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Dunwa Omot picks SMSU

NEW ULM — With the rest the school year in jeopardy and his senior year all but over, Minnesota Valley Lutheran made an important decision regarding the next four years of his life when he decided to continue his basketball career at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall.

Omot, the 2019-20 All-Journal Boys’ Basketball Player of the Year, had narrowed his choices down to SMSU and Mayville State. This week, he made the final decision and he thinks SMSU will be a perfect fit for him.

“As I was narrowing down my schools, I had it down to a solid two, I had Mayville State and SMSU,” he said. “Just talking to different coaches, I just picked SMSU as the best fit for me. I just liked the coaches and the program a lot. It’s avery humble and experienced coaching staff that’s willing to work with you and I just thought it was the best fit for me.”

One of the assistants at SMSU is Sleepy Eye High school graduate Brandon Polesky, who played a big role in bringing Omot to SMSU. He coached Omot in AAU basketball as a 16U player and the two have had a bond since.

“I had him as an AAU coach a couple years back and he’s been recruiting me basically all summer,” Omot said. “The relationship I have with him I think played a big roll with this.”

He said that the campus life played a big role in his decision, too.

“It’s a family-first atmosphere and I felt welcome when I first got there. I went to a couple of camps in the summer and I liked the winning culture. Everyone around the town is cheering for the squad. The town is always around the college, which is a big thing. It’s not too big of a campus so you can get to where you need to go.”

Omot finished the 2019-20 season as the Tomahawk Conference Player of the Year. He averaged 21.3 points, 4 rebounds, 3.9 steals and 3.6 assists per game this season and shot 56% from the floor and 44% from beyond the arc. The Chargers finished the season with a 26-3 overall record and a 14-2 Tomahawk Conference mark, giving them a three-way share of the conference title with New Ulm Cathedral and Springfield.

He said that he’s gotten to know a few of the players on the SMSU team. Also, New Ulm Cathedral senior Jon Zinniel is also going to SMSU next year and Omot and Zinniel are very familiar with each other.

“Once he committed, and it intrigued me a little bit knowing that we could end up playing in the same place,” Omot said. “His decision didn’t really affect my choice, either way I wanted to sign the best fit and it ended up being the same place. I can’t wait to go play with him for four years.”

He also gets to compete against his longtime teammate at MVL, Jake Kettner. Kettner plays for the University of Sioux Falls. Springfield graduate Isaac Fink also just wrapped up his freshman year at Augustana, so there will be plenty of Tomahawk Conference talent playing in the NSIC over the next few years.

“As the Tomahawk Conference, Jake and Isaac Fink playing in the same NSIC is kind of cool, they led by example and were kind of role models for us,” Omot said. “Jake and I are really close on and off the court. Both of us are really happy for each other playing in the same conference, we just can’t wait to battle, it’ll be fun to play against him.”

He’s obviously excited for his next journey. He thinks he’ll major in sports management.

“I can’t wait to work hard, restart a new chapter in life,” he said. “Just got start your way from the bottom and work your way back up again.”

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