In many ways, the pre-draft process is a battle for recognition for many players who have all had successful college careers, but for some reason or another, they didn’t get the notice they probably deserved. South Dakota State’s Jordan Dykstra is fighting to be noticed now, and the teams that do notice him will soon learn just how strong a player he really is.
Dykstra finished off a very good four years with the Jackrabbits by putting together his best all-around season. The 6’8 forward averaged 16 points and over 7 ½ rebounds per game, along with 2 assists per game. Dykstra also shot over 40 percent from three-point range and almost 84 percent from the free throw line.
Having the chance to reflect on the past four seasons, Dykstra was able to pinpoint the areas where he grew the most.
“If you are going to play for Coach Nagy, you need develop toughness,” said Dykstra. “You need to be willing to do the gritty and down-and-dirty work. That’s the biggest way I developed.”
South Dakota State’s program had received a boost the past couple of years with a lot of national attention on Nate Wolters, now with the Milwaukee Bucks. Dykstra was able to flourish with the extra eyes focused on the team. “Nate and I played well of each other,” Dykstra said. “We were both able to benefit from it.”
Even with the extra attention, South Dakota State was still a small school in a mid-major conference, and that has spurred Dykstra on even more. “It has put a chip on my shoulder, because we did great things there,” Dykstra explained. “I feel that I have to work even more to prove what I can do.”
Wolters has also been a help to Dykstra as he goes through the draft process himself. “We were in different situations, but he has been helpful through the whole thing,” said Dykstra. “Going through the team workouts can be a pretty big deal and it can get you nervous. He’s been good on helping me through that.”
Dykstra has been working out in Toronto as he prepares for the next step in his career, and he has a strong sense about what areas of his game are attractive to professional teams. “I think my biggest strength is my ability to shoot the ball,” explained Dykstra, who shot 44.5% from three-point range for his career. “Being able to spread the floor and bring a lot of toughness out there are very important.”
When talking about his game, Dykstra has a good idea about where he needs to continue to make improvements. “My biggest obstacle is my athleticism and being able to be laterally quick,” said Dykstra. “I’ve been working a lot on this in my workouts, especially being able to keep my man in front of me.”
With the net step in his basketball career on the horizon, Dykstra is confident that he is capable of helping any team, no matter where it is. “If I play at the NBA level, I want to go in there, be a good teammate, work hard, and knock down shots,” said Dykstra. “Overseas, my game would be similar, but I could play more of a 3 or face-up 4.”
Dykstra, who has already a good workout with the Toronto Raptors, knows he has his work cut out for him, but he isn’t concerned about flying under the radar. “I’m going to do everything I can to show teams that I should be with them,” said Dykstra. “Whatever they need, whether knocking down shots or rebounding, I will do all I can for any team I play for.”
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