Grizzlies Focused On September, Not March, As They Hit Court

By NIC HALLISEY

Montana hit the court for its first official practice of 2018-19 on Friday afternoon, and with four starters and more than 80 percent of its statistical leaders returning, the expectations for the Grizzlies are sky high.

Montana went 26-8 a year ago, winning the Big Sky Conference regular-season and tournament titles and advancing the NCAA tournament. The goals for this year are just as high, but head coach Travis DeCuire stressed the importance of staying in the moment and keeping a sense of urgency.

“It’s our No. 1 key,” DeCuire said. “We bring it up every day. We still talk about one day at a time and being better today than we were yesterday. We try our hardest not to talk too much about March and concentrate on September.”

Men’s Basketball 9/28/2018 6:12:00 PM Montana SportsInformation.

The Grizzlies have been working out since student-athletes returned to campus from summer break, but on Friday, being the team’s first official practice, the intensity increased. Instead of practicing for an hour or so, Montana went for 2.5, and with that came expanded energy and extra excitement. Montana returns six of its seven rotation players from last year’s championship team, including first-team All-Big Sky Conference honoree Ahmaad Rorie and the league’s defensive player of the year in Michael Oguine. Graduated, however, is senior leader Fabijan Krslovic.

“Last year at this time, I knew specifically where our leadership would come from,” DeCuire said. “I think right now the biggest question mark is how we replace those things that don’t show up on the stats sheet.”

Montana will continue its preseason prep throughout the month of October, leading up to an exhibition contest vs. Whitworth on Nov. 2, and the team’s regular-season opener on Nov. 9 vs. NCAA-tournament participant GeorgiaState.

“I’m excited,” senior Bobby Moorehead said. “We’re going to get after it, it’s going to be hard work. I’m super excited for the season. I can’t believe it’s my senior year already; I feel like I just got here and now I’m almost done. It’s crazy.”

Like DeCuire, Moorehead also talked about the importance of focusing on what’s directly in front of the team instead of the big picture.

“We have to focus on each practice before we can focus on getting back to the NCAA tournament,” Moorehead said. “It’s important that we realize we have a target on our back. We’re not the same team as last year; we lost pieces. We have to rebuild and work toward that.”