Catching Up with Mike Daum

BOISE, ID - MARCH 15: Mike Daum #24 of the South Dakota State Jackrabbits reacts against the Ohio State Buckeyes during the first round of the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Taco Bell Arena on March 15, 2018 in Boise, Idaho. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Mike Daum was a dominant forward for the South Dakota State Jackrabbits where he appropriately earned the nickname “Dauminator.” Daum was kind enough to accept an interview request where we caught up on his basketball career since his days with the Jackrabbits.

Catching Up with Mike Daum

Mid-Major Success

Daum attended South Dakota State from 2015-19 where he racked up 137 games. As a freshman, he averaged 15.2 points and 6.1 rebounds per game, off the bench. This is when some people started to see how good he really was. He followed that season up with three brilliant years. All-in-all, Daum averaged 22.4 points and nine rebounds while shooting over 50 percent from the field and 41 percent from three.

While mid-major schools have fewer resources than the traditional high-major and “Blue Blood” schools, Daum views that as a positive.

“Going to a mid-major school taught me the value of hard work and working with what you have in front of you. A lot of these high majors have the fantastic resources and us mid-majors don’t always have those luxuries so it teaches us to outwork no matter the circumstances,” Daum said.

It is clear that Daum could have had plenty of success in the high major ranks. However, his decision to play at South Dakota State definitely worked for him as he is in the Top 10 of all-time scorers in the NCAA.

Mike Daum’s Professional Career

As for any basketball player in America, the goal is to make it to the NBA. For Daum, the journey has been slightly different. He went undrafted in the 2019 NBA Draft but was able to sign a summer league contract with the Portland Trail Blazers. Daum only played 12 minutes per game with the Blazers and did not have an ample opportunity to showcase his skills.

After this stint, Daum signed a contract to play in Spain for Obradoiro. He played 20 minutes per game and averaged nine points and 3.7 rebounds while continuing his scorching shooting numbers from college.

Daum has resigned with Obradoiro for the 2020-21 season and will look to build off of the first year’s success.

As for his dreams of reaching the NBA, they are still strong.

“For me, going overseas, I see just as much of an opportunity to get into the NBA as there is in the G-League…The level of basketball does not take a step down overseas, the players are NBA level, and I really enjoy that,” Daum said.

There is a growing trend in basketball to get to the professional ranks quickly and gain as much experience as possible. High school stars like Jalen Green are headed straight to the G-League out of college. Some players like LaMelo Ball head to Australia out of high school. Others continue their basketball dreams overseas to gain professional experience after college like Mike Daum.

Anyone that watches European basketball will know that there is plenty of talent on the court. Daum is matching up with guys like Nikola Mirotic and Anthony Randolph on a nightly basis.

The Basketball Tournament

Anyone that watched TBT would know that Europe is littered with stud American hoopers. Daum played for the House of ‘Paign team that was made up of mostly University of Illinois alums.

“It was a great experience and I’m glad I got to play basketball during this crazy time. The competition level was really high,” Daum said.

Unfortunately, the House of ‘Paign team lost in the Quarterfinals, but it was a great start for a new-look team. Hopefully, that roster will come back next year and run it back with increased success.

Daum did himself many favors in The Basketball Tournament. He was one of the players that stood out in deserving an NBA shot. It is not surprising that he resigned in Spain so soon after the tournament ended as he most likely had several suitors hoping to have him join their roster.

Post-Basketball Aspirations

Mike Daum is still very early in his professional career and will play for several more years with plenty of success. With that being said, it is always interesting to learn about players’ career goals outside of basketball.

For Daum, he does not see himself ever leaving the basketball world.

“I’m a very in the moment person and would love to play basketball for as long as the good Lord lets me. But I would love to eventually become a sports sales rep for a company,” Daum said.

There are some people that have basketball in their blood and Daum is one of them. For basketball fans, the hope is that he continues to play for a very long time.

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