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UND MEN'S BASKETBALL: Sioux feeling out lineups

The UND men's basketball team has a good problem on its hands. The Sioux return all five starters from last year's Great West Conference championship team which went on to play in the CollegeInsider.com postseason tournament. UND also has two tru...

UND men's basketball coach Brian Jones
UND men's basketball coach Brian Jones. (Video image from UND athletics)

The UND men's basketball team has a good problem on its hands.

The Sioux return all five starters from last year's Great West Conference championship team which went on to play in the CollegeInsider.com postseason tournament.

UND also has two true freshmen vying for playing time and a few veterans returning from injury who are trying to crack the lineup.

That makes UND's regular-season opener at 3 p.m. today against Waldorf College of the NAIA a prime opportunity to begin to mold the rotation.

"Hopefully we can look at different lineups," UND coach Brian Jones said. "We have guys vying for more playing time. (Developing depth) will be the key. We had talent last year, but the guys who were seventh, eighth, ninth, 10th off our bench allowed us to do what we wanted throughout the year."

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Jones' primary rotation focus is in the post, a position highlighted by 6-foot-9 senior Patrick Mitchell, 6-7 junior Jordan Allard and 6-8 sophomore Brandon Brekke.

"We have questions in our front line," Jones said. "People know Jordan, Patrick and Brekke, but we need one or two more post players to step up and make their presence felt."

Senior Mike Mathison, a 6-10 Walhalla, N.D., native, and juniors Doug Archer (6-8) and Mitch Willmer (6-11) will be looked at to fill out that post depth. Archer and Willmer struggled with injuries last year.

"We have a really deep team," said Mitchell, one of two seniors on the roster. "We'll be able to keep guys fresh ... get 'em in and get 'em out."

The deep rotation is also expected to feature a balanced scoring load.

"I see us being similar to last year with lots of different weapons," Jones said. "It'll depend on what night shots are falling."

The Sioux also might get a closer look at a pair of true freshmen: Lenny Antwi of Montreal, Quebec, and Josh Gentry of Indianapolis.

"(Antwi) is a great ball-handler," Mitchell said. "He knows how to distribute. He's also a tremendous shooter. He'll be a great addition to our team this year."

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UND beat Waldorf 77-46 last season. The Warriors, out of Forest City, Iowa, are embarking on their first season under head coach Nigel Jenkins, who played two seasons at UND for former head coach Rich Glas and was a senior captain on the 2001-02 Sioux team.

Up next

Who: UND vs. Waldorf College.

When: 3 p.m. today, Betty Engelstad Sioux Center.

Records: UND 0-0, Waldorf 1-1.

Of note: Former UND player Nigel Jenkins in his first season coaching the Warriors.

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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