Despite early injury, DWU expects big role for Sawyer Schultz in men's basketball season

Schultz expected to return during extensive November string of road games

Dakota Wesleyan's Sawyer Schultz finishes a fastbreak layup in the first half of a Great Plains Athletic Conference men's basketball tournament semifinal Saturday at the Corn Palace. (Marcus Traxler / Republic)

It's not the way Sawyer Schultz wanted to start his season.

The Dakota Wesleyan point guard is missing the first games of the Tigers' season because of a broken left hand that required surgery four weeks ago.

Schultz broke two bones in his hand in practice, coming off a routine screen playing defense. He is currently listed as day-to-day, but will not suit up for the Tigers on Oct. 30 according to head coach Matt Wilber. Schultz is scheduled to return sometime in the midst of DWU’s eight-game road trip during the month of November.

But whenever the Emery product returns to the court, the Wilber and the Tigers will be ready for the 6-foot-2 junior. Schultz averaged 9.7 points, shot 40 percent from the field and 42 percent from three last season and said he enters a new season with expectations and added responsibility on his shoulders.

With the absence of all-Great Plains Athletic Conference first-team point guard Nick Harden, Schultz will be the one manning the offense for the Tigers. He said he learned a lot from Harden sharing the backcourt together last season and is excited to be one of the leaders on a roster that consists of six seniors.


“Playing with Nick Harden last year was obviously a blessing,” Schultz said. “He’s a good guy, good teammate to play with and he helped me a lot on the court. For me this year, the new opportunity is to be that guy that the rest of my teammates look to. I want to be that leader on the court, the action-kind of guy. This opportunity is a great thing for me, it’s going to be fun.”

Schultz has been awaiting this opportunity since he first arrived at DWU and Wilber said Schultz will be a key for the team offensively and defensively.

“He'll be moving into a majorly expanded role within our offense and our defense,” Wilber said. “I’m hopeful for him. I know he puts high expectations on himself, but I think he’s ready for that. There’s going to be some ups and downs with it, but I'm really excited to coach him this year and see what he’s made of in that position.”

Schultz's move to point guard will represent a new look for the Tigers, who also have leaders in senior forwards Koln Oppold and Mason Larson taking charge of DWU's traditionally strong, high-powered and diverse offense

“Those two guys are so awesome,” Schultz said. “They’ve got the mindset where they’ve never going to let anybody tell them they can’t do something even if it's our head coach. They’re going to go out there and they’re going to play hard. Every single minute, every single second, every possession. For us and the younger guys to see the two oldest guys that have been here the longest doing that, means a lot to us and it kind of drives the rest of us.”

Branden is a sports reporter that graduated from Purdue University Northwest with a bachelor's degree in communications and a focus in journalism. He joined the Mitchell Republic in June 2021 and covers prep and collegiate athletics. He was also the lead on the Mitchell Republic Full-Court Press, providing a weekly web-exclusive look at high school basketball throughout all of South Dakota. Branden can be reached at and found on Twitter at @bhullreports.
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