Bemidji State men picked seventhn in 2006 NSIC Coaches' Poll
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Bemidji State men’s basketball team has been picked to finish seventh in the 2006 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Preseason Coaches' Poll and junior forward Alex Smith (Miami, Fla.) was named a Preseason Player to Watch, the league office announced today.

It is no surprise, defending NCAA Division II National Champion and 2005-06 NSIC regular-season and tournament champion Winona State University earned a unanimous vote by the league's coaches to garner 90 points and first place in the poll. Northern State University, the conference regular-season and tournament runner-up, collected 77 points for second place while Southwest Minnesota State University and Wayne State College (Neb.) finished in third and fourth with 73 and 71 points respectively. WSC garnered the only other first place vote.

Just one point separated fifth place Concordia University-St. Paul (51) from Minnesota State University Moorhead (50) in sixth before BSU's 41 points landed it in seventh in front of NSIC newcomers University of Mary (35) and Upper Iowa University (27). The University of Minnesota, Crookston rounded out the field with 25 points for 10th place in the poll.

In the same release, the coaches selected Winona State's John Smith as the Preseason Player of the Year in the league.

The 2005-06 First Team All-NSIC selection and Preseason First Team All-American earned a unanimous vote as the NSIC's top player after leading WSU to the national championship last spring.

As a sophomore, he paced the conference in rebounding and blocks while ranking third in the league with 16.6 points per game.

Ten other student-athletes were recognized in the poll as Preseason Players to Watch. BSU junior forward Smith appeared on the list.

The Miami, Fla. native saw time in 24 games last winter earning a start in four. He totaled 27 points, 35 rebounds, four blocks and three steals in 7.7 minutes per game.

In addition to Smith, the 2006-07 version off the Beavers return James Gibson (So., G, Miami, Fla.) and Guy Falkenhagen (Jr., F, Orange County, Calif.) from a roster that finished the 2005-06 season in sole possession of third place in the final conference standings.

First-year head coach Matt Bowen has assembled the remainder of his team and has 10 days of practice under his belt in preparation of the exhibition opener Nov. 3 at the University of Minnesota.

BSU officially gets its 2006-07 season underway with a Nov. 15th tilt at University of Minnesota Duluth.

The Bemidji State men are coming off of a season in which they posted a 15-13 overall and were 9-5 in NSIC play. The team's third place finish when coupled with a 2003-04 NSIC championship and runner-up finish in 2004-05, marks the first time the Beavers have strung together three consecutive top-three finishes.

2006-07 Preseason NSIC Coaches Poll
1. Winona State - 90 (9)
2. Northern State - 77
3. Southwest Minnesota State - 73
4. Wayne State - 71 (1)
5. Concordia-St. Paul - 51
6. MSU-Moorhead - 50
7. Bemidji State - 41
8. Mary (N.D.) - 35
9. Upper Iowa - 27
10. Minnesota,Crookston - 25
() First place votes

2006-07 NSIC Preseason Player of the Year
John Smith (Jr., F, Winona State)