Contact Us

South Dakota Men Open Summit League Play With Denver

Joey James, University of South Dakota Coyotes
University of South Dakota

Transition is a word you hear a lot surrounding the South Dakota men’s basketball team this season.

The Coyotes are playing for the first time in a quarter century without head coach Dave Boots, who’s abrupt retirement before the season started moved top assistant into th head coaching chair on an interim basis.

USD is also trying to fill the void left by the graduation of last year’s leading scorer Juevol Myles, and the addition of a handful of new faces to the roster this season.

While they wait for the dust to settle, things have been a bit inconsistent, as evidenced by the streaky nature of the first 14 games.  The Coyotes started with a 3-game losing streak, followed by a 3-game winning streak, then a 6-game skid, and now a 2-game win streak heading into the Summit League opener Saturday afternoon against Denver.

Assistant coach Lloyd Williams told me it’s been an adjustment period for everyone in the program:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Two areas of emphasis for this season’s team:  rebounding and defense.  The Coyotes were 5th in the Summit last season on the boards, 6th in points allowed.

Those numbers contributed to a 7th place finish in the league last season, but in the early days of this season, there are signs of improvement:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Trevor Gruis
(Photo by Dave Eggen/Inertia)

USD is looking to two proven players to carry a lot of the scoring load this season, senior center Trevor Gruis and junior guard Brandon Bos.

Gruis is on the All-Summit League pre-season second team and so far he’s averaging 12 points and 7 rebounds a game, hitting an impressive 58% of his shots.

He made great strides on the defensive end of the floor last season, and this season the coaching staff is looking for a little more production on the boards:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Brandon Bos
(Photo by Dick Carlson/Inertia)

Bos joins Gruis in averaging double digits in scoring this season with 13 points per game.  The junior will be one of the keys to the Coyotes success this season as he’s asked to do more on both ends of the floor, while putting more of an emphasis on scoring rather than just setting up his teammates:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

One player who burst on the scene as a freshman last season was Kasey Casperbauer, who led USD in three point shooting, knocking down 62, while shooting nearly 42% from behind the arc.

He’s picked up right where he left off, already with 27 3′s and a 44% success rate this season.

Halfway thru his sophomore season, he’s already earned the reputation as a fearless competitor:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Often times teams deal with injuries during the season and are forced to shuffle the deck to account for players who are sidelined.  This season for the Coyotes it’s not the injury bug, it’s the flu bug that’s working its’ way thru the program, taking out players and coaches along the way:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Chris Udofia
University of Denver

That one game this week is the Summit League opener with conference newcomer Denver.

The Pioneers are a proven program, with back-to-back 22 wins seasons while members of the WAC.

This year’s team is deep and experienced and boasts pre-season all-conference first teamer Chris Udofia, and a host of other talented players:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Tipoff is Saturday afternoon at 4:00pm in the DakotaDome in Vermillion.

More Sports

HotPics

Best of the Web

Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your points and personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

*Please note that your points, prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account with your Facebook account, just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing profile and VIP program points. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to http://espn991.com using your Facebook account.

*Please note that your points, prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

Register on ESPN 99.1 - Sioux Falls Sports Leader quickly by logging in with your Facebook account. It's just as secure, and no password to remember!

Not a Member? Sign Up Here

Register on ESPN 99.1 - Sioux Falls Sports Leader quickly by logging in with your Facebook account. It's just as secure, and no password to remember!