Things are looking bleak for the NBA. It was recently announced that the first two weeks of the season have been canceled due to the ongoing lockout.

While many NBA fans are frustrated with the NBA situation, college basketball fans are gearing up for the start of another exciting season.

This is true in Ogden, where the Weber State University men’s basketball team is preparing to open their season in a few short weeks. Hopes are high for WSU this season, and with a strong core of returning players, the team should have lots of success in the Big Sky. Recently, Head Coach Randy Rahe said that before the season starts is always an exciting time for the team.

“This is always an exciting time of year for us, and we are anxious and looking forward to getting started,” Rahe said. “We have a great group of kids here, and everyone is ready to get the season going.”

Last year, WSU had a strong season, much of which was played without star point guard Damian Lillard, who was out with an injury. With Lillard back, I’m predicting that the team will win the conference and the Big Sky tournament.

Last season, Lillard played in nine games last season for the WSU Wildcats. He averaged 19.7 points per game in the nine games he played. He received a medical redshirt and will be a junior for the ‘Cats this fall. He is a two-time Big Sky All-Conference First Team performer, which included winning the Big Sky MVP in the 2009-10 season.  He has played in 71 career games at WSU and currently ranks 13th in school history in career scoring and fourth in career three-point field goals.

Alongside Lillard the Wildcats will have Scott Bamforth, who proved last year that he is more than capable of putting points on the board. He earned First Team Big Sky All-Conference Honors last season and was also named Big Sky Newcomer of the Year for his performance.  He played in 31 of 32 games last season and averaged 12.2 points and 2.1 rebounds per game.  He led the Big Sky and was fourth in the nation in three-point field goal percentage at 48.8 percent.

The back-court combination of Lillard and Bamforth should give most teams the Wildcats face a headache. Opposing defenses will be forced with the decision of which player to who to double team, and who to leave open. All WSU fans know how dangerous Lillard can be when he’s open, and after last season there’s not much doubt that Bamforth knows how to score either.

The team has only lost two seniors from last year’s team, so the chemistry and unity should be strong on this team.

The annual purple and white game will take place in the Dee Events Center on Oct. 26 and then will host the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs on Nov. 7, in their final pre season game. They will kick off the regular season on Nov. 11 against Northern New Mexico College at the Dee Events Center.

This season WSU will have 16 home games, including matchups against in-state rivals Utah State University (Nov. 15), University of Utah (Dec.7) and will host a Sears Bracketbuster Game (Feb. 18).

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