GREAT FALLS — The Steve Keller era at the University of Providence begins Friday when the Argo men’s basketball team hosts Salish Kootenai at the McLaughlin Center.
Keller takes over the program after 11 seasons building a winner in Dillon at Montana Western. But no matter his past successes, the Argos are a new challenge with ups and downs.
Keller is tasked with integrating new players and old players into an entirely new system, and the non-conference schedule is no cake walk. Salish Kootenai scored 115 points in a loss to Eastern Oregon and 94 points against the College of Idaho, both quality NAIA teams.
On Saturday, the Argos will host the University of Lethbridge. Keller believes the Pronghorns are a Frontier Conference-caliber team and will offer a challenge for his new squad.
“We’re going to get tested this weekend,” he said. “But I like our group. I really like our guards. We’re a little undersized at the post, but they’re playing together and sharing the ball. I really like our effort so far.”
“It was a tough to jell at first, but I really do like this new system,” said junior guard Jake Wetzel. “I feel like it fits a lot of our personnel, including the guys who were here before coach Keller. I think it really fits us well. We’re still picking it up, but it just takes some time and we have to put the work in.”
Providence will host Salish Kootenai on Friday at 7:30 p.m. in the McLaughlin Center. Tipoff against Lethbridge is also set for 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.