Highsmith’s path to college now completePublished 7:32pm Wednesday, November 14, 2012
The recruiting process is now complete for Dowagiac senior Dontel Highsmith.
Despite a few calls inquiring if he is interested in playing football or running track, the recruiting process came to a close for Highsmith when he signed his national letter of intent to continue his academic and athletic career at Northern Illinois Wednesday afternoon.
Wednesday was the first day of the early signing period.
“We are extremely happy to have Dontel joining our program,” Huskies coach Mark Montgomery said. “He is an athletic combo guard, an explosive scorer with a strong body. Dontel is a great kid with high character, he is a big-time athlete that can break down defenses, create shots for others and is a very good on-ball defender.”
“It’s a load off me,” answered Highsmith when asked what signing his letter meant. “It’s a blessing though to get this far. It’s been a long ride. It’s great to see it (the recruiting calls and letters) because I know how hard I’ve worked for this opportunity.
“It seem like it has been a long road, but it’s finally here. Now I don’t have to worry about anything else but the basketball season.”
Dowagiac coach Danum Hunt, who has coached Highsmith the past three seasons, was extremely happy to see his senior’s hard work pay off. He was also pleased that it shines a bright light on the Chieftains’ program.
“We’ve been working toward this for a long time,” Hunt said. “We’ve been talking about it since he’s been a freshman. I’m just happy he’s able to realize his goal and his dream and go to the school of his choice. He’s worked hard and he deserves it.
“I have been reflecting how far we have come as a program the last three years since I’ve been here and we’ve been able to send someone to school for basketball the past three years. That says a lot about the program. I think we are up and coming. I think we have some young players I think will be in this position in years to come. I’m proud of what we are doing and where we are going. I think he (Highsmith) is setting the tone and the best is yet to come.”
The 6-foot-3 point guard led the area in scoring last season with an average of 27.8 point per game. Highsmith also averaged nine rebounds, four assists and four steals. But the way the season ended, with the Chieftains being upset in the districts by South Haven, left a bad taste in his mouth.
As a sophomore, Highsmith helped the Chieftains reach the Class B state semifinals before being knocked out of the tournament by Muskegon Heights.
Highsmith will begin his final season at Dowagiac just four points short of tying Edgar Wilson for the boys career scoring mark of 1,371 points.