Men's Basketball

Anything But a Rebuilding Year for Bison Men’s Hoops

Bison Illustrated Subscription

There were a lot of question marks for Bison men’s hoops team at the beginning of the year and even the coaching staff wasn’t sure how quickly everything would come together. When you lose your head coach and six seniors who combined to play in over 660 career games, log over 13,300 minutes and score more than 5,500 points, the word “rebuild” comes to mind. But this season has seen new players step in and step up in various roles.

Here are five keys to the success:

5. True Freshman Development

 
Photo by Joseph Ravits - Paul Miller is shooting over 40 percent from three this season and is averaging just under seven points a game.

Photo by Joseph Ravits – Paul Miller is shooting over 40 percent from three this season and is averaging just under seven points a game.

Paul Miller has been the only true freshman to play a significant role on the court, but a walk-on named Brian Ishola has played some big minutes, while Evan Wesenberg has had to come on at times to face some tough big men in the post. Those who rarely take off their warm-ups still have an important role in practices. Don’t undervalue the importance of what they all bring.

4. Defending Without Fouling

Photo by Joseph Ravits - The Bison are allowing 62 points a game this season and holding opponents to 42 percent shooting.

Photo by Joseph Ravits – The Bison are allowing 62 points a game this season and holding opponents to 42 percent shooting.

NDSU is one of the top teams in the country in fouls committed, but they are still an above average team on defense. When opponents can’t get to the line and are forced into tough shots, beating the Bison is extremely difficult, especially at Scheels Arena. NDSU does not have a lot of length, which makes this feat even more impressive.

3. North Dakota Kids Stepping Up

Photo by Joseph Ravits - North Dakota natives AJ Jacobson and Dexter Werner are averaging 19.8 points combined this season.

Photo by Joseph Ravits – North Dakota natives AJ Jacobson and Dexter Werner are averaging 19.8 points combined this season.

Before this season, neither Dexter Werner of Bismarck, nor A.J. Jacobson of Fargo played any meaningful minutes for NDSU. The development and contributions from both have been invaluable. There have been times this season where each has hit clutch shots, made a big defensive play, or grabbed an important rebound. They have also had to play heavy minutes for long periods. The work in the off-season is showing.

2. Coaching Guys Up

Photo by Joseph Ravits - First year head coach Dave Richman has led the Bison to another 20-win season.

Photo by Joseph Ravits – First year head coach Dave Richman has led the Bison to another 20-win season.

It just doesn’t feel like this is the first year Dave Richman has been the head coach and it doesn’t feel like it’s the first year on the bench for Jayden Olson and Eric Henderson. This coaching staff scouts well, prepares well and understands what their team does well. Rarely will you see the Bison out of position defensively, throw careless passes or take bad shots. NDSU plays good, hard, fundamental basketball and limits its mistakes. This coaching staff is getting everything out of the talent they have on the floor.

1. Lawrence Alexander AKA ‘LA’, ‘Alexander the Great’, ‘The Answer’

Photo by Joseph Ravits - Senior Lawrence Alexander has led the charge for the Bison this season and is averaging 19 points per game.

Photo by Joseph Ravits – Senior Lawrence Alexander has led the charge for the Bison this season and is averaging 19 points per game.

His development over his career has been tremendous, but what he has done in his senior season has been incredible. He plays over 38 minutes a game and there have been times he’s played all 40 with the opponent’s best defender right in his mug all night. In crunch time, you need big players to take over and will teams to victory. Alexander has done that time after time and will go down as one of the best players in history we have not talked about nearly enough.

Brian Shawn is the play-by-play man for the NDSU men’s basketball team. 

Anything But a Rebuilding Year for Bison Men’s Hoops
Subscribe Bison Illustrated Now
To Top