Eagle River graduate to play college basketball

Rhoades signs on Division I JuCo program


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From left, Eagle River High assitant basketball coaches R.C. Woodson and Matt Thon and head coach Fred Young look on as senior Shaquan Rhoades signs a letter of intent to play for New Mexico Military Institue on May 15 in the ERHS library.

MIKE NESPER

Last week, Shaquan Rhoades began one journey and ended another.

A day prior to graduating from Eagle River High, Rhoades signed a letter of intent to play basketball for New Mexico Military Institute on May 15.

Though he said he’s had offers from NCAA Division I programs, Rhoades opted to play for the Broncos — a National Junior College Athletic Association Division I program — to gain experience.

“This program will propel me to where I need to be,” Rhoades said after a signing ceremony in the ERHS library.

Rhoades said he’ll likely play one season of Junior College ball before pursuing NCAA programs.

The positive feedback Rhoades received from talking with New Mexico players and its coaching staff cemented his decision to head south next year.

“They all had great things to say,” he said.

The structure of the school — which does not require a military commitment — also appealed to Rhoades.

“It will develop me a lot,” he said.

Wolves’ head coach Fred Young wasn’t surprised at the collegiate attention Rhoades received.

“We’ve been telling him all year he can play at the next level,” Young said.

Young, who described Rhoades as one of the best players in Eagle River’s eight-year history, said his long reach and command of the court separate Rhoades as an elite player.

“He can go from point A to point B any time he wants to offensively,” Young said.

Playing a season at the Junior College level will benefit Rhoades, Young said, and there’s no doubt in his mind that Rhoades can eventually play at a high NCAA level.

Rhoades transferred to ERHS two years ago to escape the projects of Norfolk, Va. Rhoades said moving to Eagle River, where his aunt and uncle live, played a major role in securing a path to college.

“I’ve grown so much,” he said.

Rhoades said he wouldn’t be where he is today without support from his friends, teammates and coaches.

“I’ve had all these amazing people around me,” he said. “It’s been so great.”

Rhoades said he wouldn’t have made it through the recruiting process without Young. The coach has been a point of contact for college coaches, and Young was still receiving calls and text messages regarding Rhoades’ future the night of his signing ceremony.

“He’s been like my father,” Rhoades said.

From the moment Rhoades was first introduced to basketball at age 10, he said he knew he’d found his calling.

“After I took that first shot, I just fell in love,” he said.

 

Contact Mike Nesper at 694-2727 or mike.nesper@alaskastar.com.

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