Weber State Wildcats

Beehive Classic features Utah, BYU, Utah State, Weber State

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) The University of Utah, BYU, Utah State and Weber State will play in a December basketball tournament called the Beehive Classic starting this season and running through 2019. The event will be held at the home of the Utah Jazz.

Larry H. Miller Sports & Entertainment, the ownership branch of the Jazz and Vivint Smart Home Arena, announced the tournament Thursday.

It will feature one night of two games each year with every team playing the other two over the span of three years.

BYU will play Weber State and Utah State faces Utah on Dec. 9, 2017. On Dec. 8, 2018, it’s Utah State vs. Weber State followed by Utah vs. BYU. On Dec. 14, 2019, it’s Weber State vs. Utah and BYU vs. Utah State.

Weber State adds Utah transfer

DENVER, CO - MARCH 19:  Kyle Wiltjer #33 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs looks for the rebound in the first half against Brekkott Chapman #0 of the Utah Utes during the second round of the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at the Pepsi Center on March 19, 2016 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
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Brekkott Chapman, who spent the last two years at Utah, is transferring to Weber State, the school announced Wednesday evening.

The 6-foot-9 forward was a top-50 recruit in the class of 2014, and averaged 5.1 points and 2.5 rebounds in his two years with the Utes.

We are very excited that Brekkott has decided to join our program and the Weber State family,” Wildcats coach Randy Rahe said in a statement. “We’ve known Brekkott well and have watched him throughout his high school years and his time at Utah, and we feel very strongly that he has tremendous potential to become a very good and impactful player, as well as a great person and student in our program.

“We feel very strongly that Brekkott will fit our culture well and be a great fit with our players and the University, He has a very exciting future ahead of him and we’re glad he has entrusted us to help him develop in all areas of his life.”

Chapman will sit out the upcoming season under NCAA transfer rules, and will have two seasons of eligibility remaining starting in 2017-18.

The Wildcats went 26-9 and advanced to the NCAA tournament last year with just one senior, potential NBA Draft pick Joel Bolomboy, on the roster.

Big Sky Preview: Montana, Weber State lead the way

Montana head coach Travis DeCuire disagrees with a call in the first half of an NIT first-round college basketball game against Texas A&M Tuesday, March 17, 2015, in College Station, Texas. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)
Montana head coach Travis DeCuire (AP Photo)
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Beginning in October and running up through November 13th, the first day of the regular season, College Basketball Talk will be unveiling the 2015-2016 NBCSports.com college hoops preview package.

Today, we are previewing the Big Sky.

After a 2013-14 season in which eight teams managed to win at least ten games in conference play, there was more separation in the Big Sky pecking order in 2014-15. The number of teams with ten or more league wins was trimmed to five, with Montana and Eastern Washington finishing tied for first at 14-4 and Sacramento State and Northern Arizona a game behind the Grizzlies and Eagles at 13-5.

Jim Hayford’s Eagles managed to win the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, winning at Montana in the Big Sky title game, but he has a lot to replace with four starters from that team having moved on including high-scoring guard Tyler Harvey. That leaves senior forward Venky Jois as the lone returning starter, but fellow forward Bogdan Bliznyuk could be one of the Big Sky’s breakout players after averaging 8.7 points and 4.0 rebounds in 19 minutes of action per game. Even with their personnel losses EWU has the potential to be a factor in the Big Sky race.

As for the favorites, a Montana team led by forward Martin Breunig and guards Mario Dunn and Brandon Gfeller can certainly make that claim even with the graduation of leading scorer Jordan Gregory. Travis DeCuire’s first season as head coach at his alma mater yielded a share of the Big Sky regular season title and a trip to the Postseason NIT. The question now is whether or not this talented group can go a step further than they did in 2014-15, as they fell at home to EWU in the Big Sky title game.

Another team to keep an eye on is Weber State, which returns the tandem of guard Jeremy Senglin and forward Joel Bolomboy. In total five of Weber State’s top six scorers (four starters) from last season are back, meaning that the pieces are in place for the team to rebound from last season’s 13-17 record. The Wildcats struggled on both ends of the floor but especially offensively, shooting just 45 percent inside of the arc and ranking 258th nationally in adjusted offensive efficiency per Ken Pomeroy’s numbers.

But Randy Rahe’s squad was young, with a number of players getting used to new roles. With a season of experience under their belts, Weber State can make a leap up the Big Sky standings.

Jack Murphy’s Northern Arizona Lumberjacks, who won 13 league games last season, return two of the Big Sky’s best players and as a result are capable of contending as well. Guard Kris Yanku emerged as one of the conference’s top point guards as a sophomore, and with forward Jordyn Martin serving as the team’s defensive anchor (Big Sky Defensive Player of the Year last season) NAU can overcome the fact that they lost three starters from last season’s CIT finalists.

Southern Utah may be able to take a step forward in Nick Robinson’s fourth season at the helm, as they return five of their top six scorers led by senior wing A.J. Hess. The middle of the Big Sky won’t lack for intrigue, which is usually the case for the conference. Five teams won between seven and ten conference games last season, with the best offensive team of that quintet (Northern Colorado) finishing at the top of that group. Yet while in seasons past those teams were fighting for a conference tournament berth, they’ll only be fighting for seeding as the format (all 12 teams qualify) and location (Reno, Nevada) of the tournament have changed.

Prior to last season either Montana or Weber State won four of the last five Big Sky tournament titles (2011 being the exception), and at least one of those two has played in the last six championship games. Given the talent back at both programs, the 2015-16 season could see one of those two traditional powers holding the Big Sky trophy come March.

MORE: 2015-16 Season Preview Coverage | Conference Previews | Preview Schedule

COACH’S TAKE

  • Favorite: “It’s either Montana or Weber State. Montana lost (Jordan) Gregory but they have some guys coming back, and Weber State has more experience after last season. The talent on both of those teams make them the ones that will be the favorites to win the league.”
  • Sleeper: “They lost some guys but I like Northern Arizona. (Kris) Yanku is one of the best players in our league, and he can score and distribute the basketball. And they’ve got the league’s Defensive Player of the Year (Jordyn Martin) back as well. Jack Murphy’s done a good job rebuilding that program.”
  • Star to watch: “He’s going to have more attention on him because of the guys they lost, but Venky Jois might be the best player in the conference. He’s a handful to stop in the post, and he rebounds and passes well too.”

PRESEASON BIG SKY PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Martin Breunig, Montana

In his first season on the court for the Grizzlies, the former Washington forward emerged as one of the top players in the Big Sky. Averaging 16.7 points and 7.3 rebounds per game and shooting better than 59 percent from the field, Breunig was one of three players to be a unanimous All-Big Sky selection.

THE REST OF THE PRESEASON ALL-BIG SKY TEAM:

  • Venky Jois, Eastern Washington: A first team All-Big Sky selection as a junior, Jois is the most experienced returnee for Jim Hayford’s Eagles.
  • Joel Bolomboy, Weber State: Bolomboy averaged a league-best 10.2 rebounds to go along with 13.3 points and 1.7 blocks per game last season.
  • Kris Yanku, Northern Arizona: One of the conference’s top freshmen in 2013-14, Yanku averaged 13.8 points, 4.5 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game last year.
  • Jeremy Senglin, Weber State: Senglin averaged 16.4 points and 3.5 assists per game as a sophomore.

ONE TWITTER FEED TO FOLLOW: @BigSkyMBB

PREDICTED FINISH

1. Montana
2. Weber State
3. Northern Arizona
4. Eastern Washington
5. Southern Utah
6. Portland State
7. North Dakota
8. Northern Colorado
9. Idaho
10. Sacramento State
11. Idaho State
12. Montana State

Broken jaw to sideline Weber State sophomore guard four weeks

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Thursday night Weber State suffered a 60-56 loss to Southern Utah, falling to the Thunderbirds for the second time this season. What makes matters worse for Randy Rahe’s team is the fact that they’ve lost sophomore guard Jeremy Senglin for four weeks after he suffered a broken jaw in the second half of that game.

Senglin, who was the Big Sky Freshman of the Year last season, is Weber State’s leader in both scoring (16.0 ppg) and assists (3.4 apg).

“I couldn’t feel worse for Jeremy,” Rahe said in a release announcing the news. “He’s an extremely tough and competitive player and I know how hard it is for him to not be able to play and help his team. Our main concern is to get him healthy. He will bounce back from this and has a very bright future with us.”

This is obviously a big loss for the Wildcats, who at 5-7 in conference play aren’t a lock to qualify for the Big Sky tournament. The top eight teams in the 12-team conference get the opportunity to compete for the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, and Weber State is currently tied for seventh with Portland State.

Without Senglin, guards Richaud Gittens and Chris Golden will be asked to do even more down the stretch offensively.

Juwan Major’s dunk one of the highlights in Southern Utah’s win over Weber State

Nick Robinson
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Southern Utah picked up its second consecutive Big Sky victory on Saturday, as they beat preseason favorite Weber State 70-60 in Cedar City with Tyler Rawson and Casey Oliverson scoring 16 points apiece to lead the way. The win was a big one for Nick Robinson’s program, especially when considering the fact that the Thunderbirds hadn’t won consecutive conference games since February 2013.

One of the highlights in Southern Utah’s second conference win of the season (they only won one in 2013-14) was Juwan Major’s dunk on Weber State big man (and in this play, weak side defender) Joel Bolomboy. The dunk was part of a 14-0 second half run that turned a 46-all tie into a 60-46 Southern Utah lead the Thunderbirds would not relinquish.

Video credit: Southern Utah Athletics (h/t Big Sky Conference)

Weber State hits 40-foot buzzer-beater to end first half, last-second three to beat Oral Roberts, 62-61 (VIDEOS)

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The Wildcats trailed by six with 41 seconds left, but went on a 6-1 run to top Oral Roberts at home, 62-61. Jeremy Senglin hit a pull-up 3-pointer from the top of the key with 2.4 seconds left. The Golden Eagles committed a violation while inbounding the ball on the ensuing possession.

“I thought we were down three to tell the truth,” Senglin said in the post-game press conference. “So, I just came off the screen and they kind of cheated, so I crossed back. I shot better going off the right, so I crossed back to the right, and just shot the three.

“Thought we tied the game, honestly. But I didn’t know that put us up until I looked up.”

The Golden Eagles missed 2-of-6 free throws in the final 59 seconds.

Senglin finished with nine points. His shot topped teammate Richaud Gittens, who hit a 40-foot buzzer-beater to end the first half, which tied the score at 24-all heading into the break.