Full Disclosure: Men’s basketball team returns strong


Sophomore guard Nate Ambrosini shoots in the paint during a scrimmage on the Wildcats home court. Photo credit: Jordan Jarrell

Despite the lack of veteran players, the men’s basketball team went 22-7 and made it to the California Collegiate Athletic Association Tournament and NCAA Tournament last season.

The team tacked on some impressive players and chose to utilize its key returners who can stabilize the team.

Senior guard Robert Duncan was a scoring leader for the team. He ended last season with 394 points and averaged 15.2 points per game. Duncan’s leadership, as one of the more seasoned players, provides the team with a consistent shooter.

Another returner is junior forward Isaiah Ellis, who was an important player in the post. Ellis scored 357 points last season and averaged 12.3 points per game. Ellis was also consistent on the glass with 147 rebounds.

Both junior guards Corey Silverstrom and Jalen McFerren offer the team a multitude of scoring options, as each one scored over 280 points last season, and averaged nearly 10 points per game. Silverstrom is a consistent threat from three-point range, while McFerren offers the team a talented passer.

A major asset the team recently acquired is senior forward Michael Bethea Jr. who transferred to Chico State from Grambling State. The forward provides the team with Division I experience. He averaged five points per game before transferring.

The team lost Tanner Giddings and center Christopher Magalotti, both who were talented rebounders. The addition of Bethea as a forward to support Ellis inside can prevent the team from losing valuable points in the paint.

The team does not have an experienced center. Only first-year athletes Justin Briggs and Spencer LaShells are the team’s available big men.

Briggs redshirted his last season and had time to learn from his teammates, but has yet to compete as a Wildcat during the season. Before coming to Chico State, Briggs was ranked 31st as a high school player in 2015 by NorCal Preps.

LaShells has yet to experience playing on the court for Chico State, but was a star in high school. NorCal Preps ranked him 22nd as a player and No. 7 as a power forward and center.

Although the team does not have a veteran center to support it, consistent scoring options and the experience of the team gives it the ability to be a top competitor in its league this season.

Jordan Jarrell can be reached at [email protected] or @ChicoOrionJJ on Twitter.