NORFOLK, NE (KCAU) — “It’s just all about getting a basketball in your hands and just learning the fundamentals,” said former Norfolk Panther Tyler Hagedorn.
Hailed as the 2015 Nebraska Gatorade Player of the Year at Norfolk High, and the 3rd all-time leading scorer at South Dakota since their move to Division I, Tyler Hagedorn leaves his mark anywhere he goes. So much so that his impression extended into last year’s NBA G-League Draft, where the Panther and Coyote alum was selected as the 2nd overall pick by the Atlanta Hawks affiliate. A move that caught Tyler by surprise.
“I spent about three and a half months not knowing if I was gonna go to Europe,” said Tyler. “Not knowing if I was gonna go in the G-League, not knowing if I was gonna get picked up before the Draft cause that’s also a possibility. It’s really rewarding but at the same time just makes me think about all the hard work I’ve put in and all the time that people have put in to me.”
Now a forward for the Memphis Hustle, Tyler has taken in plenty of knowledge from 3 different levels of the game, but rather than focus solely on what’s ahead, the pro player is sharing what he’s learned to the next generation of baller with his own Tyler Hagedorn Skills Camp through the Nebraska D-League.
“He called me up and he said hey Dad can I use the Y for a a couple of gyms for a couple of days,” said Tyler’s father and Norfolk YMCA Executive Director Randy Hagedorn. “He goes I would like to give back to the community in northeast Nebraska and the people that supported him in his high school and college career.”
“Just giving them the knowledge to go away from this with different moves, with different techniques, different skills that you can work on to just to improve as a basketball player,” said Tyler.
Improvement is the main goal for Hagedorn, developing youth not only physically but individually on the court. And though it’s only his first year holding the camp, the kids can’t help but soak in what he has to say.
“I think I’ve gotten really good compared to what I was yesterday from when I started,” said seventh grade camper Emerson Rose-Hancock. “I can go behind my back better now.”
“It’s amazing how he can be this good and come back to his hometown and coach little kids like us,” said seventh grade camper Cash Hastreiter. “It’s amazing how he can do that. It means a lot to all of us to meet someone like him.”
As a professional athlete, it can be easy to get caught up in the pursuit of a shot at the NBA… some even forget their journey, but Tyler continues to stay true to his hometown roots, returning the favor to a community that’s catapulted him to live out his dreams.
“It’s really humbling because obviously it’s very high level basketball that I come from but it’s never gonna be rewarding if you don’t know where you came from. The people I’ve met here have really made some of the biggest impacts on my life. Just seeing kids in the same steps that I was as a little kid. This place will always hit a little sweeter than anywhere I’ve been. I’m just so happy that I was able to do that.”