BEMIDJI, Minn. – The Bemidji State University men’s basketball team silenced doubters in 2012-13 under first-year head coach Mike Boschee, posted an 18-12 overall record and won six of its last seven games to make an appearance in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference/Sanford Health Tournament Championship game for the first time in program history.
After losing four starters that averaged 46.5 of 70.3 points per game in 2012-13, the league coaches have deemed BSU a rebuilding program and placed it 12th in the preseason coaches’ poll. A fair assessment, as Boschee begins his second season as bench boss and has brought in 10 newcomers – seven of which are true freshmen – to fill the void.
“I don’t think my expectations will change too much from year to year,” Boschee said. “I expect our guys to play in big games and compete for championships. If we continue to improve on a regular basis, good things should happen.”
The success of the team will be heavily dependent on the success of the senior class, primarily four-year Beavers Zach Noreen, Maxie Rosenbloom and Jake Schalow. Noreen is the lone starter and top scoring threat returning after posting 9.7 points per game as a junior. Rosenbloom was named the team’s defensive player of the year, while Schalow improved his defensive skills as the season went on to see more playing time down the stretch. He was the leading 3-point shooter last season, knocking down shots from beyond the arc at a 46.2 percent clip.
“As those seniors go, our season will go, to a certain extent,” Boschee said. “All three have stepped up their leadership qualities considerably from a year ago, which needs to happen. I’m excited to work with them this year and I’m excited to see what they can accomplish in their last go around.”
In addition to seven true freshmen, Boschee added three junior college transfers he hopes can step in immediately to help continue to the success of a Beaver program that has won 18 or more games in each of the last two seasons.
Devin Bey will see time at the one, two or even three position after transferring from Lassen Community College in California. He posted 13.3 points, 5.5 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 2.5 steals per game to help the Cougars to an overall record of 23-9 last season.
DJ Hervy is a true point guard and comes to BSU after averaging 9.4 points and 3.9 assists per game to help guide Moraine Valley Community College (Illinois) to a National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region IV Championship and an appearance in the Division II Championship game in 2012-13.
Brock Lutes spent a season at Iowa Western Community College before averaging 15.0 points and 6.3 rebounds per game and earning Southern Region First Team honors at Clackamas Community College (Oregon) last season. He is in line to start at the small forward position.
“The transfers we brought in are obviously here to fill the voids and scoring roles left by the players lost to graduation,” Boschee commented. “They are still new to the system and learning things, but I feel like the transition has been pretty good so far. They seem willing to learn and hungry to play.
“I think all the newcomers will fit in very well. They are good guys who love to play. It’s refreshing to have players who don’t want to get off the court. The struggle with having so many new guys is they don’t know the system. For the most part it has been pretty smooth. I’m confident everyone will learn the system before too long, feel comfortable and start playing instead of thinking about what should be taking place on the court.”
A leader at the point guard position will be senior Michael Farrington, who transferred to BSU last season. He played in 28 games and averaged 13.4 minutes per game.
“Michael is a tough, aggressive player that brings a defensive intensity that this group really needs,” Boschee said. “I think he is making strides in his offensive ability, not only with his ability to make shots, but to make correct decisions in all situations.”
Also seeing starting time at the point will be Hervy and Bey. Off the bench, senior Brock Tesdahl (15 career games) and freshman Pat Fischer (Sartell, Minn.) will see time.
Schalow leads the group at shooting guard after guiding the team in 3-point percentage a season ago. He played in 26 games and averaged 3.1 points in 10.4 minutes per game.
“Jake has improved his overall game considerably,” Boschee said. “A year ago you may have just seen a shooter, but now you will see more playmaking ability and a much-improved defensive player.”
Bey and freshman Scott Litchy (Avon, Minn.) are also possibilities at the two spot.
Lutes leads the group at the three, while freshman Cody Risseeuw (Clinton, Wis.) will find minutes at the three and possibly the four spot. Freshman Michael Jacobsen (Wishek, N.D.) will be another option at the two or three.
Noreen and Rosenbloom will see considerable time in the post at the four and five positions. Noreen averaged 22.7 minutes per game and shot 47.6 percent from the field with a 39.2 percentage from beyond the arc. Rosenbloom served as the sixth-man a season ago. He played in all 30 games and averaged 5.1 points, 3.9 rebounds and 0.7 blocks in 19.7 minutes per game.
“Noreen has improved a great deal from a year ago and will be a player we will count on quite a bit,” Boschee said.
“Maxie had a great spring after the season last year,” Boschee added. “He was our top defensive player and an opportunistic offensive player, but I think you will see a changed offensive player this season.”
After Noreen and Rosenbloom, the forward and post positions are up for grabs.
Returner junior Dillon Floyd has paid his dues and will be ready to contribute on both ends of the floor after playing in just 3.0 and 1.8 minutes per game, respectfully, in his first two seasons. Mixing in underneath will be freshmen Ben Best (Drummond, Wis.), Ellwood Ellenson (Rice Lake, Wis.) and Shane White (Rhinelander, Wis.).
The Beavers prided themselves on defense a season ago under Boschee. BSU allowed 66.3 points per game to rank fourth in the NSIC. BSU’s perimeter defense was solid, as the team finished fourth in the league after allowing its opponents to shoot 33.2 percent from beyond the arc. Bemidji State finished third in the conference in steals with 7.5 takeaways per game.
“I expect we should be a pretty good defensive team with the talent we have out there,” Boschee said. “I expect our guards and wings to get out there and work, while our bigs provide a solid foundation in the middle.”
The time for practicing against each other and talking about the season will end Nov. 13 when the Beavers officially begin the 2013-14 season with a home contest against Mayville State University beginning at 8 p.m.
The contest begins a four-game nonconference homestand, while the NSIC season tips Nov. 30 at University of Minnesota Crookston. The game against UMC opens the 22-game NSIC schedule.
The regular season champion will be based on the 22-game NSIC schedule. Each team will play teams in their division twice (14) and teams in the other division once (8). An NSIC North and South Division Champion will be awarded. Divisional standings will also be based on all 22 NSIC contests played. In the case of a tie, co-champions will be awarded. The 16-team NSIC/Sanford Health Men's Basketball Tournament Quarterfinals, Semifinals and Championships are set to take place Sat.-Tues., March 1-4 at the Sanford Health Pentagon in Sioux Falls, S.D. First round games will be played on the campus of the top eight seeds Wed., Feb. 26.
For more information on the Bemidji State men’s basketball program, follow the Beavers on Twitter (@BSUHoops or @BSUBeavers), like them on Facebook (facebook.com/Bemidji-State-Basketball or facebook.com/BSUBeavers) or sign up for the TXTUpdates from BSUBeavers.com text-messaging system through the "Mulitmedia" pull down menu on the main page of BSUBeavers.com.
Nestled in Northern Minnesota’s wooded region and located on the shore of Lake Bemidji, Bemidji State University sponsors 15 varsity athletic programs with NCAA Division I men’s and women’s hockey membership in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, while its 13 NCAA Division II programs hold membership in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC).