By Jon Gremmels
Herald Sports Editor
Two years at Kirkwood Community College helped Devan Douglas advance as a basketball player and as a person. He hopes to continue that growth at the four-year college level in the fall.
The former Clinton High standout will take his talents to Bismarck, N.D., and play at the University of Mary.
“The program and the relationship I have with coaches” are what attracted him to the NCAA Division II school, Douglas said. “They have a real interest in me. They brought me in for a visit, and I liked the campus and the people.”
Douglas said the coaching staff spotted him at the Juco Jam and started recruiting him.
The Marauders have gone a combined 12-41 the past two seasons but had just two seniors and three juniors on last year’s team.
Bettendorf native Jevin Budde, brother of North Scott coach Shamus Budde, is beginning his third year as coach of the Marauders, who play in the Northern Sun Conference with teams such as Upper Iowa and Winona State, both teams that made the Division II Elite Eight this past season.
“They play good team ball,” Douglas said.
Nick Lawrence, Douglas’ high school coach at CHS, said it should benefit Douglas having a coach who is familiar with this area, the same way playing for former River King Bryan Petersen helped his progress at Kirkwood.
“I think Bryan Petersen was a great mentor for Devan, and Kirkwood was a great place for him,” Lawrence said.
Douglas, a 6-foot-2, 190-pound guard, averaged 10.7 points a game and shot 52 percent from the field for Kirkwood this past season. He earned third-team all-region honors.
“It helped me come a long way,” Douglas said of his two years at Kirkwood. “My ball-handling and decision making improved, along with my confidence in my jump shot.
“Coming out of high school, it was hard because of that record (CHS was winless his senior season). Playing with those guys at that level was fun, and the coaches showed they cared more about me as a person.”
Douglas certainly has grown both on and off the court the past six years.
“I was young, a little frustrated,” he said of his early years at CHS. “Now I see I can do something and be something. I feel I did a good job of turning myself around, and Kirkwood helped me with that, too. I like myself way more than I did back in the day.”
His former coach likes what he has seen.
“I couldn’t be more proud of what Devan has done academically and athletically,” Lawrence said. “He put a lot of effort into the academic side. He struggled a bit early on in high school staying eligible. He concentrated on academics.”
That slowed his development on the court.
“When we had him, his organized basketball was limited,” Lawrence said. “It was just a matter of time before he caught on. Once he started to learn how to play basketball, he really developed as a player.”
So much so that he getting the chance to continue at a high level.