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Bison Men Picked to Top Summit League - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Bison Men Picked to Top Summit League

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From Summit League News Release -

ELMHURST, Ill. – North Dakota State is the favorite to win the 2013-14 Summit League Basketball Championship according to the annual preseason poll of league coaches, SIDs and media. The Bison received 25-of-28 first-place votes after finishing as runner-up at the 2012 Summit League Tournament. Head coach Saul Phillips returns all five starters and 11 of 12 letter winners from last season's squad that finished 24-10 overall and 12-4 in Summit League play.             

NDSU guard Taylor Braun, a two-time All-Summit League selection, was the preseason choice for Player of the Year. The senior averaged 15.4 points, 5.2 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.5 steals per game and scored in double-figures in 21 of 24 games played during the 2012-13 season. After missing 10 contests with a broken foot from mid-January to late February, Braun returned from injury to record a 27-point performance in The Summit League Tournament quarterfinals and 11 assists in the College Basketball Invitational first round game. He earned first team All-Summit League honors as a sophomore in 2011-12.

League newcomer Denver, which earned a share of the 2012-13 WAC regular season title and posted a first-round NIT victory last March, earned the remaining three first-place votes to finish second in the poll with 260 points. South Dakota State, the two-time defending Summit League Tournament champion, placed third with 233 points. Last season's regular season co-champion, Western Illinois, was fourth in the voting. Omaha, Fort Wayne, South Dakota and IUPUI rounded out the poll.

NDSU placed a league-high three players on the all-league team with Braun, Lawrence Alexander (10.8 ppg, 3.6 apg in '12-13) and Marshall Bjorklund (11.5 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 2nd in NCAA with 66.7 FG%) all receiving first-team nods. Joining the Bison trio on the preseason All-Summit League first team are South Dakota State's Jordan Dykstra (12.5 ppg, 7.9 rpg), Omaha's Justin Simmons (16.7 ppg, 4.0 rpg) and Denver's Chris Udofia (13.3 ppg, 4.5 rpg).

Second-team selections included five players from five different schools: South Dakota's Trevor Gruis (12.3 ppg, 6.1 rpg), Fort Wayne's Luis Jacobo (11.4 ppg, 4.2 rpg), Western Illinois' Adam Link (9.9 ppg, 4.1 rpg), Denver's Brett Olson (11.4 ppg, .434 3FG%) and IUPUI's Mitch Patton (13.7 ppg, 5.0 rpg, .582 FG%).

The Summit League is coming off a 2012-13 season that featured several tournament attendance records, a pair of NCAA statistical champions and the league's highest individual All-American honor. The Summit League achieved a top-20 RPI finish (19th) and featured two top-100 RPI teams for the second consecutive year.

Nov. 8 marks the beginning of the 2013-14 season and the 14-game double round-robin Summit League schedule starts Jan. 9. The 2014 Summit League Basketball Championships will be held March 8-11, the sixth consecutive year in Sioux Falls, S.D.

2013-14 SUMMIT LEAGUE MEN'S BASKETBALL PRESEASON POLL

Rk

Team (1st)

Pts.

1.

North Dakota State (25)

305

2.

Denver (3)

260

3.

South Dakota State

233

4.

Western Illinois

161

5.

Omaha

130

6.

Fort Wayne

120

7.

South Dakota

102

8.

IUPUI

  81

PRESEASON ALL-LEAGUE

First Team

Name

School

Pos.

Ht.

Yr.

Lawrence Alexander

North Dakota State

G

6-3

Jr.

Marshall Bjorklund

North Dakota State

F

6-8

Sr.

Taylor Braun

North Dakota State

G

6-7

Sr.

Jordan Dykstra

South Dakota State

F

6-8

Sr.

Justin Simmons

Omaha

G

6-3

Sr.

Chris Udofia

Denver

F

6-6

Sr.

Second Team

Name

School

Pos.

Ht.

Yr.

Trevor Gruis

South Dakota

C

6-10

Sr.

Luis Jacobo

Fort Wayne

F

6-5

Sr.

Adam Link

Western Illinois

F

6-6

Sr.

Brett Olson

Denver

G

6-5

Jr.

Mitch Patton

IUPUI

C

6-9

Sr.

Preseason Player of the Year: Taylor Braun, North Dakota State   

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