Jeff Kolpack covers North Dakota State athletics, the Fargo Marathon and golf for The Forum. His blog can be accessed at www.bisonmedia.areavoices.com. On the radio, Kolpack & Izzo sports talk show runs from 9-11 a.m. every Saturday morning. April through August, the WDAY Golf Show with Jeff Kolpack runs from 8-9 a.m.
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FARGO—The check was big, both in its presentational stature and in the amount. The $4.3 million gift from the North Dakota State Team Makers booster club was presented to the athletic department at halftime. On the court, the rally was bigger in terms of putting a cap on NDSU's first run through the Summit League. Trailing by 13 in the second half, the Bison got on the back of senior center Dexter Werner and put enough pieces around him to take an 81-71 men's basketball victory over Oral Roberts before 4,353 fans at Scheels Center at Sanford Health Athletic Complex.
FARGO—North Dakota State is the Summit League leader in defense, allowing the fewest points per game of any of the nine teams. Moreover, in the last two games, the Bison have hit 29 of 47 3-point goals with guard Paul Miller on a 23-of-35 3-point shooting binge. The boys are hot. "I think the guys are playing with a tremendous amount of confidence," said NDSU head coach Dave Richman. "I said from the outset this is a team that has the potential to be better offensively."
FARGO — The North Dakota State 2017 football recruiting class will be unveiled in just under two weeks. For years, after all, the first Wednesday in February has been designated as National Signing Day, the first day recruits can make it official with their letter of intent. But if NCAA legislation continues to move through the proper channels, that may change next year. The NCAA Division I Council, in action taken this week, is recommending approval of a 72-hour mid-December signing date, as well as the February deadline for football.
FARGO — The business side of the National Football League hit former North Dakota State linebacker Kyle Emanuel this week when his San Diego Chargers announced they were moving the franchise to Los Angeles next season. For the fans, bitterness is sure to remain for years. For the players, the next several months will be a mixture of uncertainty and optimism. At least those are the early thoughts of Emanuel.
FARGO—Defensive rebounds were like scalding-hot potatoes for North Dakota State on Thursday night. Trying to get a handle on them looked frustrating at the least and almost next-to-impossible at the most. It was one of several stories within a story in the Summit League men's basketball game with Indiana Purdue-Indianapolis at Scheels Center at Sanford Health Athletic Complex. The most important, of course, was the final outcome and the Bison found another way to win. They actually outscored somebody.
FARGO—The basketball resume of Jared Samuelson is practically off the charts, from leading his high school basketball team to a Nebraska state title to being named the state's Mr. Basketball. The Division I basketball recruiters, however, thought otherwise. As North Dakota State head coach Dave Richman points out, Samuelson doesn't exactly pass the high-major eyeball test. "He's page 397 in the dictionary under 'Division I basketball player,'" Richman said.
FARGO—It appears you can cross North Dakota State head football coach Chris Klieman off the list of reported candidates to be the next head coach at the University of Minnesota. Klieman said Wednesday, Jan. 4, he has not been contacted by the Gophers. NDSU athletic director Matt Larsen also said nobody has contacted him about Klieman. Speculation heightened on Tuesday when ESPN named Klieman as a potential coach the Gophers may target to replace Tracy Claeys, who was fired Tuesday.
FARGO—You can take the Bison out of Frisco but you can't take the Frisco out of some Bison fans. North Dakota State will still have a presence Saturday when Youngstown State faces James Madison University for the Division I Football Championship Subdivision title.
FARGO — To make the selection that Carson Wentz is The Forum's "Sports Story of the Year" is almost akin to John Hoeven winning the North Dakota Senate race running virtually unopposed. It wasn't a matter of who was going to be the top vote getter, but more of an issue of what element of the Wentz saga was the best? It was a multiple choice question with four possible answers: • Leading his North Dakota State football team to its fifth straight FCS national title, the most consecutive championships in college football history.
FARGO — So at LSU and Stanford, it appears that brotherhood thing of college football and your teammates is not all that binding, that planning for your future is more important than the immediate future of the Tigers and Cardinal. The team. The team. No one person more important than the other. We're all in it together.