South Dakota State University's Independent Student-Run Newspaper Since 1885

The Collegian

South Dakota State University's Independent Student-Run Newspaper Since 1885

The Collegian

South Dakota State University's Independent Student-Run Newspaper Since 1885

The Collegian

Theisen steps up as role player, makes lasting impact on team

Abby Fullenkamp
ABBY FULLENKAMP Senior forward Ian Theisen (45) and sophomore guard Beau Brown (15) cheer on their teammates during the second half of the game against USD Feb. 22. The Jacks won 76-72. The men are the first seed for the Summit League Tournament.

Ian Theisen’s career at South Dakota State is coming to an end, but the effect he has had on the Jackrabbit men’s basketball program will not be forgotten.

The senior forward from Osseo, Minnesota, started every game for the Jackrabbits as a sophomore, but has been the backup to Mike Daum for the past two seasons.

Playing behind Daum has caused Theisen to be overlooked, but the lack of attention and transition from starting to sitting the bench has not affected his attitude on the court.

“I think a lot of guys when they hear the term ‘role player’ don’t really like it, and I probably wouldn’t like it either, but I’m really close with all the guys and everybody here wants to win,” Theisen said.

Theisen’s willingness to sacrifice for his teammates doesn’t go unnoticed. His teammates know how important he is to their overall success.

“Ian is one of the best teammates I’ve ever had,” Daum said. “He’s willing to go into battle with you every day on the basketball court and do whatever it takes to help the team win the game.”

Though he is no longer a starter, the coaching staff’s confidence in Theisen has never wavered, according to SDSU assistant coach Rob Klinkefus.

This season, Theisen is averaging five points and 3.5 rebounds in just under 18 minutes per contest. Klinkefus said Theisen’s statistics do not tell the whole story.

“If you start taking a look at the games that he’s played, how many wins we’ve had and just the overall success of a mid-major program, there’s not going to be many people that can say that they’ve had more. Ian has been a huge part of all of it,” Klinkefus said.

Theisen said it does not matter how many minutes he plays or points he scores as long as the team wins.

“I came to this program because it wins a lot,” Theisen said. “I want to be remembered as a guy who helped the team win and made the team better when I stepped onto the floor.”

Theisen is hoping to play in his third straight NCAA Tournament in March. He has 93 wins in his collegiate career and will leave SDSU as one of the most successful Jackrabbits in the history of the men’s basketball program, but his playing career might not stop with SDSU. He is exploring options to play professionally in England.

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