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Jackrabbits open 2013-14 season at USD Classic

Courtesy: SDSU Sports Info
Release: 11/06/2013 14:37:27
BROOKINGS, S.D. – The South Dakota State men’s basketball team opens the 2013-14 season this weekend with a pair of games at the USD Classic in San Diego, Calif., hosted by the University of San Diego.

The Jackrabbits open the event against the host Toreros on Friday at 7 p.m. PT (9 p.m. CT) and then take on the Loyola Marymount Lions on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. PT (5:30 p.m. CT).

Picked to finish third in The Summit League preseason poll behind North Dakota State and league newcomer Denver, South Dakota State returns a trio of starters from last year’s Summit League Championship team, all of them seniors, including; forward Jordan Dykstra and guards Brayden Carlson and Chad White.

The Jacks also return senior forward Marcus Heemstra, a projected starter, along with junior forward Zach Horstman and sophomores Jake Bittle and Cory Jacobsen, all of whom saw limited action in 2012-13.

A transfer from Florida, junior forward Cody Larson rounds out the projected starting five. Larson sat out the 2012-13 season before coming to SDSU, but played in 25 games with the Gators as a redshirt freshman in 2011-12.

NEXT UP FOR THE JACKRABBITS – After playing Loyola Marymount on Saturday, the Jackrabbits return home to put their NCAA Division I-best 30 game home winning streak on the line against Montana on Thursday at 7 p.m.

Tracking the Jackrabbits

RABBITS ON THE RADIO – Originated from the AM 570 WNAX studios in Yankton, S.D., every SDSU men’s basketball games can be heard live on a total of nine stations on the Jackrabbit Sports Network.

WNAX - 570 AM – Yankton
KBFS - 1450 AM – Belle Fourche
KJJQ - 910 AM – Brookings
KDSJ - 980 AM – Deadwood
KORN - 1490 AM – Mitchell
KOLY - 1300 AM – Mobridge
KGFX - 1060 AM – Pierre
KJOE - 106.1 FM – Pipestone, Minn.
KSDR - 1480 AM – Watertown

Pierre, S.D., native, and 2012 South Dakota Sportscaster of the Year, Tyler Merriam returns for his third season as the voice of Jackrabbit men’s basketball. He also serves as the voice of Jackrabbit football and baseball. 

THE JACKRABBIT INSIDER ON KELOLAND-TV – Fans of South Dakota State Athletics can get a weekly behind-the-scenes look at all 21 Jackrabbit varsity sports teams by tuning into “The Jackrabbit Insider.”

Hosted by Tyler Merriam, the show airs on Sundays on MyUTV at 10:30 p.m., followed by broadcasts on Sunday at 11 p.m. on KELOLAND-TV and on Fox Sports North on Tuesdays at 6 p.m.


Jackrabbit Athletics: @SDSU_Jacks
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2013-14 Season Preview

The South Dakota State men’s basketball team enters the 2013-14 season as the defending Summit League regular season champions and the two-time defending tournament champions after representing the league in the past two NCAA Tournaments.

The Jackrabbits also enter the season without the services of Nate Wolters; an All-American point guard, the two-time Summit League Championships MVP, 2013 Summit League Player of the Year, SDSU’s all-time leader in points and assists and a second round pick in the 2013 NBA Draft.

Add all that up, and the Jackrabbits enter the season picked to finish third in The Summit League preseason poll behind 2013 tournament runner-up North Dakota State and league newcomer Denver, which not only earned an NIT bid last year, but also won a game in the event.

“We got picked where I figured we would be picked,” head coach Scott Nagy said. “With the loss of Nate, I think people assume we’ll be a little bit down, but with four seniors that know how to win, our expectations are certainly higher than where we were picked.”

In addition to Wolters, the Jacks lost forward Tony Fiegen, a 2013 All-Summit League Honorable Mention and Summit League Championships All-Tournament Team selection, but like Nagy said, the Jacks return a quartet of seniors that won 71 games over the last three seasons compared to 30 losses.

“These four seniors know how to win basketball games, and so do the rest of the guys on this team,” Nagy said. “Preseason rankings don’t dictate how we play, and we fully expect to have a say in how those rankings play out at the end of the season.”

Jordan Dykstra brings the most accolades with him into his senior season, with a pair of All-Summit League Second Team selections in each of the past two seasons and an All-Summit League Newcomer Team nod following his freshman season. The 6-8 forward led the Jacks in 2012-13 with nine double-doubles and with 7.9 rebounds per game, and enters the season ranked 23rd all-time at SDSU with 1,149 points. He can play inside or outside, as evidenced by his SDSU-record .463 career 3-point field goal percentage.

A fifth-year senior and 6-6 guard, Chad White ranks third all-time at SDSU with a .437 career 3-point field goal percentage, fifth all-time with 169 career 3-point field goals and needs just 57 points to become the 44th member of the SDSU 1,000-Point Club.

Both Dykstra and White started the majority of games the last two seasons, as did Brayden Carlson, who enters his senior season riding a streak of 61 consecutive starts. Known for his relentless defense, the 6-4 guard can also score from either the point or off guard positions, as he showed in the NCAA Tournament game against Michigan last year, when he led the Jackrabbits with 20 points on 8-of-12 shooting.

Marcus Heemstra rounds out the Jackrabbit senior class for 2013-14. A 6-9 forward, he averaged 11.8 minutes per game as a junior appearing in 34 games. A solid shooter and leader, Heemstra is also one of the best passers on the team and his length makes him disruptive to opposing offenses.

Along with the four seniors, the Jackrabbits also return a trio of players that saw action last season, including; 6-6 junior guard/forward Zach Horstman, 6-1 sophomore guard Cory Jacobsen and 6-4 guard Jake Bittle, who looks to fill the role at point guard.

Along with a solid group of returning players, the Jackrabbits also add a large group of newcomers; with two junior transfers, four redshirt freshmen and four true freshmen.

Sioux Falls natives Cody Larson and Keaton Moffitt join the Jacks this season as juniors, Larson from Florida and Moffitt from the University of Sioux Falls.

An O’Gorman High School product, Moffitt played in 27 games with USF last season as a sophomore with 14 starts, but is sitting out this season due to transfer rules.

A Roosevelt High School graduate, Larson did not play last season at Florida, and the NCAA granted a waiver for a one-time transfer exception, which means the 6-9 forward can play immediately for the Jackrabbits, and Nagy expects him to make an immediate impact.

“Cody’s athleticism and size make him a threat on both ends of the court,” Nagy said. “He fits in well with our team on and off the court, and he’s already making a big impact on the team in the preseason.”

Redshirt freshmen Connor Devine, Matt Donlan, Ruben Silva and Joshua White all know the system, and could all earn time on the floor this season, as could the group true freshmen Anders Broman, Logan Doyle, Skyler Flatten and Lane Severyn, although some of them may redshirt.


SEASON OPENERS – The Jackrabbits own a 12-6 overall record in season-opening games under head coach Scott Nagy, with a 4-5 mark in season-openers in the Division I era.

The Jacks dropped their first game last year at Alabama on Nov. 9, in Tuscaloosa, when the Crimson Tide’s Trevor Lacey sank a 3-pointer as the buzzer sounded to send the Jackrabbits home with a 70-67 loss.

PERFECT AT HOME – The Jackrabbits entered the 2012-13 season with 17 straight home wins, and then capped their second perfect home season at 13-0 with a 64-55 win over Western Illinois on Feb. 16, giving SDSU a school and Summit League record 30 consecutive home wins, the longest streak in all of Division I basketball. 

JACKS DOUBLE UP – After posting a single double-double in each of his first two seasons, Jordan Dykstra posted double-doubles in a team-high nine games as a junior in 2012-13, including four of the last nine games of the season.

On the Record

DYKSTRA CLIMBING ALL-TIME SCORING LIST – Senior Jordan Dykstra became the 43rd member of the SDSU 1,000-Point Club in the Jacks win over South Dakota on Jan. 31, and immediately started to climb the scoring charts. He enters the 2013-14 season ranked 23rd all-time at SDSU with 1,149 points, 15 points shy of passing Cullen Ober (1,163 points from 1986-90) for 22nd all-time.

WHITE CLOSES IN ON 1,OOO-POINT MILESTONE – Senior Chad White came up 53 points shy of becoming the 44th member of the SDSU 1,000-Point Club last year, but should reach the milestone early in his senior season, making him the fifth Jackrabbit to join the club that scored all of his points at the Division I level.

WHITE CLIMBS CAREER 3-POINT FG CHARTSChad White enters the 2013-14 season with 169 career 3-point field goals, good for fifth all-time at SDSU and 29 shy of passing Randy Suarez (197 3-poing FGs from 1986-89) for fourth all-time. White made 75 triples last year as a junior.

CARLSON EYES 1,OOO-POINT CLUB – Senior Brayden Carlson scored just 85 points as a freshman, but scored 254 as a sophomore and 317 as a junior, giving him 656 entering his senior season, leaving him 344 points shy of the 1,000 point milestone.

GOOD FOR THREE! – Three of the top-10 three-point shooters in SDSU history, based on 3-point field goal percentage, currently play for the Jackrabbits. Jordan Dykstra leads the way with .463 percent, Chad White ranks third with a .437 mark from deep, while Brayden Carlson enters the 2013-14 season with a .402 career mark from long range, good for seventh all-time at SDSU.

This Week’s Opponents

SAN DIEGO TOREROS (0-0, 0-0 HOME) – Picked to finish fifth for a second straight season in the West Coast Conference preseason poll, the Toreros lived up to that billing last year, posting a 7-9 record in the WCC. USD then won two games at the conference tournament, before falling in overtime to the No. 23 ranked St. Mary’s Gaels in the tournament semifinals.

The Toreros return three starters and seven letterwinners from last year’s squad that posted a 16-18 overall record, including WCC Honorable Mention guard Johnny Dee, who averaged 15.0 points per game last year as a sophomore. USD also returns starters Christopher Anderson and Dennis Kramer. A 5-7 point guard, Anderson averaged 9.4 points and 5.7 assists per game last year on his way to earning All-WCC Honorable Mention, while the 6-11, forward Kramer averaged 4.2 points and 2.7 rebounds per game last year as a junior.

THE SERIES vs. SAN DIEGO – First Meeting

THE TOREROS THE LAST TIME OUT: Oct. 26, vs. CS Monterey Bay – The USD Toreros fought back from a 17-point deficit early in the second half and rallied for a 90-81 victory over Cal State Monterey Bay in an exhibition game at the Jenny Craig Pavilion. USD junior guard Johnny Dee, recently named to the All-WCC preseason team, led all scorers with 28 points. He was followed in the scoring column by redshirt sophomore Duda Sanadze (16 points), senior forward Dennis Kramer (14 points) and junior guard Christopher Anderson (14 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists).

In the first half it was all Cal State Monterey Bay as the Otters made 20-of-37 shots from the floor (54.1 percent), including 6-of-12 from beyond the arc in taking a 51-36 lead into the locker room. Nine different players scored for the visitors, while Dee paced the Toreros with 13 points. USD was just 12-of-33 from the floor in the first 20 minutes of action.

After Alex Fertig’s layup to open the second scoring gave the Otters a 53-36 advantage, the Toreros went on a 19-2 run that was capped off by a Sanadze three-pointer to knot the score at 55-all. A Dee three with 6:41 to go in the game gave the Toreros their biggest lead of the game at 14 points (80-66). Give CSMB credit as they fought back to 7 points twice, but the Toreros were able to close out the game.

On the strength of their 57.1 percent shooting in the 2nd half (16-28), the Toreros finished the game converting 45.9 percent from the field (28-61). USD also canned 12-of-24 three-pointers.

For CS Monterey Bay, guard Ryan Nitz led four Otters in double-digit scoring with 14 points. The Toreros won the rebounding war by a margin of 41-36. USD also received help from Simi Fajemisin (7 points, 5 rebounds) and Jito Kok (7 rebounds, 3 blocks). Freshman forward Brett Bailey played 23 minutes and canned 1-of-2 three-point attempts for 3 points.

LOYOLA MARYMOUNT LIONS (0-0, 0-0 NEUTRAL) – The Lions, who take on Grand Canyon in the San Diego Tournament on Friday, enter the season picked to finish sixth in the West Coast Conference Preseason Poll after posting an 11-23 overall record last year and a deceiving 1-15 mark in league play. Deceiving because the Lions won three games in the conference tournament before falling to top-ranked Gonzaga in the semifinals.

LMU landed one player on the preseason all-conference team in senior guard Anthony Ireland, who also enters the season as a candidate for the Senior CLASS Award. A 5-10 guard and two-time All-WCC selection, Ireland leads a group of four returning starters, although two of them may not start the season due to injury. Ireland averaged 20.2 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game last year as a junior.


THE LIONS THE LAST TIME OUT: Nov. 2, vs. Cal Lutheran – Senior Anthony Ireland was, well, Anthony Ireland, scoring 24 points with seven assists and six rebounds. Fellow senior Ayodeji Egbeyemi showed his experience and athleticism, while the young roster showed promise and its youth as LMU earned an 96-64 win in its lone exhibition game to start the 2013-14 season.

Ireland finished 8-for-15 from the field and added three steals, while Egbeyemi showed his experience with 13 points and eight rebounds in 26 minutes. The Lions' youth also had its moments of promise. Freshman Gabe Levin had 14 points, eight rebounds and four blocks while fellow freshman Nino Jackson had 11 points.

The Lions forced Cal Lutheran into 23 turnovers on 11 steals and held a 28-13 edge in points off turnovers. LMU also had a 25-9 edge in second chance points, out rebounding Cal Lutheran 25-9.

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