Bemidji State to open 2002-03 campaign with five road games
Monday, November 18, 2002
Friday, Nov. 22 @ Valley City State 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 23 @ Jamestown 7:00 p.m.

In season lid-lifters since the 1956-57 season, Bemidji State is 26-20 including three straight victories. The last time the Beavers began a season with five straight road matches was the 1998-99 season when they went 2-3. One of those wins came against Valley City State. Also, BSU defeated Valley City State to open up the 1999-2000 campaign on the road.

If a fan were to look back at the 2001-02 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Preseason Coaches Poll, BSU was picked to finish ninth. The Beavers surprised many critics by coming up one game short of winning the crown in a season-ending defeat to Winona State and instead tied for third in the league and going 17-11 overall. BSU closed out the campaign by winning eight of its final ten, including seven straight. Head coach Jeff Guiot, who is in his second season at BSU and has brought Division I talent with him from his coaching stint at Southern Utah, does not express any concern when looking at the prospects for 2002-03.

"We have some pretty good talent here and now it is our job to make that all come together," said Guiot.

"I think that we are good on paper but that doesn’t mean anything. Last year, we were preseason picked ninth and if we won our last home game we would have won it. So preseason stuff doesn’t mean too much.”

Usually a squad's back court is where most of the leadership comes from in the form of point guards and BSU is no exception. Senior guards Royce Bryan (Haviland, Kan.) and Stan Johnson (Taylorsville, Utah) will be called upon to be the floor generals as they are also the 2002-03 team captains.

Guiot comments on their value to the Beaver squad.

"They are good players but they were chosen captains because of who they are and not necessarily because of their basketball talent. Their character, work ethic and demeanor is why they are captains. Both of them are great students; they are just the total package. I would go to war with any one of those guys and they are our most consistent players day in and day out of practice."

Bryan was the BSU play maker last season as he led the league with 5.18 assists per contest and set the school's game (11) and single-season mark for assists (145). Johnson, who transferred from Division I Southern Utah, brings championship-caliber experience having appeared in SUU's national tournament game in 2000-01.

When looking at scoring, the Beavers will more than likely look to junior forward Charles Hanks (Chicago, Ill.). A first-team all-conference pick and Newcomer of the Year a season ago, Hanks was second in the NSIC in scoring at a 17.8 clip and seventh with 6.2 boards per game in his first season at BSU.

“Hanks is our most multi-dimensional player," said Guiot. "He can post guys up and step out and shoot the three and take guys off the dribble. He has improved and gotten stronger over the summer. I feel he causes a lot of people (match-up) problems."

Two other post players with size that Guiot has high expectations for are senior center Ben Caron (Bemidji, Minn.) and junior forward Justin Bessler (Laporte, Minn.). After a three-year hiatus from the competitive scene, Caron returns after playing three seasons as a Beaver from 1996-1999. He was a force in the post with a career scoring average of 11.6. He adds 4.5 rebounds per game and shot the ball at a .548 mark (340-620). Meanwhile, Bessler was a solid rebounder for two seasons at Hibbing Community College as he was 14th in NJCAA Div. III with 10.79 rebounds per game last season.

A guy coming in this season with Division I experience is 6-11 senior center Chris Wallin (Mesa, Ariz.). Wallin was part of a NCAA tournament team at Southern Utah University in 2000-01 with BSU teammate Stan Johnson as he was the team's field goal percentage leader (81.6%).

"Ben Caron is coming back and he is going to strengthen our rebounding," said Guiot. "Also, we picked up Bessler. He and Ben are two local kids and Wallin gives us some size. So we got more size this year and those three guys will give us not only rebounding, but the ability to score and get to the foul line more.”

Last season, the Beavers may have opened a few eyes with their success on the basketball court. Bemidji State tallied the most conference wins in school history (13). In addition, the 17 overall wins is the most since the 1972-73 season (19) and the .607 winning percentage is the best mark since the 1973-74 season (.667) - a streak of 28 seasons. The campaign ended with BSU seeded third in the conference tournament and an appearance in the second round. The preseason polls showed BSU finishing second in the league, the highest pick in school history.

Junior forward Charles Hanks (Chicago, Ill.) is back to improve on a break-out season from 2001-02. The South Plains (TX) C.C. transfer was a All-Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference first-team pick and was selected as the 2001-02 NSIC Newcomer of the Year. Hanks ranked in the top 15 in the conference in several statistical categories: second in points/game (17.8), seventh in rebounds/game (6.2) and field goal % (51%); eighth in blocks/game (0.80) and 15th in steals/game (1.3). In addition, Hanks reached double figures for points in 25 of the 28 games including 11 times with 20+ points. Twice, Hanks was recognized as the conference player of the week. Overall, Bemidji State was 8-3 when Hanks went over the 20-point barrier last season. Due to his performance last campaign, the league coaches have selected him as a 2002-03 Player to Watch in preseason voting.

It is safe to say that when the Beaver squad is running on all cylinders, senior guard Royce Bryan (Haviland, Kan.) is on the court. The 2002-03 team captain enters this campaign as the school’s single game record holder with 11 assists against UM-Crookston (2/2/02) and the best mark for season assists (145). Bryan was tops on the team with 60 steals and led the league with 5.18 assists a contest, a .860 free throw percentage (80-93) and was fifth in steals a game with 2.14. Bryan, who played one year each at Neosho County (KS) C.C. and South Plains (TX) C.C. before his arrival at BSU, ranked 21st in NCAA Division II with a an 86.0% free throw clip and 32nd in assists per game in 2001-02. Overall, the Beavers were 11-5 when Bryan had 5+ assists.

Two players are currently nipping at the doorstep for a few career records at BSU. Senior center Ben Caron (Bemidji, Minn.) is back playing for the Beaver green after taking a three-year hiatus. Caron is 273 points from breaking into the top-ten career scoring list and needs just 94 rebounds to take over the tenth spot in rebounding. The best point total in a season for Caron was 341 in 1996-97 and Caron notched 130 rebounds as a junior. After taking over the top spot for season assists at BSU with 145, senior point guard Royce Bryan (Haviland, Kan.) is 28 dimes shy of sliding into the tenth spot for career assists.

Top Career Scoring Totals
1. 2,034 David Lee 1984-88
2. 1462 Mac Smith 1997-01
3. 1,410 Mark Carlin 1963-67
4. 1,361 Scott Kramer 1991-94
5. 1,335 Tony Brown 1986-91
6. 1,272 Frank Kopetka 1972-75
7. 1,251 Steve Vogel 1975-78
8. 1,222 Irv St. John 1950-54
9. 1,190 David Muelken 1984-88
10. 1,158 Dale Harper 1983-87
885 Ben Caron 1996-99, 2002-SA

Top Career Rebounding Totals
1. 694 Steve Vogel 1975-78
2. 654 Mac Smith 1997-01
3. 639 Scott Kramer 1991-94
4. 613 Gary Wagner 1970-73
5. 590 Randy Gross 1970-74
6. 538 Dale Harper 1983-87
7. 498 Mike Silk 1970-73
8. 467 Brian Weierke 1987-91
9. 455 Jim Allen 1973-76
10. 454 David Lee 1984-88
360 Ben Caron 1996-99, 2002-SA

Top Career Assist Totals (1976-Present)
1. 314 David Lee 1984-88
2. 247 Tony Brown 1987-91
3. 233 Teaser Sweeney 1989-93
4. 212 B.J. LaVelle 1996-99
5. 207 Brian Weierke 1987-91
6. 200 Kevin Nichols 1991-92, ‘93-94
7. 190 David Heiss 1983-85
8. 183 David Muelken 1984-88
9. 176 Steve South 1991-95
10. 173 Todd Fazio 1996-98
145 Royce Bryan 2001-SA

ALL-TIME SERIES: vs. VCSU 14-16 // vs. JC 12-9
Valley City State and Bemidji State have met each of the past eight seasons with seven of those meetings taking place before BSU played six games. Bemidji State has had the upper hand of late against Valley City State in winning five in a row including the last two on the road. The Beavers are 3-10 all-time on the road against VCSU. In last season’s 71-69 win in Bemidji, Charles Hanks netted 20 points on 8-14 shooting. BSU rumbled back from a 39-24 half-time margin as it went on a 20-11 spurt in the final seven minutes of regulation.

BSU has taken the last three contests with Jamestown and is 4-6 all-time in Jamestown, N.D.. The last meeting between the two clubs was Feb. 17, 1992 in Jamestown as BSU was victorious 89-87. Two of the last three contests has seen Bemidji State score at least 100 points.

vs. Valley City State (2-2, 0-0 DAC-10)
The Vikings are under the direction of second-year head coach Adam DeHaan. He has posted a 12-21 (.364) record after VCSU went 10-19 last year. The Vikings own 28 Dakota Athletics Conference-10 championships, the last one taking place in 1991. Last season, Valley City State went 6-12 in the league.
Two starters return from 2001-02 and six veterans dot the line-up for DeHaan. In their most recent action, the Vikings dropped a 66-54 affair to Dordt College on Saturday.

All-DAC-10 guard Austin McCullough averaged 16.4 ppg and set school records in 3-point field goals made (87) and free-throw percentage (88.5%) last season. Post-player in Jon Oatis scored 7.7 points per contest and grabbed 4.6 rebounds per game last year to compliment the play of team captain Todd MacIver (17.1 mpg, 2.4 ppg, 2.6 rpg).

vs. Jamestown College (2-0, 0-0 DAC-10)
Head coach Brad Huse is in his seventh season and sports a 125-52 (.706) record. Last season, the Jimmies were seeded sixth in the NAIA National Tournament after winning the conference crown. They were knocked out in the second round by #11 Mid-American Nazarene, 75-70.

So far in 2002-03, JC defeated Trinity Bible College, 107-41 Nov. 11, and took Crown College down, 74-55 on Saturday. One starter returns from the 27-6 club a year ago. Junior forward Brandon Wilkens, who was a 2001-02 third-team all-conference pick, brings averages of 11.6 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 54 total blocks and 39 three-pointers into this year. Senior forward Eddrin Williams (4.8 ppg, 2.6 rpg) and junior guard Benny Fregela (4.6 ppg) will add some leadership as well.

One season is all head coach Jeff Guiot needed to put a successful product on the basketball court. In his inaugural year at BSU last season, Guiot guided the Beavers to their most conference wins in school history (13). In addition, the 17 overall wins is the most since the 1972-73 season (19) and the .607 winning percentage is the best mark since the 1973-74 season (.667) - a streak of 28 seasons. The campaign ended with BSU seeded third in the conference tournament and an appearance in the second round.

The Chanute, Kan., product was previously the assistant coach at Southern Utah University in 2000-01. Prior to joining the Southern Utah coaching staff in the fall of 2000, Guiot had served as the head coach at Neosho County Community College in Chanute, KS. In his seven years at Neosho, his teams compiled a 164-60 record, won four conference championships and made seven consecutive playoff appearances.
His records at NCCC include highest winning percentage (73 percent), most consecutive 20-win seasons (five), most wins at the school, and most post-season wins. Twice named Jayhawk Conference Coach of the Year, Guiot coached three All-Americans and six Academic All-Americans at the school, which was the 2000 NJCAA National Academic Team of the Year.

Guiot received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Pittsburg (KS) State University, where he was an All-American and all-conference player as he led the nation in free throw percentage in 1986.
Helping Guiot on the bench is seventh-year assistant Doug Peters, first-year graduate assistant Jon Szwaja and first-year student assistant Fred Swanson.