Jackrabbits Reload for 2015-16 Season, Open with Exhibition vs. South Dakota Mines
After sharing the Summit League regular season championship and coming up just short in the conference tournament title game last season, the South Dakota State men are heading into the 2015-16 season with high expectations from both inside and outside the program.
Head coach Scott Nagy's team is the pre-season #1 pick in the Summit League, after going 12-4 in league play last season, sharing the regular season title with eventual league tournament champ North Dakota State.
Four of the five starters from that team are back this season, including double-digit scorers Deondre Parks, George Marshall, and Jake Bittle. Parks and Marshall were two of the big question marks heading into last season. Parks, a junior college transfer, and Marshall, who sat out the first nine games after transferring from Wisconsin, both established themselves by the end of the year. Parks was selected as Summit League Newcomer of the Year, All-Summit League First Team and Summit League Championships All-Tournament Team. Marshall earned All-Summit League Second Team and All-Newcomer Team honors.
That pair joins Bittle on the Summit League's preseason all-league team.
The big challenge for the Jackrabbits this season will be trying to replace Cody Larson, who graduated after leading SDSU in rebounding and blocked shots last season, while scoring 14 points a game. Junior Connor Devine and sophomore Ian Theisen will try to fill that gap left with Larson's departure.
In the backcourt, guards Keaton Moffit, Cory Jacobsen, and Skyler Flatten will be called upon to contribute more.
The Jackrabbits will face a tough non-conference schedule against the likes of Illinois State, TCU, Minnesota, Texas Tech, Florida - Gulf Coast, and Middle Tennessee State.
The season begins with an exhibition against South Dakota Mines, Thursday in Brookings. Tip-off is 8:30 PM at Frost Arena.
Here is my interview with head coach Scott Nagy on this year's team: