Daum hopes to continue legacy in the NBA

Benjamin Krueger, Sports Reporter

Mike Daum cemented his legacy as a South Dakota State great, now it’s his mission to become a key component to an NBA squad.

Currently, the smooth shooting guard from Kimball, Nebraska is in Phoenix, Arizona preparing for the draft, which will be held June 20.

In his time at South Dakota State, Daum impressed not only his coaches, but also his teammates.

Throughout his career, Daum improved both his rebounding and ability to shoot, which leads those to believe he will succeed at the next level.

Associate head coach, Rob Klinkefus has been with SDSU during Daum’s whole career. Klinkefus was both on Scott Nagy and T.J. Otzelberger’s staff. If anyone knows Daum’s game, its Klinkefus.  

“(Daum) will flat out make shots,” Klinkefus said.

Klinkefus also acknowledged that over the years, Daum had improved his game, by becoming a more physical player and a better rebounder.

Part of that came in the past offseason, where Daum had lost weight to gain muscle mass. Part of this was due to NBA scouts and draft analysts criticizing his body makeup.

“He did a nice job of getting stronger, he worked his tail off in the weight room,” Klinkefus said. “He’s earned it.”

Another guy who got a front row seat to Daum’s greatness in college is Tevin King a senior guard at SDSU.

During Daum’s four years, King played in 134 games with the guard. Throughout those games, Daum and King created on-court chemistry.

King mentioned that over the years, Daum’s defense has greatly improved, which should help him at the next level.  

“Towards the end of the year we were able to switch back and he was still able to guard his guy and keep the ball in front of him,” King said.

Overall, King believes Daum’s skills are going to transfer to the next level. King went on to say he has some of those intangibles like good court vision and high energy on the floor that you can’t coach.

Even though both King and Klinkefus have been with Daum his whole college career, nobody knows Daum’s game better than himself.

Daum says that when he got to college, his former coach T.J. Otzelberger opened his eyes on the potential player he could become.

Daum knew that he could shoot, he had that instilled in him by his mother as he grew up, but Otzelberger helped shape him into an all-around scorer as well as improve his rebounding and defensive ability.  

Between hitting the weight room and putting in countless hours, Daum soon developed the skills that he needed to become the number seven scorer all time in the NCAA. These are the skills he wants to continue to work on for the NBA.

Heading into the draft, Daum doesn’t feel like he needs to add anything to his game, only continue to improve and increase his defensive intensity.

Daum, who is on the road to the NBA, says one thing he hopes will happen is that he will get invited to the NBA Combine. This will be huge for him he says not only because it will get him attention, but also because only 60 invites are sent out.

Despite this, Daum isn’t worried about his draft stock.

“I don’t really try to look too far ahead at things that are going on plus I just want to enjoy the time,” Daum said. “I’m in the moment right now and I don’t worry too much.”