The Bismarck State Basketball season opens up tonight, and the big question will be how the teams perform under new head coaches.
Starting with the men, Jim Jeske takes over and will have a ton of new players to integrate with his system. A system that involves ramping up the speed in which the Mystics will play this season.
“Part of being fast is recognizing teammates,” says Jeske “And being able to share the basketball ball and make an extra pass. And we hope that making good, quick decisions and putting kids in positions to do that will be a benefit for us.”
“It’s really teaching us a lot about communicating with each other on defense and really spacing out the floor,” says sophomore Macauley Young. “And a lot of times during practice he’ll tell us life things that we can learn as young adults.”
“I think he said he was a shooter himself so I’ve learned a lot of offense from him,” says sophomore Jamison Kramer. “And then he knows a lot of defense too. He helps us with the defensive rotation in certain sitaution if they go drive baseline and they do all kinds of different things.”
For the women, new head coach Thai Haggin is ready to take over in her first year at the helm. Haggin loves to bring speed to the game as well, drawing from her experience at UMary as a point guard, a system that will take time to get used to with only three sophomores on the team.
“I think it’s built into my DNA by all my mentors,” says Haggin. “Fast-paced basketball, get it done on the defensive end, and that turned into transition offense. We like layups and just moving the ball up and down the court.”
“Set my teammates up if I’m not open, they’re definitely going to be open,” says freshman Kaity Hove. “It’s always a better feeling when you get your teammate open and they get a wide-open shot than you constantly shooting.”
“You got to get the freshman used to how we’re playing and stuff and how fast we want to go,” says sophomore McKenzie Johnson. “So it’s really up to the sophomores to push them more and more every day but they’re working really hard and they’re integrating into it very well.”