South Dakota State tops Summit League men’s basketball preseason poll

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – South Dakota State, under the guidance of second-year head coach Eric Henderson, topped the Summit League Men’s Basketball preseason poll and Jackrabbit senior Douglas Wilson was picked as the Preseason Player of the Year.

Wilson, who led the Jacks to a share of the 2019 regular season title, is the reigning Summit League Player of the Year after averaging 18.6 ppg and 6.4 rpg during his first season in Brookings.

SDSU received 33 of 36 first-place votes, topping the poll with 608 points. Sophomore Noah Friedel joined Wilson on the preseason all-league first team, while junior forward Matt Dentlinger earned a spot on the second team. The league’s nine men’s basketball head coaches and sports information directors each vote along with two media members that cover each institution.

Oral Roberts was tabbed to finish second in the poll with 514 points. The Golden Eagles had a pair of preseason all-league selections as junior forward Kevin Obanor landed on the first team while sophomore guard Max Abmas was a second-team pick. ORU tied Omaha for fourth in the league standings a year ago with a 9-7 league mark.

Defending Summit League Tournament champions North Dakota State, who shared the regular season title with SDSU at 13-3 and was the No. 1 seed in the postseason event, was picked third, garnering the three remaining first-place votes and finishing with 466 points.

Senior Rocky Kreuser represents the Bison on the preseason all-league team, holding down a second-team spot after averaging 10.0 ppg and 6.0 rpg a year ago.

Omaha was selected to finish fourth in the poll with 379 points, edging South Dakota by 25 points. The Mavericks joined SDSU and ORU with multiple selections on the preseason squad with senior Matt Pile named to the first team and junior Marlon Ruffin named to the second team.

Pile, who was the only league player to average a double-double a year ago, is the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, while Ruffin was on the all-newcomer team and the league’s Sixth Man of the Year.

The Coyotes collected 354 points to take the fifth spot in the poll and are led by senior Stanley Umude, who garnered a first-team spot on the preseason team after scoring 16.7 ppg and 6.3 rpg last season. USD finished third a season ago with a 10-6 league tally.

North Dakota claimed the No. 6 spot in the poll with 301 points. The Fighting Hawks finished in that spot a year ago and navigated their way to a title-game appearance under first-year head coach Paul Sather. Junior Filip Rebraca garnered a first-team selection on the preseason team and is the team’s top returning scorer (14.3 ppg) and rebounder (8.9 rpg).  

Kansas City returns to The Summit League in 2020-21 and the Roos were picked to finish seventh in their first year back since departing in 2013 after an initial 19-year run as a league member. KC closed out the 2019-20 regular-season with four-straight wins before the WAC Tournament was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Denver (8th; 203 points) and Western Illinois (9th; 167 points) rounded out the poll. The Pioneers are led by junior guard Jase Townsend, who was the top scoring sophomores in the league a year ago after averaging 16.9 ppg. Townsend earned a spot on the all-league preseason second team.

The Fighting Leathernecks are the only men’s basketball program under new direction entering the 2020-21 season. Former Milwaukee head coach Rob Jeter takes over the WIU program after serving most recently as an assistant coach at Minnesota.

2020-21 Preseason Summit League Player of the Year
Douglas Wilson – South Dakota State

Preseason All-Summit League First Team
Noah Freidel, South Dakota State, So., G (12.2 ppg/4.1 rpg/1.6 apg)
Kevin Obanor, Oral Roberts, Jr., F (12.3 ppg/6.9 rpg/0.9 bpg)
Matt Pile, Omaha, Sr., F (11.6 ppg/10.0 rpg/1.5 bpg)
Filip Rebraca, North Dakota, Jr., F (14.3 ppg/8.9 rpg/1.0 bpg)
Stanley Umude, South Dakota, Sr., F (16.7 ppg/6.3 rpg/1.4 bpg)
Douglas Wilson, South Dakota State, Sr., F (18.6 ppg/6.4 rpg/0.9 bpg)*

Preseason All-Summit League Second Team
Max Abmas, Oral Roberts, So., G (14.5 ppg/2.2 rpg/1.4 apg)
Matt Dentlinger, South Dakota State, Jr., F (12.2 ppg/6.0 rpg/1.3 bpg)
Rocky Kreuser, North Dakota State, Sr., F (10.0 ppg/6.0 rpg/0.9 bpg)
Marlon Ruffin, Omaha, Jr., G/F (8.8 ppg/3.3 rpg/1.3 apg)
Jase Townsend, Denver, Jr., G (16.9 ppg/5.3 rpg/2.2 apg)

*Preseason Player of the Year automatically earns a spot on first team

Preseason Poll

RankSchool (1st Place Votes)Points
1.South Dakota State (33)608
2.Oral Roberts514
3.North Dakota State (3)466
5South Dakota354
6.North Dakota301
7.Kansas City248
9.Western Illinois167

Preseason Summit League Notes

  • SDSU’s Wilson averaged 20.5 ppg in 14 league games, which is tops among all Summit League returners. He is the only returning player from the 2020 All-League First Team.
  • The Jacks went 13-1 with him in the lineup in league play and 0-2 when he sat out with an injury. He also missed SDSU’s quarterfinal loss to Purdue Fort Wayne to end their season.
  • SDSU’s Friedel averaged 7.9 ppg in non-conference play but upped that average to 15.3 ppg in 16 league tilts. He finished is rookie campaign averaging 12.2 ppg.
  • ORU’s Max Abmas led all rookies in scoring with 15.6 ppg in league play and his 47 made 3-pointers were the most by any league player a year ago.
  • Omaha’s Matt Pile was the only Summit League player to average a double-double a year ago. He totaled 11 on the season and is the team’s top returning scorer (11.6 ppg).
  • USD’s Stanley Umude and SDSU’s Matt Dentlinger are the only returnes from the All-League Second Team. Umude averaged 16.7 ppg in 32 starts for the Coyotes a year ago, while Dentlinger averaged 12.2 ppg in 32 starts and shot 62.8 percent from the floor.
  • UND’s Filip Rebraca led all league players with 13 double-doubles as a sophomore.
  • Senior Brandon McKissick is the top returning scorer on the Roos after averaging 11.0 ppg during a season that saw Kansas City finish 16-14 overall and 8-7 in WAC play under first-year head coach Billy Donlon.  
  • DU’s Townsend was the top scoring underclassmen in league play, scoring 18.8 ppg in 16 clashes.
  • WIU first-year head coach Rob Jeter has 13 newcomers on his roster of 15.

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