Building basketball bonds

Emily Miller

Despite the rollercoaster of the past six months, the Weber State men’s basketball team head coach Randy Rahe has been able to rebuild the program throughout the pandemic, adding eight transfers to the ‘Cats 2020–21 roster, who will take the paint alongside four returning Wildcats.

Cody John attempting a shot over MSU player Sam Neumann (4). (Marissa Wolford / The Signpost)
Cody John attempting a shot over MSU player Sam Neumann (4). (Marissa Wolford / The Signpost)

After the abrupt end to the 2019–20 season, the Wildcats walked away with a record of 8–12. Rahe saw this as an opportunity to review what worked for the team and what didn’t. There was plenty of young talent but, according to Rahe, that wasn’t what WSU needed.

“We needed to bring in more experienced guys,” Rahe said. “We were able to get them together pretty quickly. These are great kids.”

While the new faces blended with the previous team members, Rahe also wanted to make sure he addressed what was happening outside of the Dee Events Center.

With protests marching across the nation alongside a pandemic, students were faced with front-and-center discussions about social injustices.

“We’ve let our kids open up and discuss their thoughts and feelings,” Rahe said. “We let them know we support them in every which way.”

The newly-dubbed Wildcats gathered together for the first time on July 1. One of the new faces is Seattle-raised Isiah Brown. Brown is a senior guard who started his collegiate career at Northwestern before transferring out West to Grand Canyon University for his junior year.

Growing up in Seattle, Brown acknowledged what this transfer did for his game.

”The guys that come out of this city all play a certain type of way,” Brown said. “We have a flowing, creative style that you learn growing up.”

Entering his senior season, Brown knew transferring for his final year was the right move.

“It’s all about the right fit,” Brown said. “Sometimes to put yourself in a better position you have to find the school that supports your playstyle. I found that trust in Coach Rahe and Weber State.”

Alongside Brown, there are two other senior transfers. Dontay Bassett joined the roster from the University of Florida. Cody Carlson traveled from Concordia University St. Paul.

Caleb Nero (0) dribbles the ball down to court towards the basket. (Sarah Catan / The Signpost)

There are also three junior transfers. Zahir Porter is a guard/forward coming from New York Institute of Technology, David Nzekwesi is a forward from the University of Denver and Tavian Percy is a guard/forward from the University of New Mexico.

Two sophomore transfers will complete the list of Wildcat transfers. Darweshi Hunter is a guard coming from Central State in Ohio and Seikou Sisoho Jawara is a guard from Loyola Marymount University.

Along with the new transfers, there will be new freshman joining the team as well. Forward Dillon Jones is a true freshman coming from Sunrise Christian Prep Academy out of KA. Mitch Brizee is a redshirt forward/center out of Twin Falls, ID.

The returning ‘Cats for the 2020-21 season include seniors guard/center Kham Davis and forward Michal Kozak. Sophomores include guard KJ Cunningham and forward Donatas Kupsas.

“We’re a whole new team, and our past season is incomparable,” Rahe said. “We’re quite a ways ahead of where we were back in March with the other team we had.”

The Wildcats schedule is yet to be announced for the upcoming season.