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UND receives commitment from 6-foot-10 Bismarck Century product after in-state emphasis

Erikson is the first Fighting Hawks commitment of the 2023 recruiting class

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GRAND FORKS — UND men's basketball coach Paul Sather was in Indianapolis last weekend watching the North Dakota Phenom AAU team compete in a tournament.

After the Phenom went 3-1 at the event, Sather must have been impressed with what he saw as the Fighting Hawks countered with scholarship offers to three North Dakota prospects from the 2023 recruiting class.

One of those players, 6-foot-10 Bismarck Century center Ryan Erikson quickly pulled the trigger on the offer and committed to UND to become the Hawks' first verbal of the 2023 class.

Erikson averaged 15.6 points per game as a junior at Bismarck Century, adding a Western Dakota Association-best 11.0 rebounds per game.

"The biggest thing with Ryan is first and foremost is he's a gym rat," Century coach Darin Mattern said. "He has a unique skill set for his size. He's 6-10 and can stretch the floor and shoot the three. He's a good, willing passer.

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"His better days are ahead, and he's still growing into his body. Get him on a college weight program, and he has a chance to put on 25-30 pounds. With that added strength, it's only going to add to his skill set."

The Patriots were 21-6 last season, finishing as the consolation champions at the state tournament.

Erikson shot 52 percent from the floor.

"I liked coach Sather and how he utilizes his bigs — that was important to me," said Erikson, who added both of his parents are UND alums.

Last weekend, UND also offered Erikson's high school teammate, 6-4 shooting guard Anthony Doppler, as well as Minot's 6-4 shooting guard Darik Dissette.

"The biggest thing for Ryan is going to be how he can adjust to the physicality of the college game," Mattern said. "He's still young and has a chance to get better in that area. He has a chance to be a good college player.

"He can get the ball off the glass and get off the break. He can make plays in transition and lead the break at 6-10. You don't see that very often in a high school kid. You don't see that at the college level, to be honest. It makes for a difficult matchup. I think he'll just continue to get better."

UND's two 2022 prospects, Bismarck's Treysen Eaglestaff (2022 North Dakota Mr. Basketball) and Mankato's B.J. Omot, have signed letters of intent and are expected to come to Grand Forks in the fall.

Miller has covered sports at the Grand Forks Herald since 2004 and was the state sportswriter of the year in 2019.

His primary beat is UND football but also reports on a variety of UND sports and local preps.

He can be reached at (701) 780-1121, tmiller@gfherald.com or on Twitter at @tommillergf.
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