Long Beach St 49ers Basketball
With a fresh feel to the Walter Pyramid court, a returning core of players and an extended head coach Dan Monson, the Long Beach State 49ers open the season in pursuit of a Big West Conference title, and first Division 1 Men’s Basketball appearance since 2012.
The 49ers have started the season rather sluggish. A homecoming victory over Menlo is sandwiched between losses to Arizona State and UCLA.
Long Beach State aims to improve on a 15-15 record (9-7 in the Big West), which resulted in a fifth-place finish in their respected conference’s standings.
The 49ers are starting the year with a unique roster. Only two players stand over 6 feet 7 inches tall in redshirt freshman Milos Apic and senior Mason Riggins. However, an assortment of wings presents them with a potentially potent “switch everything” defense.
Temidayo Yussif is one of the team’s two 2017-2018 honorable mentions for All-Big West team selection. He is one of nine upperclassmen this 49er roster boasts to enter the 2018-2019 season. The team is also bringing in five transfer students to their roster.
Perhaps the most important key though for Long Beach State will be the guard play by the sophomore guard Edon Maxhuni and senior guard Deishuan Booker.
Booker, like Yussif, is the teams other 2017-2018 honorable mention for All-Big West team selection. In just three games, he has been the best of both worlds. He already scored his career high of 31 points as well as a miserable 1-8 four turnover and eight-point performance against the Sun Devils. His point total has jumped from 10.6 per game to 19.3, and it will need to stay that way for the 49ers to have a successful year.
Maxhuni, the second year Finnish player, offers versatile court spacing and shooting. He leads the team in free throw percentage last year (94%) and was second on the team in three-point shooting (38%). He is averaging only six points per contest on the young season. But his season high of 15 points came in their sole victory, proving to correlate with the team’s success.
Coach Monson takes on another season of responsibility in pursuit of a successful campaign. Top scorer, Gabe Levin’s departure will provide a huge hole on the team. However, more opportunities than before are now being created for other players on the roster.
Correct utilization of their frontcourt and reliance on their explosive guard play could lead the 49ers to success. A top-three finish in the Big West Conference is not out of reach. They have the chance to prove they deserve to be mentioned alongside teams like UC Davis UC Irvine.
The 2018-2019 season will present a familiar, yet fresh sensation for the 49ers men’s basketball.