Idaho (21-12, 12-6 Big Sky) finished a roller coaster 2015-16 campaign with a strong finish, winning eight of the last ten games of the regular season, including a three game streak over Weber State, Eastern Washington and Idaho State for a third place Big Sky finish. The team notched an emotional victory over rival Washington State to start the season and knocked off Montana in Missoula at the mid-way point, but also struggled with consistency during the season while also dealing with a raft of unusual injuries.
The net result is Idaho’s first 20-win season since the 1993-94 squad went 24-8 and finished first in the regular season Big Sky rankings (Idaho fell in the championship game that year and missed an NCAA Tourney appearance). For their efforts the College Basketball Invitational came calling, and the Vandals will face Seattle U on Wednesday, March 16th.
There are just three seniors on the roster, led by 33 game starter Chris Sarbaugh, a 6-foot-4 guard who transferred to Idaho from the University of San Diego. His 104 assists on the season is a team-high, as is his 147 rebounds. The strength of this team though is in its youth, led by 6-foot-5 sophomore guard Victor Sanders out of Jefferson High in Portland. Sanders leads all scorers with 16.2 points per game and shoots a team-high 83.8% from the line. Right there behind him is junior guard Perrion Callandret, who is averaging 13.9 points per game and 82.8% from the free throw line.
Sophomore forward Arkadiy “Ark” Mkrtychyan, a 6-foot-7 product of Portland’s Columbia Christian High, started 21 games and nabbed 113 rebounds and 16 steals. Redshirt freshman power forward Nate Sherwood (6-7, 206) started 17 games and pulled down 125 rebounds with eight steals and eight blocks.
Ultimately this is a young team with a bright future as the team looks to keep building on the successes of this season.
For more information check the following links:
OFFICIAL SITE: Vandals earn CBI bid
SEATTLE TIMES: Seattle U men face Idaho
OFFICIAL SITE: Vandals fall to Montana
OFFICIAL SITE: Vandals survive and advance