Posted On: 10/23/18 1:00 PM
Grand Forks Red River had a disappointing regular season, going just 7-14. But the three wins in the EDC tournament including a huge upset win over top-ranked Fargo Davies earned the Roughriders a trip to the state tournament. went 10-17 last season. With several rotation players back, Grand Forks will hope for internal growth and more consistency in 2018-19.
Must be Replaced: Jordan Polynice, Pierson Painter, Tommy Stephenson, Riley Benson, Conner Richardson
Polynice was one of the top players in the state when he was in the lineup, averaging better than 25 points per game. But he only played in eight games – which certainly played into the team’s lack of wins. Painter was a multi-year starting guard and averaged better than 11 points per game as a senior. Stephenson was another double-figure scorer and the team’s best perimeter shooter and Richardson was the team’s leading rebounder.
Key Returners: Brady Dvorak, Bryce Enerson
In Dvorak and Enerson, the Roughriders return two guys who have the talent to be all-conference type guys as upperclassmen after starting as sophomores. Dvorak led the team in assists, averaging 4.5 per night. He averaged 6.5 points and better than four rebounds as well. If he can improve his efficiency shooting the ball and continue to control the offense, he’s in for a big year. Enerson averaged seven points and five rebounds last year and was one of the guys that shows improvement with each passing trip to the floor. He’ll likely be the team’s top offensive option.
Stepping Into Bigger Roles: Cole Benson, Will Obioha, Daniel Walker
Obioha is a guy to watch for the Roughriders after averaging 5.9 points and 4.8 rebounds in 14 minutes per game as a freshman. He was a guy who certainly benefited from Polynice’s absence as he was a guy who went from likely not seeing the floor at all to being a key rotation player. Benson was a rotation guy, averaging 5.5 points per game as a sophomore and provides size on the wing. If he can improve as a shooter, he could double that scoring average and give the team four potential double-figure scorers. Walker is a solid shooter and should see increased production with more minutes after averaging 3.5 points and shooting 36 percent from 3-point range.
The Roughriders didn’t finish last season with the roster they thought they’d have when the year started. But in some ways, some of that adversity could payoff this season as they return a number of guys who were forcefed minutes. Dvorak and Enerson enter upperclass seasons and should be able to lead the way while guys like Obioha give the team an upside. Complementary players like Benson, Walker, Jackson Feller and Brett Klefstad provide solid depth and experience. A return trip to the state tournament might not necessarily be the ultimate goal or the end result, but this team should have a smoother and more competitive journey.