Mayo's Jech commits to South Dakota
Monday, on his birthday, Dan Jech narrowed his choice to one, giving a verbal commitment to the University of South Dakota and its first-year head coach Craig Smith.
Dan Jech had plenty of choices.
Rochester Mayo boys basketball coach Shaun Lang counted nine different Division I schools that were looking to lure his 6-foot-9 star their way.
Monday, on his birthday, Jech narrowed his choice to one, giving a verbal commitment to the University of South Dakota and its first-year head coach Craig Smith.
"I had a gut feeling about South Dakota," said Jech, who was also considering North Dakota State. "The culture at South Dakota was really good. Everyone in town seems to have such a close relationship with the school. It's like everyone in town knows you and respects you."
Jech wasn't considered a Division I prospect until this summer. Not even he had himself in that category.
But things changed as he kept adding layers to his game. A power forward, Jech showed that he could be much more than a back-to-the-basket guy. That was demonstrated as he played AAU basketball on a national stage, and worked with shooting coach Mitch Ohnstad, a former Faribault High School star and University of Minnesota player.
The next thing Jech knew he was consistently draining shots from the outside, including from 3-point range. With college teams more and more looking for big guys who can stretch the floor offensively, Jech became a hot commodity.
One by one, Division I schools started lining up. Wisconsin-Green Bay was interested, Albany (New York), Lehigh, and on and on. Jech, who averaged 16 points and 10 rebounds for Mayo last year, was a new man.
"Not until this summer did I think that I had a chance to play Division I basketball," said Jech, who will be playing in the Summit League. "I was playing against a high level of talent this summer, and I discovered that I could play with those guys. I became a better shooter and kept getting more confidence."
Full of promise
Lang believes that South Dakota is getting a diamond. Not only is Jech excellent now, but he believes that his growth potential as a player is boundless.
"Dan has a huge upside," Lang said. "He just gets better and better every year. I see him taking things up another big notch."