November 7, 1996 in Sports

Transition Period Hugh Watson’s First Team At Nic Lacks Height, But Thrives On Fast Break

By The Spokesman-Review
 

This is going to be a transition year for North Idaho College men’s basketball in every sense of the word.

The transition from longtime coach Rolly Williams to Hugh Watson.

The transition to a new roster, as only one player who saw significant time last year returns.

And the transition to the 6-foot-and-under league.

We’re kidding.

Still, with just one player standing above 6-foot-4, NIC might not look good in an airport. But hang a couple rims on the tarmac and see what happens.

“It’s not what’s on paper,” said confident 6-4 point guard Todd Myles, a transfer from West Virginia who plans on signing later this month with Mississippi State, a Final Four team last season. “It’s between the lines.”

The Cardinals step between the lines tonight with an exhibition game against Silute, a touring team from Lithuania with size and experience, so be cautious of making rash interpretations of NIC’s future based on the outcome. Game time is 7:30 at Christianson Gym.

Because of its shorter stature, NIC will pester defensively, dogging dribblers at every opportunity in hopes of coaxing a transition game - there’s that word again.

“We can do it, we’ve just got to get acclimated to it,” coach Watson said. “We’re not anywhere close to understanding what we’ve got to do yet. Our kids are going to play so hard, we’re going to have to rest these kids every 3 or 4 minutes.”

NIC has talent and it starts with Myles. He went head-to-head with Stephon Marbury in a New York high school championship game. Marbury, now in the NBA, scored 28, Myles had 23.

Myles developed kidney stones in the preseason at West Virginia last year. He returned to health and wanted to play, but his coach chose to redshirt him, Myles said.

He likely will be at NIC one year. “I need 32 hours (credits),” said Myles, who nearly went to rival College of Southern Idaho. “If I get 32, I’m leaving. If not, I could be back here because this is a good place.”

Myles had emergency stomach surgery about a month ago. He estimates he’s only 85 percent healthy.

That’s a swell-looking 85 percent, Watson said. “Richard Williams (Mississippi State coach) said that he could win the SEC with Todd next year. His greatest strength is breaking down a defense, penetrating and kicking the ball off. And he can score.”

However, Watson warned, “He hasn’t played a collegiate game. He’s got to prove it, and prove it against the big boys when it counts.”

Joining Myles in the backcourt likely will be Shawn Myrick, a sharp-shooter who is back on the team after being booted last week. Myrick has been suspended for two games, including tonight’s, for previous rules violations.

Myrick doesn’t have a lock on the position. Athletic Andre McKanstry is pressing Myrick. David Cunningham, a key player off last year’s 25-6 team, will see time at point and off-guard, as could Toby Stack, another sophomore returner.

Cameron Banks, a 6-3 wing who has committed to Idaho, will start at wing if he can fend off competition from Travis Houston and Bo Johnson.

Chris “Big Daddy” Harrison is a 6-4 power forward. His nickname is more a testament to his burly 235-pound frame than his vertical stretch.

Steven Ryan, a 6-9 Australian who signed at Colorado, is the center. Ryan is bothered by a nagging Achilles’ tendon injury.

Backing up the interior players is Johnson, who is closer to 6-2 than his listed 6-3, and the 6-1 Houston.

Watson watched a handful of Region 18 clubs at a jamboree late last month and admitted feeing “shell-shocked.”

Glancing at Utah Valley’s roster, the shell-shock returned - “6-10, 6-11, 6-10, 6-8, 6-7, 6-7,” he said.

“You have some coaches who say it’s better to have guards and some who say big men,” he said. “I’m not smart enough to realize which is best, but I know for a fact if you don’t have guys who can get rebounds and intimidate in the middle then your defense isn’t adequate to win the big games.”

“We want to be realistic,” Watson said. “Right now, if we could win 20 games (it would be a successful season). But it’s going to be tough.”

In fact, it’s a tall order.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color photo

MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: NORTH IDAHO COLLEGE MEN’S BASKETBALL ROSTER

Name Pos. H W Yr. Hometown Shawn Myrick G 6-0 185 Soph. Maysville, Kent. Bo Johnson W 6-3 175 Fr. Melbourne, Fla. Todd Myles G 6-4 180 Fr. Brooklyn, N.Y. Cameron Wester G 6-0 165 Fr. Columbia, Tenn. David Cunningham G 6-0 185 Soph. Lapwai, Idaho James Rahming W 6-4 190 Fr. Freeport, Bahamas Travis Houston W 6-1 182 Fr. Columbia, Tenn. Andre McKanstry G 6-0 180 Soph. Tuscaloosa, Ala. Toby Stack G 6-0 188 Soph. Missoula, Mont. Chris Harrison W/C 6-4 235 Soph. Houston, Texas Gabe Watson G 6-3 170 Fr. Coeur d’Alene Cameron Banks W 6-4 195 Soph. Fife, Wash. Jon Bussell W 6-3 175 Soph. Mountain Home, Idaho Steven Ryan C 6-9 220 Fr. Baker, La. Jon Chatfield G 6-3 195 Fr. Coeur d’Alene

Schedule (All times Pacific) Date Opponent Time Nov. 7 vs. Silute (Lithuania) 7:30 Nov. 15 vs. Miles City (CdA Resort Tourney) 7:30 Nov. 16 vs. Western Montana (CdA Resort Tourney) 7:30 Nov. 22 at Western Montana 6:30 Nov. 23 vs. Wenatchee Valley 7:30 Nov. 26 at Yakima Valley 7:30 Nov. 29 vs. Grant MacEuan (Thanksgiving Classic at NIC) 7:30 Nov. 30 Thanksgiving Classic 5:30 & 7:30 Dec. 5 vs. Utah Valley 7:30 Dec. 7 vs. Salt Lake 7:30 Dec. 10 at Wenatchee Valley 7 Dec. 13 at Snow 6:30 Dec. 14 at Dixie 6:30 Jan. 6 at Walla Walla 7 Jan. 9 vs. Southern Idaho 7:30 Jan. 11 vs. Treasure Valley 7:30 Jan. 17 at Colo. Northwestern 6:30 Jan. 18 at Eastern Utah 6:30 Jan. 21 at Spokane 7:30 Jan. 24 at Ricks 6:30 Jan. 30 vs. Dixie 7:30 Feb. 1 vs. Snow 7:30 Feb. 7 at Treasure Valley 6:30 Feb. 8 at Southern Idaho 7 Feb. 13 vs. Eastern Utah 7:30 Feb. 15 vs. Colo. Northwestern 7:30 Feb. 21 vs. Ricks 7:30 Feb. 28 at Salt Lake 6:30 March 1 at Utah Valley 6:30 March 5-8 Region 18 Tournament (Site: North champion)

This sidebar appeared with the story: NORTH IDAHO COLLEGE MEN’S BASKETBALL ROSTER

Name Pos. H W Yr. Hometown Shawn Myrick G 6-0 185 Soph. Maysville, Kent. Bo Johnson W 6-3 175 Fr. Melbourne, Fla. Todd Myles G 6-4 180 Fr. Brooklyn, N.Y. Cameron Wester G 6-0 165 Fr. Columbia, Tenn. David Cunningham G 6-0 185 Soph. Lapwai, Idaho James Rahming W 6-4 190 Fr. Freeport, Bahamas Travis Houston W 6-1 182 Fr. Columbia, Tenn. Andre McKanstry G 6-0 180 Soph. Tuscaloosa, Ala. Toby Stack G 6-0 188 Soph. Missoula, Mont. Chris Harrison W/C 6-4 235 Soph. Houston, Texas Gabe Watson G 6-3 170 Fr. Coeur d’Alene Cameron Banks W 6-4 195 Soph. Fife, Wash. Jon Bussell W 6-3 175 Soph. Mountain Home, Idaho Steven Ryan C 6-9 220 Fr. Baker, La. Jon Chatfield G 6-3 195 Fr. Coeur d’Alene

Schedule (All times Pacific) Date Opponent Time Nov. 7 vs. Silute (Lithuania) 7:30 Nov. 15 vs. Miles City (CdA Resort Tourney) 7:30 Nov. 16 vs. Western Montana (CdA Resort Tourney) 7:30 Nov. 22 at Western Montana 6:30 Nov. 23 vs. Wenatchee Valley 7:30 Nov. 26 at Yakima Valley 7:30 Nov. 29 vs. Grant MacEuan (Thanksgiving Classic at NIC) 7:30 Nov. 30 Thanksgiving Classic 5:30 & 7:30 Dec. 5 vs. Utah Valley 7:30 Dec. 7 vs. Salt Lake 7:30 Dec. 10 at Wenatchee Valley 7 Dec. 13 at Snow 6:30 Dec. 14 at Dixie 6:30 Jan. 6 at Walla Walla 7 Jan. 9 vs. Southern Idaho 7:30 Jan. 11 vs. Treasure Valley 7:30 Jan. 17 at Colo. Northwestern 6:30 Jan. 18 at Eastern Utah 6:30 Jan. 21 at Spokane 7:30 Jan. 24 at Ricks 6:30 Jan. 30 vs. Dixie 7:30 Feb. 1 vs. Snow 7:30 Feb. 7 at Treasure Valley 6:30 Feb. 8 at Southern Idaho 7 Feb. 13 vs. Eastern Utah 7:30 Feb. 15 vs. Colo. Northwestern 7:30 Feb. 21 vs. Ricks 7:30 Feb. 28 at Salt Lake 6:30 March 1 at Utah Valley 6:30 March 5-8 Region 18 Tournament (Site: North champion)


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