2001-02 Season Outlook
Head coach George Pfeifer welcomes back only three players, one of which redshirted last year, to this season’s Warrior basketball program. Gone are Jared Price, Ryan Bender, Zach Wilson, and Jeremy Jeppesen. In total, nine players ended their careers in Warrior uniforms last year. A group that defeated NCAA Division I member, the University of Idaho, and lost on a last second shot to PAC-10 member, Washington State University, and in their junior year, finished in the NAIA Division I "Sweet 16". Most programs would approach this new season with a building year mentality, but the Warriors appear, on paper, to have reloaded. LCSC brings in seven junior college transfers, two freshmen, to add to a pair of redshirt junior college transfers for a total of eleven new faces.
Returning for the Warriors are two seniors on a team that features over 65% of its roster as juniors. Heading the way is fifth-year senior, Josh Wilson who redshirted last year. Having four years in the Warrior program coming into this year has tremendously impacted his presence in a positive way. Wilson’s knowledge of the Warrior system has been critical in helping his game, plus mentoring the new faces on this year’s roster. The other senior is 6-6 shooting guard Beau Barney. Three times he registered 20 points in a game and scored in double digits ten times. Consistency in his play was hindered by the fact he was plagued by several nagging injuries. The Warriors believe a healthy Barney will have a break out year this season. Returning point guard Brian Meneely, a potential Academic All-America, has played in every game and has never missed a practice since joining the team as a freshman. Brian will give this year’s team leadership and needed experience on the perimeter. He is tireless worker with a tremendous basketball IQ.
"Right now, this could be one of the most athletic teams we have had since I have been coaching at L-C," said Pfeifer. "We have put up large numbers in the weight program and we have certainly added explosion in the areas of quickness and jumping ability. What will be critical to our success, early and late, is how well we adapt to playing together."
Heading the class of prized recruits are Jason Brazier and Sta’Fon Lawson. Both come from successful junior college programs in the College of Southern Idaho and Edmonds CC, respectively. "Both Jason and Sta’Fon give us athletic wing players that know how to play," said Pfeifer. "They are very effective inside and out, are above average rebounders, plus they like and know how to defend."
Chris Allen, a transfer from Spokane Community College, sat out last year, but led SCC to the NWAACC championship in 1999-2000. "Chris has a nice outside shot and is a point guard that can penetrate and create for others," said Pfeifer. "He is a perfect blend with Meneely."
Inside, the Warriors collected needed size and athletic ability. Lester Bruno, a 6-8 junior, comes from Southeastern (IA) CC, a program, like CSI, that is always in the hunt for the NJCAA national championship. "Lester has not played for a couple of years," commented Pfeifer. "The rust from the time off is slowly fading away. He gives us inside presence and an interior player that can step out and knock down the 12 to 15-foot jumper."
Prior to Christmas, 6-6 sophomore James Idoko, another CSI transfer, will become eligible. "Few people argue that James is the best athlete to ever wear a Warrior uniform," said Pfeifer. "He is extremely aggressive in the paint, has the ability to jump to another level, post up strong, and thinks every rebound is his. What is critical to his game is that he can run the floor in a hurry."
Casey Hoorelbeke, a 6-7 240-pounder, is a late addition to the Warrior basketball program. A talented pitcher, he transferred to Lewis-Clark State from North Idaho College. He will play both sports at Lewis-Clark State. "Casey is going through the gradual leaning curve found in being a two-sport athlete," said Pfeifer. "Once he is able to focus day-to-day on basketball, he will be a solid inside player. Casey sees the game and has a nice touch and good basketball savvy."
Rounding out the frontline is Johnny Harvest, a 6-5 forward by way of Navarro College in Texas. His progress is a bit slowed as he sustained a minor knee injury and is healing in great fashion. "Johnny is the strongest player in our program," said Pfeifer. "He, like numerous other players we have added, is an above-average athlete."
Two freshmen complete the Warrior roster. Lance Pecht is one of the more pleasant surprises coming to the Warriors from West Valley High in Spokane. "Lance plays with no fear," said Pfeifer. "We are extremely excited and fortunate to have him in our program." The other freshman is combo guard Chad Young from Tampa, FL. "Chad’s challenge is to adapt to our system," said Pfeifer. "In high school, he averaged 36 points per game, so there is no issue with him making his open looks."
"Overall, we are extremely pleased with the additions that we have added to this year’s team," said Pfeifer. "Our tough non-conference schedule will challenge our newcomers, but because of our athletic ability, the sky is the limit for how good we can become."
The schedule will be difficult this year for Lewis-Clark State. Once again, a date with the Washington Cougars, in Pullman, will kick off the regular season. Also, a matchup against Boise State, in December, will highlight the schedule. The last time these two met, the Warriors won. LCSC will also play in four tournaments this season. The Cleawater River Casino/KOZE Tournament in late November, the Midland Empire Insurance Classic at Oregon Tech, the Golden Rule Classic at Albertson College, and the Oak Harbor Freightliners Classic at Seattle Pacific will test the Warriors with nationally ranked teams in each field. The Frontier Conference slate will be tough as five of the ten All-Conference players returns to their respective teams. Lewis-Clark State is scheduled to appear live on Omega TV three times this year, all on the road.
"Our challenge, in the beginning, will be to weather the difficulty of the non-conference schedule, to show patience through the development of our cohesion and understanding of how we want to approach the game," said Pfeifer. "Again, once we take the individual talent we possess and blend it together into team play, we should, and will be a good team."