The Aases make their signings

Published 8:00 pm Monday, November 19, 2012

Austin seniors Tom Aase and Joe Aase signed their nation al letter-of-intents at Austin High School Monday. Tom committed to Division II University of Sioux Falls and Joe committed to Division I Davidson College. -- Rocky Hulne/

Austin seniors Joe Aase and Tom Aase made it official at Austin High School Monday.

After having verbally committed to full basketball scholarships two months ago, the cousins signed their national letters of intent. Joe signed with Division I Davidson College and Tom signed with Division II University of Sioux Falls.

With plenty of family on hand, the Aase’s couldn’t have pictured a better way to seal their college choices.

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“It’s cool to make it a family affair and make sure everyone’s involved,” Tom, a 6-5 forward who averaged 11.3 points and 7.4 rebounds last season, said. “It’s more of like a team accomplishment that everyone’s worked for in the last four years.”

The signing came right before the Packers’ first practice of the year, which was fitting since both Joe and Tom are ready to start their final season at Austin. The Packers advanced to the state tournament for the first time in 30 years last season and are they hoping to get back to state again this year.

“(The decision) has been out of the way for awhile, but now there’s no going back,” said Joe, a 6-8 center who averaged 15.4 points and 6.7 rebounds per game last season. “It’s just good to be able to focus on Packer basketball now. It’s pretty much all behind us now.”

Joe and Tom have been in Austin’s basketball system since they were in kindergarten and they said it has been very beneficial to them.

“(Austin head coach Kris) Fadness is a great coach and it’s been a consistent program over the years,” Tom said. “Growing up in Austin and going to all the Packer basketball camps was a lot of fun and it’s been a steady program.”

Joe said he thinks the Packer basketball program is in a good place and he hopes it stays that way.

“Building a program is what everyone wants to do,” he said. “To be a big part of that is a great feeling and hopefully we’ve instilled some motivation in the kids younger than us to keep it going.”

Joe had a total of 11 Division I offers, but he felt comfortable with Davidson where head coach Bob McKillop has been at the helm for 23 years. Davidson went 25-8 overall last season and the team has been in the NCAA Tournament five of the last 11 years.

USF went 20-9 overall last season, and fourth year head coach Chris Johnson has guided the Cougars to an NAIA National Tournament berth and a Great Plaines Athletic Conference championship in each of his first three seasons.

USF is joining the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference this year and the NISC is one of the top Division II conferences in the country.