Yellow Jacket basketball finishes as Final Four contender in 2022 NCAA Tournament

Black Hills State University men’s basketball team has proudly distinguished themselves throughout all of Division II. Making history with the programs first attendance to the NCAA Tournament. Climbing to the Elite Eight, Yellow Jacket’s basketball team defeated Nova Western, 77-67, advancing them to the Final Four in late March.

BHSU’s head basketball coach Ryan Thompson allocated the teams success to the close-knit culture they had built over the season. BHSU would not only be crowned Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference champions, but also finished fourth overall in the nation along with breaking almost every single-season record at BHSU in the DII era.

Deviser behind the historical season, Thompson stated, “Our roster compliments each other the best out of any team we had, where we have a dominant post player in Joel Scott and amazing shooters that surround him. Sindou Cisse is an electric, slashing guard that puts pressure on the rim. We have had really good players in the past years, but we haven’t had the perfect combination of guys like we have had this year.”

Joel Scott, junior from Monument, Colo., presented fans with an unbelievable performance this 2022 season. Scott earned the title of RMAC Player of the Year and RMAC Conference Tournament Most Valuable Player. He was certainly a massive part of the Yellow Jacket’s success during the year. Scott averaged a team-high 23.1 points per game, leading DII in defensive rebounds, and was named a 2022 Bevo Francis award finalist.

The teams keyed on Scott the whole season as he dominated the paint allowing for shooters like Sindou Cisse, Adam Mousa, PJ Hays, and Ryker Cisarik to take advantage around the ring and driving to the rim.
Head coach Ryan Thompson was awarded with 2022 RMAC Coach of the Year. The second time he has been given that distinction after just four seasons at BHSU.
Coach Thompson credits their success this season to veteran players having done a great job in being flexible with their roles. Experience is one component obtained from playing together in the past.

Thompson talks more about the individual rolls presented by Sava Dukic, Senior Captain. “Sava has done an excellent job of setting the tone of how unselfish he is. He has kind of taken a back seat as far as his role goes, but when you have a talented player that is willing to take a step back in the betterment of the team, it helps provide an example to the team in continuing to be unselfish.”
Senior, Micheal Russel, contributed to the programs unwarranted success by achieving a leadership role among the team.

Thompson stated, “When he addresses the team everyone pays attention. He has a great future as a college basketball coach, something he wants to pursue.”
Coach Thompson, a native of Viroqua, Wisc., and a graduate from the University of Jamestown, was awarded with 2022 RMAC Coach of the Year.

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The second time he has been given that distinction after just four seasons at BHSU. Ryan placed his reason for success behind his parents, former coaches, and colleagues.
His parents helped him develop his core values in his life. Values of which the team resides by as well. A former boss and coach, Jeff Trembour has been an important mentor in his career. Thompson allocated his mentorship for the upbringing of BHSU’s program.

Head football coach Josh Breske also speaks praises of Coach Thompson. Breske states,“He is an excellent coach and even greater person. He has elevated his program, and even this school to new heights, something that I think all athletics can feed off of.”

Black Hills State University men’s basketball team and Coach Ryan Thompson achieved nothing short of greatness during the 2022 season. Proving to themselves and others that the Yellow Jacket’s have created a presence in DII basketball. With room for growth a list of players plan to return for next year’s season.

Final Four Graphic. Photo courtesy of Black Hills State MBB