EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- We've officially entered the early period for high school athletes to sign their letters of intent to play collegiately. Several area athletes put pen to paper Wednesday. The group is our Osseo Automotive Athletes of the Week.
Chippewa Falls' girls basketball players, Caelan Givens (left) and Aaliyah McMillan (right) sign their letters of intent.
At Eau Claire North, Dalton Banks signed his letter of intent to play for Div. I Southern Illinois. Banks is the all-time leading scorer in Eau Claire North history. The Husky guard received several offers, but says he picked to play for the Salukis because of the feel he got when he was on campus.
"For me, it was all about fit. When I took my official visit there back in October, I just really felt like I fit in,” Banks said. “They have Marcus Domask, another Wisconsin guy who's playing well right now. For me, they were all driven like I am. They want to get better, and they want to win games. I just felt really comfortable there. I think that was the biggest thing for me when it came down to deciding was the guys there, and I just felt really comfortable there."
At Memorial, Caden Boser signed his letter of intent to play basketball for the University of Missouri-Kansas City. The 6'7" senior nearly averaged a double-double as a junior: over 20 points and 9 rebounds per game. Boser is ready to play at the next level.
"I really like the coaching staff. I went down there a couple months ago on an unofficial visit and I really liked it there,” Boser said. “He's a new coach, so it's his first year. He's really building something special down there. I really like the school. The school is great, the city is great; Kansas City reminded me of Minneapolis, so it's a really cool area. The campus is great, the facilities are great. There was really no negatives I pulled out from being down there, so that's what stood out for them from other schools."
At Chippewa Falls, two girls basketball players signed: senior Caelan Givens will play basketball for Div. I UW-Green Bay, and senior Aaliyah McMillan signed to play basketball for Wayne State. Givens averaged over 20 points per game as a junior, and McMillian averaged just under 15 points per game as a junior. Both say they've found the right fit.
"When people kind of ask me, 'Oh, do you want to play college basketball?' I always said yes, and I pictured myself playing at Green Bay,” Givens said. “I was born in Green Bay, so to go back to the city is the best thing ever. Green Bay is the premiere women's basketball team in Wisconsin, so that really is something I looked into because I'm really competitive."
"Playing college ball at the next level has always been a dream of mine. I guess I'm just looking forward to seeing what I can do in college,” McMillan said. “As soon as I was introduced to the coaches and walked around campus a little bit, I knew it could be a new home for me."
In Thorp Wednesday morning, Isaac Soumis signed to play basketball for Div. II Southwest Minnesota State University. Soumis, now a senior for the Cardinals, helped lead them to the regional final last year. He says it's always been a dream of his to play at the next level.
"A relief,” Soumis said of signing his letter of intent. “I've wanted to play at the next level since I was a little kid, and now I get to. It's the best feeling in the world. When I was on my official visit, they really brought out that family atmosphere, and I'm very family-oriented. That's how I was raised, and that's the 1st thing I noticed about them."
In Fall Creek, Isaiah Katz signed his letter of intent to play baseball for Div. II St. Cloud State. Katz was a key part of the Crickets' Western Cloverbelt title this past spring. Katz says he picked the right school, and by the sounds of it, his parents might be happy with his choice as well.
"Going to college, you never know if you're going to get homesick, so it's always easy to come back to mom and dad if I need a home cooked meal or something like that,” Katz said. “It's just nice not being too far away. I know the area enough. That will be a really nice aspect. I had never been up there before. It was my first experience up there, and I fell in love with the school. I'm glad with my decision for sure."