Photos by J. Alan Paul Photography and Joe Kerlin
Junior guard Jared Samuelson continues to scorch the net for the Bison.
The three-point shot. Once revolutionized by Larry Bird and Reggie Miller, it has since evolved into the most dangerous area on the floor for opposing defenses. Professionals like Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson quickly eviscerate their nemesis thanks to their longrange prowess. The same could be said about Bison guard Jared Samuelson. The junior has proven consistently dangerous from long range for an NDSU team that has begun to take more three-point shots.
For Samuelson, it has always been a part of his game. In part, it is what got him to Fargo in the first place. A stellar talent from Gretna, Nebraska, Samuelson averaged nearly 16 points per game his senior season, leading Gretna to a state championship.
A primary focus for Samuelson and other Bison shooters like Chris Quayle is their mindset. What do you do if you miss a few shots in a row? Or if you start getting hot from deep? How do you right yourself mentally in those instances? Dave Richman can only say so much before it is up to the player to make the plays on the floor. Samuelson never loses that shooter’s mindset.
“I think the most important thing is having confidence in yourself. Once you lose that, that is just the ballgame and you got nothing else to rely on,” he said. “If you have confidence in yourself, especially when you miss two, three, four shots in a row, your mindset has to be that you’re going to make the next one. Just gotta keep shooting and that comes from time spent in the gym on your own, so you have that confidence.”
Samuelson has proven that his approach works. In his first two seasons in Fargo, Samuelson has a career mark of 66 three-pointers made, including 50 last year alone. What is more impressive is Samuelson’s efficiency from that deep of range. He has shot 41 percent from beyond the arc so far in his two-year Bison career. That’s an incredibly impressive mark for any shooter, regardless of the level of competition. However, Samuelson is quick to point out that the Bison have not shifted their style of play, despite having a very guard-heavy roster and big guys that can stretch the floor. “Our style hasn’t changed with coach Richman, it starts with the defensive end,” he said. “It starts with getting stops, rebounding the ball, guarding the ball, that will create a transition and an offense for any team. That’s our main focus and if we can keep teams in the 50s and 60s we’ll have a chance to win a lot of games.”
This is another area where Samuelson has shown his worth. He is a tremendous on-ball defender, picking up 16 total steals last season alone. This paves the way for his tremendous offensive ability. As the old saying goes, “good defense creates good offense.”
A new venture Samuelson has had to take on this season is one of leadership. He and transfer Vinnie Shahid were named team captains in late September. While those two are deemed the captains, Samuelson sees leadership qualities in every Bison player. “I try to do the right thing every time, I try to lead by example,” he said. “Something that I’ve learned is that 1-14, I feel like all of our guys have a different quality of leadership, which is really important on a team with no seniors. Vocal leadership, example leadership, down the line, everyone has the chance to lead, which is pretty great.”
The last month has been a gauntlet for the men’s basketball team. November was a month which saw them with only one home game. On top of that, they made trips to New Mexico, the Bahamas, Tennessee and Washington state. It does not stop there either, as the team played in Minneapolis and in Iowa earlier this month. For any team, a road stretch like that can become daunting. One thing Samuelson points to is not relying on excuses to justify any potential struggles that may arise. “You just got to control what you can control. Moving to different hotels and bus rides and different shoot around times, it can be difficult mentally and physically,” he said. “I think the biggest thing is you just gotta show up and work hard. At the end of the day, the other team doesn’t care what you’ve been through, so when you step out on that court, it’s 0-0 and you gotta win the game.”
It is just another step and obstacle to overcome in the evolution of Jared Samuelson. On what is already a very exciting Bison team, it is important to keep in mind that NDSU has no seniors on its roster in 2018-19. Meaning that Dave Richman will have every one of his players back for next year, Samuelson included. For Bison hoops fans, it’s an exciting notion to know how good this team can be as this season moves forward and next year too.
For Jared Samuelson, he’ll continue to thrive by shooting the ball at an efficient rate. He has done that so far in what is a relatively young Bison career. Only a junior, expect to see many more three-pointers fall through the net before Jared Samuelson steps off campus.
The Samuelson File
- Appeared in 28 of NDSU’s 30 games as a freshman. Averaged two points per game and shot 39 percent from three-point range.
- Played in all 32 contests as a sophomore. Averaged just over five points per game while shooting 42 percent from beyond the arc. Made nine three-pointers in one game against Mayville State last season, a school record.
- Career marks of 3.8 points per game while shooting 40 percent from the field, 41 percent from three and 87 percent from the free throw line. Has made 66 triples in two seasons at NDSU.
- Led Gretna High School to a 27-1 record his senior season en route to a Nebraska Class B state title. Was also named the state’s player of the year that season.
- Major: Statistics
- Gretna, Nebraska