DENMARK (WFRV) – A year from now, the name on the back of his green and white jersey will say Short.
But for the tallest hooper in Northeast Wisconsin, the sky is the limit.
Two weeks ago, Denmark senior basketball star Donavan Short committed to play at UW-Green Bay for college hoops, a major coup for Will Ryan and the highest-rated recruit in Phoenix history.
Yet for Short, giving his word to Ryan wasn’t about making history or some sort of drastic change – it was about the relationships and the draw of his hometown team.
“I could’ve went to a Power Five school,” said Short, who had offers from the likes of USC and Virginia Tech, among others, “but GB’s just showed me a lot of love, a lot of support, from the first text; and it’s just overall why not be able to put out for the home team and be able to show out for the people who are close to me?”
Short is blazing his own path in college basketball, and is already looking forward to his role with the Phoenix. But he’s hardly the first standout recruit to opt for a mid-major over one of the big boys.
Late this spring, five-star recruit Patrick Baldwin Jr. chose to spurn offers from Duke, North Carolina, Kansas and others to play for his father at UW-Milwaukee. In recent seasons, there’s been a shift in high-profile players opting for HBCUs and other smaller universities as the up-and-coming basketball stars realize they can thrive in any situation.
“Honestly on top of Patrick making that move, it made it a lot easier for me to come to mind and be like, I don’t really care what people say – I’m doing this,” Short said. “GB was the best decision for me, so I just went with it and rolled with it.”
The Denmark star will sign his letter of intent November 10, but even though committing to play college basketball fulfilled a lifelong dream, there’s one other aspiration on the court that drives everything he does – the opportunity to someday play with his brother, Zane.
“I was 11, it all started with us being like, ‘Hey, when we get older, do you want to buy a house together?'” Short recalled. “It just kind of kept rolling like, if we’re both going to college basketball, wouldn’t it be awesome to play?
“It was my dream growing up to play high school ball with (him). If we get the chance to play college ball, I’m going to jump on that. He’s the first one to support me, but also the first one to criticize me as well, and you’ve got to have someone like that to keep you progressing.”
That grounded approach is helping him reach even greater heights as a basketball player, but before he can get there, he needs to take the “short” steps in between.
“The goal obviously is to collect a check playing basketball, doing something I love,” Short said. “But to get there, you’ve got to take it day by day, grow, and just overall improve every chance you get.”