The Bobcats head into the 2014-2015 season with experience, returning all but three players and 76% of their scoring from last year’s roster. 

Head Coach Steve Shepherd, in his 13th year with the Bobcats, will look to his seniors, Alex Santiago, Pete Leonard, and Derek Daniels to lead his motion offense.  Santiago (6’0 G) matured on the court as last season progressed, gaining confidence and developing into a prolific scorer and strong ball handler for the Bobcats.  He posted a 73% free-throw percentage and scored 11.5 points per game last season. Leonard, a 6’5 forward, brings leadership to the court as a four-year player.  Sinking more than 60% of his field goals last season, Leonard is able to score inside due to his size and strength as well as outside thanks to improved perimeter shooting. These qualities should provide the Bobcats with strong offensive power this season.   Shepherd anticipates Daniels (6’5 G) to be on the verge of a big scoring year—opening things up from the outside with his deep shot combined with his ability to drive inside and score.  Leading the team in three-pointers last season (.383) and scoring 10.7 points per game, Daniels significantly impacts the team’s success.  Also contributing to the offense will be junior Ethan Murray and sophomore Cameron Paschke.  Both are 6’0 guards with scoring ability and a willingness to dish out assists.   

The Bobcats hold a strong tradition of playing solid defense.  Key to this season’s defense will be Santiago, Leonard and sophomore Joe Young.  Having an endless supply of energy and more than a badger’s share of tenacity, Santiago is always in attack mode and ready to defend his position.  Young, who has developed significantly, has great intelligence on defense. He has increased his confidence level on the floor and fills a role of doing whatever is needed to help his team capture a win. Leonard’s strength and aggressive presence under the basket will secure much-needed rebounds. Adding to the defense are sophomores Austin Selby (6’5 F) and Nate Reid (6’5 F), each having contributed 17% of the team blocks and 100+ rebounds. 

Rounding out the returners are Chandler Hall, Skyler Frazier, Brett Krisik and Graham Gardner.  Sophomore Hall (6’1 F) earned some playing time last season and returns with experience—proving himself to be an all-around player.  Frazier, a junior (6’5 F), is coming off an injury last season but his inside/outside presence and smart play should provide great support for the Bobcats.  Freshmen Krisik (6’7 F) and Gardner (6’9 C) are both coming off red-shirt years.  Krisik is skilled at penetrating the lane and scoring, while Gardner will provide a post defensive presence with his size. Shepherd looks forward to their contributions as the season progresses.

Adding to the mix this year are three freshman, all of whom bring to the team a winning attitude and experience playing in big games.  Canyon Smith, a 6’1 guard from Republic, Missouri, comes from a team that won back-to-back championships and brings an accurate 3-point shot (55%) to the court.  Guard Javyn Johnston at 6’4, was a well-decorated athlete at Drexel (MO) High School.  Johnston is very athletic and talented shooting inside and out.  Courtney Lewis, a forward at 6’6 from St. Louis, is an athletic player who can score.  All three freshmen will look to develop in the Bobcat program.

Last season the Bobcats finished fourth in the conference, but Coach Shepherd is excited to move up in the standings this year.  He comments, “Last year we were very inexperienced—losing three games at home.  However, the experience gained through those losses should be an asset this year.  We have a great deal of balance, which provides us with the ability to put a team on the floor where our opponents cannot ignore any player, since all have the ability to score. “

With the distinct benefit of returning such a large group of players who know the program, the Bobcats are looking forward to an exceptional 2014-15 season.

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