His mission has always been to play NCAA Division I basketball, but Anchorage’s Damon Sherman-Newsome had to put his plan on hold last season.
He made a detour and played at a junior college.
But now he’s back on track and going to Colgate University, a prestigious New York school and member of the Patriot League.
“This is what I’ve always been looking for,” he told me. “This is what I play for.”
Sherman-Newsome, of Bartlett High fame, was a four-time all-state star in Alaska and the state’s player-of-the-year runner-up as a senior.
He played his freshman season at Angelina College in Texas, where he averaged 5.2 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 29 games.
He believes a season of JC ball prepared him for the next level.
“I got to play against a lot of good players. I think it helped improve my game,” he said.
Sherman-Newsome picked Colgate over Columbia of the Ivy League and New Jersey Institute of Technology.
“When I visited I liked the atmosphere and the coach; the whole coaching staff really. It seemed like they are moving in the right direction,” he said. “Coach had a lot to do with it. I talked with him for quite a while when I visited. I got a good vibe from him. It just seems like they are doing what it takes to get to the tournament.”
Academics also played a huge role in his decision.
“You never know with basketball,” he said. “You never know what can happen, so you want to make sure you have something to fall back on.”
As an extra bonus, he will be close to family in New York and Vermont.
“That’ll help,” he said. “In Texas I didn’t really know anybody.”
Sherman-Newsome is part of a new wave of Alaska men’s basketball players at the D1 level. At last count, he made eight.
“Yeah, we’re definitely finally getting a little of respect,” he said.
Here is the list:
Damen Bell-Holter, Oral Roberts [Hydaburg]
Devon Bookert, Florida State [Anchorage]
Anthony Cousin, Illinois State [Anchorage]
Connor Devine, South Dakota State [Wasilla]
Will Egolf, Bradley [Haines]
Damon Sherman-Newsome, Colgate [Anchorage]
Derrick Wilson, Marquette [Anchorage]
Kevin Winford, Eastern Washington [Anchorage]