North Dakota State Men’s Basketball has been among the most successful mid-major basketball programs in the country and under head coach David Richman the Bison have won three Summit League championships and have played in two NCAA tournaments.
NDSU has appeared in five consecutive Summit League Championship finals but has lost the last three in a row. They must find a way to win their sixth league championship without star forward Grant Nelson who transferred to Alabama.
The Bison were picked to finish 3rd in the preseason poll behind defending champion Oral Roberts and South Dakota State. Senior guard Boden Skunberg was selected to the preseason conference 1st team, and Junior forward Andrew Morgan was selected to the 2nd team.
This year’s version of the herd only has one senior in Boden Skunberg who takes the role of team leader and he also becomes the #1 scoring threat on a team loaded the returning starters and young talent.
The Starting lineup is mostly intact as they return four of five starters. Boden Skunberg is undeniably the face of this team but the other three starters are just the start of a very good team:
White is in his second season at NDSU and he looks to build off of a good 2022 season in which he knocked down 42 triples and averaged almost eight points a game. He had three games in which he was a top scorer as he scored 19 points against Jacksonville State and 18 points twice against South Dakota and South Dakota State. He also is a very good defensive player as he recorded three blocks and three steals in a game versus Omaha.
In his true freshman season, Wheeler-Thomas was a starter in 28 of 33 games and played in all but one. He is what a true point guard is as he runs the offense really well and is a great distributor as he totaled 52 assists. He is also a sneaky good scorer as he scored over 200 points which included a clutch 17-point outing in the team’s upset semi-final win over SDSU.
Morgan takes over for Grant Nelson as the presence in the paint but his scoring ability is what makes him one of the best post players in the Summit League as he scored 20+ points twice. His defense is what makes him a complete player as he blocked 10 shots while also getting 12 steals. He also was the 2nd leading rebounder on the team with 171 total rebounds.
The Bison bench is deep and loaded with experienced players like Trajavis Miller who made 20 starts as a freshman, he is a three-point sniper as well as a great passer and can grab boards when needed. Dave Richman dipped into the community college ranks again and found another scorer in Jeremiah Burke. Burke was a conference player of the year and all-American at Iowa Lakes Community College where he averaged nearly a double-double. Other key bench players include Lance Waddles, Joshua Streit, and Sam Hastreiter who each have size, length, and can play really well when called upon.
This year NDSU also added three freshmen they believe can make an impact right away.
The Bison landed the best player from the state of North Dakota in their last recruiting class by getting the 2022 Mr. Basketball Award winner from Minot High School, Darik Dissete. Dissent is a dynamic scorer who averaged 15 points per game as well as eight rebounds per game. He is a very accurate shooter as he shot 56% from the field.
The Bison rolled the dice on a kid from Las Vegas in Eli Bradley. The 6’3 guard from Bishop Gorman High School is another shooter who is deadly from deep as shot 47% from 3-point range as averaging 10 points and eight rebounds per game.
NDSU also found a big man with the ability to do it all in Mark Nikolich-Wilson averaged a near triple-double in high school as he averaged 14 points, 11 rebounds, and 7 assists per game. He is an effective scorer as he shot 65% from the field as a senior at Rolling Meadows High School.
Dave Richman and his staff have put together a roster they believe can compete for the school’s 6th Summit League championship and 5th trip to the NCAA tournament.