Eastern Washington Eagles
Rank: #2 Big Sky
15-15, 9-5, 3rd
didn’t take Coach Mike Burns long to put his own imprint on
basketball. After taking over the reigning Big Sky championship
team, Coach Burns went 8-20. Last season he turned that into a
15-15 team. His third season at the helm have expectations
through the roof.
Starting guard Deuce Smith averaged 8.4 points and 2.6 assists
as a senior. His departure will leave the backcourt with less
experience, but there is plenty of talent to take over. Tim
Scheffler redshirted last season and the shooting guard will not
return to play for the Eagles this season.
really needed was a point guard or two so last season’s Freshman
of the Year Rodney Stuckey could spend more time on the wing.
Michael Taylor and Omar Krayem answered the call and will
compete with returning senior Rhett Humphrey for the starting
gig. Taylor might not be ready to start right away as a true
freshman, but he is hoped to be the long term answer to the
point guard question. Krayem has experience at the junior
college level and will be given a chance to earn significant
minutes. The backcourt receives another scoring option in
Marcus Hinton. The 6-3 guard averaged over 20 points per game
over two seasons at Centralia Community College. He’s a solid
shooter from long range and has the ability to get to the rim.
Incoming freshmen Chris Sprinker and Jack Loofburrow, along with
redshirt freshman Brandon Moore will add depth to the
frontcourt. Moore is likely to see the most minutes of that
trio this season. The 6-9, 230 pounder isn’t much of a threat
outside of the paint, but has the body to be effective inside.
Who to Watch:
If you haven’t seen Stuckey play, he is who you’ll want to
watch. He may not have to average 24.2 points per game again
this year, but he’ll always be fun to watch. However, the
frontcourt duo of Paul Butorac and Jake Beitinger need to be
solid if Eastern Washington has NCAA dreams. Butorac, a 6-10,
215 pound senior, averaged 10.3 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.8
blocks. Beitinger tacked on 6.3 points, 3.6 boards and 1.1
blocks. After those two, the frontcourt depth will have to be
handled by the newcomers and senior Derek Risper.
After the point
guard position, the most interesting battle for a starting spot
is opposite Stuckey on the wing. Matt Penoncello and Kellen
Williams both have starting experience and one of them will be
an early candidate for the conference’s ‘sixth man of the year’
award. Penoncello, a 6-5 sophomore from Moscow, Idaho, has the
better shooting range of the two, while Williams is more
effective on the glass. No matter who starts, expect both to
play a big role for the Eagles.
Senior, Guard, 3.0 points per game
Sophomore, Guard, 24.2 points per game
Sophomore, Guard, 6.6 points per game
Junior, Forward, 6.3 points per game
Senior, Forward, 10.3 points per game