HANCOCK - Alex Almquist of Hancock has earned a lot of attention for his basketball skills, and after Wednesday, there's reason to believe he'll be in the box scores around here for a while.
Almquist signed a National Letter of Intent for the Michigan Tech men's basketball program, surrounded by his family and teammates.
"I'm very excited to get going, glad to be able to play for such a good program, good people," Almquist said.
Surrounded by coaches, teammates and family, Hancock’s Alex Almquist signs a National Letter of Intent to play basketball at Michigan Tech during an event at the high school gym Wednesday. (DMG photo by Brandon Veale)
Practice begins for his senior season (and the rest of the state's boys' basketball teams) on Monday, so the 6-foot-7 center can focus on that with his post-prep aspirations booked.
"I've been wanting to be a Husky for a long, long time," Almquist said.
He said he came to his final decision last week.
"The way they uphold themselves during games and off the court ... they're just good people to prepare you for life after basketball and to play the right way," Almquist said.
Almquist averaged a double-double of 21.5 points and 11.6 rebounds a game last season, earning All-U.P. Class ABC First Team and WestPAC Player of the Year honors.
In the Copper Country, Almquist's sheer size makes him a formidable presence. However, his abilities have become progressively more well-rounded and now include an outside shot that must be accounted for.
"He's got a great outside shot and I think that's going to be a big positive attribute down the road," Hancock boys' coach Curtis Wittenberg said.
Though he has refined his game on the AAU circuit with programs like the Northern Michigan Drive and the Wisconsin Blizzard, the relative lack of similar post players he sees on a regular basis is something he knows he'll have to work on.
"There's a lot of reasons why we like him. Number one, he's an exceptional local player and he's very skilled. He has a great work ethic, he wants to be a good basketball player and academically, he can fit in at Michigan Tech," Tech head coach Kevin Luke said Wednesday.
"He could be a good 'stretch 4.' He can shoot the three, he can put it on the floor a litle bit, and with time, he can be effective and do that in our league."
Almquist, who said he is considering studying business, economics or possibly engineering, is already quite familiar with the rigors of collegiate athletics. Sister Maria is at Michigan Tech as well. She is sitting out a transfer season with the volleyball program under GLIAC rules after two years of basketball, most recently at Northern Michigan last winter.
"It has its perks but it's going to be tough and I'm ready for the challenge," Alex Almquist said.