South Dakota State basketball looks to add to its winning seasons streak for a 12th consecutive year. They’ve got the roster to do it.
I challenge you to find a team as deep with returning players as South Dakota State basketball. The Jackrabbits have not one, but TWO all-around talents at the mid-major level in Baylor Scheierman and Douglas Wilson. Surrounding them are endless positionless players that can hit shots, drive the basketball, and contribute to solid team rebounding. The offensive potential is sky-high.
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PG: Baylor Scheierman (6-6, 180, So.)
2021 stats: 15.4 points, 9.2 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.0 steals, 43.8 3P%
Projected stats: 17.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 1.0 steals, 43.0 3P%
SG: Noah Freidel (6-4, 185, So.)
2021 stats: 16.0 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 0.9 steals
Projected stats: 14.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.0 steals
SF: Alex Arians (6-4, 210, Jr.)
2021 stats: 10.5 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 44.3 3P%
Projected stats: 11.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 43.5 3P%
PF: Douglas Wilson (6-7, 210, Sr.)
2021 stats: 16.7 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.2 steals, 0.6 blocks
Projected stats: 16.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.0 steals, 1.0 blocks
C: Matt Dentlinger (6-8, 240, Jr.)
2021 stats: 10.2 points, 4.4 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.0 blocks
Projected stats: 8.0 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 1.0 blocks
6: Luke Appel (6-8, 235, Jr.)
2021 stats: 7.5 points, 2.2 rebounds
Projected stats: 8.0 points, 3.0 rebounds, 1.0 blocks
7: Charlie Easley (6-2, 190, So.)
2021 stats: 5.0 points, 2.7 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.0 steals
Projected stats: 6.0 points, 3.0 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.0 steals
8: David Wingett (6-7, 205, So.)
2021 stats: 6.1 points, 2.2 rebounds, 36.5 3P%
Projected stats: 4.5 points, 2.0 rebounds, 35.0 3P%
9: Jaylon Gentry (5-9, 173, Jr.)
2021 stats: 16.3 points, 35.2 3P% (Central Wyoming College)
Projected stats: 4.0 points, 1.5 assists, 33.5 3P%
10: Matt Mims (6-0, 180, So.)
2021 stats: 3.1 points, 1.1 assists, 1.1 rebounds, 0.7 steals
Projected stats: 4.0 points, 1.5 assists, 1.5 rebounds, 1.0 steals
11: Zeke Mayo (6-3, 180, Fr.)
Rivals 3-star recruit
Projected stats: N/A
12: Broden Lien (6-8, 200, Fr.)
247Sports 2-star recruit
Projected stats: N/A
Team MVP: Baylor Scheierman
Want a player comparison? Try the Luka Doncic of the Summit League. Scheierman is an offensively talented, always-everywhere type of player. He scores inside and out (improved from 24.7 3P% as a freshman to 43.8 3P% last season). Scheierman also creates the most offense for other players of any Jackrabbit and rebounds as well as a big man. He takes the pressure off of everyone else and somehow doesn’t force the issue himself. 49.8% from the field overall and just 2.0 turnovers per game show that.
Make-0r-Break Player: Luke Appel
Everyone in the starting lineup should match expectations, so how Luke Appel performs off the bench will be the key. He made the transition from community college to Division 1 pretty seamlessly, averaging 7.5 points in 12.1 minutes of game action. Appel flourished at the tail end of the season, scoring in double figures in three of the last four games. His minutes went up with that, so while starting for South Dakota State might not be his calling (it’s that good of a lineup), Appel’s ability to improve from where he left off will give this team that extra-extra boost.
Bench Rating: 9/10
All else you could really ask for would be a sixth-man-of-the-year candidate and who knows, Appel might just turn out to be that. Right now, South Dakota State basketball would have two consistent forwards (Appel and David Wingett) and the potential of three reliable guards (Charlie Easley, Jaylon Gentry and Matt Mims). Easley looks to be the top option at guard, whereas Mims will have to prove himself in year two and Gentry will need to show his worth at the Division 1 level. Either way, the bench is at the top in the Summit League.
Right now, South Dakota State and Oral Roberts look to be head and toes above the rest of the Summit League. I personally like the Jackrabbits, because the loss of Kevin Obanor could be too much for Oral Roberts to repeat. However, you’ve got to respect the winner and for SDSU that means getting over that hump.
On paper, that shouldn’t be difficult. All five starters can and could score double-digits every single game and between Appel, Easley and Wingett, the bench might even add one more to that mix. Gentry and Mims are two more beyond solid options to complete a stellar bench.
It seems even unthinkable to write this, but South Dakota State has over 91 points per game returning from last season. They added a 16 ppg scorer from a lower level. Scoring the ball won’t be the issue. I like well over 20 wins for South Dakota State basketball, and they could even push 25+.
If you’re looking for a potential Cinderella team pre-season, take note of South Dakota State basketball. They almost started last season with an upset over No. 15 West Virginia and went on to win games over Utah State and Iowa State. A full slate this season should provide for more meaningful wins in the non-conference. They’re a contender in the Summit League, but can also make damage in the NCAA Tournament.
Projected Finish: 1st or 2nd in Summit League
Projected Postseason Finish: NCAA Tournament Automatic Bid / Round of 64 Exit
Ceiling: Sweet 16 Cinderella Run