SHERIDAN — Three Sheridan College men’s basketball players signed National Letters of Intent Wednesday, putting ink to a step in a process that began when they came to Sheridan.
Guards Iakeem Alston and Frederic Dure are starting their sophomore years at SC, and redshirt freshman forward Kaileb Rodriguez is starting his first year at the college. Alston signed for St. Bonnaventure, Dure with Arkansas State, and Rodriguez plans to play at Mountain West team University of Nevada-Reno next year.
Generals coach Steve Smiley, along with assistant Dan Magrino, help players not only on the court, but off, hoping to harness raw talents as complete students and players.
Alston cited his choice in St. Bonaventure due to the fact that the school is close to his home in Baltimore. While Sheridan was an unfamiliar place for Alston, his experience here helped him attain his goal of Division 1 basketball.
“The biggest improvement I’ve made is me as a person,” Alston said after signing Wednesday afternoon. “Coach Smiley and coach Magrino, they basically helped me get out of my comfort zone. I was in Baltimore and I didn’t have a lot of communication, I was kind of quiet. Even around campus last year, but me getting better was me being out of my comfort zone. I talk to people, they talk to me. I feel like I changed as a person.”
With sophomore leaders like Dure, Alston and Rodriguez, the Generals are ranked No. 21 in the nation, starting 5-0 carrying potential that’s bursting out of the Golden Dome this season.
Alston knows that what he’s gained in Sheridan takes him further life than just on the court, but he hopes to use his new leadership skills for another year at SC.
“That’s going to take me a long way,” Alston said. “The guys are comfortable trusting me now. They’ve got a lot of trust in me and I’ve got a lot of trust in them. As long as we can keep that chemistry, we’re going to go far.”
Sheridan College plays Colorado Kings at 7 p.m. Friday, followed by a 7 p.m., Saturday game against Northeastern Junior College in the annual Best Western Tournament at the Bruce Hoffman Golden Dome. Northeastern was the team that knocked the Generals out of last year’s Region IX tournament in Casper, ending their 2012-13 season.
For the women it’s the McCoy Insurance Agency Tournament, with the Lady Generals playing Salish Kootenai College at 5 p.m. Friday, then taking on Little Big Horn at 5 p.m. Saturday night at the Dome.
Saturday’s event will feature “Pack the Dome” with Student Senate members handing out 400 T-shirts to fans, and the Best Western hosting a halftime shootout with $200 in Best Western credit to a possible winner.
Eastern Wyoming plays Little Big Horn at 1 p.m. Friday in the women’s tournament, while Northeastern plays Little Big Horn in the men’s side. EWC plays Salish Kootenai at 1 p.m. Saturday, and Colorado Kings play Little Big Horn at 3 p.m.