Photo By Nolan P. Schmidt
As preseason conference favorites, the Bison know what it takes to get back to the NCAA Tournament. I sat down with junior forward Rocky Kreuser to discuss his development, what he’s been doing to prepare for the season and his expectations for the 2019-2020 season.
You’ve been in the Bison program for two years now. Is this what you expected coming to Fargo?
You come here expecting a winning culture. You to win. I thought it was pretty cool, coming off of a tough season my freshman year, to be able to turn it around last season.
You took 123 threes last year and the team took a stealthy 778 (third-most in the Summit League). How cool is it to play in a system that suits your game?
It’s huge. Obviously I’m not known as a low block type player, so being able to be in a system and on a team that suits me and the way that I play helps a ton and gives me confidence. It’s a lot of fun to play with these guys.
You shot a respectable 35 percent from three last year. How confident do you feel about improving on that?
Absolutely confident. We’ve been getting in the gym a lot more. Been working on different types of shots. Stand and shoot shots, moving shots. I’m very confident I can improve on that. Shots are going to get tougher because of scouting reports, but I’m definitely confident it can go up.
How big was last year’s run in terms of gaining experience and confidence?
I think that’s the best way to put it. It gave us confidence. Early in the season, we weren’t doing too hot. But to know we have the talent and the ability to get back there is big for our confidence. And just getting that much time together and playing the number one team in the nation multiple times throughout the season gives you a ton of confidence and experience.
Was there a moment where everything started to click last year?
It was kind of when we went on our run towards the end of the season. I just switched up a few things, started being more vocal, and it seemed to help out a ton so I think that’s where it changed.
What have you been doing to prepare for the season?
We’ve been getting in the gym a lot more individually on our own times because we know what it takes to get back to the NCAA Tournament. We’re being really diligent with our diets and getting in the weight room as much as possible to get our weights right.
What’s your biggest area of improvement?
I think I’m more settled in now. I know what it takes to be a vocal leader on the team. I know what it takes to be a defensive presence and protect the rim. Also, just to keep the guys going. The little things like that.
How about for the team?
A big problem on our team last year was perimeter defense. I think this entire summer, especially with our foreign trip, we’ve been working a ton on that and have improved a ton. We’ve got a long way to go still, we’re in the middle of September, but we’ve made huge strides.
Is there anyone you model your game after?
Kevin Love, Dirk Nowitzki. I don’t want to be known as a one-trick pony. I want to be able to do everything on the court whether it’s posting up, going to the basket, shooting threes, defend.
Defensively. Do you think that part of your game has evolved?
At the beginning of last season, I was more timid. I didn’t really know my role on the defensive end. Towards the end of the season, I figured out the timing. I got better at protecting the rim.
We have great expectations inside this program as well as people outside the program have expectations for us. It’s not pressuring at all because we know how good we can be. It’s just getting out there and competing hard enough to be as good as we can be.
What are your goals? Where do you want the game to take you?
It’s always a dream to play in the NBA or play overseas somewhere, to do what you love professionally and make money doing it. That would be something I would love to do.
The Bison open regular season play November 5 against Kansas State in Manhattan, Kan. If they can hang with Duke for a half, they surely can pull an upset over the Wildcats.
I’m Dan Slaubaugh and this is your Slaubaugh’s Scoop.
Thanks for reading. Have a wonderful October. Go Bison.
- Height 6-foot-10
- Weight 245
- Hometown White Bear Lake, Minn.
- High School Totino-Grace HS
- Major Biological sciences
- Started all 35 games
- Ranked 4th on the team with 8.7 points per game
- 3rd-most 43 three-pointers on the team
- Led the team with 39 blocks
- Registered 17 blocks in the final six games of the season