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Idaho men’s basketball tops Saint Martin’s in exhibition, roster analysis

The Vandals men's basketball squad got their first trial run of the season out of the way Friday night with an 86-62 triumph over Saint Martin's at Memorial Gym. 

Of course, the result isn't all that important. But I can analyze a little into the lineup and rotation as to how Idaho coach Don Verlin plans to replace his top three guards from last season. 

Read on below. 

Verlin has a hefty task heading into this season trying to replace Mike Scott, Sekou Wiggs and Connor Hill, each of Idaho's top three scorers last season, the only Idaho players to average double-digit scoring last season and all exceptional guards.

Wiggs, a sophomore last season, transferred to NCAA Division II University of Alaska Anchorage. 

Idaho brought in junior college transfer Pat Ingram and Myles Franklin, a true freshman, to take over the court general duties from the graduated Mike Scott. 

But it was Chris Sarbaugh, a Spokane native and a graduate transfer from San Diego via Gonzaga, who may be putting his hat in the ring for that job. Sarbaugh dished out eight assists, with no turnovers, in only 15 minutes of action. 

Perrion Callandret, who has experience both at the point guard and 2-guard positions at Idaho, could also be in the picture at the point. He tossed out three assists. The junior out of Bothell could play a combo-guard role. 

As far as replacing the scoring load, the notable stat of note is sophomore Victor Sanders dropping 16 points and nailing two 3-pointers. Sanders should replace Hill as Idaho's most prolific shooter this season, he should expect major minutes and opportunities to shoot the rock. 

Redshirt freshman Jake Straughan also hit two 3-pointers. He is shifting to more of an off-the-ball role this season after coming in as a point guard. 

Ingram played 10 assist-less minutes. 

Arkadiy Mkrtychyan didn't play last night, so it's harder to get a grip on the frontcourt. Mkrtychyan, a sophomore forward from Moscow ( ... Russia), is a legitimate candidate to lead the Vandals in scoring this season. 

Redshirt sophomore Jordan Scott is the player to watch here. He had difficulties breaking into the rotation last season, but grabbing four offensive rebounds in 23 minutes is something that helps his case. Senior Nahshon George nabbed two offensive boards and 10 points in 13 minutes of work. 

This will be a big season for redshirt junior Ty Egbert as well, who grabbed seven rebounds and swatted three shots in 11 minutes of work. 

Oh, yeah, and the big three-star recruit from Bishop Gorman in Las Vegas by the name of Nick Blair. The freshman forward played nine minutes with four points, an assist, two offensive rebounds and a block. Blair looks to be in line to receive a lot of minutes, if not start, but Verlin may be cautious with the freshman. Perrion Callandret struggled as a true freshman, while players like Connor Hill and Stephen Madison only contributed modestly their true freshman seasons. And then there are players like Sekou Wiggs and Arkadiy Mkrtychyan, who contributed significantly as 18-year olds.

This game isn't a definitive representation of what Verlin plans to do with his rotation, rather it's just a possible outline or a snapshot. Verlin's rotations will likely take well into the out-of-conference schedule to get solidified and for certain players to stand out above others, considering the amount of new faces and players in new roles. 

We'll be meeting with the Idaho coach on Tuesday afternoon to get his thoughts on the upcoming season. Idaho hosts Lewis-Clark State in its final exhibition at 8 p.m. on Friday night. 



Sean Kramer
Sean Kramer is a freelance correspondent who covers the University of Idaho football team and men's basketball team.





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