UPDATED: East basketball star commits to Ivy League schoolDuluth East senior Dyami Starks made an oral commitment Sunday to attend Columbia University and play basketball for the Lions in the 2010-11 season.
By: By Rick Weegman, Duluth News Tribune , Superior Telegram
Duluth East senior Dyami Starks made an oral commitment Sunday to attend Columbia University and play basketball for the Lions in the 2010-11 season.
Starks becomes the third student from East this decade to commit to a Division I university, joining Rick Rickert (Minnesota) and Cory Johnson (Iowa State/Valparaiso).
Starks, a 6-foot-2 guard, averaged 22 points and 5.7 rebounds per game for the Greyhounds as a junior. He should surpass 2,000 career points early this season.
Starks made an official visit to the New York City last week and came away impressed with the campus on Mangattan's Upper West Side, the Columbia coaching staff, the players and the city.
“It was a real good visit,” said Starks, who rated the official tour of the campus a “9.5 or 10.”
“I absolutely liked the choice he made,” said his father, Will, who also has visited the university and has met the coaches. “The key thing is I wanted him to be comfortable where he went to college.”
Though Ivy League schools don’t offer athletic scholarships, Will Starks said his son would have to pay little of the approximate $50,000 yearly tuition due to a sliding scale, need-based financial aid system used by the college.
East boys basketball coach Chuck Tolo says the Lions are getting an athletic player with good quickness, creative play-making abilities and an excellent 3-point touch.
Beyond that, Tolo says Columbia is getting a good student, too.
“To me, for a basketball player [in Duluth] to qualify for and be recruited by a school like Columbia, which has such tough academic standards, it tells you he has things in the right order,” Tolo said. “That’s one of the most exciting things to me.”
Starks stayed in a dorm with Columbia players, took the subway to Madison Square Garden and ESPNZone in Midtown and met with head coach Joe Jones and his staff.
“He’s expecting me to go in there and be an impact player, and that’s something that I like,” Starks said of Jones, a former Villanova assistant for six years, who is entering his seventh season at Columbia. “I don’t want to go to a program where I sit down and don’t be a part of the team. I want to be a big-time factor on a team, so he said, ‘Yeah, when you come in, I expect you to be a huge part of our team.’ ”
Columbia was 12-16 last season and 7-7 in the Ivy League.
Starks said he would be interested in majoring in either behavioral sciences or finance at Columbia.
“It’s an Ivy League school, hands down,” he said. “If basketball doesn’t work out — an injury happens or something crazy where I can’t play — I’m set with a good degree from Columbia. It’s a good feel all the way around. I could see myself there.”