EDITOR'S NOTE: The Swnews4u.com Athlete of the Week is a web-only feature that will publish each Thursday throughout the calendar year.
Adam Larson, Sr., F, Fennimore boys basketball
Fennimore senior Adam Larson will play Division 1 basketball next year at Southeast Missouri State.
Larson, a sweet-shooting 6-foot-9 forward, made his choice official in a Twitter statement last Thursday morning.
“I would like to thank my family, especially my parents and grandparents for all the support throughout my high school career,” Larson wrote. “A special thanks to the Lendosky family and for everyting you’ve given me and Fennimore Basketball. You guys are an amazing family and I am so thankful you guys are in my life! Nothing would have been possible without any of them. Thank you to everyone for being my biggest fan and supporting me and for being at every high school game possible. Fennimore will always be my home and I’m so proud of everything this town has given me. I never thought I would get to this point, but I’m so thankful I am! With that being said, after a very long and hard decision I will be committing to play for Coach Korn and Southest Missouri State University. #letsfly #doit4derek.”
Larson chose Southeast Missouri State over other offers from Division 2 Emporia State (Emporia, Kan.), Truman State (Kirksville, Miss.) and Southwest Minnesota State (Marshall, Minn.), and NAIA Morningside College (Sioux City, Iowa).
Larson had other Division 1 interest, but three scholarship offers fell through after the NCAA made the decision to allow all current college athletes another year of eligibility due to COVID-19.
The Southeast Missouri State Redhawks are currently 2–5 under first-year head coach Brad Korn. SEMO finished 7–24 a year ago and 3–15 in the 12-team Ohio Valley Conference.
“I picked Southeast Missouri State because went I went on my visit I just like the campus and their facilities,” said Larson. “They have brand new weight room and an arena that holds about 10,000 people. The coaches are really nice and I just knew that it was a great fit for me both athletically and academically.”
SE Missouri State a public university in Cape Girardeau, Mo. with a total enrollment of 10,603 (Fall 2019). Cape Girardeau is city of 40,559 (2019 estimate) located along the Mississippi River along the Missouri/Illinois border approximately 100 miles southeast of St. Louis.
Larson first caught college coaches attention during his sophomore year. He made his first official college visit to Morningside College at the end of his junior season. He also visited Emporia State and took two visits to SE Missouri State, the first time about a month ago.
“We were supposed to go several times, but it kept getting pushed back because of COVID restrictions,” said Larson. “But when we finally were able to go, I really liked it. That first visit, he went with mother, then again a few weeks later with both his parents.
Larson is the son of Troy and Leslie Larson.
“As a parent we are very proud,” said Troy, who has been the Fennimore boys basketball head coach the past three seasons. “You dream as a kid growing up of this kind of opportunity, but a dream and a reality are two very different things. As I told Jerry Petitgoue when he reached out to me to congratulate Adam, I told him we have been very blessed with a tremendous amount of talent in our area and the kids are being rewarded.”
“There facilities at SEMO really, really nice and they treat their athletes very well,” added coach Larson. “All coaches have a sales pitch, but I believe Adam has a fair shot to have an opportunity with the way they recruit as opposed to some other programs that bring in 25 guys and some kids get lost in the shuffle. Coach Korn only keeps 12 active players on his roster and Adam was one of two kids he recruited this year. I also enjoyed the small town feel and the southern hospitality. Cape Girardeau has a small town feel, but it is a hub for a number of area communities so there is a lot going on. It is also a river town and it feels a little bit like home.”
Cape Girardeau is 477 miles south of Fennimore, roughly a seven-hour car ride.
“Receiving a Division 1 scholarship requites a lot of work to earn,” said coach Larons. “This is high level basketball. A new journey is now beginning for Adam, but we are proud of him for all the hard work he has put in prior.”
Larson finished with a game-high 23 points, 10 rebounds, five blocks and two assists to lead the Eagles to a 61–35 win over Platteville last Tuesday. He then scored a game-high 24 points on 9 of 13 shooting, including 4 of 5 on 3-pointers, and had five blocks and three rebounds in a 71–43 win at Hillsboro on Tuesday.
Larson is averaging 24.4 points, 8.6 rebounds, 4 blocks and 2.7 assists for the 6–1 Eagles in seven games as a senior. He also averaged 22.8 points, 6.9 rebounds and 4.2 blocks, and made 60 of 156 3-point attempts (38.5 percent) as a junior to earn WBCA D4 All-State honorable mention after leading the Golden Eagles to a 17–7 record.
HONORABLE MENTION (in alphabetical order):
Devin Digman, Jr., C, Platteville boys basketball
Digman posted a double–double of 18 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Hillmen (2–5) to a dominating 44–27 win over visiting Black Hawk Monday night.
Dillon Garthwaite, Jr., G/F, Dodgeville boys basektball
Garthwaite averaged 19.7 points per game in three straight wins over the past week for the 3–1 Dodgers. He scored 20 in a 70–61 win at Black Hawk last Tuesday, then posted a game-high 24 points in a 62–33 rout of Baraboo on Monday and a team-high 15 in a 54–52 overtime win against Boscobel on Tuesday.
Kennedy Howell, So., G, and Tori Nodolf, So., F, Belmont girls basketball
Howell made five 3-pointers and scored a career-and-game-high 23 points, and Nodolf scored 20 of her 22 points in the second half and overtime to lead Belmont to a stunning 71–70 comeback victory over Argyle Monday night. Down three key veterans due to injuries and a close-contact quarantine, the young Braves (6–3) rallied from a seven-point deficit in the final minute of regulation to force overtime and then sank three free throws in the final 49 seconds of OT to shoot down the visiting Orioles (2–4). Nodolf's offensive rebound and putback with three seconds left in regulation tied the game at 64–64 and forced OT. Howell scored the first basket of overtime and Nodolf blocked a shot in the final seconds to preserve Belmont's one-point win.
Bailey Lutes, Sr., F, Cuba City girls basketball
Lutes, a Division 1 University of Illinois-Chicago recruit, finished with 26 points, 10 rebounds, five steals and three assists in Monday's 44–37 non-conference victory over Dodgeville. Lutes made 9 of 15 free throw attempts and finished with a game-high 19 points in the Cubans' 61–54 win over Boscobel Friday night. She also scored a game-high 14 points in a 56–38 win over Fennimore last Thursday night to lead Cuba City (5–2, 4–1 SWAL).