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Posts play big role with Dickinson State Blue Hawks men's basketball

To start off the season, Brandon Jamar figuratively struggled to get his legs underneath him in a new offense.At 6-foot-11, that's no small task.But the junior center feels he's finally comfortable with his role as a rebounder on the Dickinson St...

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Dickinson State junior center Gilberto Shojgreen Jr. throws down a dunk against Valley City State Jan. 30 at Scott Gymnasium. (Press Photo by Colton Pool)

To start off the season, Brandon Jamar figuratively struggled to get his legs underneath him in a new offense.
At 6-foot-11, that’s no small task.
But the junior center feels he’s finally comfortable with his role as a rebounder on the Dickinson State men’s basketball team.
Jamar, who averages 5.5 rebounds a game, is a key contributor in the Blue Hawks’ 7.61 average rebounding margin - which sits 10th in the nation - heading into a North Star Athletic Association rematch against Mayville State at 6 p.m. tonight at Scott Gymnasium.
“Some of the guys we play in conference may not be tall, but they’re still strong,” Jamar said. “One possession you might think he’s not really even touching me, but then come down next possession and it feels like you get hit by a tank. I think it’s just a matter of knowing where the ball is going to go.”
The Comets (14-8, 4-5 NSAA), who beat DSU 59-56 in their previous matchup in Mayville, lead NAIA Division II with an 11.73 average rebounding margin and about 33 defensive rebounds per game.
Blue Hawks head coach Justin Wetzel has stressed to his team to rebound out of their area - meaning they have to pursue the ball whenever it goes up for a shot.
What helps DSU (11-12, 4-4) is its length and height with Jamar coming off the bench, backing up 6-foot-8 junior center Gilberto Shojgreen Jr. 

“Our coach tells us that every shot is like a pass to us,” Shojgreen said. “If our team shoots and misses, we’ve got to go, get it, go back up and score.”
Surprisingly enough, junior forward Stephon Dafney at 6-4 leads DSU in rebounding with 5.8 per game.
But it’s no surprise to Dafney - though he is happy he gets to play any position besides center with taller guys around him.
“I take it upon myself to get rebounds,” Dafney said. “We’re a big team anyway, so we need to get every rebound that comes off the rim. If it I don’t get it, one of my teammates should get it.”
Wetzel made rebounding a point of emphasis recently - it paid off with a 38-29 rebounding advantage against Presentation College on Wednesday.
“You would’ve liked to see (rebounding) earlier, but they’ve bought into their role in terms of rebounding,” Wetzel said. “(Dafney) makes the effort. It’s a point of emphasis for him to go out and rebound. He does it on will and instinct a lot of times.”
Shojgreen added that rebounding ultimately is a hustle stat.
“We need it to win games for sure,” Shojgreen said. “You’ve got to want it too. You can’t have the ball come to you. You’ve got to go get it.”
Jamar and Shojgreen, who are basically the only centers on DSU’s roster, have finally begun to find their roles as rebounders in the Blue Hawks’ offense despite a mostly new roster from last season.
Though the pair aren’t traditional “post-up” guys who will score with their backs to the basket, Wetzel said, they don’t need to be.
“Credit to them,” Wetzel said, “this is something they’ve looked at it and said, ‘OK, this is a way we can impact the game. I’m going to go do it.’”
Jamar admitted he didn’t put as much stock in rebounding to start the season as he does now. He added that he was guilty of assuming shots would go in and not preparing for a rebound.
But Wetzel corrected that.
“We have shooters, everyone in the conference definitely knows that,” Jamar said. “We have shooters for every occasion, and (Wetzel) preaches rebounding because there are going to be nights when our shooters are off or the shots that will fall for us won’t normally fall.”
One such occasion was against Mayville when DSU shot 37 percent from the floor while the Comets shot 33 percent.
However, the Comets walked away with a 46-44 rebounding advantage.
“When you’re struggling shooting, you’ve got to find a way to get to the free-throw line or get an easy basket and not continue to settle on jumpers,” Wetzel said. “So (rebounding) is something we’ve definitely talked about.”
DSU players know if they want to even the season series with the Comets, they have to be successful on the boards.
“We let one slip away at Mayville,” Dafney said. “We didn’t shoot or defend well, and we only lost by three points.
“For me, going into tomorrow, we need to get them back. I like revenge. We need to beat them by more than three, 10, 15, 20 - whatever we can beat them by.”

Related Topics: BLUE HAWKS
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