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MEN'S BASKETBALL: Bemidji picked to finish 12th in NSIC coaches poll

Bemidji State guard Dermaine Crockrell brings the ball upcourt during a game last season. Crockrell, last season’s NSIC Newcomer of the Year, will be expected to star for the Beavers this year following the loss of National Player of the Year James Ellisor. Pioneer File Photo

BEMIDJI – The Bemidji State men’s basketball certainly has some replacing to do.

The Beavers lose Daktronics Division II Player of the Year James Ellisor, all-region point guard Bryce Tesdahl and head coach Matt Bowen from last season’s record-breaking 22-9 conference title campaign.

Those losses have apparently left some doubt in the minds of fellow coaches in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.

BSU was picked to finish tied for 12th in the NSIC’s 2012-13 preseason coaches poll after winning the conference’s regular season title and making it all the way to the NCAA Division II tournament. The Beavers were tied with Upper Iowa for 12th, with both teams getting 72 points.

Winona State is league favorite, receiving 10 first place votes in the poll. Southwest Minnesota State, the 2011-12 conference tournament champions, took second place with four first place nods.

And with the addition of Minot State and Sioux Falls to the league, the 16-team conference has split into a North and South Division.

Bemidji State earned 25 points for fifth place in the North Division poll.

Minnesota State Moorhead (five first place votes) and St. Cloud State (two first place votes) were picked to finish at the top of the division with 46 and 43 points, respectively.

MSU Moorhead’s Alex Novak was named NSIC North Division Preseason Player of the Year, while Winona State’s Clayton Vette was named NSIC South Division Preseason Player of the Year.

BSU finished with a program-best 22-9 record a season ago, won the NSIC Regular Season Championship and made their second all-time appearance in the NCAA tournament.

Despite big losses, the Beavers welcome nine returning players to fold this season, and introduced new head coach Mike Boschee in July to continue the momentum built a season ago.

Last season’s NSIC Newcomer of the Year, senior guard Dermaine Crockrell, headlines the returning student-athletes, including a senior class comprised of five players. The Beavers begin the 2012-13 campaign Nov. 16 with a game against Colorado-Colorado Springs in Winona at the NSIC/Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Challenge.