CollegeMontana State Bobcats


'Everyday' Sam Lecholat turns effort into expanded role with Montana State men

Sam Lecholat vs. PSU Feb. 2024
Posted at 2:23 PM, Mar 01, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-01 16:23:30-05

BOZEMAN — Since Big Sky Conference play began, Montana State junior forward Sam Lecholat has averaged just about 24 minutes per game — stepping into a major role when the team’s needed it on both sides of the ball.

A defining moment for Lecholat came just last week against Portland State in a 72-67 win.

The Vikings had a three-on-one fast break against Lecholat. He went for the steal as the guard was at the top of the key, but he escaped the pressure.

Lecholat then turned around and sprinted to block a shot attempt in the paint within seconds.

"What I first do, what a lot of guards do, is on those breakaways, they try and steal the ball off the dribble," Lecholat explained. "But then, I was just like, alright here we go, and so I just kind of gave her a jump, and it just happened."

That moment’s been one of many where Lecholat has risen to the occasion. Bobcats coach Matt Logie can depend on him day in and day out — it’s one of his favorite aspects of coaching Locholat.

"(He’s) all the things you want when the lights come on," Logie said. "And those things exist on a Monday morning practice, just like they do on Thursday and Saturday nights. You need ‘everyday’ guys, and Sam is an ‘everyday’ guy. He’s a blue-collar guy."

Lecholat started putting it all together around the start of conference play with his minutes and role quickly growing during that time.

He had to work at overcoming the mental aspect of the game and focusing on the play ahead. Once he got that mentality down, it was visible every game that he was becoming one the most reliable pieces to the puzzle this season.

"At that point it was kind of just taking that next step and saying, 'Alright, it’s up to me,'" Lecholat talked about his ability to expand his role at the beginning of Big Sky play. "And so, it’s really just trying to find my groove and my confidence. Just staying with it. Getting in the gym, getting up shots, just trying to get my mind at ease."

Logie said when he met with Lecholat at the start of the season, they worked together for him to achieve everything Logie and his coaching staff knew Lecholat could.

"Having a short memory when things don’t go your way, and really having a long memory when it comes to the belief in yourself and the work you put in, and I think that he’s really been able to take hold of that," Logie said.

The Sheridan, Wyo., native never takes for granted leaving it all on the court for the Bobcats — the community gives everything to them, so he feels a need to return that favor.

"Oh, I bleed blue and gold," Lecholat smiled. "That’s what (Sheridan) high school was, blue and gold. And so now it’s just like, it’s a love relationship with being a Bobcat. They love you and might as well just give it all back to them."

Up next for Lecholat and the Bobcats is Big Sky-leading Eastern Washington on Saturday in Cheney, Wash.