ELMHURST, Ill. – The Summit League released its annual preseason poll on Wednesday, and the league coaches, sports information directors and media picked the defending regular season and two-time defending postseason Summit League champion South Dakota State men’s basketball team to finish third in the upcoming 2013-14 season.
“We got picked where I figured we would be picked,” head coach Scott Nagy said. “With the loss of Nate Wolters, I think people assume we’ll be a little bit down, but with four seniors that know how to win, our expectations are certainly higher than where we were picked.”
North Dakota State received 25-of-28 first-place votes after finishing as runner-up at the 2013 Summit League Tournament. The Bison returns all five starters and 11 of 12 letterwinners from last season’s squad that finished 24-10 overall and 12-4 in Summit League play.
League newcomer Denver, which earned a share of the 2012-13 WAC regular season title and posted a first-round NIT victory last March, earned the remaining three first-place votes to finish second in the poll with 260 points.
The poll also included the preseason all-league first and second teams, along with the preseason player of the year. Jackrabbit senior Jordan Dykstra earned a first team nod after earning all-Summit League second team honors after each of the last two seasons and all-newcomer teams following his freshman season in 2010-11.
“I think that was expected, he’s been second team last two years, and with all of the seniors in the league that graduated, it makes sense that he would be on the first team,” Nagy said. “He’s worked hard to improve and he has, and with Nate gone we’ll be more balanced, so he’s going to have the opportunity for more shots. A first team selection is deserving and he’ll work hard to prove that they were right.”
NDSU placed a league-high three players on the all-league team, including preseason player of the year Taylor Braun along with Lawrence Alexander and Marshall Bjorklund.