The 2014-15 Carroll College Men’s Basketball Schedule has been released and the Fighting Saints are set to play 32 regular season games (four are exhibitions).
Head coach Carson Cunningham and his team faces numerous tough tests in the preseason with exhibitions on the road at the University of Montana and University of Utah, as well as, heading to Cunningham’s alma mater in West Lafayette, Indiana to face perennial Big Ten power Purdue.
“Our schedule presents some mighty challenges and great match-ups as it takes us from the northern reaches of the Sonoran Desert to the Great Lakes down to Mobile Bay. We play teams in conferences ranging from the Big Ten and Pac-12 to the North Star and Canada West,” Cunningham said.
Last year, Cunningham’s first as head coach, Carroll College finished with a 9-19 overall record and placed eighth in the Frontier Conference with a 4-12 conference record. The Fighting Saints return Frontier Conference Freshman of the Year, Zach Taylor, and have several new talented additions coming to the hilltop for this upcoming season.
The Saints start their season with three of their first five games at home vs. Concordia University in Canada, Northwest Indian College and MSU-Billings.
The aforementioned weekend visit to Indiana to square off with Purdue and two other Hoosier-State programs is followed by a trip to Alabama where Carroll competes with a trio of teams in Mobile. The Saints will take part in a Christmas Tournament in Scottsdale, Ariz. this December (18-19).
With a preseason schedule littered with ranked teams and upper-division NCAA opponents, Cunningham looks forward to the challenge:
“It's an exciting and varied slate which I think our fans will really enjoy following. I know our players are going to dig playing it.”
The Fighting Saints begin Frontier Conference play on January 8. They travel to face Westminster College in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Griffins finished the 2013-14 season ranked 24th. They will then travel to Dillon and play against Montana- Western two days later.
The first home conference game is set for January 15 against the MSU-Northern. Carroll concludes the regular season with three home games in row, with the last contest on February 28 against last year’s conference champions, Rocky Mountain College.
“Looking at it from an academic perspective, I love that during the conference season our players will only miss two days of class. The later start to the spring semester and the luck of the draw helped us out big time in that regard,” Cunningham said.
Postseason play begins soon afterwards with the Frontier Conference Tournament followed by the NAIA Tournament.
By Amber Kuehn, Helena IR
The Carroll College men's basketball team will play a perennial Big Ten contender this fall. Purdue released its schedule on Thursday, and it includes a Nov. 7 exhibition against the Saints. Carroll coach Carson Cunningham said he's excited about the opportunity to return to his alma mater and put Carroll College on the map in Indiana.
"I talked to coach (Matt) Painter not too long after taking the job (at Carroll)," Cunningham said. "We'd been friends for a while beforehand. He was really gracious about congratulating me, and we were just talking hoops when I mentioned, 'Hey, man, one day we might want to play you.' And he said, 'Let's do it; let's not wait.' I was like, 'Seriously?'"
Cunningham said Purdue has been helpful about making the trip a possibility for the program.
Carroll College head men’s basketball coach Carson Cunningham announced the Fighting Saints’ third signing this month as guard Jon Pulsifer, most recently of the College of Southern Idaho has committed to play for Carroll.
"Jon had a fantastic high school career in Twin Falls, and went on to the storied junior college basketball power, the College of Southern Idaho, where he was a key contributor. His work ethic and desire should be infectious at Carroll,” Cunningham said.
Pulsifer averaged 5.8 points per game, 4.8 rebounds per contest and shot 53.6-percent from the field during the 2012-13 season. The 6-foot guard sat out this past season due to injury.
Pulsifer obtained his AA degree and maintained a 3.3 GPA in the classroom while at CSI.
“Jon is a tenacious competitor. He will be a crowd favorite and is a great acquisition for Carroll College. He will help take the team to another level,” CSI Athletic Director Joel Bate said.
Prior to his junior college career, Pulsifer was a three-time conference MVP and varsity letter winner at Twin Falls High School. During his junior season, Pulsifer was named the Magic Valley Player of the Year after averaging 23 points and 10 rebounds.
As a senior, he averaged 17 points and 8 rebounds in helping Twin Falls claim the state championship (Pulsifer was named tourney MVP). Additionally, he was named 1st team All-State and 1st team All-Region during his senior year.
Pulsifer joins Helena’s Kyle Nickol and Napa Valley’s Ryan Imhoff as recent signings for the Carroll College men’s program.
Carroll College head men’s basketball coach Carson Cunningham announced the signing of 6-foot-6 guard and standout scholar Ryan Imhoff of Napa High School (Napa, CA).
Imhoff averaged 18.5 points per game while shooting 48-percent from the field for the Indians. During the past two seasons at Napa High, he was named to Napa’s All-County Team.
“We’re thrilled to have Ryan join the Fighting Saints. He’s had a stellar academic and athletic career thus far and we feel like his best is yet to come,” Cunningham said.
In all three seasons on varsity, Imhoff averaged double-figures in scoring and was voted Wine Valley Tournament MVP in 2013. He also shot over 40-percent from the three-point line.
Imhoff will join the Fighting Saints next season. In addition to his offensive prowess, he will offer coach Cunningham defensive flexibility as the lanky wing defended all-five positions during his high school career.
“Ryan has such a sweet stroke on his jumper, the grapes in Napa Valley are jealous. He’s a fantastic rebounder and defender too. We’re really excited to have him here,” Cunningham added.
Imhoff excelled in the classroom. He took 12 honors and advanced placement courses and his weighted GPA was a stellar 4.38. The Napa product intends to major in chemistry and has designs on attending medical school in the future.
“Ryan ranks sixth out of nearly 400 students and his top-flight score  on the AP Chemistry exam makes him a natural fit for Carroll’s world-class science program,” Cunningham said.
The 2014-15 recruiting class is Cunningham’s first in earnest as he was hired in late May last year and led the Fighting Saints to a seven win improvement from their previous campaign.
Capital High School shooting guard Kyle Nickol has committed to play basketball at Carroll College, head coach Carson Cunningham announced Monday.
Nickol, a starter on the Bruins’ State AA Championship Team averaged 11.3 points per game and connected on a school-record 50 three-point field goals in helping lead Capital to a 22-1 record en route to the school’s first championship since 1983.
"It's awesome to know that Kyle Nickol is going to be a Carroll College Fighting Saint. Anytime you can add a 4.0 student and state champion from a great program like Captial High School, it's a great day for your program,” Cunningham said.
Nickol was selected honorable mention All-Conference and was a member of the state All-Tournament team after averaging 10.7 points and knocking down eight threes in the tournament, including key makes against Missoula Hellgate in the state title game.
“Kyle can really shoot the ball and he's so fast, when I called to ask him to run his scholarship documents over to the office, he literally did--and the ink wasn't even dry when he arrived. In all seriousness, it's fantastic to have a student-athlete of this caliber joining Carroll College," Cunningham.
During his career at Capital, Nickol has lettered in a remarkable four sports: soccer, football, basketball and track and field.
Last season, Nickol was selected All-Conference in soccer, All-State in football as a kicker and All-State in track.
In addition to his decorated athletic career, Nickol is a valedictorian at Capital High, completing his academic career with a perfect 4.0 GPA and is a member of the National Honor Society.
Nickol becomes the third in-state product to sign with Carroll College men’s basketball joining Oliver Carr (Bozeman High School) and Pat Colberg (Missoula Hellgate).
Nickol will also compete for the Carroll College Track and Field program. Earlier this season at the Pilcher top-10 track meet, Nickol set a record with a time of 48.89 in the 400-meter race.
“I am excited to come in and see what I can do. I think coach Cunningham is taking the program in the right direction and has great plans and goals for us to accomplish,” Nickol said.
Interested in playing basketball for Carroll? Fill out this questionnaire, send it in, and let Coach Cunningham know that you're serious about playing for the Saints!