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Lincoln High vs. Lincoln East, A-3 district, 2/26/18

Lincoln East's Sam Griesel scores as Lincoln High's Carlos Santistevan (23) defends during a game in February at Lincoln East High School.

KAYLA WOLF, Journal Star

Lincoln East first-team Super-State boys basketball player Sam Griesel has asked to be released from his national letter of intent with South Dakota and intends to re-open the recruiting process.

The 6-foot-6 guard/forward said he began reconsidering his college choice after Coyotes head coach and former Nebraska assistant Craig Smith took the Utah State head coaching position on March 26. Todd Lee has since been named head coach at South Dakota, which went 26-9 last season with two Lincoln players in prominent roles — North Star’s Triston Simpson and Christian’s Logan Power.

“Coach Smith was the No. 1 reason I committed to them,” said Griesel, who also took official visits to North Dakota State and Nebraska-Omaha before signing with South Dakota in November.

“Right now I want to take a step back, look at all my options and go through the recruiting process again here the next few weeks,” Griesel added.

Griesel said both Lee and South Dakota assistant Gameli Ahelegbe (a holdover from Smith’s staff) were at his home Sunday. “He (Lee) told me they still wanted me,” Griesel said. “It’s a weird situation that I never thought I would be in, but things happen.”

Griesel averaged 17.1 points, six rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.6 steals per game in leading the Spartans to a school-record 24 wins and a berth in the Class A state tournament. He also had scholarship offers from Drake, Dartmouth, Presbyterian and South Dakota State last fall before signing with the Coyotes.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7437 or On Twitter @ronpowell_ljs.


Sports reporter

Ron Powell is a longtime prep writer for the Journal Star. He covers high school football, boys basketball and track as well as state college football and Husker and professional tennis.

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