Aldane Barrett had plenty of offers to play basketball at various junior college and prep school programs.
But the Davenport West center chose instead to go play for an NCAA Division II program that has a handful of connections to the Falcons.
Barrett a signed a letter of intent Wednesday to continue his basketball career at Southwest Minnesota State, which is coached by Brad Bigler, the son of former Davenport West coach Mark Bigler.
Two other West players also signed to play at the college level Wednesday. John Miller will enroll at North Iowa Area Community College and Romeo Metcalf is going to Carl Sandburg College in Galesburg.
Barrett said his familiarity with the Bigler family was the biggest reason for his decision, and he admitted it didn’t hurt that the Mustangs have had other West alums in their program. Former Falcon Lavione West played 107 games there from 2008-13, averaging 7.2 points per game.
"They actually showed me a few of his highlights when I was up there," Barrett said.
He said he also met Davenport West grad Keaton Rommel, who plays football at Southwest Minnesota, during his recruiting visit.
And the Mustangs have one other Quad-Cities product on their basketball roster. Pleasant Valley’s Brian Dayman has started 32 of 38 games over the past two seasons.
Southwest Minnesota, entering its 13th season under Bigler, went through multiple pauses because of the COVID-19 pandemic last season and played only 11 games, going 3-8.
Barrett was a three-year starter at West. He averaged 9.5 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.8 blocked shots per game in 15 contests last season, and 8.0 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.9 blocks in 48 games during his career.
However, Falcons coach David Robinson thinks his big man has a big upside.
“This is a great place for him,’’ Robinson said. “He’s going to learn a lot right away in his first year and he’s going to play for a really good coach.’’
He said he sees Barrett as a “late bloomer."
"They will focus on a lot of individual stuff with him that he really needs," Robinson added. "He’s not done growing either. He is 6-foot-8-plus now and they think he could end up being 6-10 or 6-11."