"There was a little bit of cross talk between North Dakota State coach Jayden Olson and my high school coach during the season and then coach Olson called me a little over two weeks ago," Devils Lake guard Jake Mertens said to Scout.com about how his NDSU interest began. "I was narrowed down to Minot State and University of Mary before NDSU came up, but coach Olson asked how the recruiting process was going for me and if I was close to making a decision or if I had already made one. Then he just kind of gave me the whole rundown of NDSU and what they kind of had going on in their program at the moment. He also said that they were interested in me joining their program as a preferred walk on, so the ball got rolling from there."
"I ultimately decided to walk-on at North Dakota State because it was the opportunity to play at the D1 level for a successful team that has a great culture that really caught my eye and intrigued me to give it a shot," Mertens explained. "Coach Richman and Olson were extremely excited when I told them that I wanted to be a part of the NDSU basketball program. They see me as a guy who's going to come in and work hard, complete, and help the team with whatever it takes in order to have success. Truthfully, my parents were a little hesitant about it at first and wanted to make sure that it was truly what I wanted to do. But now they're all on board with it and are going to be extremely supportive. They're excited for me."
Mertens has a message for Bison fans.
"I just want to say that I'm really excited to become a part of the Bison family and that I'm looking for for whatever the future may bring. I know that the support will be spectacular and that I'll develop many great relationships."