Wednesday was National Signing Day, when local athletes realize their dream of making it on the big-time college stage. No stage is bigger than playing for the number 15 basketball team in the country.
Darian Harris from Shiloh Christian signed his letter of intent to go play for Creighton, an NCAA Tournament team last year. They’ve made the Sweet 16 three times and have the 5th best attendance in the country. All of these criteria make Creighton his dream school.
“When I was in second grade I told my dad I was going to be a college basketball player and I was going to be on TV,” said Darian Harris. “I’ve worked for that goal my whole life. It hasn’t been easy. We’ve had ups and downs. Things don’t always go your way but you keep working hard and give God the glory.”
Another top basketball player going to the big stage is Dederick Lee from Clarksville. Lee is going to Oral Roberts, but he’s not signing until Friday because he didn’t want to steal the spotlight from his classmate Madison Talley. Talley signed to play golf at Kansas State.
Talley has been a State Champion three straight years and Lee won a basketball title last year. One is going to Oral Roberts the other going to Kansas State; big time programs for a small town school.
“It’s fun sitting here in front of all my classmates,” said Madison Talley. “These are people I’ve grown up with and my family in the front row, getting to sign something so big. It was definitely exciting. “
Lee is ready to make his mark at Oral Roberts.
“I just like that they said when I get up there I’m going to be able to play,” said Dederick Lee. “I’m just really excited to play against good players and everything.”
Fayetteville High School had six kids sign letters Wednesday. It was highlighted by volleyball player Aubrey Edie, going to Ole Miss. Edie was also just named a 2nd team All-American by Under Armour. Her teammate Tatum Marshall is signing with Missouri State. Those two were State Champions this season for the Bulldogs.
Vanessa Matlock will be playing basketball at Oral Roberts. Fayetteville was the State Champion Vanessa’s sophomore year.
Boys basketball player Tyler McCullough will also go to Missouri State. McCullough and the basketball team finished runner up at states last year.
Another basketball player signing is Caleb Waitsman. He’s going to Colorado School of the Mines.
Greenwood’s Alexa Black is taking her talents to the southern part of the state. The senior volleyball player signed with Arkansas Monticello. Black led the Lady Bulldogs to the 5A State Championship last season and to the 6A title game this year. Black said the decision was an easy one after taking a trip to see the cotton blossoms in person.
“I like the school and the coach and I really enjoyed being with the team,” said Alexa Black. “They were all really friendly. I just liked it down there. It’s about as far away from home as I wanted to go.”
Another volleyball player signing her letter of intent, staying local, was Anna Holcomb from Springdale High School. Anna will be heading to Ouachita Baptist in Arkadelphia.