Oct 15th, 2001 @ 9:32 pm | Author: Viking Basketball
The Viking men’s basketball team will be led by first year coach, Adam DeHaan. He takes over a program steeped in tradition. The Vikings own 28 conference championships and 3 NAIA National Championship appearances. The Vikings will look to improve on a 7-21 season, finishing last in the DAC-10 a year ago.
DeHaan is enthused about the season stating, "We have a solid mix of returnees and newcomers. The challenge for the team will be to gel early while learning a new system. We are committed to Viking tradition and work hard to build a collective purpose."
Senior captain, Steve Strittmatter (Oriska), will act as a foreman on the rebuilding project. The 6-4 post averaged 8.1ppg as a junior. Another senior, David Trett (Sioux Falls, SD), suffered a broken foot in early October. Trett, a 6-2 guard, is doubtful for the season. Trett returns the highest scoring average at 9.6ppg. 6-5 Matt Moen (Fosston, MN) saw extensive action last year as a junior transfer from Northland Community College. He will be counted on to assume a large role at the small forward after averaging 6.0ppg a year ago. Moen’s teammate from Northland, Jason Pinkney (Pompano Beach, FL), played in every game last year contributing 2.6ppg. Pinkney brings enthusiasm and work ethic to the post rotation.
Three underclassmen also return and are expected to compete for roles. 6-0 sophomore point guard, Josh Schriver (Glendive, MT), has worked hard in fall work-outs. Schriver appeared in 15 games as a freshman. Todd MacIver (Wahpeton, ND) is another worker who pushes his teammates to improve. MacIver, a 6-2 junior guard, was voted the MVP of the junior varsity team as a sophomore. Steve Battle (Cocoa, FL) is expected to add athleticism to the roster when he reports for duty after the football season. An NAIA All-American receiver, Battle averaged 9.0ppg at his guard position last season.
A host of transfers will join the returning players. Paul Henderson, a 5-10 point guard hailing from Brooklyn, New York will be counted on to provide energy at the point guard position. Despite a broken hand, Henderson averaged 12.8ppg and was selected to the Foothill All-Conference team. Dawson Community College teammates Jon Oatis (Gulfport, MS) and Austin McCullough (Jefferson City, MT) will add scoring punch to the line-up. Oatis, a 6-4 power forward, averaged 12 points and 7 rebounds a contest while at Dawson on his way to an all MonDak selection. McCullough, a 6-2 guard connected on 67 3-point field goals and averaged 10 points a game.
Big Ed Meyer (6-8, 240lbs) also arrives to the Viking roster. Meyer (Minneapolis, MN) played a large role in the Minneapolis Community Technical College 26-1 season last year averaging 6.8ppg and 4.1 rebounds. Another Minnesota product, Joel Giles (Prior Lake, MN) competed at Vermillion Community College last year, knocking off Meyer and MCTC to go to the NJCAA III National Tournament. While there, Giles (6-0) connected on 21 3-point field goals on his way to being selected to the all-tournament team.
Two freshmen posts throw their hats into the mix as well. Brodie Blanchard (Kindred) brings raw athleticism to the Vikings. The 6-6 Blanchard aveaged 10 points and 7 rebounds his senior year at Kindred. Ryan Samuelson (6-8) led the Bertha-Hewitt (MN) Bears to a 20-4 record last season. He averaged 14.9 points, 5.5 blocks, and 8.9 rebounds as a senior. He was a 3-time team MVP and Park Region All-Conference selection.
Improving the defense is priority number one for the Vikings after giving up 82 points a contest last year. "Effort and desire are the first two criteria to earn a spot in the rotation," DeHaan stated. "We need to have tremendous energy and passion for the game to climb the conference ladder."
The Vikings will be tested on their opener, November 9, when the University of Sioux Falls visits Valley City. The schedule remains tough throughout the non-conference schedule with the Vikings playing six NCAA Division II contests.
DeHaan expects the University of Mary, Dickinson State, and Jamestown College to lead the conference pack, but doesn’t discount anyone saying, "The DAC-10 is a tough league. Chemistry, injuries, and who’s hot make this anyone’s conference title."
About the Viking’s prospects DeHaan was optimistic, "We’ve got guys who can put the ball in the basket. By valuing the ball every possession and playing defense, we will put ourselves in a position to win games. We fully expect to battle every night and move up in the conference standings."