NCAA Basketball: Rudolph lighting up NSIC

Minot State's Tyler Rudolph has established himself as an elite player in the NSIC.

"[Rudolph] loves to win whether it's a drill in practice or whether it's a game, and he loves to get better," head coach Matt Murken said.

Using that winning combination, the forward has more than established himself in the Northern Sun Conference as one of the league's elite players. The former Bismarck Century standout made history last year by becoming the first player to be named to the All-NSIC first team, and the senior's lead-by-example attitude has Minot State off to its best start in 42 years.

"I think everyone has a chance to lead but I look at myself as a leader as an example on the floor," Rudolph said. "I always try to go out and work as hard as I can, and I'm hoping by doing that that other guys follow along, and everyone just knows that when they're out on the floor they need to give it their all."

"When we were recruiting we just thought like he really liked to compete and looking for a guy that number one is used to winning, and number two used to competing really hard," Murken said. "It had us really excited about how good he could get."

Rudolph is in his 4thfourth season since playing as a true freshman and is currently ranked in the top five in three categories in the Northern Sun, including third in scoring, fourth in rebounding and 2nd in field goal percentage.The former Mr. Basketball finalist recently became the university's all-time rebounder and is moving up on the all-time scoring list.

Currently Rudolph is fourth on the list but could move up to third by the time New Year comes around.  With a total of 16 regular season games to play, Rudolph, who is averaging over 22 points a game, only needs to average 12 and a half the rest of the season to become the school's all-time scoring leader as well. 

"I think the best thing about it was he honestly doesn't really care about that at all," Murken said. "At some point in time he'll look back probably and say 'Okay, that's kind of cool.' But right now we got done with those games and we're just happy that we won two games."

"There's always things I have to still work on," Rudolph said. "I don't think I'm a complete player by that means. I think I can work on some ball handling and some more perimeter-oriented stuff, because I mainly play down low so I think that could improve."

Meanwhile, Rudolph has already racked up three NSIC North Division Player of the Week honors this year, and as Rudolph has raised his level of play to an MVP level, his teammates have transitioned as well, which makes the success of the team even more special.

"It's my fourth year with Tyler," senior Luis Ricci Maia said, "and every year he improves something a lot, whether it's his defense, a hook shot or jump shot, [or] 3 point shot. He literally can do everything and I give him credit for just hard work."

"We wouldn't have our success this year if it wasn't for our team," Rudolph said. "Everybody fits their role perfectly, [and] they know what they're doing. They're all great guys on and off the court and it's just really fun to play with [them]."

The Beavers are off to an 11-1 start this year and host St. Cloud State on Saturday. 

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