The 2014 Bison men’s basketball team is pretty darn good.
They have attracted fans to a less-than-fan friendly arena and have become the big program on campus. Let’s put their season in context, shall we? You remember Ben Woodside and the rest of the 2009 ball club. Well, why not stack them up against this 2014 team? Proceed with caution. The similarities are startling.
Coach Saul Phillips
Mike Felt – “I wish I could teach my children how to shoot like Mike Felt. He’s living proof that if you want to make yourself a basketball player, there is a way to do it.”
Jordan Aaberg – “He has always worked very hard to get him in position to play on the court, and this year he has worked his way into getting more playing time.”
TrayVonn Wright – “The amount of highlight moments he has given this program over the years is only rivaled to the amount of game winning type defensive plays he has made, and when you combine those two things together he’s a special talent.”
Marshall Bjorklund – “He lives his life emotionally very stable, and that calmness permeates through the whole team. Stoic Norwegian pig farmer is what he is and everything that you can think that comes with that, steady person, Marshall is.”
Taylor Braun – “He has grown as a person and matured as a person, and to watch that has been really special.”
Coach David Richman
“I’m a believer that there are so many variables that have changed. They’re different guys, we’re different guys. We’re playing against different teams, they have different coaches and players on those teams; it’s really hard to compare.”
“I think the one similarity that you have is that you have a bunch of great guys that fit here at NDSU, they want to be here, and they worked hard together to get here. It’s a recipe for success at the mid-major level that they have stuck together and now you can see the success there’s been.”
“That team was a little better at shooting the ball, sharing the ball, not that this group (2014) is selfish, but the other group might have been better passers.”
“This group, with our recruiting, is a little longer and more athletic, their identity is defense. I say that, and we’re second in the country in field goal percentage and that’s the credit to the types of shots we are taking so we look, act and walk more like a Division I basketball team now than we did before, because we’re longer, we’re taller and we’re more athletic.”
“That being said, what that group was able to do because of their work ethic and their character was special and we are trying to replicate that with this group.”
Coach Saul Phillips
No one knows these two teams better than the gentleman who coached them. We put him on the spot before the season, and here’s what transpired.
Okay, Coach Phillips, who wins in a 40-minute basketball game: the 2014 team or the 2009 team?
“They tie. It’s like saying which one is your favorite child! They’re built so differently and it would be a really intriguing match- up. I guarantee you no one from this group (2014) would give an inch to that group (2009) and no one from that group would give an inch to this group. I guarantee if you talk to the starters on each team it would be 5-0 one way and 5-0 the other way, it’s a tie. Call it a day! I know if they played right now conditioning would be a factor and this group would get them (laughs).”