VERMILLION, S.D. (GoYotes.com) – For the second time in program history, the South Dakota men’s basketball team will play in the state of Hawai’i. The Coyotes are set to compete in the Rainbow Classic hosted by Hawai’i in Honolulu.
South Dakota opens the three-game round-robin tournament against Pacific on Nov. 8. After an off day, USD faces host Hawai’i on Nov. 10 and Florida A&M on Nov. 11. The tournament will mark the first meeting against each opponent for South Dakota.
Pacific, a member of the West Coast Conference, is under the direction of Damon Stoudamire, the 1996 NBA Rookie of the Year and 13-year veteran of the league. The Tigers, who held a 14-18 record last season, return all-West Coast Conference honoree Jahlil Tripp and his 10.6 points and 5.7 rebounds per game.
Hawai’i tallied an 18-13 overall record while going 9-7 in Big West action a year ago. The Rainbow Warriors return two of their top three scorers from last season including Zigmars Raimo and his 11.5 points per contest. Also returning is Big West honorable mention Drew Buggs, who led the Big West with 5.4 assists per game.
Florida A&M, a member of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, went 12-19 last season while grabbing nine wins in league play. After graduating a pair of first-team all-district selections, the Rattlers top returning scorer is Rod Melton and his 8.8 points per game.
South Dakota enters the upcoming season returning four of five starters and gains back redshirt senior Tyler Hagedorn who missed last season due to injury. Among the returners are the three top scorers from last year in Stanley Umude (14.4 ppg), Triston Simpson (14.0 ppg) and Tyler Peterson (11.4 ppg). Cody Kelley is the fourth returning starter with his 9.3 points and 3.5 rebounds per game. Hagedorn, a second-team all-Summit League selection in 2017-18, averaged 13 points and 5.9 rebounds per game as a junior.
South Dakota played a pair of games in Hawai’i during the 1996-97 season, facing BYU-Hawai’i and Hawai’i Pacific.