IBCA all-star game
Jacob Donaldson went through his high school basketball-playing days doing nothing but win. Ridgeview played in the sectional championship all four years he was in the program.
Justin Myers, on the other hand, came to the Mustangs after riding the bench at Normal Community as a junior and playing frosh-soph ball his first two years. His talents were finally unleashed in his one year in head coach Rodney Keller’s system.
The success both have experienced this past season has culminated in playing in a state-wide all-star game, which will be their high school swan song.
For Donaldson, success is second nature. He was part of Ridgeview’s state champion track team, placing seventh in the triple jump in his lone individual event, and running a leg on the state champion 4x200 relay. He was also on the 4x400 relay that took sixth.
But on the hardwood, Donaldson’s career has included two trips to the supersectional in his junior and senior campaigns. This past season the Mustangs lost to Annawan at ISU. That team featured Owen Landwehr, who will be a teammate of Donaldson and Myers today. As a sophomore, Ridgeview was upset by a blazing hot LeRoy team that went on to win the state title.
As a freshman on the JV squad, he saw the Mustangs place third at state.
“Jacob helped me a lot coming into the program, teaching me the plays and making me learn the system,” Myers said of Donaldson.
Donaldson seems to be soaking in the atmosphere as he prepares for life after high school.
“It’s great to be able to play somewhere like this,” Donaldson said of playing in the IBCA all-star game. “It’s the whole state, the coaches notice you. It’s great to know that you’re being noticed by everyone.
“I just want to have fun and make some new relationships.”
Donaldson plans on attending Parkland College to study Ag Business.
As for Myers, he excelled in the Ridgeview program in his only season, taking over from the likes of William Tinsley and Tyler McCormick as a leader. He was finally able to blossom as a player.
“He definitely helped so much,” Donaldson said of Myers. “We couldn’t have had the season we did without him. It was a lifesaver with him coming into our system.”
Myers, too, is excited to be playing here, but he will be looking to play more at the next level after this weekend. He will be playing at the University of Illinois-Springfield. He will study Business Marketing and Criminal Justice.
“It’s a real honor to be playing in the IBCA all-star game after not getting much in-game experience last season,” Myers said.
Myers was at Normal Community and stuck deep on the bench. He believed in his talents and a move was made. That move allowed the sharpshooting guard to grow into a fiery competitor who was given a chance.
He said confidence was his greatest learning experience.
As for this weekend, the speed of the game certainly won’t be shocking, and he’s looking forward to showing others from around the state what he can do on the floor.
“ I want to give it my all and have fun before playing college ball,” Myers said.
Donald and Myers will be playing on the 1A-2A North team, which is coached by Will Rey of Northridge Prep. The boys’ 1A-2A game is set to tip off at 4 p.m.