Highlanders’ Dawson signs with Huntington Prep post-grad team
HUNTINGTON — Mikal Dawson can leap and when Huntington Prep offered the Huntington High School basketball star the chance to play there, he jumped at the opportunity.
Dawson, a 6-foot-4, 200-pound guard, committed Thursday to play for the new Huntington Prep postgraduate team that takes the court in the 2018-19 season. Huntington Prep has had an undergraduate team since 2009.
The 2018 HHS graduate said he turned down an offer from Marshall University and also drew considerable interest from Bowling Green and Youngstown State. Dawson said all of those schools remain on his list of teams where he might sign after a year of prep school. He also hopes to attract more offers.
“My goal is to play (NCAA) Division I basketball,” Dawson said. “Huntington Prep helps. I already had an offer from Marshall and that’s good, but I think by going to Huntington Prep I can get even more exposure.”
Huntington Prep also signed Woodrow Wilson High School guard Mikey Penn and George Washington High School standouts Justin Phillips and Anthony Clendenin. Phillips and Clendenin helped the Patriots to a Class AAA state championship last year. George Washington defeated Huntington High 61-59 in the first round of the state tournament.
Dawson won two state titles at Huntington High. He averaged 20 points, 7.8 rebounds and scored his
“I already had an offer from Marshall and that’s good, but I think by going to Huntington Prep I can get even more exposure.”
Huntington High alum
1,000th career point last season in helping the Highlanders to a 17-7 record.
“The competition will be a lot better,” Dawson said of prep school basketball. “I look forward to playing against guys I’ve played with and against and other really good players. I’ll play wherever they want me to play.”
Hunti ng ton P rep postgrad coach Michael Mason, a Charleston native, said he is thrilled to add Dawson to the program.
“I got to work with Mikal for the first time and saw some thing extremely, extremely special,” Mason said. “He’s a difference maker on the basketball court. His motor is unbelievable.”
Dawson twice was a firstteam all-stater and a two-time The Herald-Dispatch All-Tri-State first-team player. As a senior, he was The Herald-Dispatch Player of the Year.
Dawson comes from a basketball family. His brother, John, played last season at Beckley Prep and has signed to play at Lakeland Community College in Kirtland, Ohio. His sister, Jordyn, played last season at Xavier University and since has transferred to Wabash Valley College in Mount Carmel, Illinois.
“It’s going to be fun and we’re going to put in a lot of work,” Dawson said. “I think we’re going to leave a mark. After it’s all said and done, they’ll have more kids coming in because of what we did.”
More kids receiving more exposure is a goal of the Huntington Prep coaching staff. Mason said recruiting West Virginia players is a primary focus, but Huntington Prep will recruit throughout the country.
“Kids who think they can play at the next level will now have an opportunity to do that without losing a year of eligibility or going to a junior college,” Mason said.
Huntington Prep, which has been a part of Huntington St. Joe High School for several years, has a new home in the old Geneva Kent Elementary School building at 68 Holley Ave. Mason said a revamping of the 25,000-square foot facility is expected to be done in July.
Players will take classes at Mountwest Community College and will practice at the Marshall University Recreation Center where Thursday’s signings took place. The MU Rec Center’s training staff will assist the players.
“These guys will train every day of the week at Marshall,” Huntington Prep assistant coach Stacy Shannon said. “We’re not going to just teach them basketball, we’re going to teach them to be men.”
Stacy said most of the team’s games will be played on the road against a national schedule. He said he anticipates playing home games at Huntington East Middle School.