Start of a series reviewing the first game or two for each Summit League Team. In random order. Lets Start with South Dakota State
What have we learned
Redshirt freshman Kalen Garry is inserted in the starting lineup for the injured Matt Mims. Not only did Garry get the start but played significant minutes logging 35 against Akron. We have also learned that the starters are logging major minutes early in the season and not a lot coming from the South Dakota bench. The South Dakota bench logged only 31 minutes in the opener. Certainly, something worth monitoring going forward
What are we pleased about
Zeke Mayo has played like a player who was voted preseason player of the year. Mayo scored 28 points in both games so far. He has looked in control and ready to take that next step. William Kyle III definitely showed flashes last year, but the game seems to be slowing down for the big man. He’s looked poised on the offensive end and continues to make an impact on the defensive end. After redshirting last season Garry looks the part of a division 1 guard, dare I say a starting division 1 guard? Also great to see senior forward Luke Appel back on the court
What are we concerned about
It’s extremely early in the season but this does not have the look of past South Dakota State teams. More work is needed. Appel hasn’t yet displayed the dominance in the low block we are used to seeing. I think at this early point, the bench is a genuine concern in this small sample. Only 31 minutes in the opener and then even with a non-division 1 opponent in game 2, no notable performances off the bench. In order to be a Summit League Champion, the Jackrabbits are going to need more from forwards Matt Mors and Nate Barnhart. Losing Matt Mims for an extended period of time is going to be a challenge. Any replacement can’t match what Mims does game in and game out. Nate Barnart a transfer forward they are counting on has had a slow start to the season. This team is likely still the favorite but there are chinks in the armor.
Early season surprise
Sophomore Forward William Kyle III
Looking ready to take the next step in this just his second year. Jackrabbits may have a young big ready to get to be part of the conversation for player of the week and all-league honors this year. Always a presence on the glass and the defensive end. Kyle seems ready to be a force on the offensive end. Kyle and Mayo could form a dangerous inside-outside punch in Brookings.
Need to see more
The Jackrabbit bench. Even against a clearly overmatched Dakota Wesleyan, the bench only had 12 total points. Sophomore big man Nate Barnhart is having trouble finding his rhythm on offense and fellow forward Matt Mors is not able to find a way to bring some instant offense off the bench. In order to be a championship team more is needed from the bench. Not only that Mayo played all but 1 minute and Easley all but 2 in the opener. Early in the season, it does leave one wondering who the team leans on for bench production going forward. This team has the chance to win the league but needs more from the bench to do so.