Username or Email Address
Posted On: 11/13/18 1:00 PM
The Firebirds started the year 4-8 but ended the season on a 10-game losing streak. Devils Lake struggled on both ends of the floor particularly in conference play, averaging just 54 points per game while surrendering more than 70. With a number of experienced players back, the Firebirds are hoping for improvement.
Needs to be Replaced: Jagger Miller
Miller led the team in scoring, rebounding and assists last season. He was consistently able to produce points despite being the focal point of opposing defenses night in and night out. A number of other seniors are gone to graduation but none played more than half the season or really factored into the rotation.
Key Returners: Josh Dahlen, Leif Nelson, Dominick Bjornson, Braden Fee
Dahlen is the team’s top returning scorer after averaging better than 11.5 points per game. He’s got good size and if he can improve his efficiency (37 percent from the field), he could be in for a big season offensively. Nelson is one of the team’s top interior players and averaged about five points and five rebounds a game. He’ll need to produce more offensively this season as the team looks for inside scoring with Miller gone. Fee averaged about 5.5 points per game as a sophomore and was pretty efficient doing it. If he can maintain his current level (53 percent from the field and 37 percent from three), while increasing his volume, he could be one of the top scorers in the EDC. Bjornson averaged about 4.5 points per game and will have more opportunity to increase that output this winter.
Stepping Into New Roles: Jacob Greene, Luke Aanstad, Joseph Frelich, Grant Nelson
Greene and Aanstad both averaged around 20 minutes per game last season but they’ll likely be two of the key guys in the backcourt this year and take on more responsibility from a playmaking a scoring perspective. Nelson will likely see a lot more time this winter as he’s one of the top returning frontcourt players on the team. At 6-foot-7, he’ll be asked to provide interior defense, rebounding and supplementary offense.
Devils Lake returns a lot of guys who played key roles last season. While there were a lot of struggles particularly down the stretch, there’s a chance this team could be much improved thanks to that extra exposure. While the Firebirds won’t be expected to win the league, they should be more competitive.