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Young Hawks expect bumps early in season

Nathan Lebsock and Matt Lee know there may be some tough times early in the Dickinson State men's basketball season. The duo just hopes their patience pays off. Lebsock and Lee are the only returning full-time starters on a team with little exper...

Nathan Lebsock
Press File Photo Senior shooting guard Nathan Lebsock leads the Dickinson State men's basketball team into the new season.

Nathan Lebsock and Matt Lee know there may be some tough times early in the Dickinson State men's basketball season.

The duo just hopes their patience pays off.

Lebsock and Lee are the only returning full-time starters on a team with little experience but lots of potential.

In addition to its six returners, DSU has three transfers and four true freshmen vying for starting spots and playing time on a team that lost several key role players from a team that finished 14-14 last season and had a 9-7 Dakota Athletic Conference record.

"We're going to expect some bumps," Lebsock said. "That's going to happen with all the young kids and new people. But when the DAC comes around, we expect to be the best in the conference. That's what our goal is and that's where we're going to be at, no matter what it takes."

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That kind of attitude is what head coach Ty Orton hoped to hear out of his leaders as they prepare for what could be a slow start.

The Blue Hawks open their season against the University of Regina (Saskatchewan) at 4 p.m. Saturday at Scott Gymnasium, the first of 10 nonconference games before they open DAC play at Jamestown College on Dec. 2.

"Our goal until conference, every game, is to get better," Lee said. "Put the pieces together and by the time conference starts, we'll be in position to make a move in the DAC."

In those 10 games, Orton hopes the freshmen -- all four are going to play -- get used to the speed of college basketball, the transfers begin carving out their roles and the returning upperclassmen seize the positions they've been asked to fill.

"We have a long way to go," Orton said. "... This team may not hit maturity until February. It's going to take a while since we have some younger guys, to have them understand the offense, how to read things and play against that kind of competition we play over in Montana.

"It's going to take a while."

It helps to have Lebsock and Lee.

Lebsock is the team's top returner in almost every way.

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The Frenchtown, Mont., native averaged 17.2 points per game last season and passed the 1,000-point mark during DSU's final game last season. He was an all-DAC first team and NAIA All-America honorable mention selection.

Lee was the team's top newcomer last year, averaging 10.4 points and 6.6 rebounds a game while bringing intensity to the post for the first time in Orton's short tenure at DSU.

The cupboard is hardly bare outside of two though.

Sophomore small forward John Hanstad is expected to have a much more important role this season. He came off the bench all but a handful of games last season, averaging 4 points a game. The same goes for senior forward Dano Fagerlund, an energy player who averaged 10 minutes and 2 points a game last season.

Junior brothers Jeff and Tevin Hurd will likely open the season at starting point guard and forward, respectively.

Teven Hurd transferred from William Jessup University, an NAIA school where the lanky 6-6 slasher averaged 10 points and 5.5 rebounds a game. Jeff Hurd, a 6-2 point guard, comes from Solano College, where he averaged six points and five steals a game.

"Tevin Hurd, he's done a great job already," Lebsock said. "He's just an athlete. He can get to the rim. He's long and athletic."

Jarek Hanson, a sophomore transfer from Williston State College, is a 6-6 small forward with range who expects to see quite a bit of time after impressing coaches during offseason workouts.

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Then there are the freshmen.

Local standouts Robbie Morey and Brock Boos signed with the Blue Hawks last spring out of Dickinson Trinity and Bowman County, respectively, and figure to factor into the team's plans in a big way.

The same goes for does 6-5 forward Isiah Thomas and 6-foot guard Zach Edward.

"It's a process, every day," Morey said. "All of us underclassmen, we just watch what those guys do and follow along as best we can. We get along really great. It's obvious we've got a lot to learn because we're all new to the program, but we've got a lot of good guys to learn behind."

Dickinson State men's basketball

Head coach: Ty Orton (fourth year)

Assistant coaches: Mark Svagera, Julian Larry.

Last season: 14-14 overall, 9-7 Dakota Athletic Conference; lost to South Dakota Mines, 77-71 (OT) in the DAC tournament quarterfinals.

Returners: Nathan Lebsock, 6-2, Sr., SG; Matt Lee, 6-5, So., PF-C; Dano Fagerlund, 6-5, Sr., PF; John Hanstad, 6-3, So., SF; Ryan Kittleson, 6-0, Jr., G; Derek Pauley, 6-6, Sr. C; Carl Dynneson, 6-7, So., C.

Additions: Robbie Morey, 6-2, Fr., G; Tevin Hurd, 6-6, Jr., F; Jeff Hurd, 6-2, Jr., G; Brock Boos, 6-2, Fr., G-F; Isiah Thomas, 6-5, Fr., C, Jarek Hansen, 6-6, So., F; Zach Edward, 6-0, Fr., G.

Losses: Branden Thomas, 6-5, F; Josh Henry, 6-6, F; Nate Williams, 6-3, G; Brian Lebsock, 5-11, G; Rochi Estes, 6-0, G; Anton Neff, 6-11, C.

Notes: Nathan Lebsock was an NAIA All-America honorable mention and an all-DAC first team selection last season. He averaged 17.2 ppg and is on pace to become one of the top scorers in school history this season after eclipsing the 1,000-point mark last season. ... Lee was all-DAC second team last year after averaging 10.4 points and 6.6 rpg while shooting 67 percent. ... DSU will be a much smaller team than the one that led the DAC in rebound margin last season. Lee, Hanson and Tevin Hurd are the team's tallest players until Pauley and Dynneson are done playing football. Both expect to join the team in late December. ... Morey and Boos were Class B all-state second team selections last season. ... Tim Brown, Daniel Casey, Connor Cunningham, Mitch Kallevig, Donavyn Persley, Lucas Reller and Jeremy Samuelson are listed as redshirts on DSU's roster.

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