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2022-23 Bobcat Season Preview

Steve Shepherd enters his 21st season at the helm for the Bobcats. After experiencing some growing pains in 2021-22, the Bobcats are reloaded and there is a lot of optimism and excitement surrounding the new season. With valuable experience under the belt of the veterans, and a talented group of newcomers, Coach Shepherd is looking to return the Bobcats to championship form.

The Bobcat roster carries a pair of seniors in the 2022-23 campaign. Andrew Mitchell (6’4, Blue Eye, MO) was a key contributor for the Bobcats the past three seasons. His 6’4 frame lends itself to success on both ends of the floor and provides matchup difficulties for Bobcat opponents. His ability to impact a game from beyond the arc (43% in 2021-22) will be an asset on the offensive side of the ball as he looks to build upon his 11.2 points per game from a year ago. Matt Luebbert (6’4, Warsaw, MO) has played in every game in his first three seasons as a Bobcat and he has become a valuable contributor.  As a 6’4 guard, Luebbert’s hustle and athleticism provide a difficult matchup on the Bobcat perimeter. His 5.7 points and 3.7 rebounds per game provided consistency and balance in 2021-22. He will look to add to those numbers and provide leadership for the youth on the roster.

Four juniors return for the Bobcats, and they will look to use their experience to continue the forward progress in 2022-23. Tanner Rogers (6’1, Webb City, MO) is a prolific 3-point shooter who loves to play defense. Scoring 6.5 points per game and pulling down 3.2 rebounds, Rogers handled a lot of the point guard responsibilities a year ago.  He is a physically strong and fundamentally sound player that will contribute both offensively and defensively. Garrett Simmerman (6’9, Ash Grove, MO) started in a little over half the games a year ago. He averaged 6.4 points per game to go along with 4.9 rebounds and gives the Bobcats much needed size in the paint. Tanner Diaz (5’11, Steelville, MO) played in all 30 games in 2020-21 and added point guard depth to the line-up. His great court vision elevates the level of play of his teammates. Josh Linehan (6’5, Rogersville, MO) rounds out the junior class. Linehan emerged as a key contributor the past two seasons and his team leading 15.8 points per game was complimented by his 3.9 rebounds per game. His ability to score inside and out make him a tough matchup for opponents. As an intense competitor, he provides a spark for the Bobcats on both ends of the floor.

Kyle Flavin (6’2, Ozark, MO) is the lone returning sophomore in 2022-23. Flavin was called upon to share the point guard responsibilities a year ago and his ability to see the floor often translates into assists to his teammates. He is a scoring threat both inside and out and he has solid rebounding skills from the guard position. His smooth play is an asset on the offensive side of the ball for the Bobcats.

Coach Shepherd brings in seven talented newcomers to the Bobcat roster in 2022-23. Cainen Mar (6’0, Tulsa, OK) will be counted on to play point guard and off guard. The Bobcats will use his ball handling skills and quickness to create opportunities for his teammates. He is a terrific passer who brings toughness to the Bobcat lineup. Terry Gupton (6’2, Springdale, AR) brings quickness and great jumping ability to the Bobcats. He is a point guard/off guard who can shoot or create off the dribble. Terry is another player who has the ability to create scoring opportunities for his teammates. He will also be counted on for his defensive prowess and toughness. Isaiah Mitchell (6’4, Blue Eye, MO) has the ability to score from inside or out. He gives the Bobcats good size and will be counted on to use his ability to play solid defense and rebound. Devin Carroll (6’4, Fair Grove, MO) is a knockdown spot up shooter, who can put the ball in the basket from all over the court. The Bobcats will count on Carroll to continue building his college level defense and rebounding to compliment his offensive skill set. Seth Soden (6’4, Strafford, MO) is a forward who will be counted on to sway the rebounding edge to the Bobcats. He is a versatile player with a high basketball IQ. Soden has the ability to score inside or out and can defend a guard or forward.  Rebounding will be a key role for Soden as the Bobcats look to control the glass. Xavier Odour (6’4, Nairobi Kenya) will help the Bobcats in the post as well as outside. Oduor will provide defense and rebounding and will give added size to the Bobcat lineup. Gavin Davis (6’3 Willard, MO) is an athletic forward who has the ability to control the boards on either end. He poses a legitimate threat to score from inside or outside and his rebounding and defense will be an asset as he gains valuable college game experience.

The Bobcats will have a good mixture of youth and experience heading into 2022-23.  Coach Shepherd says, “We are excited about the group of guys we have. We have a talented group of newcomers to compliment a nice core of returning players.  As always, chemistry will be a key. Once our young guys adapt to the college game, they will complement our experience and help us compete at a high level. I expect us to be competitive and battle on both ends of the floor.”

The Bobcats look forward to growing and working together this season to continue the winning tradition of Bobcat Basketball.