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Huskies’ Schultz selects DWU basketball

Bridgewater-Emery's Sawyer Schultz, left, attacks the basket against Sioux Valley at the Corn Palace last season. (Matt Gade / Republic)

Matt Wilber’s first recruit in the 2019 class is a familiar one.

Sawyer Schultz has signed to play basketball for Dakota Wesleyan University, which is just a short 25-mile drive from his hometown of Emery.

“It’s pretty cool to be able to land a kid who has grown up in the Corn Palace, who has had some good moments here in high school already and to be able to keep him close to home like that,” Wilber said.

The Bridgewater-Emery dynamic guard signed with the Tigers after they had been recruiting him throughout his high school career. Wilber offered Schultz when he was a sophomore.

“They have always been very supportive and always there for me,” Schultz said. “I went on a visit there a couple of times and saw how they treated each other. How the coaches treated the kids and how respective they were all to each other. Just the love that they have always showed me has been unbelievable.”

The 6-foot-4 Schultz grew familiar with the DWU coaching staff through the years as assistant coach Jacob Brandl conducts workouts with the Huskies during the summer.

“He’s been around us,” Wilber said. “We’ve been around him a lot. We had a chance in the end and we were able to get him here.”

Schultz, who also cited family reasons as for picking the Tigers, will now get to play his home games in a familiar spot: the Corn Palace.

The Huskies are regulars at the venue and will be again this season. They will play in the Hoop City Classic, Hanson Classic and Dakota Wesleyan Classic.

“It will just be fun to play in front of their crowd and that kind of atmosphere,” Schultz said. “Because they are very supportive of that team.”

Schultz said his final two choices were DWU and NCAA Division II power Northern State University. He also received an offer from NCAA Division II Augustana University his sophomore season.

Schultz’s father -- Scott -- guided his son through the process as he also played college basketball. Scott, who played at the University of South Dakota, helped with the pros and cons of each school, but also let Sawyer make his own decision.

“That’s definitely nice for family-wise and for us to be able to still get to the games and be able to watch him play and follow his career,” Scott said. “We are real excited about that.”

Sawyer is a two-time first-team all-state selection and two-time Daily Republic boys basketball player of the year. He led the Huskies to the Class B state championship as a sophomore and a third-place finish as a junior.

Last season, the ultra-athletic Schultz led the Huskies in scoring (23.5), assists (4.8), steals (2.6) and was second in rebounding (7.6). He also hit a team-high 76 3-pointers. Schultz has scored 1,295 career points.

Schultz has played both point and shooting guard on his high school team and with the South Dakota Attack, an AAU traveling team. Wilber envisions him playing more shooting guard in college.

“He’s very talented and the way we play in a motion system -- his ability to pass the basketball and move and finish and shoot the ball -- he just really fits into all of that,” Wilber said.

Sawyer Schultz also said DWU guard Ty Hoglund played a major factor in his recruitment, while he’s also excited about playing with fellow Class B player Mason Larson.

“It will be very exciting to get to play with him and get a chance to see what they are about and who they are as players,” Schultz said.

He intends on studying business and criminal justice.