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Midgets guard Davidson signs to Blue Hawks

Tanner Davidson has been shooting at a 10-foot basket ever since he could lift a basketball. After years of dedication, he'll get to keep shooting at the college level. Davidson, a recent Dickinson High graduate, signed his NAIA letter of intent ...

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Dickinson High’s Tanner Davidson finishes signing his NAIA letter of intent to play for the Dickinson State men’s basketball team on Tuesday at Weinbergen Hall on DSU’s campus. (Press Photo by Colton Pool)

Tanner Davidson has been shooting at a 10-foot basket ever since he could lift a basketball.

After years of dedication, he’ll get to keep shooting at the college level.

Davidson, a recent Dickinson High graduate, signed his NAIA letter of intent to play for the Dickinson State men’s basketball team on Tuesday at Weinbergen Hall on DSU’s campus.

“He’s a special kid in terms of what he’s done and the growth he’s had in the last year,” DSU head coach Justin Wetzel said. “He does all those things off the court that you want a part of your program. The fact that he is from Dickinson is surely icing on the cake. He’s an exceptional young man who I think can be a productive player for us.”

Davidson said he had talks with Mayville State in the fall, but then he went through basketball season without hearing back, so he sent colleges in the region his film from his senior season.

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Jamestown offered Davidson to play for the Jimmies, but then Wetzel contacted Davidson near the end of the spring and wanted him to visit DSU’s campus.

And as soon as Wetzel offered Davidson an opportunity, he knew he wanted to be a Blue Hawk.

“That’s when I was really excited,” Davidson said. “Leading up to this, it felt like it was taking forever, so I’m just happy I signed and got it over with.”

Davidson said he’s played with some of the DSU players at the West River Community Center, so he said he’s aware of the adjustments he has to make to play collegiately.

“Get to work and put on some muscle, that’s all I can say,” Davidson said. “It was tough playing pick-up games with them and getting pushed around. I wasn’t quite used to it. Yeah, I’ve got to get in a lot of work this summer, but I’m looking forward to it. … I like a challenge having to guard someone that is better than me and always pushing me.”

Wetzel said Davidson is more poised than most high school recruits. Wetzel added that Davidson has a great feel for the game and makes minimal mistakes - which was exactly what he wants in a point guard. However, Wetzel said Davidson will have a learning curve ahead of him.

But Davidson is open to the challenge.

“You want winners in the program, and if you look what we’ve been fortunate enough to do in this recruiting period, we’ve got national champions, conference champions and state tournament representatives,” Wetzel said. “No question that winning culture helps.”

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Davidson, who had his first full year of varsity last season, said he embraced the role of facilitator with all-state Aanen Moody and all-West Region Jordan Meidinger.

“Most of the time, you’re trying to run the offense and try to get everyone in their spots and run the plays successfully,” Davidson said. “I’m trying to create plays for everyone else. At the college level, I think that’s what my role is going to be is play the point guard, run the offense and create shots for everybody else.”

Davidson started for the Midgets while recording six points, four assists, two rebounds and two steals a game while shooting 76 percent from the free-throw line and was a part of the Dickinson team that went to the Class A state tournament for the first time since 2008.

And all of that success, Dickinson head coach Dan Glasser said, Davidson was a major contributor for.

“He held so much responsibility on his shoulders, no matter what he was doing,” Glasser said. “Whether he was scoring, he was one of the league leaders in assists, he just kind of did it all. He was able to get it to the scorers, rebound, score when needed because he’s a good shooter.

“But like I said, I think one of his biggest strengths is taking that responsibility as a leader and being a great person to look up to for the younger kids.”

Though Glasser, who played for DSU in the late 1990s, has only coached the Midgets for one year, he saw Davidson develop into a better player and person.

“It’s the whole reason you get into it,” Glaser said. “You want to see young kids grow into men. It’s the process. It’s very special to me because Tanner is the only basketball player (signing) this year. … Me being a Blue Hawk myself, it’s special to see him come here and just be excited about playing basketball for four more years.”

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Glasser is confident that Davidson will translate well into a college player because he has the right attitude and will work to improve the team. He added that Davidson is in good hands with Wetzel, who Glasser called a great motivator and judge of character.

“(Davidson) was a good kid ever since the first day I met him,” Glasser said. “I knew from the first day that I met him he was going to be the captain of our basketball team. That was one thing I don’t take lightly.”

Though he’s excited to play in front of a hometown crowd with his family and friends, Davidson said he’s worked hard to get to this point.

And he’s ready for even more work to get better.

“I’ve put so much time into this,” Davidson said. “This year, I was just thankful enough that I got more playing time and got to start most of the season. Coming up to college, I’ll be sitting more often, but it will give me the experience that I need. … I know it’s going to take some work to get some good playing time. I’m looking forward to it. I’m ready for it.”

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