The Dakota Wesleyan University men's basketball team zeroes in on South Dakota talent, and it landed one of the best in the state on Tuesday.
After an outstanding high school career, Clark/Willow Lake's Jacob Prouty committed to the Tigers and will join the program this upcoming fall.
"We are seeking out the best in South Dakota first and that's our goal," DWU coach Matt Wilber said. "It's pretty obvious he's one of those guys-especially these last couple of years."
A 6-foot-1 point guard, Prouty said his final two choices were DWU and NCAA Division II powerhouse Northern State University. In the end, Prouty said DWU offered more money and he had built a strong relationship with Wilber during the recruiting process.
"I am beyond excited to get this off my chest and know what I am doing-especially with a bunch of guys I already kind of known in the past and they are from South Dakota, as well," Prouty said. "That's what is really cool, too, is to play with kids that are actually from South Dakota that have been there for a while."
DWU has been recruiting Prouty for more than a year, but he was patient through the process before picking the Tigers.
"I wanted to wait until basketball was over before I really committed somewhere because I wanted to focus on the game when I am playing in high school and figure out everything else after that," Prouty said.
Focused and determined, the Cyclones took Class B basketball by storm this season. They finished 23-2 and captured their first state championship in program history. Prouty was a driving force behind the title run. He averaged 19.8 points per game, but shined on the state's brightest stage. He pumped in a record-breaking 37 points in the semifinals against Bridgewater-Emery and added 35 in the championship game against De Smet.
"Obviously, everyone saw him at the state tournament his senior year and he played his best basketball on the biggest stage," Wilber said. "I just like that kind of toughness and that kind of aggressiveness and that kind of leadership came out when it really needed to."
Prouty amassed 1,517 points, 455 rebounds and 353 assists in 118 career games for Clark/Willow Lake. He was a first-team all-state selection the past two seasons. Prouty was also the Spirit of Su recipient at the state tournament.
But outside of the production, Wilber said Prouty's intangibles are what set him apart.
"He's tough. He's competitive. He's a winner," Wilber said. "You can see he's a leader in the way that he does things and those things just really stuck out. We are excited about all of that because you need those things to be successful at our level."
Prouty's father, Mark, and his coach, Jerome Nesheim, both played basketball at DWU. However, Jacob Prouty said that didn't factor into his decision. He intends on majoring in business at DWU, while also taking some agricultural classes through Mitchell Technical Institute.
On the court, he'll bolster a backcourt that will include All-American guards Ty Hoglund and Nick Harden.
"I am just excited for this opportunity to play for coach Wilber and his coaching staff and playing with the guys there, too," Prouty said.