SDSU’s Arians has been a leader throughout his career in Brookings

Grandpa Arians has been Mr. Steady for Jackrabbits during his career
Published: Jan. 16, 2023 at 11:37 PM CST
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BROOKINGS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -Alex Arians isn’t short on experience. “We give it to Al more just because it feels like he’s older. It just seems like he’s played in so many more games because you hear about it.” SDSU Senior Forward Luke Appel says.

Something he’s reminded of pretty regularly. “A lot! They just call me Grandpa Al sometimes!” Alex says.

After all he is the literal bridge between basketball eras at South Dakota State.

The Madison Wisconsin native first came to Brookings in 2017 and redshirted his freshman year. “I was going against Brandon Key and Tevin King every day in practice. That’s part of the reason I can handle the ball as well as I can. Going against some of the best in practice each and every day is something that can really get you to that next level.” Arians says.

The following season, seven games into his career, he would become a starter at point guard on a team that featured three seniors, including SDSU’s all-time leading scorer Mike Daum. “He just understood the value of all the little things that it takes to be successful. Alex is a terrific blender. Alex can play really any style of basketball. He never tries to do too much but he takes advantage of every opportunity he gets.” SDSU Head Coach Eric Henderson says.

Through a coaching change from TJ Otzelberger to Eric Henderson, to shifting lineups featuring stars like Daum, Douglas Wilson, Baylor Scheierman and Zeke Mayo, Arians has always been the constant, starting a program record 131 of his 140 career games. “Consider myself just like a laid back kind of guy, more reserved. So I think that kind of translates on the court.” Arians says.

That time has earned Alex another title. “A vet! That’s what we call him, a vet! (He is) keeping our team together and keeping our team playing as a collective group.” SDSU Sophomore Guard Zeke Mayo says.

“The years just kind of blend together now. These last days is going to be memorable for me and I really just want to take advantage of each and every day with the guys.” Alex says.

The one he’ll probably be most remembered for.

In Brookings, Zach Borg, Dakota News Now Sports.