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Return to the 2006-07 Top 144 Preview

August 4th, 2006

By Joel Welser

Broadcast Basketball


Northern Arizona Lumberjacks


Overall Rank: #100

Conference Rank: #1 Big Sky


2005-06: 21-11, 12-2, 1st

2005-06 postseason: NIT


The Lumberjacks of Northern Arizona won the Big Sky last year and return all but one player this year.  Losing out in the conference tournament to Montana shifted the attention away from Coach Mike Adras’ squad a year ago, but the attention should be squarely back on the team from Flagstaff this season.


Who’s Out: The Jacks only lose one player, but it is a big time player.  Kelly Golob led the squad with 14.3 points per game.  However, the scoring slack can be picked up by super sixth man Steven Sir, who was granted a sixth year of eligibility.


Who’s In: Not that they need any help, but the Lumberjacks will get it.  DeJuan Stevens averaged 12.7 points per game two years ago.  Last season the 6-3 guard sat out and redshirted due to a suspension for violating team rules.  He probably won’t find a way into the starting lineup, unless Sir once again will be the sixth man, but in any event, Stevens will help replace the scoring loss left behind by Golob.  Junior college transfer Nathan Geiser has the potential to become yet another double digit scorer for NAU.  Last year Geiser averaged 17.2 points per game and shot 45% from behind the arc at Northern Oklahoma College.  Deveric Taylor is a versatile guard who can help out the Lumberjacks in multiple spots.  He’s won at every level he’s played at and will continue that mentality for NAU.  Incoming freshman forward Nick Larson will provide some depth up front.  The son of a coach, Larson is a smart player and the 6-8 Ventura, California product isn’t opposed to stepping out and hitting the long ball with consistency. 


Who to Watch: There is too much talent returning to spend all of our time with the newcomers.  Despite the loss of Golob, the backcourt is amazing; starting at the point with Josh Wilson.  As a freshman last year the 6-2 Longview, Washington native averaged a conference best 6.1 assists.  The turnover numbers were a little high, but we’ll give him some slack for being a freshman.  With a year of experience under his belt, Wilson can run a team full of upperclassmen.  Tyrone Bazy isn’t a threat from long range, but last year’s Big Sky newcomer of the year sure can score.  Bazy, the only player to start all 32 games last season, averaged 11.5 points, 2.5 assists and 3.4 rebounds for NAU.  Along with Sir and Stevens, this is a backcourt that opposing Big Sky coaches, players and fans will have nightmares about.


Final Projection: It could be a little better in the paint, but there are choices.  Ruben Boykin, Jr. is a beast under the basket averaging 13.3 points and a team high 7.2 boards.  His partner up front will either be Ryan McCurdy or Kyle Landry.  Both are juniors, have starting experience and put up similar numbers a year ago.  Landry is a little more effective scoring in the paint, while McCurdy is more athletic and a presence under the basket on the defensive end.  No matter which one starts, both will play quite a bit.  Will Hensley showed some promise as a redshirt freshman last year and will add to the depth up front.  It sounds like good times in Flagstaff, which outside of Lowell Observatory might not even be possible.  But Eastern Washington and Montana have the tools to spoil Northern Arizona’s tournament dreams…again.


Projected Post-season Tournament: NCAA


Projected Starting Five:

Josh Wilson, Sophomore, Guard, 6.2 points per game

Tyrone Bazy, Senior, Guard, 11.5 points per game

Steven Sir, Senior, Guard, 11.1 points per game

Ruben Boykin, Senior, Forward, 13.3 points per game

Ryan McCurdy, Junior, Forward, 6.6 points per game

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