WHITE RIVER, S.D. (KELO) — Our next nominee for the KELOLAND Media Group/Sanford Pentagon Boys Player of the Year is White River sophomore Joe Sayler.

As a sophomore at White River, Joe Sayler has grown into a young and budding star on the basketball court. But years ago, his introduction into the program began with a humble beginning, as a team manager.

“Filled up water bottles at practice, brought waters into the huddles at games, towels, picked up their jerseys after the game in the locker room, put them in the basket, everything,” White River sophomore Joe Sayler said.

It was those type of experiences that ignited Sayler’s drive.

“Watching the guys up before me I always wanted to be, like, a star high school player,” Sayler said.

Sayler’s stature and game would grow and by 7th grade, he found himself as a part of the varsity team with his older brother Nick.

“It was nerve racking, it was a fun experience though being with the guys at state and just soaking it all in,” Sayler said.

After leading the Tigers in scoring as a freshman, he’d add a new element to his offensive attack in his second season.

“He’s probably been one of our most consistent dunkers when he gets the chance! He’s athletic and he can get up, and he’s long and can dunk it when he gets the chance to do it, you know. It gets the crowd psyched up, our bench psyched up and all his teammates psyched up,” Head Coach Eldon Marshall said.

This off season, Sayler plans to improve on the other side of the court.

“My ability to defend all game and not just at certain points of the game when we need defense but just sitting down all game and being able to have that strength, that dog mentality,” Sayler said.

“He’s grown a lot, really improved, but you know I know he can improve even more and I know he’ll be putting in the work to get even better.” Marshall said.

Sayler averaged nearly 29 points and 6 rebounds per contest this season. He’s currently verbally committed to play basketball at SDSU.