By Chad Courrier
Free Press Staff Writer
Jaron Denn was hoping to play college basketball close to home.
As it turns out, home is going with him.
Denn, a senior guard at Maple River, has made a verbal commitment to attend Wayne State of Nebraska. It’s not far from where he grew up near Norfolk, Neb., about 20 minutes from Wayne.
“I had a really good feel for the campus when I visited there, and the people I met were really cool,” Denn said. “I just felt like it was a good fit for me.”
Denn averaged 15.8 points, 5.6 rebounds and 4.0 assists, finishing his career with 1,429 points, second in Maple River history. He also made 211 3-pointers, second most at Maple River, and had 471 rebounds (fifth) and 288 assists (sixth).
He missed most of his junior season with a knee injury.
“I don’t feel like I completely got my legs back,” he said. “Toward the end of the season, I felt better, but I’d say I was about 80, 85 percent.”
At Wayne State, which finished 17-12, 11-11 in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference games, Denn could be redshirted. He’ll play either point guard or shooting guard, a decision that will be made once he gets there. There were three seniors on the Wayne State roster this season, one of which was a point guard.
“If he’s going to play (point guard), he needs to work on his ball-handling,” Maple River coach Chad Ostermann said. “And I’m sure he will; he’s a hard worker. He can definitely shoot the ball, which is something not a lot of point guards can do.
“I think he’s capable of playing there. He’s got a lot of ability, which he’s shown over four years at Maple River. I know he’s excited.”
Denn said his mom and dad both got jobs in Norfolk, Neb., so the family will move there this summer.
“I’m very excited,” Denn said. “I already have family there (at Norfolk), and my family will be moving there. That really helped my decision.”
The first day of the spring signing period is April 10.