Men Open Practice

The hardcourt is calling and the Bemidji State men’s basketball team is answering as it begins official practice for the 2010-11 season Friday, Oct. 15. The Beavers begin training at the BSU Gymnasium, looking to improve on their 12-15 record from a year ago.

The 2010-11 version of the Bemidji State men’s basketball team may be young, but the squad is battle-tested and primed to return to the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference playoffs for the first time since 2005-06. This season the Beavers will be sporting one senior, four juniors (two junior college transfers), eight sophomores and four freshmen.

“On paper we are really young, but our returners have played a ton of minutes already,” said head coach Matt Bowen. “Overall we are very experienced and I cant help but be excited. They are further ahead of the game because of the situation they were in to log a lot of minutes. By the end of the year maturity grew, as did our strength and confidence.”

The Beavers have improved their record each year under Bowen. Now entering his fifth season at the helm, Bowen and BSU are coming off a 12-win season. Youth is still the story for this building program, which is headed by lone senior Pat Cassidy, who has endured the growing pains for three seasons and is ready to guide Bemidji State over the hump. Cassidy averaged 8.4 points per game last season, playing in an average of 26.3 minutes per contest. Bowen will be looking to Cassidy for leadership and consistency this season.

“I don’t know if there is anyone in the NSIC that has as much experience as Pat does,” Bowen said. “He played a ton as a freshman, sophomore and logged a ton of minutes last year. Pat is in the best shape of his life, he’s stronger and has really taken on the leadership role. He’s an undersized power forward, but strong enough and smart enough to use his body and get into prime scoring and rebounding areas.”