Dontel Highsmith Joins Cleveland State Basketball Program

Dontel Highsmith Joins Cleveland State Basketball Program

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Dontel Highsmith, who graduated from Northern Illinois with a degree in communications, will enroll at Cleveland State and join the men's basketball team for the 2017-18 season as he pursues his master's degree.

Highsmith has two seasons of eligibility remaining and can play immediately.

"Dontel is an important addition to our program," head coach Dennis Felton said. "He's an explosive athlete with a well-rounded offensive skill set. We're very excited about the important intangibles that Dontel brings. He's tough, competitive and hard-working with the type of tenacity and inner-drive that we plan on becoming synonymous with Viking basketball.

"Dontel displayed great perseverance in battling through his injuries and appears to be 100-percent healthy and as explosive as ever. We look forward to adding his maturity to our team."

Highsmith started eight of the first 11 games for NIU as a freshman before a knee injury cut his season short. In 11 games, he was one of the top freshmen in the Mid-American Conference, averaging 10.5 points and 3.5 rebounds, while shooting 54-percent from the field. He started the last seven games before the injury, averaging 13.0 points on 59-percent shooting, including a career-high 27 point effort at UC Riverside and a 19 point game at Iowa State before the injury.

After missing the next two seasons to rehab the knee injury, Highsmith returned to the floor last season and started all 32 games for the Huskies, averaging 6.9 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game.

Highsmith is the all-time scoring leader at Dowagiac HS with 1,969 career points. He averaged 29.1 points, 9.0 rebounds and 7.0 assists as a senior, finishing fifth in the Mr. Basketball voting in Michigan and earning first team all-state honors. He was also an all-state selection as a sophomore and junior and was the South Bend Tribune Boys Athlete of the Year in 2012 and 2013