Maddie MacFarlane/SCSU Athletics

The St. Cloud State men's basketball team has been picked to finish atop the NSIC in the upcoming season. St. Cloud State finished last season 24-9 overall and 17-5 in the NSIC while advancing to the second round of the NCAA tournament.

The Huskies return a large portion of last year's tournament team, which coach Matt Reimer says is a major factor in his team getting so many votes to finish at the top of the NSIC ranks when it's all said and done.

"What it really means is that we have more returners than anyone else," Reimer says. "I think that's what you see with ourselves, Mankato and Sioux Falls being picked to finish up at the top."

Reimer says the Huskies will have a target on the back this season as the 'top dogs' in the conference.

"Last year, we had more of a hunter-type mentality, and we have to keep that mentality, because everyone will be gunning for us," Reimer said. "We have to be that way every day in practice, because we can't just show up on game day and do it."

SCSU will be led by senior guard Gage Davis, who averaged a team-high 19.2 points per game while also pulling down 7.8 rebounds per contest along with an average of 3.6 assists per game.

Davis was named the preseason NSIC player of the year and second team All-American.

Reimer says that Davis has made great strides since arriving at SCSU after transferring from Indiana-Purdue-Fort Wayne in 2015, particularly in the way he practices.

“He’s matured a great deal, he was not a good practice player at all in his first two years,” Reimer said. “That’s something that elevated us a year ago as a team, when we kind of challenged him and asked him if he wanted to be a great scorer, but a .500 player, or do you want to be a great player that also wins?”

“When your best player is also your best practice player, you have a great chance to win,” Reimer said.

Among the players that Reimer expects to take a big step forward this year is former Cathedral standout Brindley Theisen, who will be entering his senior season with the Huskies.  Theisen averaged 12.9 points during his junior year.

“Brindley shoots at an incredible clip, he’s an underrated defender and he’s been able to put it on the floor a little more and get to the basket,” Reimer said. “I’m hoping he can take that next step in his progression and be an all-conference type player.”

The Huskies open the season on November 9th in Mankato at the MIAA/NSIC Challenge with a game against Missouri Southern State University. SCSU basketball can be heard all season long on AM 1390 Granite City Sports.