#88 North Dakota State Men's Basketball 2016-2017 Preview

North Dakota State Bison
2016-2017 Overall Rank: #88
Conference Rank: #1 Summit
Last season was a bit of a disappointment for North Dakota State. After back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances, the expectations were the same heading into the 2015-2016 campaign. However, the Bison struggled and finished just 8-8 in Summit League play. They still nearly reached the NCAA Tournament thanks to a nice run in the conference tournament, but fell just short to South Dakota State in the championship game. Paul Miller will once again be the leader of the Bison after averaging 15.3 points per game. He is a great shooter who knocked down 41.4 percent of his three-point shots, but Miller will use his 6-5 frame to attack the basket as well.
2015-16 Record: 20-13, 8-8
2015-16 Postseason: none
Coach: David Richman
Coach Record: 43-23 at North Dakota State, 43-23 overall
Who’s Out:
Two players from the regular rotation are gone in Kory Brown and Chris Kading. Brown started all 27 games in which he played and was the team’s third best scorer and second best rebounder. The 6-4 guard could do a bit of everything and his athleticism will be missed. Kading battled through injuries last year and the center ended up averaging less than 15 minutes per game. He was a quality, experienced big man to bring in off of the bench though.
Who’s In:
There are seven freshmen on the roster this year, four who are incoming freshmen and three who redshirted last season. Deng Geu, one of the redshirt freshmen, is the one who is expected to play a big role this year. Geu is a big 6-8 forward who can get up and down the floor. When Coach David Richman wants, or needs, to play big, Geu can man the small forward spot. If NDSU wants to play smaller with more athletes, Geu can spend time at the power forward spot. Zach Rammelt and Blaze Irwin, who redshirted while at Minot State, are the other redshirt freshmen. The four incoming freshmen are Seth Coatta, Cameron Hunter, Jared Samuelson and Tyson Ward. Ward could be the one to watch for now. The 6-5 guard is much like Miller in the sense that he can score from anywhere on the floor and help out on the glass.
Who to Watch:
Khy Kabellis, Carlin Dupree, A.J. Jacobson and Dylan Miller figure to join Paul Miller in the starting lineup. Kabellis had a very good freshman campaign in which he averaged 8.7 points and a team high 2.3 assists. Kabellis does need to improve his shot selection, but as far as running the point goes, he has proven that he can set up his teammates and do enough with his outside shot to keep the opposition honest. Dupree was a part-time starter last season and could start off the ball this season. He is not a great shooter, but he can back-up Kabellis at the point and do some scoring by attacking the basket. Jacobson and Dylan Miller will likely form the starting frontcourt duo. Jacobson is the scorer of the frontcourt after averaging 12.7 points per game. Jacobson is the big man who can stretch the defense with his three-point shooting. Dylan Miller averaged fewer than ten minutes per game last season, but still managed to start 23 games. At 6-8 and 240 pounds, he is a big body and his freshman campaign gave enough hope that he can be more productive as a sophomore. Either way, Dexter Werner will provide experienced depth in the frontcourt. He averaged 8.4 points and 6.7 rebounds in 2015-2016 despite starting just two games.
Final Projection:
With Malik Clements providing depth on the perimeter and Evan Wesenberg and Spencer Eliason providing depth up front, North Dakota State has a lot of experienced options. Last season was a bit perplexing and NDSU should have been a much better team. Losing Brown might hurt in the rebounding department, but the Bison have enough firepower to make up for it and then some. Barring another season where the Bison struggle to win on the road, this should be the team to beat in the Summit League.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
Projected Starting Five:
Khy Kabellis, Sophomore, Guard, 8.7 points per game
Carlin Dupree, Senior, Guard, 8.2 points per game
Paul Miller, Junior, Guard, 15.3 points per game
A.J. Jacobson, Junior, Forward, 12.7 points per game
Dylan Miller, Sophomore, Forward, 2.7 points per game
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 68.8 (262nd in nation, 7th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 64.5 (24, 1)
Field-Goal Percentage: 44.5 (154, 7)
Field-Goal Defense: 42.2 (102, 2)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.5 (221, 5)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 34.0 (208, 7)
Free-Throw Percentage: 68.3 (234, 9)
Rebound Margin: 1.1 (151, 3)
Assists Per Game: 10.5 (331, 9)
Turnovers Per Game: 10.5 (23, 1)