The Ellsworth Community College duo of fast paced scoring guard Darius Lasley and the physical quickness of forward LaVeechie Williams have signed to continue their academic and athletic careers at Clarke University in Dubuque, IA.
Lasley, from Tama, IA, averaged 14.4 points per game this season. He also had 119 assists, 60 steals and shot 48.5% from the field. Lasley was named 1st Team ICCAC All-Region for his efforts this season.
Williams, from Cedar Rapids, IA, averaged 10.9 points and 6.9 rebounds per game this season. He shot 41.1% from the field.
After visiting the Clarke campus both players were excited at the prospect of playing for Clarke. "We both really liked the campus and how everything is close together. From the dorms, you can go straight to the gym without going outside," commented Lasley. "Everything we need is right there."
Williams and Lasley were able to watch the Clarke JV team play and get a preview of the type of game they play and the coaches. "We really liked all of the coaches," commented Williams. "We met some of the players when we visited too and they seem like a great group of guys."
When speaking with the Clarke basketball coaching staff, they are looking forward to what these two guys can bring to their squad. Assistant Coach Jantz Elliott initially brought the Panther men to the attention of his Head Coach Jim Blaine. "Coach Elliott did the ground work and saw Darius and LaVeechie early. Once I saw them in person and watched some video on them I knew they would fit in well at Clarke," commented Coach Blaine. "LaVeechie is 6'5" and quick on his feet. He is a hard, physical and emotional player that is a unique piece we don't have on our team right now. We lost to a team earlier in the year that had two players similar to him so he will be a big asset to our team."
Clarke will graduate their high scorer this year. Coach Blaine is looking to Lasley to help fill his shoes. "Darius is a smooth player with a good handle on the game. He makes it look effortless on the court. He will fill a position of need and be one of our primary ball handlers but will also be able to score."
The Clarke basketball team just finished their second season as a NAIA Division I program. The first year they had ten wins and this year improved to fourteen wins. "We are going to keep adding talent to the team and continue to build our record," commented Blaine. "We were weak on defense this year and that is another area that Darius can help us by guarding the ball. We had a great locker room last year with all of the guys getting along and these two will fit right in. All or our players really liked them when they were on campus."
The time both players have spent at Ellsworth have helped them transition to this next step. "While at ECC it has helped me in both school and basketball," commented Williams. "The coaches have helped me with my attitude so that I can take advice more easily as well as mentally get ready for the game."
Lasley, who didn't play basketball his senior year of high school do to a torn ACL gives credit to the coaches for where he is at today. "Coach Muilenburg has helped prepare me for my next step and has helped me with the general transitions on the floor during games."
Williams and Lasley will leave their mark on the ECC basketball program "These two have been close since they got to school," commented ECC Head Coach Troy Muilenburg. "Clarke will put what they have to offer to good use. LaVeechie is a physical player who has taken a record number of charges while at ECC. He can rebound and score off the dribble."
"Darius is a versatile player. He could be a point guard for them or an off guard scorer. He can rebound and pass. He is a great teammate. You can't ask for more than that."