There was more to South Dakota State’s first game of the 2018-19 season than just the usual excitement that reigned on opening night. It was a premier mid-major match at Frost Arena in mid-November when the Jackrabbits hosted Grand Canyon, the then-division I relative newcomer whose ambition had culminated in three straight 20-win seasons that year.
SDSU held the Lopes behind 31 points from David Jenkins that night, extending the nation’s longest home win streak to 21 games at the time. As remarkable as it all was, four years later it turns out that record breakers may have had their say for the first time too. Matt Dentlinger and Alex Arians made their respective debuts in the game and, as both return to Brookings for a final year, they will beat a number of Summit players poised to clinch their respective program record books next season.
Arians didn’t start that game against GCU, committing two fouls and turning the ball over twice in five minutes. However, this would be the last time he plays in single digits in a four-year career, and counting.
The Madison, Wisconsin native has been heavily used by both TJ Otzelberger and Eric Henderson and, while in good health, will almost certainly set the program record for career games. He is entering his fifth year with 123 games and is within half a season of the overall lead (139), a record held in part by a player he missed by just one season, Reed Tellinghuisen.
Matt Dentinger (122 games), also a fifth-year senior, is just a game behind and both SDSU mainstays are likely to either enter or climb other top-10 lists in the Jackrabbits record book. Dentlinger is already sixth in career blocks at 89 and with a particularly productive year could potentially take third place – currently from Jason Schütz’s 115 – or second (Steve Lingenfelter’s 130 blocks). For his part, Arians is starting the year with 261 career assists and will almost certainly crack the top 10 (Troy Bouman is 10th with 291).
Oral Roberts is also primed for program records to be broken this year.
Not surprisingly, Max Abmas is already ninth in the Golden Eagles’ top 10 career scoring list with 1,818 points. Repeating last year’s scoring performance would put Abmas close to Caleb Green’s impressive 2,503 points, who is remarkably only third in ORU history. The Golden Eagles have two 3,000-point scorers in Greg Sutton (3,070) and Richard Fuqua (3,004), both of whom have accumulated that total in the NAIA.
Abmas also has a shot at cracking the assists top 10, where he’s 116 assists from the edge of that list and has averaged 108 assists over the past two seasons. However, all of those individual numbers could be affected by how Abmas’ game unfolds alongside a rising Isaac McBride and plenty of other talent either returning or moving.
Similarly, the key roles played by DeShang Weaver (92 games) and Carlos Jurgens (89 games) in their respective careers in Tulsa, along with Abmas (89 games), should see them all in the program’s top 10 in Career games with healthy players land seasons. Weaver also has a chance to become a 1,000 point scorer and is going into the year with 740 points.