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North Dakota State head coach Saul Phillips inks new five-year deal

Aug 22, 2013, 5:42 PM EST

Saul Phillips AP

When current Nebraska head coach Tim Miles made the move to Colorado State after shepherding the North Dakota State basketball program to the Division I level, Saul Phillips was tabbed as the man to make sure the Bison didn’t lose any momentum. In six seasons at the school Phillips has won 108 games, most recently leading North Dakota State to a 24-10 record (12-4 Summit League) in 2012-13.

Phillips has been rewarded for his work, with the school announcing Thursday that he’s accepted a five-year contract with a two-year rollover. NDSU made its first Summit League title game appearance since 2009 this past spring, and they also reached postseason play for the second consecutive season (CBI appearances both years).

“I am very pleased we are able to secure Saul for several more years. He is an excellent person with a great family and has proven to be an outstanding coach,” NDSU men’s athletic director Gene Taylor said in the release. “He has led a team to the NCAA tournament and, after losing some of our program’s most productive and talented basketball players to graduation, he has built another team that has excellent talent with high expectations.

“Saul has become a very valued and respected member of our staff and has a very talented group of assistants that complement him.”

With reigning Summit League champion South Dakota State losing some key contributors, most notably guard Nate Wolters, North Dakota State will be one of the early favorites to grab the crown this season. One major reason why: the return of their top four scorers from last season, with wing Taylor Braun (15.4 ppg, 5.3 rpg) and power forward Marshall Bjorklund (11.5, 5.9) leading the way.

Bjorklund earned first-team All-Summit League honors last season, with Braun and guard Lawrence Alexander (10.8, 3.7, 3.6 apg) earning second-team honors.