After a season of high expectations, promises, and barely getting into the Sun Belt Championship, the Texas State men’s basketball team is gearing up for another season. However, the team lost three of its main contributors: Emani Gant, Ethan Montalvo and Cameron Naylor. There is now a significant hole that needs to be filled.
The Bobcats will turn to Ojai Black, senior guard, and Kavin Gilder-Tilbury, senior forward, to be the leaders on and off the court. As Gilder-Tilbury and Black are the only returning starters, the obvious void in the starting rotation is going to have to be replaced soon.
There are many new additions to the team, including Eric Terry, sophomore forward from Houston. There are three juniors—Deris Duncan, from Fishers, Indiana, Tyler Blount, from Virginia Beach, Virginia and Immanuel King, from Rocky Mount, North Carolina.
The freshmen on this season’s roster include Maxwell Starwood, Nijal Pearson, Marlin Davis, and Nedeljko Prijovic.
Among the returning players for coach Danny Kasper are Black, Gilder-Tilbury, Bobby Conley, senior guard, Nathan Josephs, sophomore guard, Maljhum McCrea, senior forward and Courtney Julien, sophomore guard.
This season could be good or bad for the Bobcats. Last season coach Kasper promised the Bobcats would finish .500 or better for the first time since 2004. Kasper delivered on his promise and took the Bobcats to a 15-15 record during the regular season. This record got the Bobcats into the Sun Belt Conference, where they lost in the second round to the University of Texas at Arlington, 72-63, in a heartbreaking loss for Texas State.
This season will be a test for Texas State, as the team will have to rely heavily on Black and Gilder-Tilbury to lead the offense and be the playmakers. Determining who will take the three remaining starting positions will be a difficult choice for Kasper.
Home and away games are pretty evenly spread out. The Bobcats’ home record last season was 10-4, which was good considering they only lost to Little Rock, UT-Arlington, Georgia State and Louisiana-Monroe, teams that were all in the Sun Belt Conference tournament at the end of the season.
The Bobcats’ road record was the opposite of their home record. Texas State had a 4-11 record on the road last season. This was mainly because the Bobcats were scheduled for three road trips of at least three or more games in a row.
This season, there is only one three-game road trip, which should excite the Bobcats and coach Kasper, as it could have a better effect on their road record at the end of the year. Texas State will kick off the 2016-2017 season with the Outrigger Resorts Rainbow Classic in Honolulu, Hawaii. The Bobcats will play Florida Atlantic, Hawaii and SIU-Edwardsville in the three-game tournament. Texas State’s first home game will be at 7 p.m. Nov. 11 against Texas A&M Corpus Christi.