FARGO — North Dakota State head coach Dave Richman has yet to shake hands with his three latest men’s basketball recruits; that will have to wait until Andrew Kallman, Joshua Streit and Willie Guy get on campus. COVID-19 distance recruiting is still happening around the country.
How all three were part of signing day on Wednesday was because of basketball relationships. For instance, Guy played for current Bison assistant coach Josh Sash at Des Moines Area Community College. Kallman is friends and a former teammate of Bison forward Rocky Kreuser and is graduate transferring from Northern State (S.D.), where Saul Phillips is the head coach.
Richman was an assistant under Phillips when Phillips was the head coach at NDSU. Moreover, Richman has known Kallman’s father for a while.
“The relationship piece has been tough because of COVID,” Richman said. “It’s just a fun day, an important day and a challenging day more than ever because we are such a character- and integrity-based program. To get from A to B has been different, but I don’t feel like we’ve compromised at all.”
What the transfer portal took away from NDSU in the form of four backup players leaving gave back with Kallman. The 6-foot-4 guard averaged 10.2 points and 4.2 assists for the Wolves, who went 19-2. He shot 39% from 3-point range.
“Kallman will be a Swiss Army knife for us,” Richman said. “It’s a bonus year for him. He’ll come in and provide us depth and versatility and most important — championship level experience.
Kallman said earlier this month playing AAU ball with Kreuser helped persuade him to transfer to NDSU. When he put his name in the transfer portal, he said, he didn’t know what would result from it.
“Rocky and I have a lot of past experiences with each other,” said Kallman, from Chaska, Minn., “so it’s kind of fun to put all that together again.”
Guy averaged 12.5 points, 6.0 assists and 4.8 rebounds and was the Iowa Community College Athletic Conference Player of the Year. He led his team to a league title for the second straight season and will have three seasons of eligibility with the Bison because of the free year from the pandemic.
We went a little further North for the latest addition to the Bison and we're excited she's coming to Fargo!— NDSU Women's Basketball (@NDSUwbb) April 14, 2021
Welcome to the Herd, Gabby Forde!
-Averaged 10 points per game
-Averaged seven rebounds per game
-Averaged 6.4 assists per game pic.twitter.com/LhAReJj9cK
The Bison women continued to try and build their team vertically as well as athletically in adding 6-foot-3 forward Gabby Forde from Brampton, Ontario. She averaged 10.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 6.4 assists.
Forde originally committed to Texas Tech in high school, but opted out after Tech went through a coaching change. NDSU began recruiting her about five to six months ago, said head coach Jory Collins.
“We felt fortunate to get involved with her,” he said. “Her ability to drive, pass and shoot will be different for us. We’re excited about what she brings to the table.”
Collins said Forde had no problem going through the recruiting process again after decommitting from Tech. Former Red Raiders head coach Marlene Stollings was fired last August after allegations of “a culture of abuse” and 12 players having left the team.
“Once you go through recruiting a second time, you get away from all the fluff and get to the things that matter more,” Collins said. “Her ability to communicate made me like her more. It was easy to talk about what was important to her and what we could provide. I’m brutally honest with our recruits. If it sounds like something you want, we’ll keep working on it.”
Forde will join a 2021 freshman class that will include 5-10 guard Ellie Dague from Henning, Minn., 6-2 forward Katie Hildebrandt from McFarland, Wis., 5-11 forward Abbey Kubas from Dickinson, N.D., and 5-10 guard/forward Sophie Olson from El Dorado Hills, Calif.