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Big 0 to be retired today: Voss’ number to be raised into Corn Palace rafters

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Dakota Wesleyan's Jalen Voss (0) drives around Concordia's Nathan Toenjes (52) at the Corn Palace in during the 2014-15 season. Voss will have his No. 0 jersey retired today during the Hoop City Classic.

Jalen Voss helped raise Dakota Wesleyan University to unprecedented heights and now his number will be raised into the Corn Palace rafters.

The former DWU men’s basketball player will have his No. 0 retired before the Tigers play Trinity International at 8:30 p.m. today at the Hoop City Classic. Voss joins an impressive list of former Tigers to have their numbers retired and with banners on display at the Corn Palace.

Voss joins Alan Miller (No. 50), Scott Morgan (No. 50), Greg Hansen (No. 54), Brady Wiebe (No. 32), Randy Fletcher (No. 22) and Glenn Draisey (No. 25) as other former Tigers to have their numbers retired.

Voss had an inkling he would be next as DWU coach Matt Wilber hinted to him it was a possibility. But Voss was still surprised when Wilber recently informed him of the honor.

“Last year, I was inducted into the hall of fame and that was pretty awesome, too,” Voss said. “But the jersey going up in the rafters, that’s a pretty big deal. Every time I come to a game from now on, my name and my number are going to be hanging on the wall. I am pretty humbled and honored that I get to be up there with the rest of the crew that is all hanging up there.”

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Wiebe was the latest to have his number retired and it’s fitting Voss is next. Wiebe’s senior season at DWU was Voss’ senior season at Worthington High School in Minnesota.

During his recruitment, former Tiger coach Shane Murphy sold Voss on the idea he could step into Wiebe’s center spot after he graduated. He did and the rest, as they say, is history.

Voss played 124 games, scored 2,059 points, collected 897 rebounds and was a three-time All-American for the Tigers.

But Voss and the rest of the 2014-15 Tigers will be remembered for one magical season. DWU didn’t qualify for the national tournament for three straight seasons and nearly did during Voss’ junior season. The Tigers lost to nationally-ranked Morningside College in the Great Plains Athletic Conference semifinals and a win would have put them into the national tourney.

“The feeling we had after that game was like we need to make sure we don’t feel this way again,” Voss said. “We were just determined we were not going to feel that way at the end of the year. We were going to at least give it the best we possibly could.”

They definitely did. The Tigers finished with school records in wins (32), field goals (1,130), assists (765) and points (3,166).

DWU qualified for the national tourney and had one memorable run in Branson, Missouri, which was the former site of the NAIA Division II tourney. The Tigers won their first four games and had Branson bleeding blue as the tourney went on.

“The national tournament that year was probably the most fun experience of my life,” Voss said. “Every game we won down there, it was twice the people that was at the last game. The crowd just got bigger and bigger and bigger until finally the national championship.”

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DWU’s run was halted by Cornerstone (Michigan) in its first-ever national title game appearance, but that didn’t diminish the season and the memorable run.

“That would have been icing on the cake,” Voss said. “But I think regardless of that, we had an unbelievable year and a very special year. It was a lot of fun.”

Voss and that group of Tigers stay in regular contact. They always attend any DWU alumni events and the 2014-15 season is usual among the topics of conversation.

“The whole time it’s just talking about stuff we did as a team and how special that year was,” Voss said. “A lot of people go to college and they never have an experience like that. So for us to be able to experience something like that, it’s such a special feeling.”

Voss is currently the assistant men’s basketball coach at Minnesota-Morris. He’s engaged to former DWU women’s basketball player, Micaela Erickson.

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