It took awhile for Devan Douglas’ basketball career to take off, and there’s no doubt he would do things differently if he could start over. But his emergence as a senior on the Clinton High School team caught the eyes of college recruiters, and he committed Thursday to continue his career at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids.
“I’m very excited,” Douglas said Thursday night. “I liked the program and the coach and liked all the players.”
Clinton coach Nick Lawrence said he thought Douglas made an excellent choice.
“I think it’s a great fit for him,” Lawrence said. “It’s a school that has built a reputation in the basketball community. Its facilities are top notch.”
Kirkwood compiled a 30-7 record this past season and placed fifth at the NJCAA Division II national tournament
One of only two returning players from the 2010 state tournament team that had much varsity experience, Douglas developed into Clinton’s go-to player this season. The 6-foot, 2-inch guard/forward led the River Kings in almost every statistical category, including points (14.6) and rebounds (8.8) a game, as the team endured an 0-22 season.
“It made me a better player and teammate because I can’t do it all myself,” Douglas said of the trying season. “I kind of let the game come to me.”
Douglas admits his development was slowed by some bad decisions he made early in his high school years.
“I wish back then I was as I am now — dedicated,” he said. “Without those (bad habits) I could be a lot better.
“I want to thank coach Lawrence and coach (R.J.) Coffey a lot. Without those guys, I wouldn’t be where I am now.”
Kirkwood followed Douglas’ progress closely throughout the season, Lawrence said.
“From day one, Kirkwood was one of the top schools on his list,” Lawrence said. “They recruited him hard.”
“They want me as a two-guard,” Douglas said. “They liked what they’ve seen and my attitude.”
Douglas is a considered a slasher, a player not afraid to challenge bigger players inside.
“Going to the hole is my strength,” he said. “You have to play hard. You can’t let down against the big guys.”
Douglas spent Thursday afternoon at Kirkwood, meeting his future teammates.
“He had the opportunity to play with some of the guys, and it looked like he belonged,” Lawrence said.
“It went well,” Douglas said. “I got to play with some Division I and II guys. To score on them felt pretty nice.”
Douglas is hoping to follow in the footsteps of another River King who used Kirkwood as a stepping stone to bigger things. Bryan Petersen earned All-America honors at Kirkwood in 2007 and then went on to Iowa State, where he started in 64 consecutive games.
“Devan always talks about Bryan Petersen and how he was able continue his career at a higher level,” Lawrence said. “Devan’s best basketball is ahead of him.”