Samari Curtis drew more attention than he was expecting following a breakout freshman season of basketball at Xenia High School. The following season, Curtis always drew an opponent’s most dogged defender. Double-teams and go-to pressure by other defenders became the defensive norm against the high flyer.
“At first, I couldn’t handle it,” recalled Curtis, now a coveted Buccaneers senior who signed with the University of Cincinnati on Wednesday.
“My sophomore year, it was kind of hard for me. I didn’t know what to do with that. I realized I have to trust my guys to make plays. I just have to find the open man and let them do their thing.”
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Curtis was among many area seniors who signed national letters of intent on Wednesday. It began a week-long early signing period for basketball and the regular signing period for all NCAA Division I and II sports but football.
NCAA D-I football will have an early signing period from Dec. 19-21, the second year for that. The traditional regular signing period for football is Feb. 6-April 1 of 2019.
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A 6-foot-4 projected wing and guard, Curtis is on pace to join the area’s all-time most prolific scorers. He has led the Greater Western Ohio Conference in scoring each of the last two seasons and was among the state’s best as a junior (29.8 points).
Curtis has scored 1,293 points in three seasons at Xenia, which includes 145 three-pointers. That’s why Xenia coach Kent Anderson has implored Curtis to shoot more during recent preseason scrimmages.
“I’m happy for him and I’m happy for us, too, that we at least have him for the (season),” beamed Anderson during a ceremony that drew family, friends at teammates. “We’re proud of him as a community, as a school and a program. I just think UC is a great fit for him.”
Xenia dipped to 11-12 overall last season and has a mostly underclass lineup, except for an exceptional senior who Anderson labels “the best” to have played for the Buccaneers.
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“I’m willing to do anything that it takes for us to win,” Curtis said. “We have more scorers, so I won’t have to average 30 points or shoot 20 times a game. I don’t care how many points I get, I just want to win as much as possible. Whatever my team needs, that’s what I’m trying to do.”
Xenia opens the season on Friday, Nov. 30 at Stebbins.
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Other high-end basketball recruits who were expected to sign were Andre Gordon (Virginia Tech), who just last week re-enrolled at Sidney after transferring to Huntington Prep (W.Va.) and Amari Davis (Wisconsin-Green Bay) of Trotwood-Madison.
• At least four area seniors signed to play at Dayton and Wright State.
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Future Flyers are Grace Homan (Botkins) for track and field and Kyle Schmidt (Lakota East) for golf.
Signing with the Raiders were Braedon Norman (Butler) for baseball and Grace Gressly (Lebanon) for softball.
• Centerville senior Yariel Soto signed with Tennessee’s track and field program. He soared to No. 1 among junior decathletes in the United States last summer.
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• A listing of area seniors who signed or will sign is posted on daytondailynews.com/sports/. Contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org with other signing information.
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