It was a bright spot in what has been a tumultuous stretch for Idaho men’s basketball.

His teammates listened intently as Vandal guard Trevon Allen read from a paper about a player who “does what is right,” “meets adversity head on” and is a “tremendous teammate.” The speech ended with the announcement that walk-on Chance Garvin would receive a basketball scholarship.

With that, Garvin was mobbed by his teammates in celebration.

“He’s been a tremendous part of our program the last three years,” Idaho interim coach Zac Claus said, “and this was not something that was given to Chance. He earned it in every way possible.”

The video, posted on Idaho social media during the offseason, showed a moment of joy for a player and team that hasn’t had much recently to celebrate.

Idaho lost its all-time winningest coach Don Verlin in the offseason — he was fired for minor NCAA infractions. After a 5-27 season and the loss of their coach, many Vandals elected to transfer.

But now, the Vandals have restocked their roster and are eager to put the 2018-19 season behind them.

The regular season tips off against Evergreen State College — an NAIA team — at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Memorial Gym.

“I think overall we have a lot of potential for sure,” Allen said. “You can only do so much with that ... what are you going to do to make that happen?”

If the preseason games are any indication, the Vandals have a long way to go to reach their potential. Idaho dropped its two exhibition games to NCAA Division II Central Washington and NAIA Lewis-Clark State College.

Idaho has 10 new players this season, many arriving via transfer.

Allen, the longest-tenured player on the roster, said chemistry seems to be coming along quicker than it did a year ago, when the Vandals were in a similar position.

“I think with the guys coming (in), we got an earlier jump on being able to work with them as far as on the court, off the court. I feel like our chemistry was built a lot earlier this summer.

“I like the guys we have as a team overall. They’re great guys to be around, so that’s something that feels different compared to last year.”

Here’s a look at Idaho’s impact players by position group:

POINT GUARD

Keyshaad Dixon and BJ Simmons are two players expected to contribute heavily at the position. Both 6-foot-1 and transfers, Dixon and Simmons each bring something different to the table. Dixon is a traditional do-it-all guard who got the starting nod in UI’s two exhibition games, whereas Simmons showed some 3-point shooting prowess in the loss to LCSC, making 3 of 7 from long range off the bench.

Another option is Damen Thacker of Meridian, who led Walla Walla Community College with 22.6 points per game last season. Thacker and Dixon are juniors; Simmons is a sophomore.

OTHER PERIMETER PLAYERS

Lapwai-grown Allen, a Clarkston grad, led the Vandals with 14 points per game last season and will be relied on heavily as a scorer again this year.

The versatile 6-2 guard can play the point or at forward, but does his best work in a versatile wing role. Look for him to play all around the court.

“In terms of guys on the perimeter for us, it starts with Trevon,” Claus said. “He’s been really productive that way.”

Claus also highlighted junior Ja’Vary Christmas and walk-on Gabe Quinnett of Moscow.

IN THE PAINT

The forward spots start with Marquell Fraser and Quinton Forrest. Fraser, a 6-3 junior, was averaging 9.6 points and 6.5 rebounds per game last season before a hip injury ended his season at just eight games.

His health, physicality and rebounding ability will be pivotal for a team that’s smaller this season.

Forrest, a senior graduate transfer from Jacksonville, brings some experience UI is severely lacking. The 6-4 forward showed early flashes by scoring in double figures in both exhibition games.

“Quinton Forrest had a huge game for us the other night,” Allen said, referencing Forrest’s 15 points and 11 rebounds against Central Washington. “I knew his potential, but I think he really stepped it up when it was time to play.”

Garvin, a defensive-minded forward, also will see plenty of time when he’s healthy. He missed UI’s exhibition games with an undisclosed injury.

At center, Idaho will use 6-8 Scott Blakney and 6-7 Thiombane Babacar. The UI bigs will get a big boost, literally, when 7-footer Jack Wilson becomes eligible for the second semester.

By then, the Vandals might have more of a picture of what their lineup, and season, will look like.

“We’re learning and improving on a daily basis with practice, which is what you expect, especially with so many new guys, both player and coach-wise,” Claus said. “They’re developing new habits, they’re learning new terminology and they’re trying to figure out how to play with one another.

“So it’s a daily grind.”

Stephan Wiebe can be reached at swiebe@dnews.com and on Twitter at @StephanSports.

It was a bright spot in what has been a tumultuous stretch for Idaho men’s basketball.

His teammates listened intently as Vandal guard Trevon Allen read from a paper about a player who “does what is right,” “meets adversity head on” and is a “tremendous teammate.” The speech ended with the announcement that walk-on Chance Garvin would receive a basketball scholarship.

With that, Garvin was mobbed by his teammates in celebration.

“He’s been a tremendous part of our program the last three years,” Idaho interim coach Zac Claus said, “and this was not something that was given to Chance. He earned it in every way possible.”

The video, posted on Idaho social media during the offseason, showed a moment of joy for a player and team that hasn’t had much recently to celebrate.

Idaho lost its all-time winningest coach Don Verlin in the offseason — he was fired for minor NCAA infractions. After a 5-27 season and the loss of their coach, many Vandals elected to transfer.

But now, the Vandals have restocked their roster and are eager to put the 2018-19 season behind them.

The regular season tips off against Evergreen State College — an NAIA team — at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Memorial Gym.

“I think overall we have a lot of potential for sure,” Allen said. “You can only do so much with that ... what are you going to do to make that happen?”

If the preseason games are any indication, the Vandals have a long way to go to reach their potential. Idaho dropped its two exhibition games to NCAA Division II Central Washington and NAIA Lewis-Clark State College.

Idaho has 10 new players this season, many arriving via transfer.

Allen, the longest-tenured player on the roster, said chemistry seems to be coming along quicker than it did a year ago, when the Vandals were in a similar position.

“I think with the guys coming (in), we got an earlier jump on being able to work with them as far as on the court, off the court. I feel like our chemistry was built a lot earlier this summer.

“I like the guys we have as a team overall. They’re great guys to be around, so that’s something that feels different compared to last year.”

Here’s a look at Idaho’s impact players by position group:

POINT GUARD

Keyshaad Dixon and BJ Simmons are two players expected to contribute heavily at the position. Both 6-foot-1 and transfers, Dixon and Simmons each bring something different to the table. Dixon is a traditional do-it-all guard who got the starting nod in UI’s two exhibition games, whereas Simmons showed some 3-point shooting prowess in the loss to LCSC, making 3 of 7 from long range off the bench.

Another option is Damen Thacker of Meridian, who led Walla Walla Community College with 22.6 points per game last season. Thacker and Dixon are juniors; Simmons is a sophomore.

OTHER PERIMETER PLAYERS

Lapwai-grown Allen, a Clarkston grad, led the Vandals with 14 points per game last season and will be relied on heavily as a scorer again this year.

The versatile 6-2 guard can play the point or at forward, but does his best work in a versatile wing role. Look for him to play all around the court.

“In terms of guys on the perimeter for us, it starts with Trevon,” Claus said. “He’s been really productive that way.”

Claus also highlighted junior Ja’Vary Christmas and walk-on Gabe Quinnett of Moscow.

IN THE PAINT

The forward spots start with Marquell Fraser and Quinton Forrest. Fraser, a 6-3 junior, was averaging 9.6 points and 6.5 rebounds per game last season before a hip injury ended his season at just eight games.

His health, physicality and rebounding ability will be pivotal for a team that’s smaller this season.

Forrest, a senior graduate transfer from Jacksonville, brings some experience UI is severely lacking. The 6-4 forward showed early flashes by scoring in double figures in both exhibition games.

“Quinton Forrest had a huge game for us the other night,” Allen said, referencing Forrest’s 15 points and 11 rebounds against Central Washington. “I knew his potential, but I think he really stepped it up when it was time to play.”

Garvin, a defensive-minded forward, also will see plenty of time when he’s healthy. He missed UI’s exhibition games with an undisclosed injury.

At center, Idaho will use 6-8 Scott Blakney and 6-7 Thiombane Babacar. The UI bigs will get a big boost, literally, when 7-footer Jack Wilson becomes eligible for the second semester.

By then, the Vandals might have more of a picture of what their lineup, and season, will look like.

“We’re learning and improving on a daily basis with practice, which is what you expect, especially with so many new guys, both player and coach-wise,” Claus said. “They’re developing new habits, they’re learning new terminology and they’re trying to figure out how to play with one another.

“So it’s a daily grind.”

Stephan Wiebe can be reached at swiebe@dnews.com and on Twitter at @StephanSports.

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