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Voss hoping to make immediate impact at DWU

WORTHINGTON -- When Jalen Voss was a freshman, he looked at the Worthington boys' basketball records and wondered if his name could be there with the all-time greats.

Voss announces decision
Aaron Hagen/Daily Globe Worthington's Jalen Voss (seated, second from right) announces his decision to play basketball at Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell, S.D. Pictured with Voss is (seated, from left): AAU basketball coach Ross Reitsma, DWU coach Shane Murphy, WHS coach Ron Vorwald, (back row, from left) parents Becky Bovee and Bryan Voss.

WORTHINGTON -- When Jalen Voss was a freshman, he looked at the Worthington boys' basketball records and wondered if his name could be there with the all-time greats.

Four years later, he has his answer.

Voss recently completed his senior season for the Trojans, where he finished in the top four in both career points and rebounds.

"I remember coming in as a freshman and looking at the records and thinking if I was ever going to get 1,000 points or if I was ever going to break the rebounding record," Voss said. "I broke the rebounding record and I got 1,000 points. I'm going to miss it, but I know that I did all I could to help us win."

With all his accomplishments, Voss is now preparing for the next level.

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He recently signed a letter of intent to continue his basketball career at Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell, S.D.

"It's a huge signing for us," DWU head coach Shane Murphy said. "We really feel strong about Jalen's future and what he's going to be able to do in our program. We kind of said from the very beginning when we started this whole recruiting process that Jalen is kind of the centerpiece of this recruiting class. For us to get him wrapped up and know that he's coming in just been great for us. It's really helped with the other pieces of the recruiting puzzle as well. We're excited about it and can't wait to get him on campus and get started."

The Tigers are getting a player who ended with 1,164 career points to finish fourth all time in school history.

Voss also collected 676 career rebounds, becoming Worthington's all-time leader, breaking current Trojan assistant coach Clint Meyer's record. Voss edged Meyer's record by a single rebound.

"I never knew who Clint Meyer was, and when we had our meeting for basketball, I found out that he was our coach," Voss said. "It was just kind of ironic."

And winning has followed Voss throughout his career. In his three years on varsity, WHS was a combined 60-16.

Meanwhile, DWU is fresh off an appearance in the NAIA Sweet 16.

"I knew that if I went there, there's always the chance to make the national tournament," Voss said. "They've been good the past five years. I knew that if I went there, I would be on a successful team. That's one of the things I wanted, too. Playing for the Trojans, Coach (Vorwald) just told me we were 60-16 my three years on varsity, so I'm not really used to losing. I wanted to go to a place where we would win."

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Voss will have big shoes to fill for DWU. The Tigers graduated five players off this year's squad, including three-time All-American Brady Wiebe.

"I'm not going to put that kind of pressure on Jalen that he needs to fill those shoes," Murphy said. "He's going to be the guy that's going to take over that position, and as Jalen grows as a basketball player, we'll get him to that point. How soon that happens, we'll just have to wait and see. But it's going to be our whole program that's going to have to figure out how we're going to replace a three-time All-American."

But does Voss see himself as an All-American?

"Who doesn't see themselves as an All-American?" Voss said. "That's obviously what I'm going to pursue and we're going to try to make the national tournament every year."

Murphy sees Voss turning into the same type of player as the 6-foot-6 Wiebe.

"We feel strongly about his upside and what he can bring to the table," the coach said. "We're excited about it and we're definitely thinking along those lines, but again, we don't want to put that pressure on Jalen. Jalen is a competitive kid, so I know he's going to want to go after it and become the best he possibly can be."

But replacing a player like Wiebe won't be easy for Voss.

"It's more on an honor, I guess, because Brady Wiebe is such a good player," Voss said. "They want me to come in there and take his spot. That's kind of a big deal. Of course there's pressure, but it's not too bad."

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Murphy was hired to take the reigns of the Tiger program in July, and immediately set his sights on Voss.

"He has a soft touch, whether it's around the basket, or stepping out a little bit," Murphy said. "I think he's very agile for his size. He moves well on his feet and that's another thing you have to have at the college game. I think those are the two biggest things that kind of stand out, as well as his physical attributes."

It's more than his 6-7 frame that made Voss a force this season. It was also his ability to hit a long-range jumper that made him a complete player.

"That will help with pump fakes and stuff," Voss said. "If I can get a good up fake, I can get up and under. If I start hitting the longer shot, it will definitely help with the up fakes and getting to the rack.

"I don't know (how I got my soft touch), probably from my dad. He always told me how good of a shooter he was and how soft of a touch he had. I don't know how you really develop a soft touch, but it just kind of came to me. It's just kind of natural."

Voss looked at other schools such as Northwestern, Dordt and Southwest Minnesota State University, but decided DWU was the place for him.

"There were a couple visits I was going to do after the season," Voss said. "I got the scholarship in the mail one day from Dakota Wesleyan and I just realized that I'm not going to get anything better than this. Maybe I will, but I think this is the place I want to go. I didn't even take those other visits. I just committed and went to Dakota Wesleyan."

While Voss knows there will be work ahead, there is a place in the starting lineup waiting for him very soon.

"That spot is there for him," Murphy said. "Obviously there is going to be competition. We've been committed and told him that it's his spot. We're definitely looking for him to come in, take a hold of it and not look back."

Voss plays against Ellsworth
Aaron Hagen/Daily Globe WHS senior Jalen Voss (53) goes up for a shot in a Feb. 14 game against Ellsworth in Worthington. The Trojans won the game 55-54.

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