BY JEREMY HOECK
Tyler Hagedorn has been waiting a month to make it official. And in that time, his commitment has not wavered.
It’s only gotten stronger.
After committing in mid-October, Hagedorn, a 6-foot-9 forward at Norfolk (Nebraska) High School, signed Wednesday to play basketball at the University of South Dakota.
“It was the right fit. I think that’s the best way to describe it,” he said after his.
Hagedorn, who is coached in Norfolk by former Coyote standout Ben Ries, averaged 16.8 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.6 blocks per game last season for the Panthers. He earned second team Class A honors after leading Norfolk to the state semifinals.
Curiously, it was USD that entered the recruiting process latest on Hagedorn, he said.
“I actually had to call (Smith) at one point, to make sure he was still interested in me,” Hagedorn said. “Then going on my visit and talking with the guys, it was a place that fits what I wanted.”
Ultimately, Hagedorn chose USD over another Summit League school: Denver.
“Denver has a pretty stable ground with a solid coaching staff, but USD has something new,” he said. “New players, new coaches, new upgrades.
“That was something I wanted to be part of.”
Hagedorn will join a program in 2015-16 that will be in year two under head coach Craig Smith, who came to USD after two seasons at Nebraska. USD will also open its new 6,000-seat basketball arena in 2016-17, Hagedorn’s second.
“Getting a new arena for basketball, it’s state of the art,” Hagedorn said. “Having a place like that I can work out in and play in, it’s such a big bonus.”
But it was more so the connection he developed with Smith that played a key role in his commitment, Hagedorn said.
“I liked him from the beginning,” Hagedorn said. “When I talk to him, he’s a very energetic guy, and I have my ears open all the time with him.
The number one thing he told me was, ‘I can develop you,’” Hagedorn added. “That’s what I’m putting my faith in.”
The Coyotes, who open their 2014-15 season Friday at Utah Valley, see in Hagedorn a versatile threat, according to Smith.
“Tyler is a skilled player with excellent size and has a great feel for the game,” he said Wednesday. “He is an excellent passer, a good rebounder and can score inside and out. He has the ability to play multiple positions.”