sioux falls, sd
The Augustana men's basketball team is full of youth this season. The Vikings are playing five true freshmen every game and so far it's led to a 5-0 record.
Now, with the Northern Sun schedule getting into full swing, those youngsters will be challenged more than ever.
It's a bit unusual for a Division II school to have so many freshmen contributing on the court but it's worked out for Augie early this season.
"They're all such young talented players that you don't have to do a lot, you just have to keep them calm and keep them going in the right direction," Senior Cam McCaffrey said.
Freshmen Jamall Taylor and Daniel Jansen cracked the starting lineup right away and are already making an impact. Jansen, a 6’9” forward, is the second highest scorer on the team at nearly eleven points per game. He says while inexperience is a disadvantage, there are things you can do to beat out a more salty player.
"They may know more. They may be quicker or stronger but you can still work hard. You can still rebound. You can still defend. It's just, you got to always do that every play. You can't really take plays off at a young age," Jansen said.
He's not old by any means but McCaffrey has taken the leadership role in his final season as a Viking. The point guard leads the team in points, assists and of course, advice.
"I'm like Father Christmas over here. Me and Leif are grandpas of the team. It's kind of fun to have this youth around. A lot of energy, so it's fun," McCaffrey said.
Head Coach Tom Billeter hopes the fun translates to more success, but he knows the rebuilding process will take time.
"Five true freshmen playing 55 to 60 percent of the minutes on our team right now. Really love our whole team, know the future's going to be phenomenal, but we're still a little bit of a work in progress. Each game, each half, we can go five minutes without hitting the rim and that's not swishes. You just quite never know what we're going to do," Billeter said.
What we do know is that the men will be in action Friday and Saturday hosting SMSU and USF respectively. Tip off on Friday is scheduled for 8 p.m. against the Mustangs.