Following a season that produced just ten wins, the University of South Dakota men’s basketball team enters its 2012-13 season looking to get on the right path.
With the loss of guards Charlie Westbrook and Louie Krogman following the 2011-12 season, the Coyotes will be looking to a combination of familiar and fresh faces to get the job done in 2012-13.
Junior center Trevor Gruis has become one of the go-to veterans this coming season and he said the team has made changes for the better over the offseason.
“(The team) has a little more balance this year, which will be good,” Gruis said. “It’s harder for other teams to guard us when we have a couple guys who are a threat to score.”
The new-look Coyotes will make their grand entrance against Southern University as a part of the Global Sports Showcase in Laramie, Wyo. on Nov. 14.
Following their first game in the Global Sports Showcase, the Coyotes round out the weekend with games against Wyoming and North Carolina Central.
Head coach Dave Boots said he expects for the team to continue to improve throughout the season.
“I think this team has room for growth,” Boots said. “That comes along with our guys getting comfortable in our system and getting used to playing with each other.”
The 2012-13 freshman class is highlighted by first-year Casey Kasperbauer from Carroll, Iowa where he averaged 24.6 points during his senior year.
Boots said the team will call on Kasperbauer and the remaining underclassmen to play pivotal roles over the course of the season.
“That’s a good thing because our program definitely has a chance to improve this year and in the future,” Boots said. “That way the team could establish itself as a pretty good Division I program.”
With one of the toughest schedules the program has seen since its transition into Division-I, the Coyotes will rely on underclassmen to step up and fulfill their roles.
The Coyotes’ non-conference schedule is especially difficult, with games against established Division-I teams such as Iowa, Kansas State and Gonzaga.
“Win or lose against Gonzaga and those bigger teams, we can take away things from those games that can help us along the road,” said Gruis.
Competition doesn’t let up heading into the Coyotes’ conference schedule.
“The Summit League has four very, very good veteran teams in South Dakota State, North Dakota State, Oakland and Western Illinois University,” Boots said. “From that point on teams are trying to prove something night in, and night out which is something we are trying to do as well.”
USD must wait to take on state rival SDSU until the holiday break when the Jackrabbits visit the DakotaDome on Jan. 5, 2013.
The second, and final, match-up with SDSU will come on Jan. 31, 2013 in Brookings, S.D.
Twenty-three wins, one player named to the First Team All-Summit League, one Summit League defensive player of the year and one WNIT win.
With the laundry list of achievements following their 2011-12 season, the University of South Dakota women’s basketball team has serious expectations to meet in 2012-13.
However, upon the arrival of new head coach Amy Williams, and the departure of center Jodie Boss and star forward Amber Hegge, the Coyotes enter the 2012-13 season with an entire new look.
However, Williams said this team is ready to make a name for itself in 2012-13.
“I am thrilled to death with the way the team has embraced a new coach and a new system,” Williams said. “We’re trying to develop a more balanced scoring approached and getting everyone involved offensively and become efficient on the transition.”
The Coyotes will have to be ready to play right out of the gate with games against Drake University, the University of Northern Iowa and Creighton University slated for November.
Returning senior starter Alexis Yackley will provide experience and leadership for the new-look Coyotes.
“We are just trying to get our moving parts together,” Yackley said. “We are no different of a team, lost some height, but in turn we are going to try and push the tempo a little more this year.”
Yackley will be joined on the court by fellow senior Tempestt Wilson.
Williams said she will use the pieces essential to success last year, to build on during the upcoming season.
“I think that the reason this team was successful last year wasn’t because (Hegge) was a prolific scorer, but they were a great defensive team,” Williams said. “We have some of those great defenders this year, and we will build off of that, and become a great defensive team ourselves.”