CHADRON, Neb. -- After having a 19-10 record last winter, the college's best in 23 years, the Chadron State men's basketball team is expected to be strong again this season.  Coach Shane Paben said he hopes it will be even better than last year.
             
The Eagles, who began their preseason practice last weekend, return four mainstays and two more letterwinners from last season, when the Eagles advanced to the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference playoffs for the second time in three years, but also just the second time since 2011.
             
Paben has added 10 transfers to the roster, nearly all of them from community colleges. He said several of them are expected to challenge the returnees for playing time and could crash the starting lineup.
             
"We'll be taller everywhere, longer and taller," the coach said. "I have high expectations. I believe we have a chance to be special, but we'll have to prove it on the court."
             
He believes that depth should be one of the team's strengths.
             
The returnees include first-team all-RMAC choice Josh Robinson and second-team selection Bryce Latimer, both seniors.
             
Robinson, a smooth 6-6 forward, shot 60.2% from the field, averaged 13.9 points and 8.3 rebounds. Latimer, a lightning-quick 5-10 guard, averaged 15.2 points, shot 47.3% from the field and drew enough fouls to go 110-129 at the free throw line. Latimer tallied 43 points in a game last season.
             
The Eagles also return 6-7 center Porter Anderson, who averaged 8.4 points and 4.6 rebounds while often blocking out the rival's big guy, and Jarrett Taylor,  a returning starter who hit 36.7% from 3-point range and Paben describes as a good team player.
             
A glimpse of several of the promising recruits in alphabetical order follows:
             
    --Trey Ballard, 6-3, was the leading scorer at 16.7 points a game at Southwestern Christian College in Texas in 2022-23.  He was all-conference and made 70 treys while shooting 36.3% from behind the arc.
             
    --John Jensen, 6-9, is a slender post player who averaged 8.7 points and 4.7 rebounds as a part-time starter at Nevada Southern College last season.  He drew lots of fouls and was 80-102 at the free throw line.
             
    --Raul Nunez, 6-4, averaged 10 points and shot 44.6%, including 36.6% (44-113) from behind the arc at Northwest Oklahoma, which had a 22-10 record.
             
    --Jalen Patterson, 6-1, is a leading candidate to replace Marcus Jefferson, the Eagles' starting point guard the last three seasons. Patterson averaged 14.9 points and 7 assists while earning all-conference at Las Positas College last season. The latter     was second among all California juco players.
             
    --Dalton Peterson, 6-3, averaged 13.7 points, shot 47.7% from the field and 40.8% from 3-point range (91-223) at Casper College last season, while earning Region 9 all-star honors.  He's a 4.0 student and gave the college's commencement address     last spring.
             
    --Julio Phipps, 6-5, is native of New York City and averaged 9.0 points and 6.9 rebounds while shooting 57.6% from the field at Portersville College in California a year ago.  He was first-team all-conference last season after being first-team
    all-defensive choice as a freshman.
             
Other newcomers also could earn playing time if they show enough during workouts before the season begins. A couple are apt to redshirt, the coach said.
             
Jefferson and MJ Foust, a valuable alternate who joined the Eagles last year, were the only team members who saw more than token action to conclude their eligibility. 

Another stalwart, Isaiah Wyatt, who averaged 15.2 points and 5.3 rebounds while leading the RMAC in 3-point shooting, entered the transfer portal. He said he enjoyed his year at CSC, but wanted to see if he could play Division I basketball.  He's now on the roster at Texas-San Antonio.

Wyatt will be missed, but it appears the Eagles have numerous promising players available to help take up the slack.  They'll open their season Friday and Saturday, Nov. 10-11 by hosting Texas A&M International and Texas A&M-Kingsville.  They'll also play at home six more dates before New Year's.

Volleyball hosting CSU-Pueblo and Adams State

CHADRON, Neb. -- The Chadron State volleyball team is hosting CSU-Pueblo on Thursday and Adams State on Saturday in Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference volleyball play. Both matches begin at 6 p.m.
 
After defeating UCCS before falling to Regis, the Eagles currently are 10-6 overall and 4-2 in RMAC play. At 4-2 in the conference, CSC is currently fourth in the overall standings, tied with CSU-Pueblo and South Dakota Mines.
 
The Thunderwolves are 6-10 overall. Their conference victories occurred in three sets over Adams State, Black Hills, New Mexico Highlands and Westminster. Four set losses to Regis and Colorado Mesa are their two defeats. CSC and CSU-Pueblo are the only two conference teams that won a set against Regis this year.
 
Payton Van Veen leads the Thunderwolves with 172 kills this season, an average of 2.97 while hitting .251. Sadie Scoville and Kendall Harrington have also recorded over 100 kills each. Harrington leads the team with an attack percentage of .291.
 
Two different setters split the duties for Pueblo. Sabrina King averages 5.07 assists per set with 299, while Grace Jansen has 297 assists and an average of 5.03.
 
Defensively, three Thunderwolves have over 100 digs. Sadie Scoville leads the group with 181 and an average of 3.07. Maddox Richtmyer and Grace Jansen have 135 and 115, respectively.
 
The team leader in blocks is Golden Finch, with 46. Van Veen and Josey Nunn are second and third on the team. Van Veen has 34 blocks while Nunn has 31.
 
Saturday's opponent, the Grizzlies from Adams State, are 4-12 overall and 2-4 in RMAC play. The conference victories occurred over New Mexico Highlands and Black Hills State. The defeats happened against Westminster, CSU-Pueblo, South Dakota Mines and Colorado Mesa.
 
Like the Thunderwolves, three Grizzlies have recorded over 100 kills this season. Cindy Garcia leads the trio with 126 while Anna Huggins and Angela Youngs have 115 and 105, respectively. Garcia leads the team with an average of 2.93 per set and Huggins has a team high attack percentage of .208.
 
Remi Vargas leads Adams State with 255 assists, an average of 4.64 per set. Madeline Benally is second on the team with 169 assists, an average of 3.76.
 
Ailee Bugas and Vargas both have over 100 digs defensively. Bugas has a team high 150, an average of 2.73 per set, while Vargas has 110, an average of 2.00 per set.
 
The Grizzlies are led by Natalie Gallegos at the net defensively. Gallegos has a team high 46 blocks.
 
The CSC volleyball team is having their Mental Health Awareness game on Thursday and a Breast Cancer Awareness game on Saturday. Thursday, campus counselors and helping professionals will be honored. Shirts are being sold for Breast Cancer Awareness on Saturday. The proceeds from shirt sales will be donated towards the local Circle of Light non-profit organization.