WHITE RIVER, S.D. (KELO) – The next nominee for the KELOLAND Media Group All-Star Boys Player of the Year is a familiar name, as Joe Sayler is a finalist for the 2nd consecutive season. The junior took his game to another level this year.
If you were to tell someone from a different area about Class B basketball in the state of South Dakota, you wouldn’t be able to do so without mentioning the White River Tigers.
“I love it man, I think the style in this program is awesome and I think what the program brings to the people in the community and what it means to everyone is pretty special,” White River junior guard Joe Sayler said.
After a solid sophomore campaign, Sayler would take his game to another level this past season as a junior putting up 29 points per game and 6 rebounds a night.
“He can handle the ball, he’s getting stronger, he can take contact and he can finish. His shot has been there, that’s even stronger. He can elevate and gain separation and of course now he can really dunk. You know, he can really jump,” White River Head Coach Eldon Marshall said of his lead guard.
While his numbers and athletic ability speak for themselves, there is room for plenty of improvement.
“The defensive side of things. I think connecting the dots down there. I have to guard bigger players down there most of the time since we have a couple guards that guard the perimeter,” Sayler said. “Just being in the right spots, getting to the right places and I think bearing down will bring a good impact and a good addition to my game.”
This past year White River would come one game short of the state championship falling to Lower Brule in triple overtime, making the mission for this coming season crystal clear.
“We got to do it. It’s time for White River to get back into the state champion title and we got the team to do it, we got the guys to do it and I think we just have to take it day by day, work hard and I think it will eventually click,” Sayler stated. “I think we have a great chance and what better way to go out.”