Mount Si grad Justin Downer to play for Jessup University
June 7, 2012
By Sebastian Moraga
They were committed to Justin Downer, so Downer is committed to them.
Downer, a Mount Si High School graduate and Skagit Valley College hoopster, had some universities considering him as a possible recruit last fall.
The University of Puget Sound, Concordia University, Simpson University, Portland Bible College and William Jessup University all came calling.
Then in December, Downer hurt his ankle and they all stopped calling. Almost.
“A lot of schools disappeared, showed a lot less interest,” Downer said. “They came back late in the season a bit more, but William Jessup was there the whole time, calling me just to check on me, letting me know they were interested.”
In March, Downer signed a letter of intent with WJU.
Downer said the college influenced him.
“It’s a great feeling,” he said of WJU’s persistence. “I have been battling injuries all season and it’s really easy to get down on yourself. When you get that phone call, it’s just a little extra motivation, something to look forward to.”
Downer, a member of North Bend’s Cascade Covenant Church during his Valley days, said the university’s Christian curriculum also affected his decision.
“Not that I would not attend a university that wasn’t Christian but it’s really important,” he said.
William Jessup University plays in the Cascade Conference, home of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics’ Division II champions Oregon Tech.
“I’m looking forward to playing against them and giving them all we got,” Downer said.
The Jessup Warriors open their 2012 season at home against Oregon Tech on Nov. 9.
As a sophomore, Downer led Skagit Valley with 15 points per game and finished second in the conference in 3-pointers. The Cardinals finished 7-16 overall and 3-13 in the league.
Downer joins a Jessup team that finished 6-6 in the conference and 12-17 overall.
“I can spread the floor and let our guards have more open driving lanes,” he said. “Hopefully I can help them, because I know they weren’t a great shooting team last season.”
Warrior head coach Aaron Muhic praised the addition of Downer.
“He competes with all his heart and gives us another great shooter,” Muhic wrote in a press release. “It will be a pleasure to be a part of his growth and development. I am eager to see how good he can be as we get the opportunity to champion Christ through sport.”
Downer will major in physical education and health science. He has not surrendered his dream to play pro ball.
“The NBA would be tough,” he said. “But I do want to play professionally after William Jessup, whether in the States or in another country.”
Downer, who has been living on his own off and on since age 16, thanked the people of the Valley as he embarks on his latest hoop adventure.
“Whether opening the gym for me, or rebounding for me, or letting me stay with them, they helped me a lot,” he said.
Sebastian Moraga: 392-6434, ext. 221, or firstname.lastname@example.org.