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MEN’S BASKETBALL: Mohamed Kone takes center stage when Beavers support fellow athletes

“Momo’s certainly one of those guys who makes his presence felt as a fan with women’s soccer and football, and he’s got a lot of buddies on the football team who get out and support him. It’s pretty cool.”

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Bemidji State's Mohamed Kone (3) smiles after sinking a 3-pointer in the first half against Wayne State on Saturday, Jan. 29, 2022, at the BSU Gymnasium.
Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer
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BEMIDJI -- Any Beaver fan is happy to cheer when the Bemidji State men’s basketball team makes a play.

But Mohamed Kone even has his own cheering section.

“That’s one thing that I love to do -- support every sport on campus, no matter who it is,” Kone said. “I always try to go out and support, and I feel like they do the same. I appreciate them to the fullest.”

BSU’s fifth-year point guard has perhaps the strongest motor on the team, which often hits another gear when his supporters get loud on his behalf. Many of them are fellow athletes, and it’s all part of the giant sports web that stretches all over campus.

“There’s a really good group of athletes who really support each other,” men’s basketball head coach Mike Boschee said. “Momo’s certainly one of those guys who makes his presence felt as a fan with women’s soccer and football, and he’s got a lot of buddies on the football team who get out and support him. It’s pretty cool.”

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Bemidji State fifth-year Mohamed Kone (3) drives toward the net during the first half against Minnesota Duluth on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, at the BSU Gymnasium.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

Kone likes to reward the faithful fans with a big 3-pointer or a smooth layup, which gives them all the more reason to roar to life. Sometimes it’s to a fault, where Kone or others force a play that isn’t open, but that’s all part of the growing process as the Beavers march through their season.

“My teammates and coaches entrust me to make the right play every time,” said Kone, who ranks second in the NSIC with 4.6 assists per game. “It’s learning that, even if we’re down, to take it one possession at a time and not force everything right away. You can’t get it all back at once. I appreciate my teammates trusting me to make the right play every time because I’m one of the leaders on the team, and leaders have to step up.”

Likewise, Boschee knows that a comeback sometimes requires a patient, slow-and-steady plan of attack.

“We’ve got to be able to slow down, calm down and make sure we’re valuing every possession by making the easy play instead of trying to hit home runs or play hero ball a little too much,” Boschee said. “Hopefully that message continues to grow stronger as the season goes on.”

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Bemidji State head coach Mike Boschee talks with the team during a timeout in the second half against Minnesota Morris on Friday, Nov. 18, 2022, at the BSU Gymnasium.
Maggi Fellerman / Bemidji Pioneer

Bemidji State (5-3, 1-2 NSIC) will try to take the next step in that process this weekend. BSU is on the road to face Minnesota State Moorhead (7-2, 2-1 NSIC) at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 9, in Moorhead and Northern State (6-3, 2-1 NSIC) at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 10, in Aberdeen, S.D.

The Beavers will also have to figure out how to proceed with a lack of depth in the front court. John Sutherland is dealing with an ankle injury, while graduate transfer RJ Smith rehabs his own injury bug. Sophomore Parker Maki also left the program, Boschee said, all of which leaves BSU thin in a hurry at the forward position.

“I’ve learned that any well thought out plans can change in a moment,” Boschee said. “Going into the season, I thought we had a lot of depth. Now with injuries to John and RJ, and then having Parker quit, it puts you in a little bit of a pickle. … You’ve just got to learn to adapt and be flexible. And our players need to learn to be flexible, because that’s what life is.”

That predicament makes a job like Kone’s role even more imperative this weekend. He may not drum up the same amount of followers with the Beavers on the road, but his community still extends far beyond the home bleachers.

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“We always support everybody,” Kone said. “Building a bond with my friends -- who I’ll be friends with forever -- is amazing.”

Micah Friez is the former sports editor at the Bemidji Pioneer. A native of East Grand Forks, Minn., he worked at the Pioneer from 2015-23 and is a 2018 graduate of Bemidji State University with a degree in Creative and Professional Writing.
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