BROOKINGS, S.D. (KELO) — Moving from a starter to a bench player can be a difficult adjustment for many basketball players, but for one sixth year senior from SDSU, it fueled him to lift his game to the next level.

SDSU forward Matt Dentlinger redshirted his first year in Brookings. The following season, he’d play in 32 games, while collecting his first seven career starts.

“When I first came here, I didn’t know if I would ever be in a role this big,” Dentlinger said.

That role expanded over his next two years as Dentlinger started all 55 games for the Jackrabbits, while averaging more than 11 points per game.

After starting the first 14 games in 2021, Matt saw a change to his title around Christmas time, when he was taken out of the starting lineup.

“I guess my mentality has always been, do what you can do to help the team out,” Dentlinger said. “We had a great year and it was really fun to be a part of that team.”

Courtesy: SDSU Athletics

“When something is taken away from you and you don’t think about yourself. You think about and accept that’s what we think is best for the team,” SDSU head coach Eric Henderson said. “That’s about as selfless as you can be.”

Dentlinger still appeared in 35 games last year, but he knew he wanted to return to the starting lineup, which required plenty of hard work.

“This summer, he decided ‘no, no, I’m not going to get an internship. I’m focusing on this team. I’m focusing on getting myself better,” Henderson said.

Courtesy: SDSU Athletics

And that’s exactly what Dentlinger has accomplished as the 6’8 forward has started all 26 games and is second on the team in scoring at 11.5 points per contest.

“I just try to see where I can make an impact and help our team get the win,” Dentlinger said.

“The able to get something like that every night has been huge for our team,” Henderson said.

The Jacks return to action tonight when they play at Denver.