The Class A Basketball team everyone is gunning for this year is the defending state champion Minot Magicians.

While the team brings back plenty of talent from last year’s squad, the new season brings with it a fresh set of challenges.

After a 25-2 season capped off by Minot Boys Basketball’s first state title since 2017, the Magi are focused on building the 2022 team from the ground up.

“Last year is last year. It’s about us getting ourselves, this group getting themselves into the best position they can be to be successful by the end of the year, and we replace and yeah we have kids back, but to be honest, they’re going to be taking on different roles so essentially we’re starting from square one and we’ve got to build from there,” Head Coach Dean Winczewski said.

“Obviously some guys have got to step up and take bigger roles than we took last year, but I think we’ll be fine honestly, as long as we play as a team,” Senior Shooting Guard Jager Gunville said.

NDSU signee Darik Dissette is back for his senior season with the Magicians as the third highest returing scorer in Class A, averaging 21.5 points along with nearly eight rebounds a game a season ago.

“My goal is to just have this team be successful. I’m going to do as much as I can to get everyone ready and so is coach so hopefully we can do the little things right and get all the way,” Dissette said.

“We’re hoping he becomes more consistent in all areas of the game. Being able to make deep perimeter shots. Obviously his effort and his competitiveness are as good as anyone in the state but for me, he’s got to continue to evolve as a player and become a little bit more of a playmaker, because we know people are going to put a little extra emphasis on him and that’s where other people have to be able to step up,” Winczewski said.

Losing three seniors including All-State Guard Eric Wentz may mean adjustments in the team’s play style.

“We’re going to get after people defensively. I think that’s been a hallmark of who we are. Offensively, we’ve got to figure that out as we go. We think we can run a little bit, but a lot of it comes down to how you defend. I we can’t defend at a high pace, it’s not going to do any good to run and give up 100, so a lot of it is going to depend on what we do on the defensive end and how we rebound and from there, we can worry about the rest of it,” Winczewski said.

“I think this year, you can expect us to play a little bit faster than we have in past years because we’re a pretty athletic team this year and we’re pretty small and fast,” Gunville said.

But the Magi ultimately believe that making the small plays will help them get back to the big stage.

“Definitely the little things like boxing out, rebounding and just be confident,” Dissette said.