Sioux Falls, SD
The University of South Dakota men’s basketball is rebuilding. After winning just 10 games each of the last two seasons, they have already tallied eight wins in 2014. However, the South Dakota State Basketball continues to build on, with back-to-back 25 win seasons. Senior Jordan Dykstra, who moved from seventh to sixth on the SDSU all-time scoring list with 1,515 career points, has enjoyed the accomplishments in his first four years as a rabbit, but is still hungry for more success.
“It has been a great ride, but we’re not done yet – we’re still getting better this year. We just have to keep it going and I’m looking forward to getting another summit league Championship and getting to the tournament again,” said Dykstra.
The Jackrabbits have won the Summit League title in back-to-back seasons, and as a result of being crowned league champ, have automatically qualified for the last two NCAA tournaments.
On the other side of the coin, the University of South Dakota has never been to the Division 1 NCAA tournament. Senior Forward Trevor Gruis says, the motivation of March Madness is what continues to push the Yotes forward, “It’s a just college basketball – that’s why we play it. It’s a great sport to play. I think it’s the best college sport to play. It’s just crazy, you know, all the March Madness coming around and rolling your dice at the Summit League Tournament. First two years we couldn’t go, and now we can, which drives us as athletes to get those three games and fulfill all of our dreams of getting to the big dance,” said Gruis.
Now, regardless of regular season record, any team from the Summit League can advance to NCAA tournament by winning the conference tournament in March. For SDSU head coach Scot Nagy, that is the bottom line. A programs previous success is not what’s important - legends are made and remembered by one year alone.
“That’s exactly what I’ve been trying to get across to the seniors. Even though you’ve had the experience of going to the NCAA tournament, your legacy, what you’re going to be remembered by, and what you’re going to remember most, is your senior year. It’s important that you take control on this, and I think they’re doing that,” said Nagy.