HPrep Post-Grad’s Mikal Dawson inks with Akron
HUNTINGTON — As a Huntington native, Mikal Dawson has assumed a bit of the leadership role with Huntington Prep’s Post-Graduate basketball program.
For Dawson, it’s simple.
This is his city and he wants to make sure that the players coming into Huntington Prep’s newest program from afar understand his hometown.
“I’m like the big brother,” Dawson said. “I’ve got to show them everything and teach them and make sure they get right.”
On Wednesday, it was fitting that Dawson etched his name as the first signee in the history of Huntington Prep’s post-grad program when he signed a National Letter of Intent to the University of Dawson Akron.
“It’s special,” Dawson said. “I’m speechless right now.”
Wednesday’s signing added another dimension that has been vital to the Huntington landscape over the years — one that Dawson shared with his teammates.
Dawson’s signing took place at A.D. Lewis Community Center — a place where it all started for Dawson as a young child.
It was there that he went after school as a kid, joining with other children, young and old, to start playing the game while being mentored by the staff there, as well.
As Dawson’s ceremony setup was ongoing, there were kids who were playing 2-on-2 and having shooting contests with each other, which helps lay the groundwork for the sport that they grow to love.
For some, that sport is a way out of poverty or some of life’s adversity, and Dawson’s signing was proof that opportunity is certainly within Huntington’s reach.
Now, Dawson is a mentor to those kids, meaning that they are going to be watching his path at Akron, just like kids in the area have watched O.J. Mayo, Bill Walker, Patrick Patterson and many other elite basketball players who have come through the area at A.D. Lewis.
Dawson said his familiarity with Akron assistant coach Rob Fulford, former head coach/founder of Huntington Prep, made the decision an easy one due to the comfort level he’s had with Fulford.
“He’s coached some great players, some of which are in the NBA, and he knows where I want to go after college,” Dawson said.
For Dawson, the work starts now as he improves his game with Huntington Prep’s postgraduate team. He said his immediate goals are to work on his ability to defend the basketball and his inside game, which will help make him a well-rounded player.
Dawson doesn’t mince words when stating his goals of professional basketball, and his desire to reach that level will be seen through his work ethic this season with HPrep and once he moves on to Akron.
The goals for Dawson aren’t easily achieved, but they are simple in nature.
First, he wants to make his mother, Marti, and his family proud — something he accomplished with Wednesday’s signing, as evidenced by Marti’s beaming smile throughout the day.
Finally, Dawson aims to continue the vaunted basketball legacy of the A.D. Lewis Community Center by becoming one of the players the center’s young kids are mimicking when they take the court with a passion for the game.