Lots to examine during Cats’ first preseason game

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Here might be the best reason to head to Patrick Gym tomorrow afternoon to watch the UVM men’s basketball preseason game against Concordia: There aren’t many chances to see the Catamounts the next two months.

To be exact, there are only four opportunities to watch the Cats at home in November and December, and that includes two preseason games. Vermont has a a fan-unfriendly schedule this season, playing its opening 10 regular-season games on the road. So, fans will have to make the most out of tomorrow’s 1 p.m. game.

I’ll certainly head over to check it out, and while the final score is irrelevant, here’s a few things I’ll be paying attention to, in no particular order:

Nick Vier. With the graduation of star Mike Trimboli, who’s Vermont’s go-to point guard this season? Vier has all the tools to pick up the slack — tremendous quickness, good ball-handling skills, defensive tenacity — but the senior has been inconsistent and his decision making has been erratic. The Cats need him to be steady this season.

Marqus Blakely. We all know he can fly miles above the rim and can post-up anybody on Concordia with his eyes closed. We all know about his shot-blocking fury. We all know he’s America East’s best player. But will he mix in a few mid-range and short jumpers? In other words, has he gotten better? And who’s going to pat down Blakely during pre-game introductions now that Ryan Shields has graduated?

Evan Fjeld. Coach Mike Lonergan said the forward is poised for a breakout season. This scrimmage will give our first glimpse of whether he is going to be the player who fills the void left my the graduation of Colin McIntosh, a 1,000 point scorer.

— What’s the warm-up music this season?

Garvey Young. This is a player who had a fabulous freshman season, and it says here his statistics soar this season — especially since he’ll have many more plays run for him.

— The rookies. All four of them showed tremendous potential during the Catamount Tip-Off scrimmage. I’m most curious to see if Ben Crenca is going to be the go-to center this season. I’m also anxious to see the health of power forward Luke Apfeld, the Cats’ most-gifted newcomer who is recovering from knee surgery.

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