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For Austin's Aase, a year makes a huge difference

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The Austin boys basketball team opened the 2012-2013 season on Dec. 1 with an 88-54 win in a non-conference game at Kasson-Mantorville.

Joe Aase scored 16 points in the big win.

Aase graduated from Austin in June and moved on to play at Davidson College in Davidson, N.C.

Friday, the Wildcats open the 2013-2014 season at Duke, in the famed Cameron Indoor Stadium. The Blue Devils are rated fifth in the AP pre-season poll.

What a difference a year makes, right?

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The 6-foot-8, 220-pound Aase is one of four freshmen playing for Davidson, which is coming off a 26-8 season, including a first-round NCAA Tournament loss to Marquette, 59-58.

He was indoctrinated into college basketball play on Sunday when the Wildcats played an exhibition at home against Lenoir-Rhyme.

In the exhibition, Aase played 14 minutes, was 1-of-5 from the 3-point range, sank one free throw and grabbed three rebounds. He was the fourth player off the bench.

Davidson, which made 14, 3-pointers, was an easy 108-57 winner.

Davidson's schedule is not an easy one.

Next Monday, the Wildcats host Wisconsin-Milwaukee to Belk Arena, where they have won 11 straight games and 25 of their last 28.

On Nov. 16, Davidson plays its second ACC opponent, at Virginia and on Nov. 21, 22, 24, play in the Charleston Classic, against Georgia in the opening game, and then either Temple or Clemson on the second day. Also in the tournament are UAB, New Mexico, UMass and Nebraska.

Big-time games in December include a road game at North Carolina on Dec. 21 and a game with Final Four participant Wichita State on Dec. 29.

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Who knows how much playing time Aase will get in his freshman year, but reports say the Wildcats head coach Bob McKillop likes to go 11-12 deep.

Recovered from broken hand

We do know that Aase is fully recovered from a broken right hand he suffered in June.

In August, he went with the Davidson team on a two-week European Summer Tour through Slovenia and Italy. The Wildcats finished the trip with a 5-1 record against various national teams.

Two years ago, Aase led Austin to its first state tournament appearance in 30 years. Last year, the Packers advanced to the Class AAA championship before losing their first game of the year against powerful Minneapolis DeLaSalle.

He committed to Davidson in September of 2012,

"Coach Bob McKillop is really well-respected," Aase said at the time. "Every coach I was talking to mentioned how good of a coach he was… that was a big factor."

Aase is leaning towards a degree in economics but is a long way from making that decision final.

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Davidson is a two-time defending champion of the Southern Conference where it is expected to challenge Elon for the 2013-2014 championship.

Under McKillop, Davidson has won seven conference championships in 24 seasons. The Wildcats won 10 regular-season titles and 13 divisional crowns since they joined the Southern Conference in 992-93.

Curry's college

You may recall, Davidson's run to the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight behind star guard Stephen Curry in 2008.

Next year, Davidson will leave the Southern Conference and join the Atlantic 10. The conference also added George Mason after losing Butler and Xavier to the new Big East.

Davidson returns senior forward De'Mon Brooks, selected as the preseason Southern Conference player of the year. He led the Wildcats in rebounds, steals and shooting percentage a year ago.

Friday's game at Duke has a 6 p.m. tipoff and will be televised on ESPNU. The Wisconsin-Milwaukee game on Monday is scheduled to air on ESPN3.

Joe's father Lee shot video of Sunday's exhibition and intends to post it on YouTube.

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