Cadwell leaving?

Brian Kimmes

Brian Kimmes

The Jackrabbits men’s basketball team prepares for summer workouts with the status of their leading scorer uncertain.

Sophomore Matt Cadwell has not been working out with the team this summer, said junior guard Casey Mackenzie. Head Coach Scott Nagy said, “there’s nothing definite,” with Cadwell’s future yet. With Cadwell’s situation up in the air, Casey is preparing for life without their leading scorer next year.

“I think (with) Ben (Beran) and Mo (Berte) and Kai (Williams) and Garrett (Callahan), I think we’ll have enough scorers. I think we’ll be okay ? We’re going to miss him (Cadwell). He was a big time player for us,” Casey said.

Cadwell did not return phone calls for comment to clarify his standing with the team.

While Cadwell might be leaving the team, a few old faces might be returning to the team next year.

The most well known old face is Ben Beran, who played for the Jacks for three years before sitting this past year out. Beran returns to the Jacks in his fifth year, giving the team a much needed inside presence.

“I remember the year before last year when we did have him (Beran). It was a lot easier to win games. His presence down low, people worry about him so much, it opens up so many more different things for everybody else,” said junior guard Mackenzie Casey. “I can tell he’s fired up for next year. He’s going all out. I mean, he’s working really hard. He’s a real good leader right now. He’s telling everybody what to do and trying to get everybody prepared for next year.”

Another familiar face that may return is Mohamed Berte, who was suspended from the team in February 2006 while under investigation for an alleged sexual assault. In December 2006, all criminal charges against Berte were dropped. He re-enrolled as a student at SDSU in the spring 2007 semester.

While not officially back on the team, Casey said Berte has been working out with the team this spring.

“He’s excited for next year ? He’s working hard,” Casey said.

The biggest hurdle in the way of Berte playing for the Jacks is his eligibility. Before he can play with the Jacks, he needs to become eligible. Head Coach Scott Nagy said the team will know more about Berte’s standing in late May or early June.

Berte started school in the fall of 2003 and was allowed up to 10 consecutive semesters of eligibility, said athletic department compliance officer Kathy Heylens. Heylens said, although he was not in school for all previous eight semesters, the semester counter has been ticking away. In the fall, Berte will be in his ninth semester. According to NCAA regulations, Berte will need to have completed 80 percent of his degree requirements and have at least a 2.0 cumulative grade point average to maintain eligibility.

At the end of this semester, Berte’s status will be evaluated based on those criteria. If he fails to meet those requirements, Heylens said he has the option of taking summer classes or can use the fall to become eligible for the spring semester.

In addition to the familiar faces of Beran and Berte, the Jacks welcome four new players to the roster. John Cassaday, Dale Moss, Michael Palarca and Clint Sargent join the Jackrabbit squad in the ’07-08 season.

“We expect these guys to help us, but we don’t want to count on them,” Nagy said. “Some of them will play next year and will be contributors. Which ones, right now I don’t know. We’ll have to wait and see how they fit in.”

Cassaday, a 6-6 180 pound native of Aurora, Col., averaged 19 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.4 assists as a senior, earning second-team all state honors.

Moss comes to the Jacks from Brandon. The 6-4 184 pound high school senior was named the 2007 South Dakota Gatorade Player of the year for averaging 18 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists per game.

Palarca, a 5-10 guard from Santa Clarita, Calif., averaged 18.7 points, 7.3 assists and 5.1 steals per game last year. He left Chatsworth High School as the all-time leader in points, assists and steals.

Sargent was named Iowa Basketball Coaches Association 3A Player of the Year. The 6-4 195 pound senior averaged 19 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4 assists a game last year.

The new Jacks will join the old Jacks for summer workouts in June and July. Nagy said Kai Williams will not be joining the team for the summer, as Williams is playing on the Canadian Junior National Team.

“We would never take that experience away from him,” said Nagy.

Casey said the summer is a time for the team to lift weights and get stronger.

“We need to stop getting pushed around and start doing some pushing around,” he said.