skip navigation

Our Mission

The Dakota Niners Formula:
How have the Dakota Niners become the highest rated basketball training program in this region?  The Dakota Niners were formed with a mission to move away from the traditional AAU mold of finding the most developed players and travel as much as possible to showcase them to distant college coaches.  This was a very expensive and unrealistic option for the majority of summer players.  The Niners instead recognized that the true benefit to our players who wished to compete at the next level was in skill improvement, and made the decision to sacrifice long distance travel to instead spend more time working on these skills.  This skill development, combined with giving each of our players a major role on their team competing against other top teams in the Midwest, is why Niners players are able to show greater improvement than their peers.  This same improvement gives our players the skill set they need to move up on their own teams, or should they desire, to be able to compete at the college level.


You can spend more money and you can travel farther, but nowhere will you receive better basketball training than what the Dakota Niners program provides.  The Niners won't ask you how great of player you are, but rather how great of player you want to be and how hard you are willing to work to get there.


Recognizing the need in for additional training opportunities for young basketball players in the region, the Dakota Niners were founded in 2007 to provide off season training and competition to young athletes striving to improve themselves at the game of basketball.  During the Niners first season, coach and co-founder Tom Nelson, the all-time scoring and assists leader at Flandreau high school, used his vast playing and coaching experience to teach fundamentals to help young players improve while competing in the top summer tournaments in the Midwest region.  

Over the past nine seasons, the Niners have continued to implement and expand upon Coach Nelson's original philosophy, in workout sessions that have become legendary, as well as vital to each player's success. While other instructors may use what they have learned from a book or at a clinic, the Niners are proud to use coaches, who as former players, have succeeded at the game of basketball and are able to use their own insight to teach their fundamentals to our players.  The current Niners staff brings over 200 years combined basketball experience of high level playing and coaching to teach to its players.  The Niners recognize that no matter what level they play at, players need to constantly improve to compete. The Niners staff believes that a sound plan, combined with hard work and high ethical standards for our players, gives them the best chance to survive and succeed at basketball, and more importantly, for the challenges that lie ahead of them in life after basketball.

The Right Fit For You


We know that you have plenty of options when it comes to choosing an off-season basketball training program.  All the different programs available to your player promise many things.  One thing that all the programs can agree on is that playing with a summer basketball team makes a difference when they go back to play for their school teams or are considering continuing their playing career into college. 

Where the programs differ is how they accomplish the personal goals of each player.   Dakota Niner’s administration and coaches will lead and coach by following these three core values:


  • Caring: We care about your son or daughter.  No matter your players age or basketball developmental level we will work to improve their skill set, basketball IQ and provide them will adequate amounts of game time experience. We believe in the full experience of being a high school athlete, which means we believe in the multi-sport athlete.  We will work with the multi-sport athlete and will never make a player choose to play for Dakota Niner’s over a high school sport.  Additionally, we will expect our players to put their high school basketball programs before Dakota Niners.   But most importantly, we understand the vital role that our coaches have on influencing your player both on the court and in life. We understand our coaches become mentors and role models for your player.  Our coaches under go a background investigation and in-service training with our directors and lead coaches.  We also understand that unfortunate injuries can happen when playing sports.  For this reason, we will also be providing a secondary insurance policy for our players at no additional cost. This insurance will cover the deductible in the event a player is injured during practice or tournament.   


  • Integrity: Many programs offer unrealistic promises.  We will be honest with our players and families.  We will not blow smoke and promise top college scholarships.  What we will do is teach our players and be honest with them on their strengths and weaknesses.  We will provide a competitive experience both in practice and in tournaments.  We will not be a program that believes in winning at all costs.  However, will not be playing the five in, five out substitution style of play.  Each player will be given equal amounts of practice time but not necessarily equal amounts of playing time.  Our coach will not be asked to sacrifice a win to make sure each player gets equal playing time. 


  • High expectations:  We put high expectations on our coaches and players. We expect our coaches to teach in practice no matter the age or development level of the player.  We expect our coaches to always give their best and be dedicated to their teams and to their players.  We expect our players to be at practices and tournaments.  We expect our players to work hard, have good attitudes, be coachable and be the unselfish player.  We expect if players listen to what they are taught many of our players will play at the next level.  We expect that the tournament’s we play in we are competing for hardware.


Get In Touch

Watertown, SD


Contact Us


Nic Ahmann


Cam Corey