Southern Utah comes to Gill Coliseum on Friday night as Oregon State’s season-opening opponent.
The Thunderbirds return six players from a team that went 6-27 last year, including second-leading scorer James McGee, a senior guard who averaged 14.2 points. They also return sophomore forward Jacob Calloway (7.5 points).
Southern Utah defeated Concordia (of Portland) 101-84 last Friday. McGee had 23 points (with six 3-pointers) and 10 rebounds, senior post Christian Musoko 20 points and six rebounds and junior guard Brandon Better 20 points (including four 3-pointers). The Thunderbirds, 3-15 in the Big Sky Conference last season, were 12 of 27 on 3-pointers.
Musoko is a returner while Better is a first-year transfer from Moberly Area Community College in Missouri and was a junior college All-American.
Southern Utah head coach Todd Simon is in his second year in that position. He was named interim head coach in January 2016 and received the full-time spot a few months later. He was previously at Cal State Northridge.
Thunderbirds assistant coach Chrid Pompey is in his first year with the team. He played football at the University of Pittsburgh with Dan Marino, Ricky Jackson, Russ Grimm and Chris Doleman, all now in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Oregon State associate head coach Kerry Rupp played at and graduated from Southern Utah. Born in Magna, Utah, he was the team’s most valuable player and earned all-district and all-conference honors as a senior in 1977.