By Matt Nestor
The NIC-10 Player of the Year has made his choice of where he will continue his education and his basketball career. Auburn’s J.D. Danforth took the next step by signing with Highland Community College in Freeport.
The graduating senior, who averaged 20 points per game to lead the conference, is looking forward to moving on to Highland, which is consistently one of the top Division 1 junior colleges in the country and sends players to NCAA Division 1 schools regularly. Danforth said that was one of the biggest factors in his decision to play at Highland.
“I liked how they have been in the past and how many players they have sent to better places,” he said. “No doubt it was a good place to go. I felt really welcome on my visit, and it seemed like they really wanted me to play there.”
The signing was important for Highland as well. Zach Roman took over as the new coach of the program the day of the signing, and said he has no doubt Danforth can play well at Highland and beyond.
“He’s already a legitimate JUCO guard and, in two years, he is going to be a very good Division 1 prospect,” Roman said. “He really blossomed as a senior, and I think his best basketball is ahead of him. A lot of players plateau at this age, but I think he’s going to have two good years at Highland and then be a good Division 1 prospect.”
Roman also said he thinks Danforth will continue to grow physically and should get bigger and stronger in his two-year stay, which Danforth said is one of his biggest goals while there.
The Knights’ star guard scored almost 800 points in his career and was named fourth team all-state for the Illinois High School Coaches Association and honorable mention All-State by the Associated Press.
But while scoring was his game this year at Auburn, things will change as he enters college. Danforth said the coaching staff is looking for him to help out at point guard, in addition to continue to improve his scoring.
Whatever the staff may ask, however, Danforth doesn’t mind. He just hopes to be able to move on to be able to continue his education and basketball career at the next level when he is done at Highland.
“I’m real excited, and I can’t wait to get started,” he said. “I hope for a couple of good seasons at Highland, and then move on to the next level. That’s my goal, and I’m going to work hard at it.”
Also announcing their college decisions from the NIC-10 were Mario Donaldson of Hononegah, who signed with Ellsworth Community College in Iowa Falls, and Boylan’s Nick Bauch, who signed with Carthage College in Kenosha, Wis.
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From the April 21-27, 2010 issue