Team preview: Idaho

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(Information in this team report is as of October 1.)

Even the most ardent Idaho basketball fan will need a program to recognize most members of the current team.

New coach George Pfeifer spent most of the spring revamping last year's 4-25 team, leaving only three players on the roster who saw significant court time with the Vandals in 2005-06.

What's left is a squad that may fare only marginally better than last season as it tries to find itself in a league that is divided fairly equally with the haves and the have-nots.

Count Idaho in the second tier of the WAC, but don't expect the Vandals to remain there forever as Pfeifer looks for ways to make his team competitive in the coming campaign. He certainly got a good look at the problem, serving as an assistant for one year before moving into the main man's office in March. Before becoming the team's 28th head coach, Pfeifer spent 16 seasons at Lewis-Clark State College, where he fell four wins shy of 300.

Perhaps not Idaho's first choice to try to turn around a program that has managed only 12 victories the last two seasons, Pfeifer is still bubbling with enthusiasm. He knows this is his big opportunity to coach at the Division I level. Pfeifer will give it his all.

"I'm excited and confident that we will get the job done here," Pfeifer said. "I've said this before, but I'm dedicated to putting all the right pieces of the puzzle in place here to make this an exciting and successful brand of basketball. It always takes a little time to get everybody moving in the right direction. But we're taking those first steps now."

Pfeifer knows all about rebuilding. Before he joined the Lewis-Clark program, the NAIA-school based in Idaho had won only one postseason game in school history back in 1947. Pfeifer took his players to the NAIA Tournament six times in 16 seasons. In 2003-04, the Warriors managed 31 victories.

At the press conference announcing Pfeifer's hiring, Idaho director of athletics Rob Spear listed his reasons for bringing him on board.

"I talked with NBA coaches, Division I head coaches and my contacts across the country,'' Spear said. "The common denominator is George can coach. The best analogy I can draw is players always know who the best players are. Coaches are the same. They know who the best coaches are. Everyone I talked to said, 'Why don't you look in your own building?' "