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West Valley City Journal

Former star Lancer finds place at Kansas State

Jun 23, 2017 11:39AM ● By Greg James

Makol Mawien graduated from Granger High School in 2015. His basketball career has landed him at Kansas State. (Brian Lohrey/New Mexico Junior College)

By Greg James |  [email protected] 

Granger High School graduate and star basketball player Makol Mawien has signed to continue his collegiate career at Kansas State University.

“He is a great competitor, a very athletic and skilled guy. I enjoyed every game I played against him not just because of our individual rivalry, but because of our school rivalry,” said Noah Togiai, former Hunter High School center and Mawien’s crosstown competitor. “He is a very humble and quiet guy on the court. I am happy to hear that he found a place at Kansas State.” 

Togiai and Mawien were recruited heavily by University of Utah head basketball coach Larry Kystkowiak. 

“We had some battles. He will step out and shoot the three or back you down and dunk on you,” Togiai said.

In six games against Hunter, Mawien averaged 12.9 points. He scored 32 in his sophomore season against the Wolverines. His Lancers never defeated Hunter in six tries.

The 6’ 9”, 220-pound forward red-shirted the 2015-16 season at Utah and opted to transfer to New Mexico Junior College for his 2016-17 season. 

“He was a great player for us. He led the team in three-point shooting. Was able to put the ball on the floor, rebounded and blocked shots. He really helped our program,” New Mexico Junior College head coach Brian Lohrey said.

Mawien averaged 18.4 points and 9.7 rebounds per game as a senior at Granger. He was elected second team all-state by both USA Today and The Deseret News. He scored more the 1,000 points and grabbed  500 rebounds in his prep career. He led the Lancers in scoring and rebounding his final two seasons.

Mawien’s senior season in 2014 was the last time the Lancers advanced to the Utah state basketball tournament. They finished in fourth place in Region 2 that season and lost to Davis 58-30 in the first round.

He will have three years of eligibility remaining at Kansas State. In New Mexico, he played in 29 games and averaged 8.7 points and led the Thunderbirds in three-point field goal percentage with 41.9 percent. He also had 59 blocked shots to lead the team.

“He is a good student and works hard to get good grades. He did a good job in the classroom. He is one of seven guys that we moved on to the Big-12 (NCAA conference). Which shows that we can continue to help these kids progress onwards and upwards,” Lohrey said.

The Thunderbirds finished this season with a 7-9 regular season record. They placed fifth in the National Junior College Athletic Association Region 5. South Plains College won Region 5 and finished third overall at the NJCAA national championships.

He scored a season high 20 points against New Mexico Military Institute Nov. 5 in an 80-66 victory. He also grabbed six rebounds and had three blocked shots.

“We are excited to add a versatile big man like Makol to our program,” Kansas State head coach Bruce Weber said on national signing day. “He fills an immediate need for a veteran player who has experience at not only the community college level but at Division I while at Utah. He has the length and athleticism to play the 5-spot, but also has the ability to shoot from long range to help us at the four. He was a highly-regarded player out of high school who we think will be a huge complement to our team.”

As a high school senior, Mawien selected Utah after also receiving offers from BYU, Boston College, Gonzaga and Utah State. At Utah, he practiced against All-American and Pac-12 player of the year Jakob Poeltl.

“I will be rooting for him and wish him nothing but a healthy and successful career,” Togiai said.