Roy Burkhart

Talking Texas State Hoops

With football on another bye week, BI intern Tyler Hammond was able to talk some hoops at this week's media luncheon, where Head Coach Danny Kaspar spoke about his program.

Coach Kaspar believes that this is the most mature and cohesive group that he has had during his tenure at Texas State. This seasons’ roster has seven returning players, and six additions, including three transfers. In his third season as the lead man for the Bobcats, Coach Kaspar stated that these are all his guys now, and that he sees more consistency because of the players’ knowledge of his system.

The men’s basketball team has not had a winning season since 1999, but they believe this is the year to get over the hump. In Kaspar’s first season, the team won eight games, and then nearly doubled that win total in his second season with 14 wins. The Bobcats have what Coach Kaspar believes could be the best front-court in the conference with forwards Emani Gant (Sr.), Cameron Naylor (Sr.), and Kavin Gilder-Tilbury (Jr.). All three players are 6’7’’ or taller, athletic, and fill up the stat sheet on both ends of the floor. Along with a stout front court, returning point guard Ojai Black (Jr.) is further along in his understanding of Kaspar’s system and has a good connection with the third-year coach. Senior combo guard Ethan Montalvo also returns, and will look to be Texas State's most consistent long range threat.

This off-season, Coach Kaspar has preached toughness and maturity to his team. He wants his team to have greater mental toughness and play more consistently on both sides of the ball. Typically, he has run a single-post motion offense, but the team has been working on implementing a screen and roll or screen and pop offense, because Kaspar wants to be able to utilize two big-men on the court.

Senior leader Emani Gant, said that he feels a lot better chemistry throughout the team compared to past seasons, and that it has been easier to incorporate new guys in to the system. Gant said there has been changes to the offense, especially with the five seconds subtracted from the shot clock, and that the team has been focused on a faster secondary offensive set. Similar to Coach Kaspar, Gant believes that the Bobcats could have the best front-court in the conference. After last year’s Sun Belt Conference Tournament loss to the University of Texas-Arlington, Gant said that the team really learned a lot from that experience and knows what to expect in that type of situation now.
 
Of the six new faces: PG Bobby Conley (Jr.), PF Maljhum McCrea (Jr.), SG Courtney Julien (Fr.), SG/PG D'Angelo West (Fr.), PG K.J. Malveau (Fr.), and SG/SF Anthony Robertson (So.), only McCrea is a post player, standing in a 6'7" 215lbs.

From both Coach Kaspar and Gant, the expectations for the men’s team is to make the conference tournament and compete for a championship. Prior to conference play, the Bobcats will face a 10 game non-conference slate, headlined by match-ups on the road with UTEP and Washington State, and at home against former conference mate and long time rival, UTSA. The season begins on November 11 against UT Tyler at Strahan Coliseum.

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