Mike Daum Led South Dakota State, His Teammates Followed
Mike Daum's performance in the Summit League tournament will go down as Jackrabbit folklore. His teammates didn't perform too poorly, either.
Most Jackrabbit fans know what Daum is capable of. They've seen him perform in tough spots, in the brightest moments and in the biggest games. I mean, the guy recorded a double-double while scoring 51 points earlier this season.
But somehow, some way, Daum pushed himself to another level. In the biggest game of a rollercoaster season, Daum reached up and grabbed the mountaintop.
South Dakota State won the Summit League Championship, 79-77, over the Omaha Mavericks. They couldn't have done it without Mike Daum.
Of course, Daum was never alone. Reed Tellinghuisen and Michael Orris held the fort down when Daum wasn't hitting at his usual clip. Ian Theisen hit a couple of 3-pointers and grabbed crucial rebounds when Daum needed a breather. Skyler Flatten, Tevin King, Chris Howell and Lane Severyn all picked up the slack and contributed to keep SDSU afloat. Head Coach T.J. Otzelberger remained level-headed whenever the Jacks stumbled. The pieces just fit together.
Mike Daum is the one the Jackrabbit faithful will always remember. He'll be the guy whose name is brought up at the watercooler or tailgates when fans debate who the is greatest Jackrabbit of all-time.
Whenever someone mentions Nate Wolters and his time at SDSU, someone else will quickly mention Mike Daum.
Daum helped lead the Jackrabbits to an NCAA Tournament birth. He shouldered the brunt of the load. But if he ever wavered, if he ever needed an extra hand, his teammates were quick to lend aid, especially when it mattered most.
This isn't the best Jackrabbit basketball team in SDSU history. There's real potential that SDSU plays in the NCAA Tournament's First Four.
But Mike Daum might just be the best Jackrabbit basketball player SDSU has ever had. And for the 2016-17 season, he had the perfect teammates to help fill in the cracks.