ABERDEEN, S.D. (KELO) — Northern State knocked off Minot State on Saturday, capping off a 19-3 season with a conference title. Much of that success can be credited to their senior guard, who is having a season to remember.
Out of high school, Sam Masten was a three year starter at the Division I level, playing for the University of Northern Colorado.
“I loved my time at Northern Colorado. I was thankful for all my buddies that I met there. After that covid year, a lot of stuff kind of happened and I was looking for something new,” Northern State guard Sam Masten said. “I wanted a different experience and I was really fortunate to land here. I always tell people it was the best decision that I ever made.”
After his three seasons in Greeley, Colorado, Masten decided to enter the Transfer Portal and it didn’t take long for coach Phillips to make a call.
“I quickly went and watched film on him and I’m like ‘we can get him? If we can get him, then we’ll win some games’,” Phillips said.
Masten came to Aberdeen with two years of eligibility in 2021 and it didn’t take long to notice his talent.
“We knew it right away. He came on his visit, we had a ton of fun on his visit and we welcomed him in with open arms,” Northern State forward Jordan Belka said. “The second he took the court in the first open gym, I was like ‘this kid is special and we got a steal’.”
The guard scored 15 points per game a year ago, and has risen that number 18 this season, though that just scratches the surface of his numbers. Masten leads the conference in assists and is also top ten in scoring, rebounding and field goal percentage.
“He’s the best player in the league this year, no question about it. He’s had every bit of an impactful season as Parker Fox did when he was here, or any of the greats. This is going to go down as one of the all-time great seasons,” Phillips said.
Masten is due for several individual accolades, though a Northern Sun Conference regular season title means the most.
“You know what you’re working for and you try for it all year and to finally have it come to fruition, and finally come to real life, it’s a pretty special feeling,” Masten said. “For me, I’ve been in college for five years and never won a championship until now, so it’s cool.”
Northern State will return to action on Saturday. They’ll play either SMSU or Minot State at 4:30 p.m. in the NSIC Tournament Quarterfinals.