#102 South Dakota State Men's Basketball 2016-2017 Preview

South Dakota State Jackrabbits
2016-2017 Overall Rank: #102
Conference Rank: #2 Summit
South Dakota State was the clear favorite heading into the 2015-2016 campaign and they did not disappoint. After posting a 12-4 record in Summit League play, the Jackrabbits battled their way through the conference tournament and earned a spot in the NCAA Tournament. As a 12 seed, South Dakota State gave Maryland all they wanted in the first round, but fell 79-74. That success led to a new job for former coach Scott Nagy. The program brought in T.J. Otzelberger, a former assistant at Iowa State.
2015-16 Record: 26-8, 12-4
2015-16 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: T.J. Otzelberger
Coach Record: 0-0 at South Dakota State, 0-0 overall
Who’s Out:
Coach Nagy is not the only departure from the NCAA Tournament team. Deondre Parks and George Marshall were an amazing scoring duo in the backcourt. They each averaged 14.9 points per game and both were very dangerous scorers from beyond the arc. Jake Bittle was a regular starter on the perimeter as well. He averaged 8.5 points and added 4.6 rebounds. Keaton Moffitt, Connor Devine, Logan Doyle and Cory Jacobsen are also gone. Moffitt, another guard, was the only player from that group to average over ten minutes per game.
Who’s In:
The backcourt will reload with a large group of newcomers. Michael Orris comes to South Dakota State after spending one season at Kansas State and two at Northern Illinois. The graduate transfer is not a major scoring threat, but he does have experience. Last season with NIU, Orris averaged 2.7 points and 3.0 assists and started 22 games. Redshirt freshman Cole Gentry will provide competition for Orris for the starting point guard job. Gentry is a true point guard, but he has the potential to knock down more shots than Orris. There is a lot of experience coming in on the wings. Andre Wallace spent two years at Iowa West Community College and proved to be a very good outside shooter. Chris Howell has some work to do after missing last season with an injury. The year before, he averaged 11.8 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.2 assists as a freshman at Butler Community College. His size and versatility will be very nice for South Dakota State off of the bench. A.J. Hess spent more than three seasons at Southern Utah where he was a regular starter. Last season he played in just six games before suffering an injury, but two years ago he averaged 11.7 points per game. Hess is a big 6-7 wing who can attack the basket. Freshmen Sergio El Darwich and Beau Brown will add emergency depth for now. Adam Dykman, a redshirt freshman, is the lone frontcourt newcomer.
Who to Watch:
The Jackrabbits have a very interesting frontcourt. Last year Mike Daum took the league by storm as a freshman. The 6-9, 245 pound forward led the team with 15.2 points and 6.1 rebounds. The most interesting part was that he only started two games. Daum can step outside and knock down three-pointers consistently and battle in the paint. It will be impossible to leave him out of the starting lineup this year, but that could leave Ian Theisen coming in off of the bench. Theisen averaged 6.1 points and 3.4 rebounds per game last season. Daum and Theisen basically split minutes last year at the five spot with Theisen earning the starting job. The story could be the same this year, but with Daum likely starting. With a lack of depth in the frontcourt, there really is not another option for Coach Otzelberger. That would move Reed Tellinghuisen back to the four spot. He is a big 6-7 wing, but only tilts the scales at 195 pounds. With Daum or Theisen in the paint, this team can easily get away with having an undersized power forward. Tellinghuisen can stretch out the defense with his outside shooting no matter where he is playing. It helps that there is size on the perimeter with players like Hess and Lane Severyn to help out on the glass. But regardless of who starts, Daum and Theisen cannot play together too much again this season due to a lack of frontcourt depth behind them.
Final Projection:
There are not many true guards returning, but Tevin King is a player who has the potential to start over any of the newcomers. As a freshman last season he averaged just 3.7 points per game, but King is a versatile combo guard who could run the point or start off the ball if his shot is falling. King never got much of a chance to show what he could do last season, yet the opportunities will come in 2016-2017. With Orris and Gentry likely holding down the point guard job, King will be asked to do some shooting and scoring for now. And this team needs some shooters to help replace Parks and Marshall. They should have plenty with all of the experienced guards brought into the program and players like Tellinghuisen are ready to pick up the slack too and take more shots. As long as a couple of the guards can approach double digits in the scoring column, this is a South Dakota State team that will have NCAA Tournament aspirations.
Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI / CIT / Vegas 16
Projected Starting Five:
Michael Orris, Senior, Guard, 2.7 points per game (at Northern Illinois)
Andre Wallace, Junior, Guard, DNP last season
A.J. Hess, Senior, Guard, 8.3 points per game (at Southern Utah)
Reed Tellinghuisen, Junior, Guard, 8.5 points per game
Mike Daum, Sophomore, Forward, 15.2 points per game
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 76.2 (97th in nation, 4th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 68.1 (82, 3)
Field-Goal Percentage: 45.0 (121, 6)
Field-Goal Defense: 41.8 (85, 1)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.5 (121, 3)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 35.7 (126, 5)
Free-Throw Percentage: 74.3 (31, 4)
Rebound Margin: 5.2 (38, 1)
Assists Per Game: 11.2 (311, 7)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.7 (83, 2)