Williston’s Eikens transfers to Utah’s Wasatch Academy
Sophomore DeSean Eikens played his final game at Williston High School.
Eikens – a 6-foot-6 forward and an all-state performer his two years at Williston – transferred to Watsatch Academy, a college prep school in Mount Pleasant, Utah.
“I felt it was time to go,” Eikens said. “After a year, and all the work I put in, I can only count two or three teammates that were in the gym.”
Williston finished this past season with a 6-16 record, and had its season end with a 81-72 loss to Bismarck in the West Region tournament on March 4. It was in that game, that Eikens recorded his 1,000th career point.
But it was also after that loss, that Eikens decided a change was necessary.
“I’ve known about this school since last year,” Eikens said. “I didn’t make a decision until that loss in WDA.”
The Tigers – who just finished a 29-3 campaign – averaged 76 points a game, and won its 29 games by an average margin of 18 points a contest.
Wasatch Academy played an indepedent schedule and did not participate in the Utah State High School basketball tournament. Instead, the Tigers played in a variety of tournaments, which included stops in Atlanta, Las Vegas and Salt Lake City.
“It’s something that was part of (Eikens and his father’s) plan,” Williston coach Mark Slotsve said. “We just didn’t know when that would be.”
Eikens says he approached Slotsve a week after the season ended and told him of his decision.
“He wasn’t shocked,” Eikens said. “He didn’t say much.”
Still, Eikens leaves Williston with nothing but respect for Slotsve.
“I love my coach and respect him,” Eikens said.
Eikens says things need to change in Williston. He hopes his decision to leave will get that change started.
“People just need to work harder,” he said. “How will people change, if nothing changes?”
He also says his decision to leave speaks volumes about where athletics stand in Williston.
“You can’t have 1,100 kids in a school, and not be great in one sport,” he said.
Still, Eikens had an opportunity to leave Williston after his freshman season, however, he wanted to give the Coyotes a chance to find success. Williston hadn’t advanced past the West Region play-in game in the last two seasons.
“(Wasatch Academy) recruited me last year,” Eikens said. “I didn’t want to go then because I felt like I was happy.”
Said Slotsve: “I knew it was an option for them (Eikens and his father). For them, they felt like this was the next step they needed to make.”
Wasatch Academy is in a small, farming community in central Utah, located roughly two hours south of Salt Lake City.
“The environment here is different,” Eikens said. “But the kids here want to play better.”
And while Eikens arrived in Utah this past weekend, there won’t be much time for settling in. He will be accompanying his new teammates to New York next week as the Tigers play in Dick’s Sporting Goods High School Nationals. The Tigers are the first school from Utah to be invited to play in that tournament.
Wasatch Academy will play Oak Hill Academy (Virginia) on March 31.
And his presence in Williston, won’t be forgotten anytime soon.
“DeSean brought a lot of excitement back to Williston,” Slotsve said.
Mark Jones covers high school sports and general assignments. Follow him on Twitter @hoopsfan27_MDN.