POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - The Idaho State men's basketball team starts the season on Wednesday. The Bengals will play three games at Santa Clara, California the week of Thanksgiving.
Head Coach Ryan Looney is grateful to have two local products on the floor this year. Preston graduate Brayden Parker missed all of last season with a foot injury.
Former Highland Ram Daxton Carr had his transfer waiver denied by the NCAA last season. He is now cleared and ready to play for the Bengals.
Looney says they were both sorely missed last season. "I think fans probably don't realize how important Brayden and Daxton would have been to our team a year ago."
"We played extremely undersized a year ago. They were the two biggest guys in our gym every single day at practice, so they would have provided a lot."
Both have been busy over the past year getting ready to return to the court. Looney says Parker is "probably in the best shape he's ever been." Parker used the time to improve in a variety of ways.
"I've improved my academics. I improved in just bettering myself. I'm eating better now. I'm figuring out what it takes to become the best I can be."
While Parker was loosing pounds to get into better shape, Carr was putting them on. Looney says Carr has added 15 pounds to his frame this past year. Carr believes this will help him play in the post more and guard bigger defenders.
The Bengals were several games into the season last year when they found out Carr would not be eligible to play. He's happy to not have that stress going into this season.
"I'm excited to just get out there on the court. It has been almost two years now since I've been able to play."
Idaho State will open the season Wednesday November 25 at Santa Clara.