The Sam Houston State Bearkat basketball team currently sits with a 17-7 overall record this season and are first place in the Southland Conference with an 8-3 record in conference play. This was expected for the Bearkats, as they were the pre-season favorites to win the conference, but what may not have been expected was the contributions they have received from newcomer’s sophomore guard John Dewey III and junior forward Chris Galbreath Jr.
The Bearkats returned 10 players from last year’s team, so the contributions were slightly unexpected, but certainly welcomed by head coach Jason Hooten.
“We felt like those were two of the positions we needed help in the most,” Hooten said. “We went out, and sought that, and those players have been an integral part of our success.”
Galbreath is a junior forward from Chicago, IL, and played his first two years collegiately at Southwestern Illinois Junior College. Galbreath had to make the adjustment from being a starter to coming off the bench.
“It’s kind of tough when you come from being a starter, and then coming off the bench,” Galbreath said. “But that doesn’t really worry me now, at first it did, but now it doesn’t.”
Galbreath has truly immersed himself into the sixth man role for the Bearkats and provides instant energy off the bench, to go along with his ability to score, which he usually does in bunches.
It took some time for Galbreath to adjust to his new role, but now he not only plays his role, but thrives in it. Galbreath has emerged as not only one of the top sixth men in the conference, but is one of the leaders of the Bearkats team, particularly their second unit.
Galbreath gives the Bearkats some frontcourt depth, and a real scoring punch off the bench that not many teams can match, especially in the Southland Conference. Galbreath could be a starter on several teams, if not every team in the SLC, but Galbreath has graciously accepted his new role, and the Bearkats are in first place right now, and Galbreath is a big reason why.
However, Dewey III’s contribution might be the most surprising.
The Bearkats this year brought fifth year senior point guard Paul Baxter back into the mix after he missed all of last season with a foot injury, and it was assumed by many that Baxter would take over the point guard duties for the team. However, lining up at point guard for the Bearkats, this season has been Dewey III, and he has excelled in that spot.
Dewey III currently leads the SLC is assists, averaging 5.3 per game. It should not come as much of a surprise though, since Dewey did rank fourth in the nation in assists at the junior college level when he played at Blinn College. Dewey III has been the floor general for the Bearkats all year long, and has really embraced his role as a leader in the court for this team.
“I feel like I’ve been getting better,” Dewey III said. “At first there were some growing pains, but that’s what is making me a better player in conference and that’s what the team needs.”
Transfer players have played a large role in the Bearkats success this season. Both Dewey III and Galbreath have begun to develop as leaders as the season has gone on, and have become more comfortable with each other.
The Bearkats know that even as they sit in first place this certainly is not the time to rest on their laurels New Orleans is still tied with the Bearkats at 8-3 in SLC play, and the Lumberjacks are just one game back, with a home game against the Bearkats left on the schedule. If the Bearkats are going to win the Southland Conference they will need to be playing their best basketball from here on out.