With the unfortunate wait-and-see game because of the COVID-19 pandemic ongoing, St. Thomas More junior Haleigh Timmer has had a lot of time to think about her future.
Still holding on to hope that they can get in the state basketball tournament, and even with one more season as a Cavalier, Timmer thought it was as good of a time as any to announce her verbal commitment to play basketball for South Dakota State University, beginning the 2021-2022 season.
“I just realized that SDSU is really where my heart is,” she said.
The Jackrabbits have been recruiting Timmer since her freshman season, and she said she had been building a good relationship with the staff. The program was beginning to feel like home.
“It is something that I have been thinking about for a long time, but SDSU, I feel, is a great fit for me,” Timmer said Thursday night. “It has a lot of things I have been looking for in a school. I guess some of the biggest things for me is, first of all, the school really accommodates me on what I want to go on to, engineering. Also, they have a really successful program that would challenge me, and it is also is close to home.”
Timmer, who was named to the Class A All-State first team for the second straight season just two days ago, said she had other options, in state and out of state.
According to PospectsNation.com, Timmer chose SDSU after receiving interest from Leigh, South Dakota and Vanderbilt, among others.
“There were other options, but I feel like SDSU was the best fit,” she said.
The 5-foot, 11-inch Timmer led the Cavaliers at 22.8 points a game, hitting 58.6% from the field, including 23-of-55 3-pointers. She also averaged 6.5 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 2.3 steals per game.
"Haleigh is a highly-skilled player with quick speed and explosive strength," STM coach Brandon Kandolin said earlier this week. "She is also a player that is very determined and driven, which has led to much of her success so far. She will join a list of very talented players who have gone through this program, and I suspect she will be highly successful at the next level. She is a coach's dream of a player that can do most everything from scoring to defending, and she has the right attitude to work and be a leader."
Timmer joins the long list of former STM players to move on to the collegiate level, especially to Division I.
Growing up and watching the state tournaments when she was younger and players and teammates like Alexys Swedlund (Washington State), Ciara Duffy (South Dakota) and Du Gylten (University of Utah), she said it gave her the inspiration of playing at the next level.
“I have always had the passion for basketball, so it definitely is a dream come true to be able to go on to the Division I level and compete,” she said.
As successful as she has been in the sport, from now until she walks on to the SDSU campus in the fall of 2021, Timmer said she is going to work hard to improve on her all-around game.
“I think just overall becoming a better shooter, expanding my skill-set and expanding my ability to make reads, and then of course, always finding ways to pick up better defensive skills," she said.
“I think a lot of people have specialties that get them recruited, but I think one of my strengths is my versatility. But then again, I have a lot to work on and continue to work towards getting better.”
After being a part of the St. Thomas More state title teams her eighth grade and freshman seasons, to the state tournament last season and qualifying this season (STM is currently 20-2), Timmer has been busy with basketball in the off-season as well. The last couple of summers she has played AAU ball for North Tartran Club in the NIKE Elite Youth Basketball League (EYBL) out of Minneapolis.
Timmer carries a four-star rating from PospectsNation.com and is on the ELITE 150 Watch list for 2021.
According to Brandon Clay and Chris Hanson of ProspectsNation.com, Timmer excelled at the 2019 Check Met Out Showcase in Minneapolis. They stated that she showed a competitive edge on both ends of the floor and her knack of slashing and scoring. Her relentless style led her to be mentioned in the post event recap of standouts."
That recap stated, "Haleigh Timmer made the trip from South Dakota to the Twin Cities and seemed locked in all weekend. She's a big perimeter option who plays fearless. She plays through hand help like it's not there and doesn't shy away from contact to finish. She passed the ball well and moved without the ball as well. The combination of her and Kneepkens (Gianna) was one of the most impressive duos of live 5 on 5 play."
Although it was a lot of travel, she said it was definitely worth it.
“It’s helped me a lot just training at the top level at that EYBL program," she said. "It’s helped me as a player and as a person. I think those experiences have helped me as a leader and as a player.”
In the meantime, Timmer, like her teammates, is working out by herself with the hope that they will still have a chance to finish the high school season.
“Obviously I understand the situation in taking the precautions, but it is still doesn’t make it any less heartbreaking at the thought of not having the opportunity to perform at state,” she said. “I think we are all just hanging on to the little odds of hope that we might have it, and hoping that if it is safe, we can have it.”
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