Bemidji State men picked thirteenth in NSIC Preseason Poll
Wednesday, October 22, 2008

ST. PAUL, Minn. - The Bemidji State men’s basketball team has been picked to finish thirteenth in the 2008-09 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Preseason Coaches’ Poll, while junior forward Sergej Baskow (Ludwigsburg, Germany) was named a Preseason Player to Watch, the league office announced today.

League newcomer, Minnesota State edged out Northern State and defending NCAA DII National Champion Winona State for the top spot in the poll as the Mavericks gathered seven out of fourteen first place votes. MSU totaled 176 points while Northern State came in second with 169 points and five first place votes with Winona State holding down the third slot in the poll with 169 points and two first place votes.

Augustana held down the fourth spot with 139 points while St. Cloud State was close behind in the fifth spot with 131 points, respectively.Minnesota Duluth edged Southwest Minnesota State for the sixth spot by the narrowest of margins. The Bulldogs garnered 118 total points while the Mustangs slid into seventh with 116 points.

Concordia-St. Paul (103), Wayne State (Neb.) (76), and Minnesota State University, Moorhead (69) rounded out the top ten. Upper Iowa (68) and the University of Mary (55) were picked eleventh and twelfth before BSU’s 51 points landed it in thirteenth in front of Minnesota, Crookston (26) who rounded out the poll.

Northern State’s Kevin Ratzsch (Sr., F, Bloomington, Ill.) took home the honor of 2008-09 Preseason Player of the Year. The 2008-09 Second Team Street & Smith’s Preseason All-American finished fourth in the conference in scoring last season with 16.8 points per game. The two time First Team All-NSIC selection led the Wolves on the defensive side of the ball with 33 steals and 44 blocks and has already surpassed 1,000 points in his career at Northern State. At the conclusion of his junior campaign, Ratzsch was also named to the North Central All-Region Tournament Team and was named to the NABC Division II All-North Central District First Team.

Thirteen other student-athletes were recognized in the poll as Preseason Players to Watch. BSU junior forward Sergej Baskow appeared on the list for the first time of his career.

The Ludwigsburg, Germany native saw time in 25 games last winter. He was fifth on the team averaging 7.4 ppg and was third among his teammates with 3.8 rpg in 15.3 minutes per game. He was second in field goal percentage shooting .476 (70-147) and third in block shots with fifteen blocked shots on the season (0.6 b/g). Baskow netted a career-high 18 points versus the University of Mary (1/12/08) on 3-of-4 form the field and 11-of-13 from the free-throw line.

Bemidji State returns eleven players from a team that finished ninth in the NSIC with a record of 6-21 overall and 3-15 in conference play. Third-year head coach Matt Bowen also added four new players all of who are incoming freshman for the upcoming season.

The Beavers will have its first test of the 2008-09 season on Nov. 11 when the team travels to Bloomington, Ind. for an exhibition match-up with Indiana University at 7 p.m. BSU will open its season on Nov. 18 when the Beavers host Jamestown College at 7 p.m. from the BSU Gymnasium.

2008-09 Preseason NSIC Coaches Poll
1. Minnesota State - 176 (7)
2. Northern State - 169 (5)
3. Winona State - 159 (2)
4. Augustana College - 139
5. St. Cloud State - 131
6. Minnesota Duluth - 118
7. Southwest Minnesota State - 116
8. Concordia-St. Paul - 103
9. Wayne State - 76
10. MSU Moorhead - 69
11. Upper Iowa - 68
12. University of Mary - 55
13. Bemidji State - 51
14. Minnesota, Crookston - 26

2008-09 NSIC Preseason Player of the Year
Kevin Ratzsch (Sr., F, Northern State)