New Head Coach Mark Montgomery is only one of several new faces on campus for the Huskies. He has eight freshmen on the roster. Montgomery has had to start almost from scratch after the program declined rapidly in recent years under former coach Ricardo Patton.
Montgomery spent the past ten years as an assistant coach at Michigan State under Tom Izzo. During workouts the past couple weeks Montgomery has been preaching to his team some of the things he learned under Izzo. First and foremost the importance of hard work.
"You've got to work hard every day," said Izzo to WTVO. "You've got to be very competitive. Defense and rebounding are also important, but you also have to have guys who can put the ball in the basket."
Senior forward Tim Toler is one of the returning players who will be one of the cornerstones of this year's squad.
"It's a whole new atmosphere," said Toler to WTVO. "We're excited. The fans are excited. The energy is very high."
Senior forward Tyler Storm, and junior guard Tony Nixon are some of the other upper classmen who will lead the young Huskies.
NIU's freshman class includes 6-7 twins Keith and Kevin Gray of Brooks Academy in Chicago, guard Zach Miller of Glenbard East, 6-7 Abdel Nader of Niles North High School, and combo guard Marquavis Ford of Saginaw High School in Saginaw, Michigan.
The Huskies were 9-21 last season. They were 5-11 in the MAC.