It’s safe to say that expectations are high for the Black Hills State University Men’s Basketball team this upcoming season. With all five starters returning from a team that finished with a BHSU record 30 wins and made it to the National Semi-Finals, there is good reason why. Any liklehood of sneaking up on their opponents are gone, replaced by a huge target on their back. “This is what we worked for when we started building this program,” says Head Coach Paul Sather, “If we want to be a great team, we need to learn how to be successful with high expectations going into the season.”
Fortunately for the Yellow Jackets they not only return three All-Americans in junior forward Luke Enos (2nd Team), junior guard Cain Atkinson (Honorable Mention), and center Will John Johnson (Honorable Mention), they also have junior starting point guard Spencer Childress (2nd in Nation Assist to TO ratio) and junior Clay Pottorff (12ppg) to build off of last season’s success. Junior guard Travis Haney, sophomore forward Rob Johnson and sophomore forward Matt Tasset bring a wealth of experience from last season and are expected to have an increased role for this season. Coach Sather is excited about the experience returning, “we have a special chemistry with this group that will continue to improve…and that should be our goal, to build from last season and to improve daily throughout this season.”
There are some newcomers to the 2009-10 Yellow Jacket squad that could make an immediate impact this season. Senior post Jon Ferrie, a transfer from Dordt College, brings great experience and size to the Jackets, and should add a post presence in the paint. Tanner Adler, a Lead/Deadwood standout brings versatility and size to the guards. At 6’5”, Tanner will play anything from a small forward to back up point guard. Craig VonAllman is another big guard, 6’4”, that brings great range from the arc, but also is a tenacious rebounder and defender. Both Tanner and Craig can score from most anywhere on the floor, and along with Ferrie, will have a tremendous impact for the Yellow Jackets this season.
Other players that could possibly make an impact this season if asked, but will more likely red-shirt are freshmen Jordan Dolph (Parker, CO), Cameron Anderson (Gillette, WY), and Tyler Mutchler (Newell, SD). These young players are a huge part of the future of Yellow Jacket basketball and only because of experienced returners, will be asked to red-shirt their first year…making them freshmen for the 2010-2011 season. Freshmen walk-ons Derek Labahn, JC Samuelson, and Kade Blair round off the Yellow Jacket roster and will play a vital role each day in practice with their attitude and work ethic.
“We’re excited about the great opportunity we have this year to represent Black Hills State University, the city of Spearfish, and the Black Hills area,” says Coach Sather. “These student-athletes are much more than just good basketball players, they are quality people that are here to get a degree, and represent our University with great pride. It’s a pleasure to work with them each day.”