Saturday's exhibition game will be the first open door contest of the season for the Golden Eagles after a closed-door scrimmage last week against Lake Region State College.
The University of Minnesota Crookston men’s basketball team will open up the 2017-18 season with an exhibition tilt against Drake University Sat., Nov. 4 at 1 p.m. at the Knapp Center in Des Moines, Iowa.
Saturday’s exhibition game will be the first open door contest of the season for the Golden Eagles after a closed-door scrimmage last week against Lake Region State College.
Minnesota Crookston posted an 8-20 (7-15 NSIC) mark last season. The Golden Eagles return an experienced, but young squad. Minnesota Crookston will look to 2016-17 NSIC Freshman of the Year Harrison Cleary (So., G, Oak Creek, Wis.). Cleary shattered season records for points, field goals and free throws last season. He notched 17.5 points per game and shot 41.8 percent from beyond the arc on his way to All-NSIC Second Team honors. Cleary was also named Division II Bulletin All-Freshman and Hero Sports Newcomer of the Year.
In addition to Cleary, the Golden Eagles return Chase Knickerbocker (Jr., G/F, Annandale, Minn.), Gable Smith (R-Jr., F, Lodi, Wis.) and Chase Johnson (So., F, La Crosse, Wis.) all of whom started games last season. Knickerbocker was second on the team last season with 11.7 points per game. He also tallied 4.4 rebounds per game and shot 38.5 percent from beyond the arc. Smith has been one of the best defensive players in the conference with his blocking ability. He tallied 72 blocks last season, along with 7.4 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. Johnson started nine games last season and averaged 5.8 points and 5.0 rebounds per game.
The Golden Eagles also return Nate Lorenz (Jr., F/C, Breckenridge, Minn.), Darin Viken (Jr., G, Fosston, Minn.) and Aaron Hollcraft (Jr., G, Crookston, Minn.). Lorenz notched 3.7 points per game before suffering a season-ending injury. Viken and Hollcraft both appeared in 14 games last season.
Minnesota Crookston has several newcomers who will look to make an impact this season. Alan Hodge, Jr. (Jr., G, Dallas, Texas) and Javier Nicolau (So., F/C, Castellon, Spain) both join the team as transfers. Hodge played at Southwestern College in Kansas, while Nicolau played at UCAM Murcia in Spain. Freshman Ben Juhl (Fr., G, Clive, Iowa) will also look to make an impact, as will redshirt freshman Gabrys Sadaunykas (R-Fr., G/F, Vilnius, Lithuania).
Malcolm Cohen (Jr., G/F, Detroit, Mich.), Joey Meyer (Fr., F/C, Shullsburg, Wis.) and Brian Sitzmann (Fr., G, Savage, Minn.) will all redshirt for the Golden Eagles.
Minnesota Crookston is in their fourth season under Head Coach Dan Weisse. He is joined for a fourth season by assistant coach Bryan Beamish. Krayton Nash is an addition to the staff, after serving as a post-graduate head coach in Wisconsin.
Drake is an NCAA Division I school that competes in the Missouri Valley Conference. The Bulldogs posted a 7-24 (5-14 MVC) mark last season. They are in their first season under Head Coach Niko Medved, who spent the last four years at Furman University. Medved is a Minnesota-native and University of Minnesota graduate.
Drake returns five players with substantial starting experience from last season’s roster. The Bulldogs have an experienced roster that includes five seniors and three juniors.
The Bulldogs’ leading returnee is senior guard Reed Timmer, who led the team with 15.3 points per game. Timmer was impressive from distance last season as he shot 41.6 percent from beyond the arc. In addition, senior guard De’Antae McMurray also returns to the fray for Drake after averaging 9.1 points and 3.0 assists per game. Ore Arogundade, a 6-3 senior guard, started 14 games last season and tallied 7.8 points and 3.4 rebounds per contest. Also returning is senior guard Graham Woodward, who notched 7.2 points per contest. Nick McGlynn, a 6-8 junior forward, notched 4.9 points and 3.7 rebounds per game last season.
The Bulldogs return several other players from last season. Senior guard C.J. Rivers notched 3.5 points per contest. Casey Schlatter, a 6-10 junior forward, notched 4.4 points and 3.1 rebounds per game last season. In addition, Kory Kuenstling, a 6-11 junior forward, had 2.1 points and 2.1 rebounds per game last season.