SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (TheSummitLeague.org) – South Dakota State, under the guidance of second-year head coach Eric Henderson, topped the Summit League Men’s Basketball preseason poll and Jackrabbit senior Douglas Wilson was picked as the Preseason Player of the Year.
Wilson, who led the Jacks to a share of the 2019 regular season title, is the reigning Summit League Player of the Year after averaging 18.6 ppg and 6.4 rpg during his first season in Brookings.
SDSU received 33 of 36 first-place votes, topping the poll with 608 points. Sophomore Noah Friedel joined Wilson on the preseason all-league first team, while junior forward Matt Dentlinger earned a spot on the second team. The league’s nine men’s basketball head coaches and sports information directors each vote along with two media members that cover each institution.
Oral Roberts was tabbed to finish second in the poll with 514 points. The Golden Eagles had a pair of preseason all-league selections as junior forward Kevin Obanor landed on the first team while sophomore guard Max Abmas was a second-team pick. ORU tied Omaha for fourth in the league standings a year ago with a 9-7 league mark.
Defending Summit League Tournament champions North Dakota State, who shared the regular season title with SDSU at 13-3 and was the No. 1 seed in the postseason event, was picked third, garnering the three remaining first-place votes and finishing with 466 points.
Senior Rocky Kreuser represents the Bison on the preseason all-league team, holding down a second-team spot after averaging 10.0 ppg and 6.0 rpg a year ago.
Omaha was selected to finish fourth in the poll with 379 points, edging South Dakota by 25 points. The Mavericks joined SDSU and ORU with multiple selections on the preseason squad with senior Matt Pile named to the first team and junior Marlon Ruffin named to the second team.
Pile, who was the only league player to average a double-double a year ago, is the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, while Ruffin was on the all-newcomer team and the league’s Sixth Man of the Year.
The Coyotes collected 354 points to take the fifth spot in the poll and are led by senior Stanley Umude, who garnered a first-team spot on the preseason team after scoring 16.7 ppg and 6.3 rpg last season. USD finished third a season ago with a 10-6 league tally.
North Dakota claimed the No. 6 spot in the poll with 301 points. The Fighting Hawks finished in that spot a year ago and navigated their way to a title-game appearance under first-year head coach Paul Sather. Junior Filip Rebraca garnered a first-team selection on the preseason team and is the team’s top returning scorer (14.3 ppg) and rebounder (8.9 rpg).
Kansas City returns to The Summit League in 2020-21 and the Roos were picked to finish seventh in their first year back since departing in 2013 after an initial 19-year run as a league member. KC closed out the 2019-20 regular-season with four-straight wins before the WAC Tournament was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Denver (8th; 203 points) and Western Illinois (9th; 167 points) rounded out the poll. The Pioneers are led by junior guard Jase Townsend, who was the top scoring sophomores in the league a year ago after averaging 16.9 ppg. Townsend earned a spot on the all-league preseason second team.
The Fighting Leathernecks are the only men’s basketball program under new direction entering the 2020-21 season. Former Milwaukee head coach Rob Jeter takes over the WIU program after serving most recently as an assistant coach at Minnesota.
2020-21 Preseason Summit League Player of the Year
Douglas Wilson – South Dakota State
Preseason All-Summit League First Team
Noah Freidel, South Dakota State, So., G (12.2 ppg/4.1 rpg/1.6 apg)
Kevin Obanor, Oral Roberts, Jr., F (12.3 ppg/6.9 rpg/0.9 bpg)
Matt Pile, Omaha, Sr., F (11.6 ppg/10.0 rpg/1.5 bpg)
Filip Rebraca, North Dakota, Jr., F (14.3 ppg/8.9 rpg/1.0 bpg)
Stanley Umude, South Dakota, Sr., F (16.7 ppg/6.3 rpg/1.4 bpg)
Douglas Wilson, South Dakota State, Sr., F (18.6 ppg/6.4 rpg/0.9 bpg)*
Preseason All-Summit League Second Team
Max Abmas, Oral Roberts, So., G (14.5 ppg/2.2 rpg/1.4 apg)
Matt Dentlinger, South Dakota State, Jr., F (12.2 ppg/6.0 rpg/1.3 bpg)
Rocky Kreuser, North Dakota State, Sr., F (10.0 ppg/6.0 rpg/0.9 bpg)
Marlon Ruffin, Omaha, Jr., G/F (8.8 ppg/3.3 rpg/1.3 apg)
Jase Townsend, Denver, Jr., G (16.9 ppg/5.3 rpg/2.2 apg)
*Preseason Player of the Year automatically earns a spot on first team
Rank School (1st Place Votes) Points
1. South Dakota State (33) 608
2. Oral Roberts 514
3. North Dakota State (3) 466
4. Omaha 379
5 South Dakota 354
6. North Dakota 301
7. Kansas City 248
8. Denver 203
9. Western Illinois 167