PSL student-athletes reap scholarship rewards on NLI early signing day

Chuck Johnson
Media Information Director
DPS Office of Athletics

National Letter of Intent signing day for 2015 college football recruits is Feb. 4, but Wednesday — Nov. 12 — was the first day of the early signing period for all other sports and Detroit Public School League student-athletes were actively in demand.

Hard work, perseverance and talent paid off for several PSL student-athletes, who jubilantly accepted college scholarships at school signing ceremonies shared by family, coaches and teammates.

The PSL’s 2015 college-bound early signees included Ford’s Joshua Davis (Western Michigan University men’s basketball), Cass Tech’s Simonae Dismuke (Central Michigan University women’s track and field), King’s Janae Williams (Indiana University-Purdue University women’s basketball), Cass Tech’s K’Lynn Willis (Hampton University women’s basketball), Cass Tech’s Taylor Parker (Kent State University women’s basketball), Cass Tech’s Robert Edwards (Cleveland State University men’s basketball) and Western’s Josh McFolley and Gerald Blackshear (University of Detroit-Mercy men’s basketball).

DSC_0535 (2)Davis,a 6-5, 180-pound guard-forward, averaged 17 points and seven rebounds as a junior and has a 3.8 grade point average. He had other suitors, including Eastern Michigan, Northeastern, Rhode Island, Rice, Tulsa, UC Davis and Western Kentucky, but was sold on Western Michigan.

“It felt like the school for me,’’ said Davis, whose mother and father, LaTanya and Darwynn Davis, and his uncle all attended WMU. “When I went on my visit, it felt like home. I can’t wait to start my future there. My new beginning.”

DSC_0552Williams, the 5-6 point guard of the three-time defending PSL girls’ champion Lady Crusaders, chose IUPUI in Indianapolis after deciding the school’s physical therapy program would allow her to fulfill her career goals.

“Academic-wise and basketball-wise, I feel comfortable,’’ she said. “I plan to be a physical therapist and after I get my degree I’d like to go to a high school to work with people in need.”

Williams averaged 13 points, five assists and five rebounds last season. She was recruited by other schools, among them University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Stetson, Oakland and Central Michigan, and was relieved to finally make her decision.

“The recruiting process was really hard for me,’’ she said. “At first, I didn’t know where I wanted to go because all these coaches were at me. When I made my decision, it was like a big weight off my shoulders.”

“She’s going to be a great player at the next level because she’s just now starting to reach her potential,’’ King coach William Winfield said. “Her shooting has improved, her bounce has improved and she always could run up and down the floor. If they fast break, that’s her game. She’s a great rebounder as a guard also. She’s meant everything to our team and I’m looking or her to have a great year this season.”

DSC_0594Cass Tech’s interchangeable guard duo of Willis, who stands 5-3, and Parker, 5-5, each had multiple scholarship offers and both landed at schools at the top of their list.

“Kent State has a great program,’’ Parker said. “When I went there, it felt like a family and that’s what I was looking for. It’s a good feeling to know it’s where I’ll be going to college. I’m looking forward to playing point guard and being a leader.”

“Hampton University is such a lovely environment,” Willis said. “The minute they said they wanted me, I just felt a lot of love there. It’s such a beautiful campus and the basketball team is one of the best (in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference). They go to the tournament every year. I plan to help take them farther than they’ve been.”

Echoing a sentiment expressed by other signees, Willis said PSL competition has prepared her to not only play at the next level but to make a huge impact.

“The PSL is extremely tough,” she said. “Our teams and athletes are hard competitors. It makes you know that if you can play well and have success here, you can take that next step and play well in college.”

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