VERMILLION, S.D. (KELO) — Ad-Lib and adjust has been the common theme for the USD Men’s Basketball team this offseason, as they continue to navigate through the safety protocols put in place due to the pandemic. To start the year, those words will also ring true, as Todd Lee will have 11 new players on the roster this season.
Though it happened last March, the pain from their loss to UND in the Summit League Tournament still hurts.
“Until we get to the championship, until I make it to the NCAA Tournament, we make it to the NCAA Tournament, the wound is not healed,” Senior Guard Stanley Umude said.
It’ll be a different pack of Coyotes aiming for redemption, with USD losing 5 of its top 7 scorers from a year ago.
“We have a big learning curve, but we have a big improvement curve, and we can get better and better,” Head Coach Todd Lee said.
Head Coach Todd Lee will lean on his two seniors, Stanley Umude and Ty Chisom to lead a young group.
“The guys that were here last year gave us a great look on what leadership is, and what it’s like to be big brothers, because that’s basically what we are here. We’re a brotherhood, and we’re family,” Senior Guard Ty Chisom said.
Umude is the top-returner as a two-time all-conference player.
“Some games I might have to focus on facilitating, defense, scoring. I mean basically everything I can do to get us the win,” Umude said.
This year’s Coyotes are young, but bigger and more athletic,
“Last year we did have to double the post all the time, which always puts you in rotations, and that makes it hard. This year we feel like we’ve got a number of post players that can guard the post,” Lee said.
They’ve experienced some other bumps along the road to this season, with just 7 scholarship players practicing at the moment, but they’re confident they’ll find their path to competing for a conference championship.
“The number of guys that have been out, our tough schedule, the younger team, it is going to be tough, but you know we’re going to prepare to play our best basketball as we hit our conference season,” Lee said.
USD opens the season next Wednesday against Colorado in the Little Apple Classic.