Interview with Randy Rahe the head coach at Weber State University.
Sometimes it’s ok to fold the hand you’ve been dealt if the cards don’t play out well for you. Just reshuffle the deck and live to play another round.
The Wildcats suffered through an injury plagued season in 2019-20 that saw them go just 12-20 which is only Rahe’s second losing season during his 15 years in charge at Weber State.
This offseason, Rahe dug his heels into the recruiting trenches and reshuffled the deck at Weber State by bringing in nine new recruits ahead of the 2020-21 season.
Rahe said, “If you do this long enough, you’re going to have a year that gets all screwed up and this one last year just got screwed up from the get-go.” He continued, “It started in the summer with injuries and kept going all the way through so you just chalk it up to hey it happened, lets fix it and get going.”
Of the nine new players, Rahe says seven will be immediately eligible and he is exploring waiver possibilities to make it eight for next season.
Three grad transfers will be expected to have an immediate impact for Weber State which include Isiah Brown a 6-foot-2 guard from Seattle, WA who played in 30 games for Grand Canyon last year where he averaged 9.3 points per game. Brown also spent his first two seasons playing in 60 games for Northwestern averaging 5.3 points per game.
Dontay Bassett is 6-foot-9 F/C from Oakland, CA who spent his first three years playing in 77 games for the Florida Gators.
Rahe also added 23 year-old Balint Mocsan from Idaho State who is a 6-foot-3 guard from Budapest, Hungary who played in 90 games during his first three years for the Vandals averaging 8.9 points per game. He sat out last year with an injury but will add some much needed experience to Weber State in 2020-21.
After being a program that has been more traditional with their recruiting and having a balanced line up consisting of three freshman along with three sophomores, juniors and seniors Rahe admits to having to adapt and changing recruiting tactics in recent years.
Rahe said, “I don’t know if you’ve noticed but college basketball has gone to teams taking a lot of transfers and Juco kids and the whole thing now is to get old and stay old.” He added, “In this day and age the transfer portal has probably become the number one recruiting tool out there and we haven’t dove into it a whole lot until now.”
Although Rahe jokingly admits to entering his “golden years” following a recent birthday he said he still feels about 20 years younger than he is thanks to the help of his wife Laura who is a basketball referee who calls games in the Mountain West Conference.
However, Rahe has been steadfast in his focus this offseason to make sure his lineup was a little closer to their golden years than in years past.
The good news is that the cupboard wasn’t left completely bare after Rahe’s reshuffling of the line up heading into 2020-21.
Weber State will return a handful of key players including senior Michael Kozak who is a 6-foot-8 forward from the Czech Republic who played in all 32 games last year averaging 8.2 points per game and a team leading 5.6 rebounds.
Also look for contributions from fellow senior G/F Kham Davis who chipped in with 6.9 points per game last year for the Wildcats after spending his first two years at Pitt as well as promising sophomore KJ Cunningham who played in 31 games as a true freshman with 4.4 points per game.
During Rahe’s previous 14 seasons he has won five Big Sky Conference titles and taken his team to the NCAA tournament on three separate occasions. He was also responsible for recruiting and signing Damian Lillard who has since gone on to become one of the best players on the planet and so the 2019-20 season at Weber State looks to be more of an anomaly than a pattern.
Rahe said, “I like our team now that we’re older and more experienced and I think we have a chance to have a lot of success this year and I’m looking forward to putting this team together.”
Look for Weber State to bounce back with a vengeance in 2020-21 and become a contender in the Big Sky once again.