Southeastern Minnesota basketball is at an all-time high. Eight former area stars showed out in their college basketball season debuts.

NATE HEISE, NORTHERN IOWA

Nate Heise has become an integral part of the Northern Iowa rotation from Day 1. (Photo courtesy Dave Eggenn, UNI Athletics)
Nate Heise has become an integral part of the Northern Iowa rotation from Day 1. (Photo courtesy Dave Eggenn, UNI Athletics)

Heise is fitting right in with Northern Iowa. The Panthers are off to a tough 0-3 start, but Heise is one of the first guys off the bench for the Panthers. The former Lake City star is averaging 22 minutes per game, and he’s one of the best shooters on the team. Heise hasn’t made many mistakes defensively, and he’s only turned the ball over three times in the first three games. Heise's best game came on Friday's 82-71 loss to Utah State. He played a season-high 26 minutes and finished with five points, six rebounds, two blocks and one assist. Heise’s ability to stretch the floor and not make rookie mistakes will certainly earn him more playing time on a veteran squad. Northern Iowa coach Ben Jacobsen certainly has to like the impact that his freshman has made.

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BOTH GACH, MINNESOTA

The high-flying Both Gach shined in his debut with Minnesota. (Photo courtesy Brad Rempel, Minnesota Athletics)
The high-flying Both Gach shined in his debut with Minnesota. (Photo courtesy Brad Rempel, Minnesota Athletics)

It didn’t take long for Austin native Both Gach to make a big impact in his first game in a Gophers’ jersey. He scored 14 points and added five rebounds, four assists and one steal in Minnesota’s 99-69 victory. The high-flying wing was one of four Gophers in double figures. But he took his game to a different level in Minnesota's 88-73 win over Loyola Marymount Saturday. Gach finished with 17 points, six rebounds and six assists. He also swiped three steals. Minnesota looks like a completely different team thanks to the Utah transfer.

ALYSSA USTBY, NORTH CAROLINA

Former Lourdes star Alyssa Ustby scored 13 points in her North Carolina debut. (Jeffrey A. Camarati, UNC Athletics)
Former Lourdes star Alyssa Ustby scored 13 points in her North Carolina debut. (Jeffrey A. Camarati, UNC Athletics)

Ustby came off the bench and scored 13 points in her first collegiate game as North Carolina spanked Radford 90-61. Ustby was 6-for-7 from the field and ripped down six rebounds and dished out three assists. She also swiped two steals and blocked a shot. The former Rochester Lourdes star played a team-high 26 minutes. Ustby chipped in two points in UNC's 96-35 victory over UNC Greensboro on Saturday. 15 points in her first two games is a heck of a start for Ustby.

KRISTIN SCOTT, IOWA STATE

Iowa State will lean heavily on former Kasson-Mantorville star Kristin Scott. (Photo courtesy Iowa State Athletics)
Iowa State will lean heavily on former Kasson-Mantorville star Kristin Scott. (Photo courtesy Iowa State Athletics)

Scott is one of the best centers in the Big 12, and she came to play in Iowa State’s first game of the season. Scott tallied 10 points, nine rebounds and three assists in just 23 minutes in Iowa State’s 69-43 beatdown of Omaha. Scott was 4-for-8 from the field and knocked down both of her attempts from the free-throw line. The Kasson-Mantorville graduate will be a huge cog for the 15th-ranked Cyclones. Iowa State lost its second game of the year 76-69 to South Dakota State, but Scott totaled 11 points and six rebounds.

MATTHEW HURT, DUKE

Matthew Hurt is poised for a breakout 2020-21 campaign. (Photo courtesy Duke Athletics)
Matthew Hurt is poised for a breakout 2020-21 campaign. (Photo courtesy Duke Athletics)

Duke got off to a good start by jumping out to a 45-28 halftime lead over Coppin State and it cruised to an 81-71 victory. Former John Marshall star Matthew Hurt was right in the middle of all the action. Hurt earned the start and knocked down two 3-pointers and finished with 12 points. He ripped down seven rebounds and added one steal and one assist. Hurt was one of four Blue Devils to crack double figures. Duke is ranked No. 9 in the country, and it'll undoubtedly rise in Monday's updated rankings.

AYOKA LEE, KANSAS STATE

Kansas State's Ayoka Lee is one of the most dominant centers in the country. (Photo courtesy Kansas State Athletics)
Kansas State's Ayoka Lee is one of the most dominant centers in the country. (Photo courtesy Kansas State Athletics)

Ayoka Lee filled the box score with 12 points, five rebounds, three steals and one block in Kansas State's 63-59 exhibition win over Newman. The Wildcats will be leaning on Lee heavily this season. The former Byron superstar has been named to a ton of watch lists this season, including the Lisa Leslie Award Watch List, which is presented to the best center in women's basketball.

LIV KORNGABLE, SOUTH DAKOTA

Liv Korngable is the straw that stirs the drink for South Dakota. (Photo courtesy South Dakota Athletics).
Liv Korngable is the straw that stirs the drink for South Dakota. (Photo courtesy South Dakota Athletics).

South Dakota gave No. 1 South Carolina all it could handle, and Liv Korngable was the straw that stirred the drink. The senior guard racked up 16 points, 7 assists and 6 rebounds in Saturday's 81-71 loss. The former Rochester Mayo star played 31 minutes and will anchor the Coyotes' backcourt this season.

BROC FINSTUEN, PACIFIC

Pine Island graduate Broc Finstuen has become a key cog in the Pacific lineup. (Photo courtesy of Pacific Athletics)
Pine Island graduate Broc Finstuen has become a key cog in the Pacific lineup. (Photo courtesy of Pacific Athletics)

Pacific knocked off UC Riverside 66-60 thanks to five points and six rebounds from Broc Finstuen. The former Pine Island stud played 28 minutes for the Tigers.