On Thursday, April 15, two young men from the West Side Leadership Academy Basketball team made a public commitment for their post-secondary education.
Signing with Indiana State University, Quimari Peterson and Parion Roberson, joining Purdue Northwest, sat proudly in front of their families and coaches as they penned their letters of intent.
The Indiana State Sycamores were the last Division I program to join Peterson’s list of suitors, offering him a scholarship last week. He chose them over IUPUI, New Orleans and Valparaiso.
The senior announced his commitment in a heartfelt letter via social media.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to play Division I basketball,” Peterson wrote. “With the help of my parents, teammates and coaches, that dream has become a reality.”
This past season, Peterson averaged 14 points, four assists, four rebounds and two steals per game for the Gary West Side Cougars as a junior.
Peterson was named to the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association Senior Large School all-state team and guided his team to their first Class 4A sectional and regional crowns since 2005, scoring 16 points in the championship game. The Cougars finished 22-5 overall this season and finished the regular season ranked No. 5 in the Class 4A poll by the Associated Press.
Head Basketball Coach, Christopher Buggs, along with Principal Othiniel Mahone and Athletic Director Robert Lee, gave the athletes kudos and words of encouragement for the next phase of their academic career.
“I know these student-athletes will continue on to do great things,” said Coach Buggs.
Recognition also came from Washington with local Congressman Frank Mrvan taking time to congratulate the athletes on their recent successes.
“Congratulations to the Gary West Side High School men’s basketball team who won their Regional championship game to advance to Indiana’s Class 4A Semi-State on March 20, 2021,” Mrvan said in a statement.
“The Cougars fought their way for every second, taking the game to overtime where they lost by a mere five points. I applaud Coach Chris Buggs, his coaching staff, and the men who gave it their all to the very end.”
As players finalize their decisions, other student-athletes will make public announcements as did Roberson and Peterson, which will be broadcast live on the Gary Schools Facebook page.