Wednesday, April 25, 2012

SPORTS >> Red Devil senior signs with Williams Baptist

Leader sports editor

Jacksonville senior guard Dustin House became the latest Williams Baptist Eagle on Monday morning. At a special signing ceremony in the Jacksonville gym, House signed an NCAA national letter of intent to play basketball at the Walnut Ridge private college.

House, a 6-foot-5 sharp shooter was a perfect fit for what first-year Eagle coach Josh Austin was looking for.

“Coming in and looking at our personnel, we knew we needed to add some length to the team,” Austin said. “We needed length, really all over the court, but we really needed it on the perimeter. And that’s what Dustin’s going to do for us. We’re going to need him to step in there and hit the outside shot.”

House proved he could do just that the last two seasons for the Red Devils. Jacksonville High School coach Victor Joyner wasn’t sure early in House’s career whether he would make a varsity player on his team, much less a college-level player.

“We were concerned about his work ethic his sophomore year,” Joyner said. “Sometime in his junior year something clicked for him and he decided to go to work and earn his way. He was calling me just about every weekend for a while, ‘coach can I get in the gym?’ It was always, yes you can.”

House said it was near the end of his sophomore year that he decided he wanted to get to college on a basketball scholarship, and felt becoming a good shooter was his best ticket.

“I knew I had to work on my shot,” House said. “So that’s what I did.”

Joyner said getting House to understand what his strengths were was a big step in his development.

“It was a matter of understanding what you could do to help a team and working on that,” Joyner said. “He worked on his first step off the dribble and driving. And he got better at it, but that’s not his strength. He’s a dead-eye shooter when he’s on target and that’s where he was going to help a college team. He put the work in needed to get to that level and it’s paid off for him.”

House had other colleges of similar size to WBC showing interest, but WBC was always his first choice.

“I liked the new coach and what he’s trying to do there,” House said. “I just think it was a good fit for me.”

Austin coached for five years at Central Baptist College in Conway before taking the head position at WBC.