The Idaho men’s basketball regular season will come to an end Saturday against Southern Utah, and while it marks a senior goodbye, it also is only the beginning to an exciting postseason.
Idaho started the season as preseason Big Sky Conference favorites and throughout the year the Vandals have proven time after time again that all the hype was for good reason.
The Vandals currently sit as the top defensive team in the conference, holding opponents to only 68 points a game, as well as being the best rebounding margin team as well. From the Battle of the Palouse, to the huge conference wins against Montana and Weber State, this Idaho squad is a proven hard-nosed and veteran squad.
Saturday will be the last time that many get a chance to see the six seniors play for the final time, at home and the mark they have left at this school will last a lifetime.
“Six great seniors, six seniors who have put in a lot of time and a lot of energy and should be very proud of the body of work they have done since they have been here,” Idaho Head Coach Don Verlin said.
The past three seasons the Vandals have had 21, 19 and now another 20-win season. The six seniors have had plenty to do with bringing a reinvigorated Vandal basketball program back to Idaho.
Senior forward Brayon Blake has developed into one of the best players in the Big Sky as well as an important leader to this team. Stopping Blake on Saturday will be a nightmare for Southern Utah.
“We knew (Blake) was going to be a great player coming out of junior college being an All-American,” Verlin said. “After his first year, I thought he really worked hard in being the best player he can possibly be. He’s bought into the Vandal way.”
No one deserves to revel in the senior spotlight more than senior forward Jordan Scott, who is finishing his fifth season on the Idaho squad.
“Jordan is a staple in our program. He is a guy who came here and did what he was supposed to do,” Verlin said. “Jordan Scott has been one of the vital pieces of this program for five years, he does everything you ask him and beyond.”
Expect an emotional and powerful game from this Vandal squad on Saturday, something that Southern Utah will not be able to contain.
With this being the final time at Cowan Spectrum for the six seniors, there is still plenty more basketball to be played.
“It’s business as usual,” Verlin said. “We still have a lot to play for and as I told all of our seniors today, it’s not the end of something, it’s the beginning of something special.”
The Vandals will face Southern Utah 7 p.m. Saturday in the Cowan Spectrum.
Chris Deremer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on twitter @Cderemer_VN