The South Dakota State men are a team long on talent, but a little short on identity as they open Summit League play this weekend.

The Jackrabbits are 9-5 after non-conference play, reeling off seven straight wins at one point.  But, head coach Scott Nagy told me his squad is still very much a work in progress:

SIOUX FALLS, SD - NOVEMBER 30: Deondre Parks #0 from South Dakota State University takes the ball to the basket against Bernard Thompson #2 from Florida Gulf Coast in the second half of their game Sunday afternoon at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls. (Photo by Dave Eggen/inertia)

Two new faces are paying dividends for the Jacks already this season.

Junior college transfer Deondre Parks is leading the team in scoring with 14 points per game, while former University of Wisconsin point guard George Marshall tries to make up for lost time after missing the first nine games following his transfer.

Coach Nagy says SDSU is a different team with Marshall in the lineup:

Graduation took away a lot of SDSU's scoring punch from last season.  One player being relied on heavily for points is senior Cody Larson, who is averaging 13 points and seven rebounds a game so far, as is drawing a ton of attention from opposing defenses:

After non-conference play, South Dakota State is one of the top defensive rebounding teams among Summit League squads.  Coach Nagy says that's a key for his team:

Nagy says the biggest problem facing his team as they transition into league play, is trying to find a sense of purpose on the floor on game day and at practice:

(Photo by Dave Eggen/Inertia)

The Summit League opener for the Jacks is at Denver Friday night.

The Pioneers were picked to finish second in the conference in the pre-season polls and boast the pre-season Player of the Year in guard Brett Olson, who was held in check in two games against SDSU last season, hitting just one three-pointer, as the Jacks swept the season series:

Tipoff is 8:00pm CST in Denver Friday night.