South Dakota men's basketball enters new era under first-year head coach Eric Peterson

The Coyotes were Summit League semifinalists last season with a 19-12 record and have a roster that features five players who have earned all-conference honors during their careers.

South Dakota's Kruz Perrott-Hunt (5) takes a dribble handoff from Tasos Kamateros (34) during a Summit League college basketball game against South Dakota State on Saturday, Feb. 6, 2021, in Brookings.
Mitchell Republic file photo
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VERMILLION — After making the Summit League semifinals last season, a coaching change and roster turnover have the South Dakota men's basketball team looking markedly different ahead of the 2022-23 season.

With the top contributors from last year's team back and some familiar names among the new faces within the program, expectations are the Coyotes could challenge for the top spot in the Summit. Here's what to know about 2022-23 USD men's basketball at a glance.

Record (2021-22): 19-12 (11-7 Summit)

Postseason (2021-22): Finished fifth in the Summit League standings and defeated No. 4 Kansas City in the conference quarterfinals before falling to top-seeded South Dakota State in the semifinals. ... The Coyotes did not compete in a national postseason tournament last season.

Coach: Eric Peterson, third season (first at USD), 52-15 overall. His prior head coaching stop was at Williston State College (N.D.), a junior college, from 2012-14, and he served on USD's coaching staff under then-coach Craig Smith from 2014-18.


“One thing that's the same [from the first stint in Vermillion] is we have great people in the program. You truly can't win a championship if you don't have the right people in the locker room,” Peterson said at USD's winter media day. “The biggest difference is there's more support from the administration. It's nobody's fault and it's not like we didn't have great support the first time, I think it's just taken another step in the right direction.”

Key returners: USD returns its three most productive players from last season’s team. ... Second-team all-Summit League guard talents Kruz Perrott-Hunt (15 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.3 assists) and Mason Archambault (14.5 points 3.4 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.2 steals) return, as does big man Tasos Kamateros (11.5 points, 5.5 rebounds 2.0 assists), who was an honorable mention all-conference selection. Damani Hayes (3.6 points, 3.8 rebounds), a top reserve on last season's squad who played in 26 games and started one, is also back. ... The biggest question mark surrounds 2020-21 Summit League newcomer of the year A.J. Plitzuweit, who missed all of last season due to an injury. In his lone season for the Coyotes, Plitzuweit averaged 19 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.9 assists and started 22 games.

“Everyone asks, ‘What percentage is he?’” Peterson said of Plitzuweit’s status. “I have no idea. But I know he looks good and continues to make progress every single day.”

031622 USD MBB Eric Peterson.jpg
University of South Dakota men's basketball coach Eric Peterson is introduced during a press conference on Wednesday, March 16, 2022 at the DakotaDome Club in Vermillion.
Aaron Packard / University of South Dakota

Key departures: After USD parted ways with former head coach Todd Lee, practically the entire Coyote roster explored their options in the transfer portal. Among those that transferred out of the program were Hunter Goodrick (7.5 points, 7.2 rebounds, 1.5 assists), Xavier Fuller (9.5 points, 3.5 rebounds), Boogie Anderson (6.7 points, 1.8 rebounds, 1.5 assists) and Erik Oliver (5.8 points, 2.1 rebounds), four of the top eight contributors from last season.

Key newcomers: All eyes will be on Paul Bruns and Mihai Carcoana, who transferred into the program after spending their freshman seasons elsewhere. ... Bruns, who played his high school basketball at Dakota Valley, was the Summit League freshman of the year and honorable mention all-conference last season at North Dakota where he played in all 31 games and started 24, averaging 14.8 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. ... Carcoana, a 6-foot-11 native of Romania, comes to USD from Toldeo, where he averaged 2 points and 2 rebounds in a reserve role.

“If you look at the makeup of our team, we have eight newcomers and eight returners, which I'm excited about,” Peterson said. “I think we have a really good mix of experience and then young guys we're bringing along with our experience.”

Notes: Picked third in the preseason Summit League poll with 602 points and one first-place vote behind Oral Roberts (731 points, 28 first-place votes) and South Dakota State (668, 11). ... Kruz Perrott-Hunt, Mason Archambault and A.J. Plitzuweit all named to all-Summit second team.

Schedule notes: Open the season Nov. 7 at Wisconsin. Other notable nonconference road games are Mississippi State (Nov. 17) and BYU (Dec. 3). ... Home opener comes against Lipscomb on Nov. 9 with another notable home game against UC Irvine on Dec. 10. Will also host in-state NAIA competition Dakota State (Nov. 12) and Mount Marty (Nov. 28). ... Start conference play at Kansas City on Dec. 19, with home conference opener against St. Thomas on Dec. 29. ... Host South Dakota State on Jan. 14 and match up with SDSU in Brookings on Feb. 11.


“We took over the schedule in April and it had one game on it. The only issue is a lot of the teams that are available [to schedule] are the teams nobody wants to play,” Peterson said. “I thought we did a good job getting our schedule together and wanted to challenge our guys. I knew if we put together a competitive schedule, it would help us for league play.”

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