The Yellow Jackets Men’s Basketball team started last season with a lot of new faces to the program. As the season went on those new faces started inserting themselves into the starting lineup. At the end of the season the Yellow Jackets were starting five freshmen and finishing with a 16-14 record, which was good for fourth place in the Dakota Athletic Conference. The Yellow Jackets now return those five starters along with others to improve in 2008-2009.
“This has been the most experience we have returned since we’ve been here” said Head Coach Paul Sather who is entering his fourth season at the helm for the Yellow Jackets. Leading the returners from last year is sophomore guard Cain Atkinson (Evanston, WY) who is coming off a 2nd Team All-Conference and Dakota Athletic Conference Newcomer of the Year freshman season. Cain average 16 points per game as a true freshman shooting 42% from the three-point line. Junior guard Parker Emerson (Windsor, CO) was 3rd Team All-Conference last year for the Yellow Jackets averaging 15 points per game and just over four rebounds a game after joining the team at Christmas time.
Other returning guards from a year ago include sophomore Spencer Childress (Aurora, CO), sophomore Clay Pottorff (Greeley, CO), sophomore Jeff Smith (Hettinger, ND), and sophomore Travis Haney (Gillette, WY). Childress led the Dakota Athletic Conference in assist/turnover ratio in 2007-2008.
The Yellow Jackets return all front line depth from last season including seniors A.J. Fodness (Lennox, SD) and Randy Herman (Belle Fourche, SD). Will John Johnson (Whitewood, SD) is coming off an impressive freshman season in the paint starting in all 30 games averaging nine points and seven rebounds. He was second in the conference in rebounding. Sophomore Luke Enos (Faith, SD) finished conference play averaging eight points per game and five rebounds per game. Freshman Matt Tasset (Windsor, CO) will also give the Yellow Jackets a strong presence inside.
Newcomers to the Yellow Jacket program this year that will look to make an immediate impact are senior transfers Aaron Sutton (Libby, MT) and Keighton Hatten (Windsor, CO). Sutton transferred from Regis University in Denver, CO where he played in 2007-2008, and Hatten joined the Yellow Jackets after playing for Concordia University in Austin, TX. Freshman forward Rob Johnson (Dayton, WY) will also look to help add depth in the front line for the Yellow Jackets. Johnson played at Tongue River High School a year ago where he was named Mr. Basketball for the State of Wyoming. Other new additions include freshman Josh Barta (Laurel, MT), Jerad Anderson (Buffalo, WY), and Ross Campbell (Avoca, IA). All three will red-shirt in 2008-2009.
The Yellow Jackets will open their 2008-2009 season with exhibition games on the road at Northern State University in Aberdeen, SD and University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, CO. BHSU will then travel to Mitchell, SD and Yankton, SD to open their NAIA play. Please check the website at www.bhsu.edu for up-to-date times and locations on the Yellow Jacket schedule. If you are unable to make it to the game then you can see all home games live on the BHSU Athletics Website through pay per view.