USA Today subscribers all over the United States got a glimpse of South Dakota, when a Jackrabbit, well-known around these parts, stared back at them Thursday morning. South Dakota State University and its mascot made the front page of the national Newspaper.
It urged readers to not dismiss the school, though it was up against some tough challengers.
It called SDSU a, "cinderella-in-waiting," and said the Jackrabbits would, "blow up the brackets." Though countless people saw the headline, this feat is not big news to the man who coached one of SDSU's star players.
"I just think the kid loves playing the game," Gregg Martig, Nate Wolters' Former Coach, said.
Via Skype, Martig said Wolters was a small, shy kid; but he noticed a talent for basketball when Wolters was growing up. He made the jump from eighth grade to the Varsity Basketball team right away during his freshman year of high school. He then brought his game from kids' stuff to a possible career toward his junior and senior years.
"As a coach, you bet, you want to see your kids succeed and he has the opportunity this spring to reach the highest level and hopefully get drafted in the NBA," Martig said.
Martig, who is now the head football coach, assistant mens' basketball coach, and baseball coach at Minnesota's St. Cloud Tech High School, only coached the SDSU Point Guard during his freshman year. Martig gives most of the credit to Randy Jordan, who coached Wolters for three years in high school. Jordan now coaches in Stillwater, MN, and was unable to Skype with KELOLAND News, but has kept an eye on Wolters.
"I am very proud," Jordan said, via email. "He deserves everything that is coming to him. He has worked very hard for it."
Just this last year, Jordan started noticing his former player has what it takes to get in the big leagues. Martig said Wolters always sought guidance from his coaches, but said Wolters' success dates back to the kids' stuff.
"You know, the unique thing is where he grew up in town, his parents are still there, you know he's got his own little court in the back yard, the poured concrete slab and the kid was out there anytime you'd drive by," Martig said. "He's the classical gym rat and he's put in his time."