Sunday, November 30, 2008

Bengal Non-Conference Foes Make Good All-American Team

As I was watching the college basketball highlight show Sunday night and saw that Arizona State's James Hardin put up 40 points on UTEP, it occurred to me that Idaho State's non-conference opponents could put together a fairly representative All-American team. So I did some research to come up with the best players the Bengals will face during their brutal non-conference death march. Here's my list:

James Harden, 6-4 G, Arizona State

The powerful, 220-pounder (above) was averaging 24.4 points a game before his outburst against the Miners, as well as 6.6 rebounds and 4 assists. The Bengals will get an up-close look at the future NBA first-round draft pick on Dec. 23 in Tempe.

Lee Cummard, 6-7 SF, BYU

Cummard didn't have a great game against Idaho State Saturday night, but still posted 17 points. The defending co-MWC Player of the Year, Cummard is averaging 19.4 points and 7.6 rebounds a game, while shooting 65 percent from the floor. When I interviewed former BYU and Jazz player Andy Toolsen on the pre-game show Saturday night, he said he thinks Cummard is good enough to be a lottery pick in the NBA draft. I'm not sure I agree with that assessment, but he'll definitely get a chance to mke an NBA roster when his time comes.

Luke Babbitt, 6-9, 220 pound PF, Nevada

One of only three Nevadans to be selected a McDonalds All-American, Babbitt turned down more prestigious programs to play for his hometown Wolfpack. He is averaging 15.8 points and 8.2 rebounds as a freshman. Nevada, which is off to a disappointing start, hosts the Bengals Dec. 27.

Gary Wilkinson, 6-9, 240 F, Utah State

The pre-season WAC Player of the Year, Wilkinson is averaging 18.5 points and 8.8 rebounds a game, while hitting 77 percent of his field goal attempts. The Aggies will be in Holt Arena Dec. 20.

Luke Nevill, 7-2, 265, C, Utah

An All-MWC 2nd Team selection last year, the Aussie center is scoring 17.4 points and grabbing 9.6 rebounds a game this year, while making 66 percent of his field attempts. The Utes visit Holt on Saturday.

Marcus Landry, 6-7, 230, F, Wisconsin

The defending Most Outstanding Player in the Big 10 tournament last year, Landry is averaging 12.5 points and 4.7 rebounds, and has 15 blocks for the Badgers this year. ISU travels to Madison Dec. 9.

Jonathan Tavernari, 6-6, 215, F, BYU

The gliding lefthander from Brazil put on a show against the Bengals Saturday night, slinking through the lane for 23 points. (He also succeeded in joining Cummard as the two most disliked visiting players in Holt). Tavernari is averaging almost 16 points and 7.5 rebounds a game.

Donovan Morris, 6-1 G, Long Beach State

The defending Big West leading scorer, he snoozed through regulation and the first overtime against the Bengals, then put up 14 points in the second OT to clinch the game. A master at getting to the free line, he nailed 25 free throws in 27 attempts against the Bengals, averaging 23.5 points in their two meetings this year and last.

Trevon Hughes, 6-0, G, Wisconsin

Hughes is averaging 14 points a game for the Badgers. He was fourth in the Big 10 in steals last year with 62, and hit 52 three-pointers.

Tai Wesley, 6-7, 240, F, Utah State

A second team pre-season All-WAC choice, Wesley is one of those all-around stat stuffers for the Aggies -- he's shooting 74 percent from the field, averages 6.8 rebounds, and has 19 assists to just 6 turnovers, while averaging 13 points a game. He and Wilkinson will be a load for the Bengals' front line players.

Jacob Pullen, 6-0 G, Kansas State

The sophomore from famed Proviso East High School near Chicago started as a true freshman last year. He's averaging 16.6 points a game this season for the Wildcats, who will host Idaho State on Jan. 3.

Jeff Pendergraph, 6-9, 220, F, Arizona State

While he's overshadowed by Hardin's exploits, Pendergraph is a steady contributor for the Sun Devils, averaging 13 points and 6.6 rebounds while making 79 percent of his field goals.

Aaron Baynes, 6-10, C, Washington State

Baynes had 7 points and 8 rebounds against the Bengals in Holt last year. He's averaging 11 points and 6 rebounds a game while making 66 percent of his shots for the Cougars, who host ISU on Tuesday night.
--Brad B.
And thanks for being a Bengal fan, it ain't always easy, but it's always fun.


Ryan Collingwood said...

Good post, Brad. A native of Cougar country (WSU, that is) I'm interested to see how Idaho State's Tuesday opponent fares this season.

If it finish with a No. 4 or No. 5 seed out of the PAC-10 with a bid to the NCAAs, Bennett should be a candidate for coach of the year. This,too, would prove the Cougs weren't just a flash in the pan.

idaho said...

Thanks, Ryan. I'll be watching your Cougars and the Bengals on Fox Northwest Tuesday night. Good luck to Wazzu the rest of the season -- just not Tuesday night -:)