GREAT FALLS — Defending NAIA national men's basketball champion College of Idaho returned a majority of its roster for the 2023-2024 season. Included on that list are Montanans Drew Wyman and Caden Handran.
As the Yotes look to get back to the top of the NAIA for a second straight year, they added two more Montana natives in Alex Germer and Dougie Peoples.
“Our connections are lifelong connections. Those are my friends that I’m out there playing with so it just makes it real easy to have that connection,” said Germer.
Germer, from Missoula, played at Sentinel High School and was the 2020-2021 Montana High School MaxPreps player of the year. Following his high school career, he went on to win two Big Sky Conference championships with Montana State before making the decision to transfer to C of I.
Handran, from Scobey, is appreciative for the opportunity that he gets to play with three other guys from Montana. He says that being from the same state gives them the ability to connect and help to grow their chemistry.
“I’ve been to all their hometowns and I know all their families,” said Handran. “We just have good chemistry on and off the court so it’s easier to play.”
The strong Montana representation does not only help the guys on the court, but around campus as well. For freshman and Butte Central alum Dougie Peoples, it is a luxury to have familiar faces with similar backgrounds as he continues to adjust to the college lifestyle.
“They live in a house right across from the dorms so I spend most of my time there,” said Peoples. “I miss home a lot, I miss Butte a lot, and they’ve been kind of there for me bringing Montana to College of Idaho.”
Wyman, from Great Falls, has a long list of accolades on his resume dating back to his time spent with the Great Falls Bison. Being named a 2022-2023 NAIA second team All-American is just one feat that shows how talented the junior is, but also shows how much talent can be found in the treasure state.
He and his three Montana teammates are representing more than just the Yotes' basketball program as they are displaying the Treasure State’s talent on a national level.
“A lot of people don’t scout it very heavy but there (are) some good players in Montana, obviously shown by four of us being on a national championship-level team,” said Wyman.
“I think Montana basketball really just exemplifies toughness, and the four people on our team really shows what Montana basketball is all about,” said Germer.
“I think it’s underrated. I think we’re putting it on the map a little bit more. I know there is a lot of good talent in Montana…Winning a national championship is big and I think this helps our state,” said Handran.
“Montana basketball is definitely talented and I think we’re seeing that now, especially in the past few years,” said Peoples.