The Golden Eagles start preparation for the upcoming season.
The University of Minnesota Crookston men’s basketball team will open up the 2017-18 season Sat., Oct. 14 with their first practice. The Golden Eagles will hit the floor at 10 a.m.
Dan Weisse enters his fourth season with Minnesota Crookston. The Golden Eagles made strides during the 2016-17 season with a young team. The Golden Eagles more than doubled their wins from the season before with eight overall wins and four conference wins.
Minnesota Crookston will look to continue to improve as they return a more experienced squad with seven returning letter winners and four players who started games a season prior. In the back-court the Golden Eagles return Harrison Cleary (So., G, Oak Creek, Wis.), who put up one the best single seasons in program-history, shattering the points, field goals and free throw records set by Minnesota Crookston Athletic Hall of Famer Joe Hasz. Cleary was the 2016-17 NSIC Freshman of the Year and a 2016-17 All-NSIC Second Team pick.
On the wing, the Golden Eagles return Chase Knickerbocker (Jr., G/F, Annandale, Minn.), who shot 38.5 percent from beyond the arc and averaged 11.7 points per game.
In the post, Minnesota Crookston returns Gable Smith (R-Jr., F/C, Lodi, Wis.) and Chase Johnson (So., F, La Crosse, Wis.), who both earned starting minutes last season. Smith led the team in rebounding with 5.5 boards per game, while Johnson notched five boards per game.
The Golden Eagles also return Nate Lorenz (Jr., F/C, Breckenridge, Minn.), who missed half of last season due to injury. Darin Viken (Jr., G, Fosston, Minn.) and Aaron Hollcraft (Jr., G, Crookston, Minn.) also return. All three will compete for minutes.
Gabrys Sadaunykas (R-Fr., G/F, Vilnius, Lithuania) redshirted last season and will compete for minutes this season. In addition newcomers Alan Hodge, Jr. (Jr., G, Dallas, Texas), Javier Nicolau (So., F/C, Castellon, Spain), Joey Meyer (Fr., F/C, Shullsburg, Wis.) and Ben Juhl (Fr., G, Clive, Iowa) are expected to see the floor in their first seasons. Fellow newcomers Malcolm Cohen (Jr., G/F, Detroit, Mich.) and Brian Sitzmann (Fr., G, Savage, Minn.) are expected to redshirt to further their development.
The Golden Eagles return assistant coach Bryan Beamish for his fourth season, while Krayton Nash was added to the staff prior to the start of this season.
Minnesota Crookston will open up the 2017-18 season with an exhibition game against NCAA Division I opponent Drake University Nov. 4 at 1 p.m. The Golden Eagles will play their first official contest Nov. 10 versus Arkansas Tech University at 7 p.m.