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Heath Hotzler, Published May 02 2008

NSIC goes to new heights

The Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference is quickly becoming Big Man Central.

Northern State University announced on Thursday the signing of 7-foot Serbian forward Milos Jerotijevic, giving the NSIC a pair of incoming 7-footers. Minnesota State University Moorhead inked 7-foot, 315-pound center Zack Peterson last month.

The duo will be the tallest in the league.

But it doesn’t stop there.

Many Northern Sun teams will have at least one giant on the roster next year – even if they don’t break the 7-foot barrier – giving fans of old-school, power basketball a reason to come to the game.

Northern State also signed

6-9 center Logan Rohs from Eden Prairie, Minn. Rohs, the Wolves say, has an wingspan of 7-2, making him a shot-blocking specialist.

Bemidji State has 6-10,

236-pound center Jimmy Johnson. Johnson averaged 4.1 points and 3.5 rebounds a game in his freshman season.

Drew Votis, a 6-11, 280-pound freshman center, averaged 2.7 points and

2.3 rebounds a game for Concordia-St. Paul last season.

Southwest Minnesota State sophomore reserve big man Nick Dale is 6-11, 265.

6-foot-10 center Mitch Grundman was a redshirt freshman at Minnesota State-Mankato last year.

Minnesota-Duluth has 6-11, 275-pounder Steve Jamnick.

True big men at the NCAA Division II level rarely (if ever) have the combination of size, speed and athleticism of their Division I counterparts.

But that doesn’t mean they can’t be entertaining to watch or that they can’t make a contribution to a team’s success.

It should be interesting to watch the players’ progress through the years, especially the 7-footers.

Grab some popcorn and enjoy.

However, you might want to stay away from a courtside seat.

Odds and ends

University of Minnesota-Crookston senior Jordan Grafsgaard, a Ulen-Hitterdal High School graduate, was named the school’s outstanding male athlete of the year. A basketball and football player, Grafsgaard finished with 21 receptions and a touchdown last season on the football field. He averaged

2.6 points per game on the basketball court. Grafsgaard also received the school’s Justin Knebel Memorial award for his contribution to the basketball team. … MSUM will award the first John Tiemann Memorial Award to the winner of the 1,500-meter run at Saturday’s Ron Masanz Invitational track and field meet. Tiemann, who recently passed away at his home in North Carolina, was the Dragons’ first two-sport All-American (cross country and track and field). Tiemann graduated in 1976. … Former St. Olaf wide receiver Horace Gant signed this week as an undrafted free agent with the Washington Redskins. Former St. Olaf head coach Chris Meidt was hired by the Redskins as an assistant in February. … Bemidji State wide receiver Anthony Schreiber was signed as a free agent by the Minnesota Vikings. … MSUM’s Tyler Tubbs (wrestling) and Ashley Roemer (track and field) were named NSIC scholar-athlete award winners.

Readers can reach Heath Hotzler at (701) 241-5562 or hhotzler@forumcomm.com. Hotzler’s small college blog can be found

at www.areavoices.com