Eric Henderson is starting his first season as the Jacks head coach. It'll be a different look, after the team graduated all-time leading scorer Mike Daum, and star guard David Jenkins Junior transferred to UNLV.
SDSU was picked to finish fifth in the Summit League in the preseason poll. But a young group is ready to prove people wrong.
"You're going to see much more balance, you're going to see different guys step up every single night and you are going to see their teammates embrace that And that's probably what makes this year the most exciting it's been in a long time. Your not going to recognize some of these faces that will be stepping out there early. But that doesn't mean they're not good players, and they're just excited for their opportunity," said Henderson.
"It does feel different. You know we don't have the high profile scorers we had. But we also have guys that can score maybe not as high of a level, but we can still score. It's going to be more of a scoring by committee this year definitely for sure," said sophomore Owen King.
On the women's side, Aaron Johnston is starting his 20th season as the head coach. He also lost two all-time greats to graduation in Macy Miller and Maddie Guebert. SDSU still has key players back like Myah Selland and Tagyn Larson from a team that reached the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament for the first time last season. The Jacks were picked to finish second in the league in the preseason poll.
"I will say one of the biggest changes from last to this year would be just the confidence maybe. Just the calmness that sometimes a transformational player like Maddie or Macy brings to a team in crunch time. The ability to make a play or make a free throw. We'll have to have some new faces step up and do that. And I think from a coaches perspective I'm excited to see who does, because over the years we've always has people step up, and this will be no different," said Johnston.
"South Dakota State was good before Macy and Maddie. And we'll continue to be good. It's just that we have that tradition of success here," said Larson.
"Our women's basketball program just has such a great tradition such a great program. And so I think we always have our expectations high, we always have our goals set high. That just comes with being a Jackrabbit," said Selland.