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PREP BASKETBALL: Hagler commits to Jamestown College

Jacob Hagler ran the show for a North Star team that went to five Region 4 championship games and three state tournaments including a state championship as a sophomore.

Jacob Hagler
North Star's Jacob Hagler drives past Beulah defenders Jesse Hittich and Casey Duppong during Saturday's championship game in the ND Class B Boys basketball tournament in Grand Forks. Herald photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

Jacob Hagler ran the show for a North Star team that went to five Region 4 championship games and three state tournaments including a state championship as a sophomore.

Now, the 6-foot-2 point guard will play an unfamiliar role -- contributor.

The three-time first-team all-state selection and Mr.Basketball award runner-up has committed to Jamestown College, which will announce the signing next week. Hagler chose JC over Valley City State, Bemidji State (Minn.) and most of the state's junior colleges. He had "talks" with North Dakota State about walking on midway through his prep career, but said he hadn't heard from any Bison coaches in awhile.

In the end, JC won out.

"I liked the location of it, only a few hours from Cando," Hagler said. "I really liked coach (Justin) Wieck and his style. I think it's a good overall fit."

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Hagler didn't know much about what his role would be, but said Wieck has indicated he would be backup point guard. He's hoping to make an impact right away, citing playing time as a big factor in choosing a college.

"I wanted to go somewhere I could play right away and help the team win," Hagler said. "I wanted to be a part of the team right away and not go through the red-shirting process. I have to get bigger. Obviously, I know I have to put on a whole bunch of weight."

JC and VCSU were the final two choices, but it came down to a "gut feeling," he said. Both of his parents are JC alums, as well as numerous cousins.

"It just felt like Jamestown was the right place to be," Hagler said. "I loved Valley, too. They have a really nice campus. But they say you get that gut feeling? That's kind of what I got when I went to Jamestown."

Hagler's career has no shortage of accomplishments.

He scored more than 2,000 points as a five-year starter. He finished his career with a record of 122-8, including a blistering 98-3 mark in the regular season. He lost just one regular season game over the last four years. He called winning a state title his greatest accomplishment, while losing region championship games as a freshman and senior as disappointments.

"They both hit me hard," he said. "As a freshman, being undefeated and not having a team play within 30 of us all year and to lose that game in overtime (to eventual state champion Carrington), that was even harder to take than my senior year. I still think that was probably the best team we had."

This year, Hagler averaged 22.8 points, 6.8 assists, 4.7 rebounds and 3.6 steals, but the Bearcats fell to eventual state runner-up Four Winds-Minnewaukan for the region title.

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"I said in the locker room after (regionals) that it's a blessing to be able to play in a region championship game. To play in five was amazing."

His scoring fell off from last year, when he averaged 28 points a contest, as North Star fell to Beulah in the state championship game. However, his coach and father Jeff Hagler has said better scoring options this year contributed to the drop.

Jamestown College is coming off back-to-back trips to the NAIA national tournament. The Jimmies could be primed for a big season with the return of All-American guard Mark Hoge and standout forward Davon Thomas.

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