South Dakota Preview: Coyotes Open Season in Hawaii
When the 2018-19 season ended, there was a lot of uncertainty surrounding the South Dakota basketball program.
Leading scorer Stanley Umude appeared to be on his way out of Vermillion after two seasons, even going as far as to put his name in the NCAA's transfer portal.
On top of that, the status of forward Tyler Hagedorn was still up in the air after he missed the entire season recovering from an injury.
But as we stand on the doorstep of the 2019-20 regular season tipoff, all is right with the Coyotes.
Umude had a change of heart and is not only back, but is the Summit League Preseason Player of the Year while Hagedorn has been given a clean bill of health and is hoping to return to his all-conference status this season.
Umude told me he's happy to be back in a Coyote uniform:
USD begins the regular season in paradise, playing three games in four days at the Rainbow Classic in Honolulu, Hawaii.
The Coyotes open with Pacific, Friday (November 8) at 8:30 PM Central time. They also face Hawaii (November 10) and Florida A&M (November 11) before heading back to the mainland.
Also back for head coach Todd Lee's second season are Triston Simpson, the only player to start all 30 games last season, Tyler Peterson, who played in all 30 games last year, and Cody Kelley, who started 25 games.
In all, 59 of USD's 70 points per game return, plus with Hagedorn's return and 6'9 redshirt freshman Simeon Jovic seeing his first action this season, the Coyotes have been installed as the number-two team in the Summit League preseason poll.
South Dakota's home opener is November 15 when they host Texas Southern.
The Coyotes will be in for some big tests during the non-conference part of the schedule with games at Arkansas (November 22) and Washington (December 2).
Umude says he and his teammates are looking forward to the challenges: