It is impossible for anyone to say exactly how many players will get on the floor each game for the Cal Poly men’s basketball team this season.

But judging by Saturday’s performance, it looks as if the Mustangs will use a rotation of at least 10 players. Cal Poly had 10 play 12 or more minutes in its 82-55 exhibition rout of Division II Notre Dame de Namur of Belmont in front of 837 in Mott Gym.

“That’s the huge plus for us this year,” Cal Poly senior swingman Derek Stockalper said of the team’s depth. “We’re pretty deep in the backcourt. Realistically, we’ll probably go about 10 deep.”

Stockalper had game highs of 20 points and 10 rebounds along with two steals in only 19 minutes. The 2005-06 All-Big West Conference first-team selection was 6 for 10 from the field and made all seven of his free-throw attempts.

At the end of a 10-19 season last year, the Mustangs employed a seven-man rotation.

The biggest reason for the improved depth is an influx of newcomers – redshirt freshman combo guard Rick Higgins, true freshman swingman Charles Anderson and transfer power forwards Dreshawn Vance and Matt Hanson.

“We have 15 guys that can start,” said Vance, a 6-foot-8-inch junior transfer from Portland.

Vance had two slam dunks and a blocked shot in a span of three possessions in the second half. The 2003-04 West Coast Conference All-Freshman pick finished with four points, seven rebounds and two blocks in 17 minutes.

“When I get the ball I try to attack the rim,” said Vance, who saw his first in-game action in 18 months. “I try to be an offensive threat and then get back on defense. My role is mostly four and five, rebound, run the floor, block shots and attack the rim.”

Cal Poly head coach Kevin Bromley was most pleased with his team’s attitude and effort, two categories for which he handed out “A” grades. He placed his team’s concentration in the “B” range.

“When you get up like that,” Bromley said of the exhibition, “sometimes you play to the clock instead of playing to your potential. I thought we did that a little bit, but I’d still give us a ‘B-minus’ to a ‘B-plus’ on that one. The things they can control were terrific.”

Things like field-goal percentage (48.4 percent) and 3-point shooting (44 percent).

Bromley was impressed with Higgins, who made both of his floor shots and finished with five points and two steals in 16 minutes.

“I thought Rick Higgins did a good job when I substituted Dawin (Whiten),” Bromley said. “When Rick came in, he did some really good things. Dreshawn did too. There are some good combinations there.”

Vance added, “We have a lot of depth and our chemistry is on point this year.”

The depth is a luxury because promising sophomore point guard Chaz Thomas is temporarily out for academic reasons. Bromley said he hopes Thomas can return for the team’s Dec. 16 game at Utah.

Clayton Osborn and Whiten added 11 and 10 points, respectively, for the Mustangs, who overcame 18 turnovers.

Coming off an 8-17 season, the Argonauts led 18-17 just under 10 minutes before halftime before Cal Poly rattled off a 25-10 run to close the half.

The Mustangs now turn their attention to the Oregon State Tournament, at which they will officially open the season at 4:15 p.m. Friday against Southeastern Louisiana. Cal Poly then plays Portland on Saturday and Oregon State on Sunday.

“On Monday we’ll watch the tape of (Saturday’s) game to see how we’re doing to get ready for the tournament,” Vance said.

Stockalper is looking forward to heading to a tournament featuring one team from the Pac-10, another from the WCC and another, Southeastern Louisiana, that went 16-12 last season.

“It’ll be fun,” Stockalper said. “It’ll get us ready for the conference tournament. They’re three solid teams.”

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