeter shooter from the arc. He has a lot of maturity. He will bring a lot of really important things to our team.”

Stutzman started four games for Utah Valley last season, appeared in 33 games and averaged 13 minutes per contest.

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