(Editor's note: DCC Athletics release)
GLENDIVE -- After their wildly successful 2019-2020 season, two more Buccaneer basketball players are ready for the next step. Co-Captains Devin Collins and CJ Nelson shared their special moment together on Wednesday, signing their Letters of Intents to continue their education and college basketball careers.
Collins, a 6'5 forward from Aurora, Colorado, signed to play for Simon Fraser University. SFU is in Burnaby, British Columbia, just outside of Vancouver. They are an NCAA Division II school, competing in the GNAC with Montana State University- Billings. They finished the season 16-13 this past year and Collins is slated to get a lot of time at the forward position for them. He was an All-Conference 2nd team selection this year for Dawson, averaging 11.7 points and 7.0 rebounds while shooting 55% from the field.
"I'm blessed to have an opportunity to play basketball in a different country and I want to give all thanks and glory to God for all the success I have had in my life and also for putting Coach Pete in my life because he has pushed me to where I'm at now," said Collins. "I want to thank Coach Hanson at SFU for believing in me and giving me an opportunity to continue my basketball career and education. I also want to thank my family for all the time they have invested in me. It is paying off now!"
Nelson, a 6'0 guard from Scobey, Montana, signed to play at Montana State University- Northern. MSU Northern is located in Havre, Montana and is an NAIA program competing in the Frontier Conference. They finished this past season with a record of 20-12. For his efforts in leading Dawson to the Regional Championship, Nelson was named the Region XIII Tournament MVP and averaged 11.5 points per game during conference games this year.
"I would like to thank my coaches here at Dawson for everything they have done for me over the past two years," said Nelson. "I couldn't have asked for anything better! The fans and community support we have here at Dawson made it a pretty easy transition coming out of high school, so I'd like to give another big thanks to the community of Glendive for that. With that being said, I'd like to give Coach Huse a big thank you as well for giving me the opportunity to continue my education and basketball career at MSU-Northern. It's a great fit for me. Coach Huse made me feel right at home and I will fit right in with everyone there. I'm excited for this journey!"
Collins and Nelson won 47 games in their two seasons at Dawson, including the Mon-Dak Pre-season Tournament Championship, Mon-Dak Conference Championship and Region XIII Championship. The Bucs went undefeated in the months of January and February this year which included a 17 game winning streak. Both of them were captains both of their years at Dawson.
"These guys have been leaders since the day they stepped on campus two years ago," said Dawson head oach Joe Peterson. "CJ led by work ethic and example while Devin led with energy and positivity. They were the heart and soul of our success these past two years. SFU and MSUN already know they are getting proven winners who will make an immediate impact, but I think they will also be surprised at the effect these two will have in the locker room and off the court. They are the kind of players that coaches absolutely love to coach and that teammates love being around and playing with."
Nelson and Collins are the third and fourth Dawson players to sign with four year schools. Last month Camron Dunfee signed at Minot State University and Beau Santistevan signed at Rocky Mountain College. There are four other Buccaneer sophomores who are currently being recruited and hope to continue their college basketball careers as well.