South Dakota opted for a new head coach in former Nebraska assistant coach Craig Smith in the offseason and now the school will also get a new basketball arena.
According to a report from Mick Garry of the Sioux Falls Argus Leader, a groundbreaking ceremony will take place next Tuesday, south of the current DakotaDome, for the $66 million facility.
The majority of the work will begin later in the summer but the project includes a 6,000 seat basketball and volleyball facility to be completed by the fall of 2016. The arena then connects to a building that will have a science, health and research lab and will include classrooms, clinical areas, office space and the new weight room.
A soccer and outdoor track facility is also slated to be finished by the fall of 2015.
The 6,000 seat arena will feature a ground-level main floor and a second-level concourse that includes practices courts.
This is a big move for the Coyotes, as they’ll have one of the nicer facilities in the Summit League to go along with a new head coach in Smith.
South Dakota finished 12-18 and in the middle of the pack in the Summit at 6-8 and former head coach Joey James was not retained.
Tim Miles was tapped to be the man to take the reins of a Nebraska program that hasn’t made the NCAA tournament since 1998 and he’s wasting no time trying to build.
He added two pieces Friday, as 2013 prospects Nick Fuller and Nate Hawkins pledged their names to the Cornhuskers.
Fuller, a 6-7 guard, is a Wisconsin native from Sun Prarie HS who will have good size and length in a college backcourt. He had narrowed his list down to Nebraska and another finalist, Minnesota.
“Coach Miles has a passion for the game and a drive to win,” Fuller told the Omaha World Herald. “And he has a drive to turn around the program … he’s showed me what his plans are for this program and my role in it.”
Hawkins, a 6-5 guard, had connections to Miles and assistant Craig Smith, dating back to when both were at Colorado State, the World Herald points out.
“All the facilities and the town and everything, it was appealing,” Hawkins told the paper. “But my meeting with Coach Miles put it over the top.”
Those two commitments add to the Cornhuskers’ 2013 class, but the biggest player Miles and the program have their eye on is 6-9 forward Akoy Agau, who holds dozens of offers but is set to cut his list soon.
Agau was on a visit this weekend but did not commit, remaining Nebraska’s No. 1 priority. The in-state prospect is a Top-100 player and would be a huge pickup for a Cornhusker program looking to rise from the bottom of the Big 10.
Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_