Humboldt State is coming to McKale Center with a game already under its belt in the young season. The Lumberjacks beat Pacific Union College 87-45 in the opener for both teams. It was an easy victory for Humboldt State that allowed the team to coast and play a plethora of players.
The Lumberjacks are coached by Steve Kinder, who took over the head coaching position in 2010 when previous Head Coach Tom Wood retired and is 48-12 in two seasons.
A pair of young guards, Ethan Dillard and Austin Bryan, leads Humboldt State. Dillard is just a sophomore who came into his own year ago, improving as the season progressed. He ended the season with 4.4 points per game and a .402 3-point shooting percentage. Against PUC, Dillard led the team with 16 points and three assists.
Austin Bryan is a little older as a junior, but is just as important to the future of the team. Last year, Bryan averaged almost nine points per game and is the team's leading returner in the scoring category. In the first game of the year, Bryan had just five points and two assists in 14 minutes.
Joining these returners in the starting lineup is senior forward Darren Turpin. The senior only had a limited role on the team last season, but will see plenty of time this season. In 2011, he played in just 26 of the teams' 30 games, averaging 1.6 points and 1.2 rebounds. For the opener, Turpin played 11 minutes and picked up two points and two assists.
New to the team, but jumping into the starting lineup is senior forward Alec Williams. He played for San Diego State a season ago, averaging just four points for the Aztecs. Williams transferred to Humboldt State and started the first exhibition, tallying 12 points, nine rebounds, and two blocks in a team high 21 minutes.
Rounding out the starting lineup is another newcomer. Deaudray Robinson is a junior college transfer from Yuba College, where he averaged 8.9 points and 6.6 rebounds per game. Against Pacific Union College, Robinson only had two points and four rebounds in 16 minutes.
Junior Cody Kale started the first exhibition, but there is a good chance he will come off the bench against Arizona. Kale is another new face on the team after coming to Humboldt State from Yuba City College. He earned second team California JC All-State honors after leading his team to the California JC State Championship game and had two points, a steal and an assist in the opener.
Spelling the big men in the opener is yet another new player to the Humboldt State roster. Aaron Chamberlain is a senior transfer from Mt. San Antonio College and at 6-foot-7, adds versatility to the roster for the season. He had 13 points and five rebounds in the first game of the season.
Another guard coming off the bench is sophomore guard Brandon Woods from Citrus College. He joined the team this season and has made an impact already, playing 13 minutes in his first opportunity. Woods had nine points, two assists, and two steals in that time.
Another face that Arizona should see coming off the bench is Greg Leslie. The junior center is one of the biggest returning contributors in the game between Arizona and Humboldt State a year ago. Leslie had eight points and a rebound before fouling out in just 12 minutes against the Wildcats.
Rounding out the key players is Thomas Witzel. The 6-foot-7 freshman looks to be an important player for the Lumberjacks in the coming years. He is a big-bodied player that grabbed five rebounds and added six points against Pacific Union.
Even though the Lumberjacks have a game under their belt this season, the Wildcats shouldn't have too much trouble. Humboldt State has been a superior D-II force the past few years, but has lost its top four scorers accounting for 50.9 of the teams 75.5 points last season.
That coupled with the expectations that are surrounding the Arizona program this season and it should be a relatively easy game for the Wildcats.
However, some of the Arizona players remember what happened last season when the team overlooked Seattle Pacific in the first exhibition game of the season. The Wildcats lost that game 69-68 when a Nick Johnson 3-pointer fell just short at the buzzer.
The good news is that Arizona recovered from that loss and beat a better Humboldt State team a few days later 60-51. It still wasn't the performance the Wildcats were expecting from themselves, but they will get another shot at the Lumberjacks on Halloween night.