Viking basketball prepares for new season

Head Coach Heath Schroyer has been busy scouting new players forthe coming 2004-05 season. PSU has signed four newstudent-athletes, including three junior college transfers. TheVikings have 13 players on their roster, and Coach Schroyer expectsone or two walk-on players. The upcoming season looks to beexciting thanks to an explosive mixture of talent from new players,four returning starters and other valuable Viking players.

The first of four new signed players was 6-foot-2 guard JakeSchroder from Snow Junior College. PSU head coach Heath Schroyerexpressed his excitement about Schroder, “There are three thingsJake brings to our team. First is his ability to stretch a defensewith his three-point shooting. Second, he comes from a really goodprogram and has an outstanding basketball I.Q. and finally, Ireally like his toughness.”

When asked why he chose PSU, Schroder said, “I really have a lotof respect for the coaches. They have a real good team, and a realgood chance to go to the tournament next year.”

Schroder’s ability to shoot from the perimeter will hopefullyhelp fix a serious weakness of last year’s Viking squad.

Josh Neely, a 6-foot-2 guard from Salt Lake Community College,comes to PSU from the same conference as Schroder. This pastseason, Neely led his school to a 22-10 record. “Josh is a winnerin every sense,” Schroyer said, “I love his toughness and abilityto see the floor. He should make an immediate impact with us on andoff the floor.”

“I think a big part of [signing with PSU] has to be coachSchroyer. I like his style and coaching philosophies,” said Neely,”We have a lot of opportunity to win over the next two years.”

Tyler Hollist, a 6-foot-7 forward from Snow College, chosePortland State because he liked what he saw and felt while visitingPSU. Hollist said, “I really enjoyed the atmosphere. Not just thegreat city, but also the coach, the staff and players. Seamus(Boxley) and Blake (Walker) were really nice to me, veryinformative, and everybody was really helpful.” Hollist will bringhis 13.5 point-per-game average and his ability to shoot 48 percentfrom the field and 74 percent from the line to the Vikings.Schroyer said, “Tyler has a unique ability to score in a variety ofways. I love this kid’s versatility.”

Scott Morrison is the most recent player to sign at PortlandState. Morrison, a 6-foot-11 center, will be coming fresh fromArgyle High School in Vancouver, BC. “Scott is a young man we havebeen following for some time,” aid Schroyer. “He has a great sizeand presence on the floor. He is a skilled man who isn’t afraid tomix it up in the paint.” Morrison said he chose Portland Statebecause ” they have great coaches, my teammates are awesome ad itwas a great environment.” He looks forward to being “a part of anup-and-coming program.”

The Vikings ended the 2003-2004 season 11-16 overall and 5-9 inBig Sky Conference play. They missed the Big Sky Tournament for thethird consecutive year, but that should change in the 2004-05season. The 2004-05 team will be mainly senior-laden. Returning aretwo of the Vikings star players Seamus Boxley and Blake Walker.Boxley was named All-Big Sky Conference, Defensive Player of theYear, and was the leading rebounder with 9.4 rebounds per game.Walker was player of the week twice in addition to acquiring anhonorable mention All-Big Sky Conference. Walker was also theteam’s leading scorer averaging 16.1 points-per-game.

The coming season should prove to be just as exciting as lastyear. Last season, the Vikings had trouble winning games on theirhome court, yet they were able to victoriously take the wins on theroad.

Despite their home court losses, the Vikings showed improvementall over the court. Defensively, the Vikings developed into the BigSky’s top defensive team. With an increase in the number ofdefensive rebounds and steals per game, the Vikings showed theirstrength was defense. Offensively, the Vikings showed more shootingsuccess, higher rebound percentages, and plenty of excitingdunks.

With the new additions Portland State has a good chance to playin the Big Sky Tournament at the end of the 2004-05 season. CoachSchroyer has the coaching abilities, and now has a talented team ofplayers for what looks to be a dynamite season.