South Dakota head men’s basketball coach Craig Smith is pleased to announce the signings of three student-athletes to national letters of intent. The trio of Ben Fakira, Sam Griesel and Tauriawn Knight will join the Coyotes for the start of the 2018-19 season.
“We are thrilled these three young men are going to be Yotes,” Smith said. “Ben, Sam and Tauriawn exemplify the types of people we want and have in our program. They are hardworking, competitive, talented, great teammates, and simply, do the right thing on and off the floor. We were looking to add athleticism, skill and versatility and these three certainly provide that to our program. We are pumped to coach these guys!”
Ben Fakira | Sydney, Australia | Barker College | Center | Marketing
A selection to the Asia NBA Basketball Without Borders camp in 2016, Fakira is a native of Sydney, Australia. While competing at Barker College, he averaged 12 points and 10 rebounds per game. He shot at a 60-percent clip from the field. The 6-foot-10 center earned MVP honors from Barker College where he has also served as the team captain. Fakira also participated in the FIBA Oceania tournament in 2015 where he claimed the gold medal as part of the U16 squad.
Ben is the son of Julie and Has Fakira and plans to major in marketing.
“Ben is a skilled big man who will bring a different dynamic to our team with his size and physicality in the post,” Smith said. “He is very well-rounded on the floor as he can score, rebound and defend at a high level. Because of his high basketball IQ, Ben becomes a difficult matchup with his ability to pass the ball and make plays for others. He is the total package and will make a tremendous impact on and off the floor for our team.”
Sam Griesel | Lincoln, Neb. | East HS | Forward | Business
Hailing from Lincoln, Nebraska, Griesel averaged 13.1 points and 4.3 rebounds per game as a junior at Lincoln East High School, helping the Spartans to an 18-7 record. The 6-foot-6 forward has tallied 479 points throughout his high school career and was named All-City in his junior campaign.
Sam is the son of Kathy and Achim Griesel and plans to major in business.
“Sam is a long and athletic wing who will bring a lot of versatility to the floor,” Smith said. “His size and length, with is ability to score the ball all over the court, will make him a tough matchup for our opponents. He does a great job of going to the offensive glass and has a real nose for the ball. Sam really knows how to play and will do whatever it takes to win.”
Tauriawn Knight | Edmond, Okla. | Santa Fe HS | Guard | Business Management
An honorable mention all-state selection, Knight was named All-Central Oklahoma Athletic Conference after a junior season that saw him average 13.1 points, 3.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game. The 6-foot-1 guard was also an honorable mention to the Oklahoma All-Big City squad. Following his sophomore season, Knight was named the Central Oklahoma Conference Newcomer of the Year.
Tauriawn is the son of Shawnda Hampton and plans to major in business management.
“Tauriawn is a talented guard who has the ability to play both spots in the backcourt,” Smith said. “He brings a high level of toughness and competitiveness to his team every time he steps on the floor. On the offensive end, he plays with great pace and really gets into the paint and breaks down the defense. TK has a great feel for the game and really knows how to make others around him better.”
All three will enroll for classes beginning in the fall of 2