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Dayton basketball true freshman Mike Sharavjamts might have more fans than the Flyers themselves. Where his team has an alumni base rooting for its success, he has an entire country.
Sharavjamts, a 6-foot-8 forward, hails from Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Hence his nickname, ‘Mongolian Mike.’
As a four-star recruit in the Class of 2022, Sharavjamts committed to Dayton over offers from Providence, Rutgers, Boston College, Clemson and Ohio State, among others. No matter where he ended up, which was ultimately in Ohio, he would have made history.
Mike Sharavjamts is the first Mongolian athlete to earn a Division-I scholarship. By taking the court in the Flyers’ season-opener on Monday, he became the first Mongolian scholarship athlete to start a Division-I athletic competition.
During his and Dayton’s first game of 2022, Sharavjamts recorded 10 points, five assists and three rebounds. It was a solid start to his collegiate career!
Mongolian Mike is a huge deal in his home country.
Deservedly, Mongolia has rallied behind their young star forward.
Where most true freshman at a Mid-Major college basketball program might grab the eyes of his friends, family and home town, Sharavjamts’ fanbase is much bigger. A Facebook page that is dedicated to Mongolian fans of Dayton basketball has 16,000+ followers and a film crew is in the process of making a documentary on him.
And to make things even cooler, Mongolian Mike’s dad, Sharavjamts Tserenjankhar, is a big part of why the country has rallied around his son. He was discovered by former LSU coach Dale Brown in the local Mongolian leagues and was being recruited by the Tigers— until Brown found out that he was 27 years old. That won’t work.
With his hopes of playing in college dashed, Tserenjankhar joined the Harlem Globetrotters instead. He was the first-ever Asian Globetrotter. His involvement with the sport has helped to grow the country’s interest in basketball ever since.
Now, 18 years later, Shark has passed the torch to his son. Mike Sharavjamts is the face of basketball in Mongolia. As Dayton hopes to repeat as A-10 regular season champions and return to the Field of 68, Sharavjamts has an entire nation rooting for his success.