MANTON — Jacob Haun worked his way to college.
Summer jobs kept the Manton star basketball player from playing AAU ball, but he found a way onto a college team anyway.
Haun committed to Division 3 Trine University, a school in Angola, Indiana that’s in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association along with the likes of Hope, Alma, Calvin, Albion, Kalamazoo, Adrian, Olivet and two non-Michigan schools in Trine and St. Mary’s (Ind.).
“If you’re good and you’re out there,” Manton head coach Ryan Hiller said, “they’ll find you.”
Haun grew up playing travel baseball in the summer.
Then in high school, he worked at Pheasant Ridge Estates, a residential community in Cadillac where his father is the manager.
There just wasn’t enough time for AAU basketball for the dual-sport Rangers standout.
“Not playing AAU kind of put a wrench in it,” Haun said. “Most college coaches look at that.”
So he sent out numerous videos of his high school games. He also drew interest from Cornerstone, Concordia and Grand Rapids Community College.
“Lots of film,” Haun said. “A lot of it.”
Haun said not playing AAU wasn’t that big of a detriment.
“It just shows I have that much more room to grow,” said Haun, who posted a 3.80 grade-point average in high school and plans to major in actuarial science. “There are pluses and minuses to it. Playing for coach Hiller is like playing for an AAU coach anyway.”
Hiller said he noticed a change in Haun’s demeanor after the Rangers’ 2019 team camp at Lake Superior State University, when an LSSU coach pulled Haun to the side and told him he could play at the next level.
The 6-foot-1 combo guard responded with a senior campaign that saw him lead Manton by averaging 15.1 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 2.0 steals per game.
He shot 48 percent from the field and 67 percent at the line, and also demonstrated great defense by being one of the better players in the area at drawing charges.
“He loves being on the floor,” Hiller said. “Very energetic kid. Always working hard. Always positive emotions on the bench.”
Haun didn’t make the Rangers as a freshman, instead playing on the junior varsity.
He recorded film with Isaac Raden during the Rangers’ run to the Final Four when he was a freshman.
“We got to experience it,” said Haun, a four-year varsity baseball player, “but from a different standpoint.”
Haun played three years of varsity basketball, starting the last two. He became the school’s first basketball player to win three Highland Conference championships since Jesse Schnitker in the 1990s.