Mike Daum, the most dominant player in the Summit League, is coming to Magness Arena Thursday night.
This may be the last chance for local college basketball fans to see South Dakota State’s 6’9″ redshirt Junior from Kimball, Nebraska. Daum, while stating publicly that he will stay at South Dakota State University for his senior season, is likely to move to a Power-Five basketball program as a graduate transfer and play immediately next season with his sights set on playing at the next level – the NBA. While some scouts question his foot speed and athleticism at the next level and his ability to defend NBA skilled players, he is clearly the best player in the Summit League.
Michele Daum, Mike’s mother, was a standout basketball player at Wyoming and was his primary coach and mentor growing up. He came to SDSU (20-6 overall, 8-1 Summit League) as a tall, over-weight lightly recruited prospect. His original college coach, Scott Nagy, told ESPN, “Honestly, his first year, and we redshirted him, he needed to improve his body,” said Nagy, now the head coach at Wright State. “When he came in, he was 250 pounds and he was chunky. That first year, I wasn’t even sure he was ever going to play for us.
South Dakota State is tearing up the Summit League again this season. But, how good is Mike Daum? Most of his games have NBA scouts in attendance and he just surpassed 2,000 points for his collegiate career. He just won the Summit League Player of the Week. And what did he do last week?
- Collected his 10th career Player of the Week award, third-most on record, and sixth of the season, tying for the second-highest total all-time
- Averaged 33.0 points and 15.5 rebounds in league wins over Omaha and North Dakota State
- Posted 35 points and 18 rebounds against Omaha
- Totaled 31 points and 13 rebounds against North Dakota State
- Extended his double-double streak to five games
- Became the 15th player in league history to eclipse the 2,000-career point plateau
So expect the big man to come into Denver full of confidence. And it was not just one week. He led the league and nation in scoring last year and he is leading the Summit League again this season in points per game (23.5) and rebounds per game (9.8).
Here’s what he has done against Denver during his career:
1/1/16 10 Points, 3 rebounds
1/30/16 15 Points, 7 rebounds
3/7/16 15 Points, 8 rebounds (Summit League Playoffs – Sioux Falls)
1/25/17 29 Points, 3 Rebounds
2/25/17 20 Points, 7 Rebounds
3/5/17 33 Points, 6 Rebounds (Summit League Playoffs – Sioux Falls)
1/13/18 34 Points, 8 Rebounds
In his last four games against DU, he has averaged 29.0 points and 6 rebounds per game.
The immediate hope for Denver (10-13 overall, 4-5 Summit League) is that Daniel Amigo can hold down Daum who can score from the perimeter, mid-range and up close. Amigo is actually shooting better than Daum this season (54.1% vs. 47.2%). Daniel is averaging 14.7 points per game and 6.7 rebounds per game. However, during the last three games against SDSU, Amigo has averaged 9.75 points per game and 4.5 rebounds. So, DU will need Amigo to hit his season averages and get some help from Abiola Akintola, Christian Mackey and Donovan Carlisle on the defensive end to hold Daum at bay.
Longer term, a player like Mike Daum offers Denver hope that they can do the same thing – strike lightning in a bottle. Can DU identify emerging two-star prospects who slip through the cracks such as a Mike Daum, Bryson Scott (Fort Wayne), John Konchar (Fort Wayne) and Matt Mooney (South Dakota) who are difference makers that give their teams the edge at home and also a solid chance to win on the road?
Get out to Magness Arena Thursday night to see Mike Daum – it will likely be your last chance.