Jacks earning respect in 2010-11

Drue Aman

Drue AmanSports Editor


That one word may singularly define what the Jackrabbits have sought after and earned this season.

It started early, with SDSU topping the Iowa Hawkeyes on the road by double-digits. A win against established mid-major program Nevada and an overall 11-5 start are attributable to a progression head coach Scott Nagy anticipated. The 11-5 mark at this point is a three-game improvement over last season, when the Jacks started 8-8.

That improvement partially falls on the hands of sophomore guard Nate Wolters. Wolters, whose statistical achievements include six games in which he’s scored 25 points or higher, 53 percent shooting from three-point range (ranking him 10th in the nation), and the Summit League’s leading scorer, for starters. In addition, he ranks first in the Summit League in assist-to-turnover ratio, a stat that indicates his level of control on SDSU’s offensive scheme.

“He’s really good,” said Jackrabbits head coach Scott Nagy. “I was really proud of how he played in the Centenary game, he just does what we need him to do.”

Besides Wolters’ adroit ability to score, other Jacks have excelled in that category as well. Clint Sargent, a senior guard from South Sioux City, Neb., ranks second on the team in scoring and continues to drive up the SDSU all-time scoring list. Griffan Callahan, after shooting 29 percent from beyond the arc last season, is shooting 45 percent from there this season. Not only that, he leads the nation in free-throw shooting, having missed only one free-throw all year.

But SDSU has had their downfalls, too. They rank last in the entire nation in three-point defense, lessening the impact of their three-point shooting offense, which ranks second in the Summit League and eighth in all of D-I.

“We’re one of the worst in the country at defending the three and it’s because we’re small and try to take care of the inside,” Nagy said. “But you have something to do with it, it’s got to be on you, too.”

In addition to that, the skilled offensive prowess of the Jacks has not shown from the free-throw line. At 69 percent, SDSU ranks fifth in the Summit League in that statistic. Against Oral Roberts on Jan. 8, they shot 11-of-21 from the charity stripe while nearly matching that percentage from the three-point line.

With the conference season in full swing, the Jacks hope for their current trend: winning basketball games. With a 90-82 loss to Oral Roberts, a game in which Wolters tallied 32 points that elicited Golden Eagles head coach Scott Sutton to proclaim Wolters, “the best guard in the league,” SDSU hits the road against Western Illinois and IUPUI.

“It would have been nice to get that win at home,” said Wolters after the Oral Roberts game. “We got to go on the road and get two wins to bounce back.”

Anything for respect.

#1.1839687:2767900048.png:Collegian-5.png:Jordan Dykstra makes a move toward the basket while under pressure from ORU defenders Jan. 8.:Collegian Photo by Robby Gallagher