Chad Walthall has begun his second year as head coach of the Dragons men’s basketball team after leading them to a 15-12 record last year, the team’s first winning season in eight years.
The Dragons played two exhibition games against D-I teams before the regular season; a double-overtime victory against NDSU on Nov. 1, and a 77-64 loss to South Dakota State University, Brookings, on Nov. 3.
In their victory over NDSU, Walthall was pleased with the way his team kept its composure, especially in overtime.
“I thought we really played with poise,” Walthall said. “We didn’t get caught up in playing a Division I school. We just kept playing the game the way it should be played.”
Despite losing to the Jackrabbits of South Dakota State, Walthall still saw positive aspects of his team.
“We worked really hard,” Walthall said. “It was just a matter of not executing as well (as we should). We missed some open shots that we usually make. On the road against South Dakota State, you’re probably not going to win if you don’t make open shots.”
Despite considering himself a “one day at a time” coach, Walthall’s expectations are high for his squad this season.
“I like our work ethic, and I like our talent level,” Walthall said. “We’re not a team that is one-dimensional. We’re not a one- or two-man scoring show. I think (scoring) will come from multiple places at various times this year. As a coach, I think that is the type of team you would like.”
When asked about his players, Walthall was unable to discuss one who stood out above the rest.
“There’s not really one particular guy I can talk about.” Walthall said. “This is a team that is much better as a group.”
Walthall is appreciative of students and faculty who come to games and show their support, and he encourages others to show their school pride at home games.
“I think they’ll enjoy watching us play,” Walthall said, “because I think we play the game the right way.”
BY DANNY DETERMAN