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Men's Basketball 2005-06 Review

The most difficult Jackrabbit men's basketball season in recent memory ended with a 95-82 loss to Cal State Fullerton in California. The Jackrabbits finish 9-20 for the season, going 6-6 at Frost Arena, 2-14 on the road, and 1-0 at a neutral site (as Coach Nagy said, "Not many people can say they've won at Rupp Arena, and we can.")

The Jackrabbits, beginning the second of a five-year transition from Division II to Division I, faced a grueling schedule. Kentucky, Illinois, Marquette, Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Nebraska, Butler, Utah State, and San Diego State highlighted an ambitious schedule that had only one non-Division I game as a potential breather.

The early season loss of guard/forward Steve Holdren at the earlier CSU-Fullerton game in Brookings in December foreshadowed what became a nightmare season.

Suspensions in January of starting forward Andre Gilbert and starting center Mohamed Berte due to an investigation of an accusation of sexual misconduct further depleted an already thin Jackrabbit basketball team. (It should be noted that as of March 5th, 2006, neither player has been criminally charged to date in this unfortunate episode.) When the accusation became public, the Jacks had struggled to a record of 5-15, with close home losses to Southeast Missouri State and Manhattan, and truly dreadful games against Marquette, Minnesota, Butler, and in Fargo against North Dakota State.

Four Jackrabbit football players were recruited onto the basketball squad, lending much-needed energy to the beaten-down basketball players. Chris Wagner, Mike Steffen, Brock Campbell, and Glen Fox joined the basketball team for the Southwest Minnesota State home game, and with an inspired Frost Arena crowd, rallied to a much-needed victory.

The short-handed Jacks rallied to finish the season 3-5, including a thrilling overtime loss to Middle Tennessee State, a game the Jacks had a chance to win at the end of regulation. The high point of the season was probably a thrilling two-point win in Frost Arena over North Dakota State. Except for two inexplicable clunkers versus IPFW, the Jacks finished the season with respectable showings, even against Mountain West regular Season champion San Diego State.

The undisputed bright point of the season was the play of redshirt freshman Matt Cadwell, who became SDSU's all-time leading freshman scoring leader, finishing with a 27-point performance against Cal State-Fullerton to tally 453 points, topping Matt Jones' 444 points in 2002.

Looking forward to next year, the Jackrabbits had no seniors this year. Four freshmen who redshirted in 2005-06 will join the team for the 2006-07 season. 6-10 centers Mark Engen and Robert Bilitz will give the Jackrabbits increased size at the center, allowing Ben Beran and Michael Loney to play a strong forward position to which they are better suited. Blake Yackley will provide depth at forward, and hot-shooting Cam Hornby will look to contribute significant minutes at guard.

Cadwell and Holdren will be back and will provide a large percentage of the Jackrabbit offense, with a supporting backcourt cast including Mackenzie Casey, Eric Heien, Jose Frias, and Andy Kleinjan. Should Gilbert and Berte be able to return to the team, the Jackrabbits will go from thin to deep at each position on the court.

The coaches say they've learned their lesson from this year and will schedule a somewhat more modest slate of games next season. The creation of the United Basketball League scheduling alliance with North Dakota State, Utah Valley State, Texas-Pan American, IPFW, and New Jersey Tech will help in creating a more rational schedule for the Jackrabbits. An easier schedule and the increased depth of next year's team have Jackrabbit fans eager to return to the winning ways, which are the hallmark of SDSU Jackrabbit basketball.
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JacksFlash Feb. 28, 2006

In this issue of Jacks Flash:
SDSU puts five on academic squad
Jackrabbits set 16 records at Mid-Con meet
SDSU baseball opens at K-State
Equestrian riders end February strong
Scholarship Fund Drive continues into March
Two Jacks named all-tourney at LSU
March Fan Fest kicks off Wednesday
Vogel, Sieler move up career charts
and MORE

"Jacks Flash is a newsletter e-mailed to donors and friends of SDSU Athletics. To receive more information about Jacks Flash, contact the Jackrabbit Ticket Office at 1-866-GO JACKS or send an e-mail to the following address: SDSU_Ticket_Office (at) sdstate (period) edu."