Photos Courtesy of North Dakota Athletics
With most of its roster returning and an exciting incoming class of recruits, the University of North Dakota men’s basketball team is eager to get the 2018-19 version of the Fighting Hawks going in its first year in the Summit League. To get you through the offseason, here’s an early look at five things to look forward to next season.
1. Senior Leadership
North Dakota had just one senior in 2017-18, Dale Jones, and will have five seniors next season. Conner Avants, Cortez Seales, Jafar Kinsey, Jaqwan McCauley and Geno Crandall bring back a solid core to lead the Fighting Hawks along with what will be a class of four juniors.
2. Geno Crandall
The soon-to-be-senior guard, in particular, will be looked at to continue leading North Dakota. Crandall led the Fighting Hawks in points this season and will be one of the top players in the Summit League.
3. Jal Bijiek
The 2017 signee could make an immediate impact for the Fighting Hawks if the decision is made not to redshirt him. The Des Moines North product is 6-foot-9 with a 7-foot-1 wingspan. Bijiek is one of the most highly-touted signings for North Dakota, having several offers, including Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Wichita State and LSU.
4. Returning Starters
Four starters return next season for North Dakota. Crandall, Seales, Avants and sophomore Marlon Stewart started together for the majority of the 2017-18 season. That experience should allow the Fighting Hawks to get out to a quick start next season and be ready to chase a conference title.
5. Aanen Moody
The redshirt freshman from Dickinson has a chance to become a key scoring threat off the bench next season for the Fighting Hawks. Moody, a former North Dakota Mr. Basketball winner, broke the Class A scoring record with 2,139 career points and averaged 30.6 points per game during his senior season.