DCTC Basketball Looks Strong for Upcoming Season

Blue Knights Basketball

Five returning players and excellent recruits bring stacks of talent

The men’s basketball program at Dakota County Technical College is geared up for the 2014–2015 season with a core unit of returning players plus a solid recruiting class that includes exceptionally skilled local and out-of-state players.

“We have a great group of incoming players with a lot of talent and athleticism at all positions,” said Head Coach Ben Davis. “We are also returning five guys from last year’s team who all work hard and have a good understanding of what we want to accomplish on and off the court. The returners will set the tone and lead the way for the upcoming season.”

One returning player is Andrew Aakre, a 5’11 guard from Champlin Park who led the Blue Knights in scoring last year with 12 points per game. Aakre also led the team in steals and minutes played. He was named to the NJCAA All-Region 13 Team and is a candidate for NJCAA DII All American honors. A polished outside shooter, Aakre knocked down 61 three-pointers during the 2013–2014 season—a school record.

“There are very few guys who shoot the ball like Andrew,” Davis said. “He consistently knocks down shots and is a great ball handler. He has worked very hard this summer in the weight room and on the court. We are counting on Andrew to be a big part of our success this season.”

In the off-season, Coach Davis challenged his returners to step up as leaders. Sophomores Jamar Kelly and Tim Lott met the challenge. Lott is a 6’5 guard/forward from A&M Consolidated in College Station, Texas; Kelly is a 6’3 guard/forward from Cretin Derham Hall in St. Paul.

“Tim and Jamar have both developed into strong leaders,” Davis said. “They took the initiative during the off-season, leading by example to make sure everyone is working extremely hard to improve their game. They’ve also gone out of their way to make connections with our incoming players—a very talented group, but young. It’s a great feeling knowing that we’ve got great leadership in players like Tim and Jamar.”

(left to right) Andrew Aakre, Tim Lott, Jamar Kelly, Cole Piepkorn, Brandon Drexl-Strickland

Cole Piepkorn, a 5’11 sophomore guard from Christ’s Household of Faith in St. Paul, is another Blue Knights success story. Piepkorn didn’t get much playing time in the first half of last year due to injuries, but returned to the lineup in December against Vermilion Community College, scoring 23 points with four assists. He started the rest of the season and stood out as one of the team’s top players. Piepkorn also did well in the classroom, finishing spring semester 2014 with a 4.0 GPA.

“Cole has a simple formula of working hard every day and never complaining,” Davis said. “As a result, he improved more in one season than any player I’ve ever been around. Watching Cole excel during the second half of the season was a lot of fun—and we are looking forward to making him a big part of this year’s team.”

Sophomore Brandon Drexl-Strickland, a 6’3 guard from South St. Paul, missed much of the 2013–2014 season due to ankle injuries. Despite his injuries, Drexl-Strickland stayed committed to the DCTC basketball program, worked very hard during rehab, and continued to build on his talent. He is expected to be an essential contributor to the Blue Knights this season.

“Brandon has worked through multiple injuries,” Davis said. “After the second and third setback, I think a lot of guys would have given up. Brandon was usually the first player in the gym at practice whether he was healthy enough to participate or not. Now that he’s healthy, we are very excited to see what he can do this season.”

Davis went on to mention two promising freshman, Noble Fahnbulleh, a 6’2 guard from Hopkins, and Rajon Herbert, a 6’8 forward from Cherry Creek, Colo. “We recruited players with height in mind,” Davis said. “Our incoming class has a number of players in the six-eight range.”

Player spotlights…

Tim Lott
Tim Lott

Sophomore guard/forward

  • Tim LottAge: 21
  • High school: A&M Consolidated, College Station, Texas
  • Hometown: Chicago, Ill.
  • Current residence: Eagan, Minn.
  • Academic program area: Individualized Studies
  • Degree: A.S.
  • Jersey number: 24
  • Height & weight: 6’5, 195 pounds
  • Playing experience: Played varsity senior year at A&M Consolidated; streetball; freshman year at DCTC
  • Favorite part of basketball: Going on the road and hanging out with teammates; it’s like a brotherhood
  • Favorite NBA team: Chicago Bulls
  • Favorite NCAA DI team: UCLA Bruins
  • Career plans: Radiologist
  • Family: Four sisters in Chicago and Texas
  • Pastimes and hobbies: Listening to all types of music, from country to hip hop to gospel; helping out homeless people in Apple Valley, Minn.

What brought you to DCTC?
“My friends C.J. Goodman and Truman Sweed told me I was too good for streetball. They told me I needed to play college ball and get an education. I chose DCTC for both reasons.”

What do you like about the college?
“I’m playing a sport I love while focusing on the classroom and getting good grades.”

What do you like about the Individualized Studies program?
“All my instructors are ready to help. I’ll ask a question and they’ll take twenty minutes out of their day to give me the answer I need.”

Quote about upcoming season:
“Can’t wait to start playing. It’s going to be a great season. Our goal is to go all the way to the NJCAA DII championship game in New York.”

Andrew Aakre
Andrew Aakre

Sophomore guard

  • Andrew AakreAge: 19
  • High school: Champlin Park, Champlin, Minn.
  • Hometown: Champlin, Minn.
  • Current residence: Champlin, Minn.
  • Academic program area: Individualized Studies
  • Degree: A.S.
  • Jersey number: 0
  • Height & weight: 5’11, 160 pounds
  • Playing experience: Played varsity senior year at Champlin Park; freshman year at DCTC
  • Favorite part of basketball: Winning
  • Favorite NBA team: Portland Trail Blazers
  • Favorite NCAA DI team: University of Wyoming Cowboys; best friend plays on team
  • Career plans: Start own business with dad
  • Family: Four brothers and one sister; closest 14 years older
  • Pastimes and hobbies: Playing NBA 2K on PlayStation; lifting and staying in shape

What brought you to DCTC?
“The opportunity to play college basketball.”

What do you like about the college?
“DCTC is a smaller school. Players on different sports teams all support each other.”

What do you like about the Individualized Studies program?
“The program is a good start toward reaching my goals of playing NCAA ball and getting a business management degree at a four-year.”

Quote about upcoming season:
“I’m looking forward to building a strong bond with my teammates. We are aiming for a national championship.”

About the coach…

Head Coach Ben DavisBen Davis is entering his second year as head coach. Davis came to DCTC from Clarke University in Dubuque, Iowa, where he was the head assistant coach and head of recruiting for the men’s basketball team. Prior to Clarke, Davis served as assistant basketball coach at Macalester and Carleton colleges. Davis received his bachelor of science in child psychology with a minor in coaching education from the University of Minnesota in 2007. He received his master’s in coaching education from the University of Ohio in 2010. You can learn more about Coach Davis by reading his bio on GoBlueKnights.com.

Blue Knights basketball competes in Region 13 at the NJCAA Division II level. The Knights went 6–20 in the 2013–2014 season. The 2014–2015 season opens Nov. 1 at 8 p.m. at North Dakota State College of Science in Wahpeton, N.D. The team plays the first home game of the season against Western Technical College Nov. 8 at 1 p.m. at Hutton Arena on the Hamline University campus in St. Paul. Home games are played at Hamline and at Clark Danielson College Life Center Gymnasium on the North Central University campus in Minneapolis.

Blue Knights practicing at High Performance Academy

For more information about the men’s basketball team at DCTC, contact:
  • Ben Davis
    Men’s Basketball Head Coach
For more information about NJCAA athletics at DCTC, visit GoBlueKnights.com, or contact:
  • Cam Stoltz
    Athletic Coordinator
    Men’s Soccer Head Coach