The Starting Five series is a series that will put the spotlight on the players of the NAIA who are in action today. This series will be in replace of the old Five Players to Watch series that was part of our Schedule and Links Articles. Each Starting Five segment will consist of a captain and four players. The captain spot is simply a way of giving extra focus to a player by giving them a little bit of a deeper dive into their season. While there are always more than five players to watch every day, this article is more so to just highlight the great talent around the NAIA more than it is to say these are the five best players playing on that day.
#33 Mason Walters, 6'9 Junior, Jamestown
While we try to spread out our coverage it is always hard to leave Mason Walters off of a list of players to watch. He’s so dominant, even while being double and triple teamed at times. He is currently 6th in the NAIA in scoring and is 8th in rebounding. If there were a short list of NAIA Player of the Year Candidates, he’s no doubt on it. Tonight he gets a Doane team that is coming off of a NCAA D2 win, so they are no slouch. But Mason has 7 double-doubles in 10 games this season, so look for him to go get his 8th one tonight!
Rest of Today's Starting Five
#20 Drew Wyman 6'5, Freshman, C of Idaho
Don’t let the low averages fool you, that is just how the Yotes play. This Freshman is a baller and unlike a lot of the other Freshman we have covered, Drew is in his first year of playing college basketball! We will see how he adjusts to CCC style of play. Lots to like about this youngster!
#31 Garret Albrecht, 6'9 Senior, Oregon Tech
Garrett has been a program staple for years now and while the Owls didn’t get to play during last years NAIA season, he decided to return to the Owls for another year. OIT will need him to come up big tonight to beat #15 College of Idaho!
#2 AJ Rainey, 5'10Junior, LSU Alexandria
The 4th highest scoring player in the NAIA at the moment, AJ Rainey has been big for the Generals. With LSUA returning home for the 1st time in nearly a month, expect another great outing from Rainey against NAIA transitional squad, Arkansas Baptist.
#00 Phillip Malatare, 6'0 Junior, Eastern Oregon
Eastern Oregon lost leading scorer, Max McCullough, earlier this season to injury and Phillip has really stepped his game up over the past few games. Going for 23pts against Menlo and 18 against Cal Maritime last week. This will be EOU’s 9th straight road game tonight and will need good production from Phillip again!