Dean Winczewski is fine not having a star player on his team.
Minot High School's fourth-year basketball coach hadn't even set a starting lineup two days ago, but likes not having to rely on one or two players.
The Magicians begin the season tonight at Bismarck High and Winczewski hopes to see a team that shares the ball and digs in on defense.
Minot High coach Dean Winczewski, left, posts up junior post player Brandon Van Dusen as Jordan Thomas watches.
"Hopefully we don't have a go-to guy," Winczewski said. "Hopefully we play a team-brand of basketball. We had to my three years here so far and I think that's hard to defend because you don't know where it's gonna come from, you don't know which way we're going."
He added that eight or nine players are vying for starting roles. Senior all-state football player and two-year varsity basketball player Dustin Adams will forgo his last season on the hardwood. Adams will be attending the University of Hawaii on a football scholarship and said he'd like to focus on weight training and preparing for college.
At 6 feet 4 inches and 285 pounds, Adams was able to create matchup issues on both ends of the floor.
"It's a pretty big loss with (him) clogging up the lane for us, scoring some points in the paint," senior guard Marcus Quist said, "but without him we got new stuff in and we can run the floor... It's a big loss, but we can deal with it."
Quist is one of three captains selected by Winczewski and the team, including senior guard Kelvin Mackey and junior Kyle Gerding. Mackey is expected to be the primary ball handler.
"They bring the respect of their teammates," Winczewski said. "They're the (ones) the kids chose to be leaders for us. They work extremely hard, they're vocal.
"Kelvin works his tail off and has been through the grind of an entire season as a starter. Kyle is a good vocal leader and Marcus is a guy that brings enthusiasm to the gym. So they all bring a little something different to us."
The Magi hope to build on last season's third and sixth-place finishes in the region and state, respectively. Man-to-man will to be Minot's primary defense, the one that helped the Magi lead the West Region in allowing just 52 points per game a year ago.
"I think we're still pretty good defensively because that's what (Winczewski) preaches - defense," Mackey said.
Senior Brock Krueger (6-2) and junior Brandon Van Dusen (6-3) will be key post players. They'll be tested tonight against Bismarck senior Dexter Werner, (6-6) a two-time all-state player and North Dakota State University commit.
"They're gonna be extremely aggressive," Winczewski said. "They're gonna be physical and their gym is an extremely tough place to play. We've got to come mentally prepared to be aggressive, to be physical, to match their intensity and come and just relax and play."
Minot's first home game is Dec. 16 at 7:45 p.m. against Jamestown at the Minot Municipal Auditorium.
Meet the Magicians
Seniors: Brock Krueger, Kelvin Mackey, Marcus Quist, Mitchell Quist.
Juniors: Austin Frank, Caleb Albertson, Brian Bloms, Bryce Veazey, Jesse Andrist, Kyle Gerding, Jordan Thomas, Dylan Jechort, Brandon Van Dusen, Landon Klein.
Sophomores: Kolton Larson, Colter Hustad.
Dec. - 8, at Bismarck High, 7:45 p.m.; 10, at Fargo North, 4:15 p.m.; 16, vs. Jamestown at AUD, 7:45 p.m.; 17, vs. Dickinson at AUD, 7:45 p.m.; 28, vs. Grand Forks Central at Magic City, 7:30 p.m.; 29, vs. Grand Forks Red River, 5:30 p.m.; Jan. - 3, at Mandan, 7:30 p.m.; 10, vs. Turtle Mountain at AUD, 7:30 p.m.; 12, vs. Bismarck Century at AUD, 7:45 p.m.; 19, vs. Williston at AUD, 7:30 p.m.; 21, at Jamestown, 7:45 p.m; 24, vs. Bismarck St. Mary's at AUD, 7:30 p.m.; 27 p.m., at Turtle Mountain, 7:30 p.m.; 31, vs. Bismarck High at MSU Dome, 7:30 p.m.; Feb. - 4, at Dickinson, 6 p.m.; 9, at St. Mary's, 7:45 p.m.; 10 vs. Mandan at Magic City, 7:30 p.m.; 17, at Century, 6 p.m.; 21, at Williston, 7:45 p.m.; March - 1-3, West Region tournament at Bismarck Civic Center, TBA; 8-10, state tournament at Fargo, TBA.