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Bison tandem to play in Taipei

North Dakota State all-conference basketball players Ben Woodside and Brett Winkelman are in Xenia preparing for Taipei. Woodside and Winkelman, who will be seniors at NDSU next fall, are members of an Athletes in Action all-star team that will c...

Ben Woodside

North Dakota State all-conference basketball players Ben Woodside and Brett Winkelman are in Xenia preparing for Taipei.

Woodside and Winkelman, who will be seniors at NDSU next fall, are members of an Athletes in Action all-star team that will compete in the 29th annual Williams Jones Cup international tournament in Taipei, Taiwan. The team, that includes three players from two NCAA tournament teams, started two-a-day practices Wednesday at a high school gymnasium in Xenia, Ohio.

"It's fun," Woodside said. "It's nice getting to know some other guys from other conferences and other parts of the country."

Two of those players are Da'Sean Butler and Wellington Smith of West Virginia - a 26-11 team that played in last spring's NCAA tournament. Butler, a 6-7 junior forward, averaged 13 points and 6 rebounds while Smith, a 6-7 junior averaged 5 points and 4 rebounds.

The team, led by former Division I coach Dave Bliss, also includes Jamel McClean, a 6-8, 235-pound sophomore who transferred from Tulsa to Xavier, an NCAA tournament team that posted a 30-7 record last year.

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There is also some familiarity on the team. Missouri-Kansas City's Dane Brumagin, like Woodside and Winkelman, was an all-Summit League selection last year. The shooting guard averaged 17 points.

The team will leave Monday for Taiwan, where it is scheduled to play senior national teams from nine different countries. Some of the teams are still trying to qualify for the Olympics.

"We're really looking forward to going over there and playing against some of the best competition in the world," said Woodside, a 5-11 guard from Albert Lea, Minn., who averaged 20.7 points and 5 assists last year. "It will be a great experience on and off the floor."

The Bison duo heard of the Athletes in Action team through an acquaintance of Winkelman, a 6-6 forward from Morris, Minn., who averaged 19.2 points and 8.3 rebounds last season.

Starting July 10, the Athletes in Action team will play games for 10 straight days.

"It will be a lot of basketball," Woodside said. "It's already flying by."

Other teammates include:

- Marcus Kitts, a 6-9, 210-pound sophomore who averaged 2.4 points at William & Mary last year.

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- Stephen McDowell, a 5-11, 181-pound senior who averaged 14.3 points and had 108 3-pointers at Tennessee-Chattanooga last year.

- Laval Lucas-Perry, a 6-foot-3, 190-pound freshman who transferred from Arizona to Michigan last year.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Kevin Schnepf at (701) 241-5549

Schnepf's NDSU media blog can be found at www.areavoices.com

Ben Woodside

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