BOZEMAN — Montana State begins its men's basketball season next Wednesday at UNLV. However, according to head coach Danny Sprinkle, he has no idea if his team is even ready.
“As far as if our team is ready, I honestly can’t even answer that question and I’m not trying to dodge it,” said the Bobcats' second-year head coach.
The team hasn’t been able to scrimmage in quite some time due COVID-19, contact tracing and other various factors.
“We haven’t scrimmaged or played up and down for almost six weeks, maybe even longer," said Sprinkle. "We’re going to have to take the next month and half up until New Year's and play some games, see who plays when the lights are on, too."
Before every game this upcoming season, players will have to take three COVID-19 tests in order to play.
“It’s pretty stringent and it is not fun," Sprinkle said. "We have been doing those tests every Monday with our entire program.”
Teams have been postponing games and practices around the country. As of right now, Sprinkle doesn’t think it will be possible to play every game this season.
“It’s going to make it virtually impossible to get the entire season in," he said. "Some of the programs that haven’t had a lot of the positive COVID tests, I think the longer it goes on the more trouble they’re probably going to be in. If you've only had three out of 15 guys on your team test positive, anytime those other 12 from here on out -- everybody else is contact traced -- they have to be out 14 days. With games starting you’re going to miss one, two, three or four games depending on your schedule.”
Besides the loss of Harald Frey, another significant loss for the Bobcats this season will be having no fans in the stands.
“As of right now, they’re not letting fans in, which is disappointing, because that’s one of the biggest advantages we have, is our fan base," said Sprinkle. "I know how much it means to people in the community and in the state. It’s a bummer they’re not going to be able to be there and support us, but like everybody, got to get through the times. Hopefully they will be here come February, come March. In worst case, they’ll be here next year.”