Breaking down DSU men’s basketball

With this week’s signings of Isiah Thomas and Daniel Casey, the Dickinson State men’s basketball team wrapped up its recruiting for the 2010-11 season.

With that said, here is a breakdown of what the Blue Hawks’ roster will look like:

Carl Dynneson, C, 6-7, So.
Dano Fagerlund, F, 6-4, Sr.
John Hanstad, G-F, 6-3, So.
Ryan Kittleson, G, 6-0, Jr.
Nathan Lebsock, SG, 6-1, Sr.
Matt Lee, PF-C, 6-5, So.
Destry Sterkel, C, 6-10, Fr.

New recruits
Brock Boos, G-F, 6-2, Fr.
Tim Brown, G, 5-10, Fr.
Daniel Casey, F-C, 6-7, Fr.
Connor Cunningham, F, 6-6, Fr.
Zach Edward, G, 6-2, Fr.
Jarek Hansen, F, 6-5, Jr.
Jeff Hurd, G, 6-2, Jr.
Tevin Hurd, G-F, 6-6, Jr.
Robbie Morey, G, 6-2, Fr.
Lucas Reller, G, 6-0, Fr.
Isiah Thomas, F, 6-5, Fr.

That’s 18 players. First off, head coach Ty Orton has said Cunningham, Edward and Reller will likely redshirt this season. That brings the roster down to the golden number of 15. 

We know, at the very least, that Nathan Lebsock will be at the 2-guard and Matt Lee will get the start in the post. From there, it’s anybody’s guess.

I found a little bit on Daniel Casey on the Internet and, from what I found, he seems like a legit pickup. The 6-foot-7, 210-pound Australian averaged 15 points and 8 rebounds a game for the Willetton Tigers of the Western Australian amateur league (think of it like an American college league). Those are decent numbers at any level. It may take him a little bit to adjust to the American style of play, but if he does that quickly, he could make an impact. DSU assistant coach Mark Svagera called Casey a “hard-nosed player,” with potential. Willetton’s website listed Casey as a small forward, but Svagera said the coaches plan is for Casey to make the move to the post.

For the most part, we know what Morey and Boos are capable of doing on the court. They’re going to play right away, that’s already been established. The hope is that Morey can get acquainted with DSU’s system fast enough — to his credit, he’s been playing in uncoached pick-up games with Hawks players and alums since he signed in April — so he can take over the point guard spot vacated by Brian Lebsock.

If Morey doesn’t come along quick enough at the point, or gravitates more toward the 2 or 3 spot, look for the Hurd brothers to make a play for the starting lineup.

Jeff Hurd is a 6-2 junior point guard and Tevin Hurd is a junior college transfer who appears to be the answer to at least one of the two open forward spots. Tevin is 6-6 and, Orton says, is as athletic as they come at the NAIA level.

Brown will be another point guard looking for time, but because he’ll be just a true freshman, expect this quick ball-handler to come off the bench.

A couple of veteran guards, John Hanstad and Ryan Kittleson, will vie playing time and starting spots as well. Hanstad started a handful of games late in the 09-10 season and could very well find his way in there again.

Giving DSU some depth at the forward spot will be Fagerlund, Thomas and Hansen, a transfer from Williston State College. Dynesson will join the team as soon as football season ends. As a true freshman last season, Big Carl gave DSU some good size off the bench in limited minutes.

An interesting story from the summer has been Destry Sterkel, a 6-10 center who has lost about 25 pounds. Sterkel is a great kid who has always been a big dude and spent last year as a grayshirt, not suiting up for a game. Despite his size, Sterkel has a really good stroke from 15 feet and in. He’s not the fleetest of foot, however, and that hurts him in Orton’s system. He has been doing offseason workouts with housemates Hanstad and Fagerlund, doing whatever he can to crack the lineup. Even if Sterkel can get on the court in a role that would see him play anywhere from 5 to 7 minutes a game, it would be worth it. Plus, it wouldn’t hurt to have a 6-10, Shaq-esque guy clogging up the paint on defense every once in a while.

While the talent level appears to be down from last season, don’t be quick to jump to conclusions. Last year, Orton did wonders with a team that lost one of its top recruits before the year was over and another halfway through the season. It’s a big reason why Dakota Athletic Conference coaches named him their Coach of the Year.

Orton’s big plan from this offseason was to get as many true freshmen into the system as he could. It had been the team’s most difficult struggle since he arrived and now he hopes to build a foundation around guys like Morey, Boos, Casey, Brown, Thomas and the potential redshirts.

If you’ve read this long, you probably want to see my thoughts on a potential Day 1 starting lineup.

PG – Robbie Morey
SG – Nathan Lebsock
SF – John Hanstad
PF – Tevin Hurd
C – Matt Lee

I see DSU beginning the year with a three-guard lineup that would put Hanstad in at the 3 spot simply because of his experience. This also allows them to continue bringing Fagerlund and Kittleson off the bench alongside Jeff Hurd and the freshman.


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