We've followed the team all year, and observed as a roster that was put together largely this off-season (Lyons, Jones, Davis, Higdon, and Kahrimanovic all joined this summer) began playing as a cohesive unit late this season. Idaho will be losing some significant scoring fire-power with the graduation of seniors Tyrone Hayes and Dwayne "Woo" Williams, and a steady presence in the paint in senior forward Rashaad Powell. Idaho's success this season (highest Big West finish ever at No. 4) was largely due to the maturity and experience that these 3 seniors brought to the court.
But the newcomers to UI played significantly throughout the year, while the younger players began to catch-on to the Division 1 game. Who will be back for Idaho next year? Well, we obviously won't know for sure, but below is a quick glimpse at the players expected to return to the Vandals for the '04-'05 season, marked by their class NEXT YEAR (players are listed alphabetically).
Dillon Higdon, 6-4, 175, Sophomore
As a true freshman this year Dillon broke into the rotation at guard, playing in 19 games and averaging 5.3 minutes per game. He shot 67% from the free-throw line, recorded 4 assists, 4 blocked shots, and a steal while scoring 20 points on the season.
Dandrick Jones, 6-4, 190, Senior
The #5 scorer on the team this year, Dandrick averaged 7.2 points per game in 13 starts and 29 games on the year (shared starting duties with Tanoris for part of the season). He shot 55% from the free-throw line, recorded 87 assists, 34 steals and 8 blocked shots.
Jason Rose, 6-3, 160, Junior
As a sophomore this year Jason walked on to the Vandal basketball team and appeared in 3 games in February.
Tanoris Shepard, 5-11, 175, Senior
Tanoris was the #3 scorer on the team, averaging 8.1 points per game while logging 28.5 minutes in 28 starting appearances this year. Shot 78% from the free-throw line, recorded 50 assists and 13 steals.
Lionel Davis, 6-8, 245, Senior
The #7 scorer on the team, Lionel started 10 games this year (16.7 minutes per game), averaged 4.1 points and 4.0 rebounds per game. Blocked 16 shots, recorded 14 steals, and averaged 67% from the free-throw line.
Armend Kahrimanovic, 6-6, 200, Senior
The #6 scorer on the team, averaged 5.1 points per game and appeared in 28 games (15.5 minutes per game). Averaged 2.1 rebounds per game and shot 79% from the free-throw line.
Anton Lyons, 6-6, 215, Senior
Started 9 games and played in 29 (16.7 minutes per game). Averaged 3.9 points per game, 3.4 rebounds per game, and 68% from the free-throw line. Recorded 7 steals, 7 blocked shots and 9 assists.
David Radlovic, 6-9, 220, Junior
David came on strong in the second half of the season, starting 12 games while playing in 28 as a sophomore (14.1 minutes per game). He averaged 2.5 points per game, 2.2 rebounds per game, blocked 7 shots and recorded 6 steals. He shot 74% from the free-throw line, and 41% from the field.
Zach Proett, 6-10, 240, RS-Freshman
Zach redshirted this season, but will be looked to for his excellent size in the low post next season.
Assuming everyone comes back, Idaho will have 5 seniors on the team next fall: 2 guards and all 3 forwards. This should bode well for leadership on the team next fall, but replacing that experience beyond next season in BOTH the front and back court will be a must this recruiting season (this spring and next fall). The deep post appears to be in good shape for the foreseeable future with Radlovic and the development of Proett, although Proett's impact next season as a redshirt freshman is unpredictable. In most cases it takes a year or 2 of playing time for post players to make an impact, so we will be looking to next year as a development year for Zach, and hope he shocks us all.
But, there will be alot of time to talk about next year. Getting back to what the team accomplished this season, from all of us at VandalVenue.com, congratulations to the seniors, coaching staff, and the entire team on a strong finish to the 2003-2004 season, and great effort in the Big West Tournament!
LINK: Official Site Men's Basketball page with summaries/stats
Below are a series of images from last week's MEN'S Big West Tournament played at The Aneheim Convention Center.
Junior guard Dandrick Jones (6-4, 190) flying high in the Big West Conference Tournament Semi-Finals match-up against The University of the Pacific. (Chris Carlson / AP)
Junior forward Lionel Davis (6-8, 242) developed into a significant presence in the front court for Idaho, and grabbed 7 rebounds while scoring 6 points in Idaho's tournament victory over UC Riverside. (Chris Carlson / AP)
Idaho's leading scorer the last 2 seasons, senior forward Tyrone Hayes (6-4, 197), is currently 6th in the all-time UI record books for career free-throw percentage with an 80.4 career percentage from the stripe. (Chris Carlson / AP)
Vandal guard Dandrick Jones scored 7 points, dished out 2 assists and grabbed 4 rebounds in Idaho's victory over UC Riverside. (Chris Carlson / AP)
Vandal sophomore guard Tanoris Shepard (5-11, 176), goes for 2 in Idaho's victory over UC Santa Barbara in the quarterfinals of the Big West Tournament. (Chris Carlson / AP)