‘He does whatever we ask’

Moffitt carves a key role with Jacks with versatility and toughness

Keaton Moffitt always wanted to play for South Dakota State University after seeing Nate Wolters and the Jacks in the 2012 NCAA Tournament. 

With the way SDSU is playing this year, the senior guard might just get the chance to also play in the NCAA Tournament and represent the state of South Dakota.

“I saw them play in the tournament when they played Baylor,” Moffitt said. “I thought ‘how cool would it be to play on a team like that’ and that’s when I realized that this was the place for me.”

 Moffitt is averaging 5.6 points a game, which is far behind the Jacks’ leading scorers. George Marshall averages 16.1 points a game and Deondre Parks averages 15.4. SDSU Head Coach Scott Nagy thinks this helps Moffitt, though.

 “Scorers garner most of the attention from other teams,” Nagy said. “Deondre and George get most of the attention, so that helps him be a better offensive player. He takes great shots, doesn’t force anything, and he’s probably the best penetrator we have.”

 Moffitt played high school ball at O’Gorman High School in Sioux Falls where he won back-to-back state titles, including going undefeated his senior season.

 “Those are still some of the best memories I have,” Moffitt said. “I grew up playing with a great group of guys and that just made it all the more fun.” 

 Coming out of high school, Moffitt wanted to play Division I basketball. There was one problem. He was only receiving offers to walk on from Division I schools, including SDSU.

 He had several Division II offers, though, and it came down to deciding between University of Sioux Falls and Augustana University, both of which are located in Sioux Falls.

 “USF I could start right away so I choose there,” Moffitt said. “Honestly though, I wanted to go to SDSU from the beginning, so I probably should’ve just done that.”

Moffitt would start five of his first eight games at USF before suffering a season-ending back injury during a game.

 “Somebody set a screen on me and their knee went into my back,” Moffitt said. “Something just didn’t feel right, it took me couple of days to get up and walk. So I knew something was wrong and I went to the doctor and, sure enough, I had two stress fractures in my back.”

 He would then start more than half of his games in his sophomore season at USF before deciding to transfer to SDSU for his junior and senior seasons.

 “I’m in the pharmacy program and we have a really good pharmacy program here,” Moffitt said. “I also wanted to prove to everyone that I could play Division I basketball.”

 Moffitt would have to sit out his first year at SDSU due to the NCAA transfer rules, but was thrown into the starting point guard role just five games into his first season in a Jackrabbit uniform. His first career start for SDSU was at the Pentagon in his hometown of Sioux Falls against Florida Gulf Coast University.

 “That’s probably my most memorable experience at SDSU, playing at the Pentagon in front of all my family. It was a really cool time.” Moffitt said.

Nagy knew that it was going to be a tough first game to throw him into the starting role, but he impressedfinishing with four points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals.

 “We put him in a tough spot,” Nagy said. “Florida Gulf Coast had one of the best point guards in the country but he played very well and it worked out for us.”

 Moffitt knows exactly what his role is on the team, something you don’t see very often at the Division I level.

 “My role on the team is to be very versatile and do whatever the team needs me do.” Moffitt said. “Whether it be rebound, score, assist, whatever they need me to do.”

 His coach knows how pivotal he is to the team’s success.

 “He’s a very versatile guy and he does whatever we ask.” Nagy said. “He’s a really good teammate and he doesn’t ask for any attention.”

 Moffitt works hard both on and off the court. He’s trying to balance it out more because sometimes it can be a little too much.

 “It’s tough, especially on road trips,” Moffitt said. “A lot of long nights, I think last year I pulled 10 all-nighters, but I’m trying to keep that number down.”

 The Jackrabbits are 21-7 and 10-4 in the Summit League. Next weekend they will head down to Sioux Falls and play in the Summit League Tournament. If they win they will earn a berth to the NCAA Tournament. But this Jackrabbit team wants to do more than that. They want to give this school their first NCAA tournament victory. Which would be something special for Moffitt being from Sioux Falls.