New Look Coyotes Open Season at Utah Valley
'New' is the buzzword around the South Dakota men's basketball team this season. An all new coaching staff, massive turnover on the roster, all in the shadow of a brand new facility being built in Vermillion that will welcome the Coyotes in two years.
The new faces start at the top as Craig Smith coaches his first game as USD's head coach when the Coyotes tipoff the regular season art Utah Valley Friday night.
Smith told me there's been a big adjustment from the players getting used to his style and his staff finding out exactly what they have on their roster this season, where half of the players are new to the program:
This Coyote team features just three seniors, and only one, Brandon Bos, has been in the program before. That means a lot of new faces, new roles, and new systems for the players to learn making the 14 non-conference games on the schedule even more crucial.
I asked Coach Smith about the balance of getting better, gaining confidence, and still trying to win basketball games as he prepares his team foe Summit League action at the beginning of January:
As for the conference outlook, USD is picked to finish eighth. But with a wide open field, no clear cut favorites in the Summit League, and a roster of unknown players, Coach Smith knows his team has the ability to shock a lot of people:
After Friday's game at Utah Valley, the Coyotes go to Stanford Sunday, before playing a trio of games at a tournament in Bridgeport, Connecticut next weekend.
South Dakota's home opener is November 26th against Wayne State.