It's hard to believe but the college hoops season is here. The SDSU men will host their exhibition game this Friday night against Dakota Wesleyan before tipping their campaign off in San Diego next week. The expectations for this team are still high despite losing the schools most decorated player in Nate Wolters.
"The expectation is to get back to the NCAA Tournament again," SDSU Head Coach Scott Nagy said.
When you make the big dance two years in a row not only do your fans have those expectations, but your players as well. Every mid-major team gets there with a star player and a supporting cast. Now without their star this Jackrabbit team is anxious to showcase their talents as a team.
"We know the expectation is to be good again and I think the guys are embracing that. We're excited to start playing some games. We have been banging with each other this off season and are looking forward to the opportunity to play somebody else. We're really excited to start the season," SDSU Senior Forward Marcus Heemstra said.
Coach Nagy has plenty of scoring options in Chad White, Jordyn Dykstra, and Brayden Carlson. However his team will rely heavily on their defensive efforts, especially with Texas Tech, Stanford, and Minnesota on the schedule.
"I think we are pretty good offensively and I'm hoping to be great defensively. I think that is where we like to hang out hat. Obviously every team at this time of the year has a long way to go, we have spent a lot of time on defense and we will continue to do that," Nagy said.
The Rabbits finished 25-10 a year ago averaging just over 73 PPG, with 45 of them coming from Wolters and Tony Fiegen. With those two now gone this team will rely on their four returning seniors as well as Florida transfer Cody Larson to carry the load on the offense.
"We have a leadership role to fill I think our seniors and myself will step up to lead this team. We have a great bench, so we have all the tools in place we just need to put them together. If we can do that we will have endless possibilities," SDSU Junior Forward Cody Larson said.
You can get a glimpse of this year's squad at Frost Arena Friday night after the women's game. Tip off is scheduled for 8:30.