Teagan Whiteskunk knew in middle school he could score at a high volume. Long before then, he knew he wanted to play college basketball.
The 6-foot-1 guard from Montezuma-Cortez High School accomplished that goal when he signed this summer with Midland University, an NAIA college based in Fremont, Nebraska.
Whiteskunk will play under head coach Oliver Drake, who guided the Warriors to the NAIA Division II National Championship Tournament in 2017. It was the Warriors’ fifth national tournament in program history.
“Midland reached out to me a lot more than other schools. They caught my interest,” said Whiteskunk, who was unable to visit the campus because of the COVID-19 pandemic and a recruiting dead period that would not allow coaches to visit players or for recruits to take visits to schools. “I’m excited because I’m still going to play basketball. That’s what I love to do. I didn’t want to do anything after high school except play basketball, so them reaching out to me and giving me this opportunity is real exciting for me.”
Whiteskunk, who said he will study business management, had talked with a few other schools, including NCAA Division II Adams State in Alamosa. But it was Midland that stuck with him through his entire senior season in which he averaged 18 points and nearly four rebounds and three assists to go with two steals per game. That backed up a junior season in which he averaged 17.3 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game and again had two steals per contest.
“He knows how to score the ball,” Montezuma-Cortez head coach Mike Hall said. “That’s never been an issue for him from freshman to senior year. He’s a good kid, a leader and always held people to the same kind of caliber he always performed at. He held people accountable and made practices much more fun as a coach. His competitive level was always high.
“This is a great opportunity for him to get out of Cortez for a bit and have a new experience.”
Hall said he has witnessed Whiteskunk put in the time this summer working on getting bigger and stronger. Adjusting to the speed of the college game and improving his work on defense has been a big focus.
Though Whiteskunk had many big moments on the court for the Panthers, he said his fondest memories of high school hoops came before and after games connecting with his teammates and his older brother, Brackin, who was an assistant coach on the team.
“I got to watch my brother play high school basketball, and it was a dream for me,” Whiteskunk said. “He didn’t get the chance to go on and play college, but he wanted me to, and now here I am getting the opportunity.”
Last season, the Warriors went 10-17 overall and 6-14 in the Great Plains Athletic Conference. Midland carries a large roster of 25 players and did not have a senior on last year’s team with only one junior.
With so many returning players, Whiteskunk will have to work hard as a freshman, but that’s something he’s not afraid to do.
“I want to get my foot in door and let them know I’m doing whatever it takes to get a spot and help us win,” Whiteskunk said. “I’m not going there just to play around. I am going to let them know I’m there to play basketball.”