CALDWELL, Idaho — The College of Idaho men's basketball team starts play on Friday.
The team comes into the season ranked No. 3 in the NAIA preseason poll, and their first game is a test. They'll have to match up against Arizona Christian, who is the No. 1 team in the nation.
Last season, the Yotes set a record for single-season wins in school history with 32. They are also returning many of their starters from last season. One of those is Drew Wyman, who, despite being a freshman, was second in scoring on the team. He is excited to show what the Yotes team can do.
“[Fans are] going to see hustle," Wyman said. "I mean every loose ball, every rebound. We’re going to keep coming no matter what. We’ve been playing well in practice, have had some good scrimmages, and I think we’re ready to go.”
Because of their success, the Yotes have become popular at the college, and students have high expectations of their team.
“Can anyone knock us out of the CCC (Cascade Collegiate Conference)?" Asked Benjamin Wiebe, a senior at the college. "Number three in the NAIA, preseason polls put us at number one in the CCC. I'm hopeful for both titles honestly.”
Chloe Teets, another student, thinks one thing that makes the team so good is how close they are as a squad.
“I know that their main focus is basketball but they’re so family oriented they do everything together," Teets said. "And just the energy, if you just go watch practice, the energy is totally different than any other practice I've seen.”
That energy is something that is intentional. Head coach Colby Blaine says that the team tries to adopt a familial culture in the group.
“All of our players come from incredible families and incredible parents and people that raised them," Blaine said. "So, all we’re really trying to do is learn from each other about ‘hey what traditions did you have as a family when you were growing up?’ And when we bring it all here and we kind of take the best thing from every guy, we see a great culture and the results we get on the court.”
The team will play Friday night at 5 p.m. MT.