Gameli Ahelegbe | Assistant Coach
Gameli Ahelegbe (pronounced ga-ma-LEE ah-hel-LEG-buh) joined South Dakota’s staff before the 2014-15 season after spending three years as an assistant coach at North Dakota along with stops at Concordia (Minn.) and Minnesota State. He also had a playing career that began at Neosho County Community College, continued at Minnesota State and culminated with a season playing professionally for the Toledo Ice of the American Basketball Association (ABA).
USD head coach Todd Lee retained Ahelegbe after spending his first four seasons under Craig Smith.
In his four seasons with the Coyotes, Ahelegbe has helped the Coyotes to three winning seasons, the program’s first appearance in the Summit League Tournament Championship game and a regular season Summit League Championship.
The 2017-18 season saw the Coyotes set a Division I-era record with 26 victories while going 11-3 in the Summit League for runner-up honors. The Coyotes moved as high as No. 3 in the Mid-Major Top-25 poll, the highest a Summit League team has reached in the poll. Matt Mooney earned his second-straight first team all-Summit League accolade with Tyler Hagedorn and Trey Burch-Manning earning second team honors.
The 2016-17 season was a historic one as South Dakota claimed the program’s first Summit League Regular Season Championship, going 12-4 in league play and 22-12 overall. The Coyotes advanced to the National Invitation Tournament for the first time in program history.
South Dakota defeated Minnesota in the 2015-16 season to snap the Gopher’s 47-game nonconference home winning streak. The previous season, the Coyotes tallied 17 victories while tying for fourth in the Summit League standings, then a best in the Division I era. He coached Tyler Larson, who became the first Coyote to earn first team all-Summit League honors.
Prior to USD, Ahelegbe helped North Dakota to back-to-back Great West Conference Tournament Championships and three consecutive trips to the postseason.
Ahelegbe was primarily responsible for the guards and wings at UND with the 2013-14 team featuring senior Troy Huff, who averaged better than 19 points per game and scored more than 2,000 points during his time in Grand Forks. Huff earned first team all-Big Sky accolades during Ahelegbe’s time with UND.
As the recruiting coordinator, Ahelegbe recruited Quinton Hooker who earned a pair of first team all-Big Sky accolades along with Geno Crandall who earned a second-team honor.
He spent the 2010-11 season with Concordia College (Minn.) where the Cobbers received a pair of first team all-MIAC selections.
During the 2009-10 season, Ahelegbe was an assistant coach at Minnesota State, helping the Mavericks to a 25-5 overall record and the No. 1 seed in the Central Region of the NCAA Tournament after claiming the NSIC Championship. Four members were named all-conference with Travis Nelson earning all-America honors.
From 2007-10, Ahelegbe served as the club director and trainer for 43Hoops Basketball Academy in Hopkins, Minnesota, which was founded by former NBA player Chris Carr. In that role, he designed personalized training protocols for clients and provided individual basketball instruction to athletes throughout the Twin Cities.
In all, Ahelegbe trained over 20 Division I players and over 40 players that earned a college scholarship.
Ahelegbe was a standout performer at Minnesota State where he served as team captain in 2005 and was a member of the top-ranked team in NCAA Division II. He earned his bachelor’s degree in education from Minnesota State in 2007 and went on to earn his master’s degree from Saint Thomas in 2010.
Ahelegbe and his wife, Syreeta, have three daughters: Aniah, Azalyn and Ariella along with a son, Amawuli (AJ).
Brad Davidson | Assistant Coach
South Dakota head men’s basketball coach Todd Lee named Brad Davidson an assistant coach on May 10.
“Brad comes highly recommended from people that both of us have known for a long time,” Lee said. “He has high character with great knowledge of the game. He is going to be great at player development and recruiting for us.
“We are excited to have him and his family join us.”
Davidson, a former National Shooting Coach for Basketball Australia, comes to South Dakota after two years at North Dakota. He helped the Fighting Hawks to the 2017 NCAA Tournament after sweeping the Big Sky Conference regular season and tournament titles. That same season, North Dakota ranked No. 26 in the nation in three-point field goal percentage, sinking 39 percent of its long-range shots. The mark was nearly a 100-position improvement over the previous year.
“I’m excited to join coach Lee at USD,” Davidson said. “Coach Lee and I have many mutual friends, whose opinions I trust. These people have been friends with him, coached with and have played for him. They all spoke highly of coach Lee as a basketball coach and more importantly, a person, and his resume of winning speaks for itself.”
A former professional player, Davidson played 13 years in the National Basketball League, the top division in Australia where he ranks as one of the all-time best shooters with a 40.1 percent career mark from long range. He made more than 600 3-point baskets for five teams from 1997-2009.
He then moved to the coaching realm, where he was the head coach of the West Adelaide Bearcats (2009) and Norwood Flames (2011-13) of Australia’s Premier League.
In 2014, Davidson was named the National Shooting Coach and Talent Identification Manager for Basketball Australia. In his three years with the program, he provided coaching for the men’s and women’s national teams and instituted a national shooting testing program for the teams. The Australian men’s team advanced to the semifinals of the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
A native of Mullumbimby, New South Wales, Australia, Davidson helped the Australian men’s national team win the Gold Medal at the 2006 Commonwealth Games.
Davidson and his wife, Megan, have two sons, Cooper and Finn, and two daughters, Zara and Zoe.
“It will be a pleasure to come each day and coach in the amazing facilities that have been built at USD,” Davidson added. “My family and I can’t wait to integrate ourselves into the USD community.”
Luke DallaRiva | Assistant Coach
South Dakota men’s basketball coach Todd Lee has announced the hiring of Luke DallaRiva (Dell-UH-Reeva) as his third assistant coach. DallaRiva completes Lee’s staff as he enters his first season at the helm of the Coyotes.
DallaRiva comes to South Dakota from Grand Canyon where he spent the past four seasons as the director of basketball operations alongside Lee and GCU head coach Dan Majerle.
“It is great to have Luke join our staff,” Lee said. “Having worked closely with him the last four years, he understands what I need and want and will be able to provide things to me without me even having to ask for them. He works extremely hard and is excited to join the staff and help us build the program.”
While at Grand Canyon, DallaRiva served in all aspects of the program including compliance, recruiting, team travel, academic monitoring, practice planning and game preparation. He was named a National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) 30-Under-30 recipient after the 2016-17 season.
Grand Canyon played in the Western Athletic Conference championship game this past season while earning postseason play in three of his four years with the program.
“I am excited to get back to work for Coach Lee,” DallaRiva said. “Having worked with him, I’ve seen his championship attitude and pedigree. Coach Lee has a track record of taking his schools from good to great, and USD is poised to build on its own championship pedigree.
“I could not be more excited to get in the gym with the team and get to work on winning a championship.”
Prior to his time at GCU, DallaRiva was a graduate assistant at Kent State, helping with game and practice preparation and video duties. He also spent time at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, working under NBA Skills Trainer Dan Barto. DallaRiva assisted in the training of 12 NBA draft picks in 2012 and 2013 draft classes including lottery picks Kendall Marshall and Moe Harkless.
He began his coaching career at St. Augustine High School in San Diego, California, as an assistant coach, winning the 2013 California Division State Championship. St. Augustine finished the 2012-13 season ranked No. 32 nationally according to MaxPreps.
DallaRiva double-majored as a student at the University of San Diego, obtaining bachelor of arts degrees in history and biology. He earned his master’s degree in business administration from GCU in 2016
Casey Kasperbauer | Director of Operations
South Dakota head men’s basketball coach Todd Lee announced on May 11 the addition of Casey Kasperbauer as the director of operations of his staff. Kasperbauer is a 1,000-point scorer for the Coyotes and a 2016 graduate of USD.
“I think it is always great to have somebody on staff that played at the school, especially recently,” Lee said. “Everybody really likes Casey, in the athletic department, on campus and around town. He comes with a great reputation. Coach Boots called me and gave me a glowing recommendation of him as a person. He said he is very smart and has good knowledge of the game.
“When I talked to Casey, his goal is to be a Division I basketball coach and this is a great place to start. It is great to have him back home.”
Kasperbauer spent the past year as a skills coach for Pure Sweat Basketball in Des Moines, Iowa. He directed camps and academies, developing workouts based on skill level.
“I am extremely thankful to USD and Coach Lee for giving me this opportunity to join the men’s basketball staff,” Kasperbauer said. “This is really a dream come true for me. Coach Lee is a man with an incredible reputation within the coaching community. I learn something new every time I talk to him and his knowledge for the game is tremendous.
“As a player, I prided myself on doing the little things it took to win, and I plan on doing the same as the director of basketball operations.”
Following his graduation from South Dakota, Kasperbauer signed a contract to play professionally for the BC Rustavi basketball team in the Republic of Georgia. He averaged 13.5 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.0 assists over 28 regular season games, helping BC Rustavi to the playoffs.
Kasperbauer spent the summer of 2016 as a marketing intern and skills coach at the Sanford Pentagon. He coached large and small groups in basketball skills and helped develop and design the Sanford Pentagon website.
As a guard with the Coyotes, Kasperbauer tallied 1,163 points over his four-year career. His senior campaign, he scored 12.1 points per game and was the leading scorer in the 85-81 victory over Minnesota with 17 points. For his career, he is the top free-throw shooter in USD history, sinking 90.8 percent of his attempts from the charity stripe. He also has the top percentage for a season, sinking 94.5 percent of his free throws in the 2015-16 season.
He graduated with a bachelor of science in sport management with minors in coaching and business.