Boys basketball: Savageau pledges to Mayville State in NAIA
Osakis senior guard Daniel Savageau has found the place he feels he will fit best at the college level for basketball and in school over the next four years.
Savageau announced on April 22 that he will accept an offer from Mayville State University in Mayville N.D. The Comets are part of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and play out of the North Star Athletic Association Conference.
“I think the deciding factor is it felt like Osakis in some ways,” Savageau said. “It’s a small town, but it has a big basketball community. They gather a lot of people at the games, and they love their town a lot.”
Savageau announced his commitment through his Twitter account where he thanked his family and his Osakis coaches and teammates for helping him accomplish the goal he had of playing at the next level. Together, they posted a record of 94-19 and won four straight Prairie Conference championships over the last four seasons.
“They mean a lot,” Savageau said of his Osakis teammates. “I love them like brothers. We hold each other accountable and make sure we’re getting our work done.”
Mayville was 24-5 overall this past winter season. The Comets won their conference tournament with a 65-62 win over Waldorf (Iowa) on March 1 in the league title game.
Mayville was scheduled to play Oregon Tech on March 12 in the NAIA National Tournament before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the rest of the season.
“That’s one of the first things I looked at was their record,” Savageau said of the draw of going into a winning program. “(Head) coach (Darren) Tighe does a great job over there in Mayville. He came in about three years ago and totally flipped that program around. That really caught my attention, and I want to play for a coach who can coach his players and win games.”
Savageau is going into an uptempo system at Mayville that should suit his style of play.
“I think his game will translate well, and he can make an impact right away,” Osakis head coach Matt Hoelscher said. “He can score. I can see him being one of the guys Mayville runs set plays for to get him open shots, plus he does a great job setting his teammates up if he doesn’t have the look he wants. He will be a great team player who does whatever the coaching staff asks.”
During a 20-win season in 2018-19, the Comets led their conference in points-per game, scoring margin, field-goal percentage offense, three-point field goal percentage, assists-per-game and assist-to-turnover ratio. Mayville had an efficient offense again in the 2019-20 season where the Comets averaged 82.1 points-per game.
“I’m still learning about the NAIA,” Savageau said. “It’s a tough league to play in, but Valley City reached out to me. Jamestown reached out to me. They’re all NAIA too, so I kind of got a feel for the teams they play and the style of conference it is. I’d say I definitely have something to prove going in and playing at that college level next year.”
Savageau is excited about the challenge ahead of him as he continues to work on growing his game. Hoelscher has seen that work ethic for years as Savageau earned a spot on varsity in 8th-grade and turned himself into a player who leaves as the Silverstreaks’ second all-time leading scorer with 2,020 points.
“Daniel is a gym rat, so getting him on campus and into his weekly workouts is going to make his career there take off,” Hoelscher said. “He is going to add things to his game that I feel will make him a tremendous player for Mayville by the time he graduates. I think you will see him score quite a few points and shoot at a high percentage by the time he’s done at the college level. This is a great fit for him both athletically and academic wise. He is ready to take in this next challenge, and when Daniel is motivated, he does tremendous things.”
Savageau finished off his Osakis career by averaging 21.9 points, 5.1 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 3.5 steals per game as a senior. He shot 41.5% from three and 81.2% from the free-throw line.
Those kinds of numbers got him multiple looks from college coaches this spring, including a partial scholarship offer from Division II Bemidji State in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference. Now that he settled on a school, the 5-foot, 11-inch guard wants to prove that he can duplicate that kind of production in college.
“Coach Tighe said everything is earned, not given. I have something to prove going in, for sure,” Savageau said. “I’m going to grind it out. I think the biggest part for my game is just getting bigger. I’ll be in the weight room a lot more next year, and I think by getting bigger I’ll be able to defend better. That’s one of the biggest things at the college level that they look for.”