Over the summer, Sturgis boys' basketball guard Dawson Geuke's future started to stare him in the face. Going into his senior season, he was going to have to decide between going east to pursue a business degree or trying to play basketball in college.
The pull to the court was too strong for Geuke, and Thursday his stellar senior season was rewarded with a chance to pursue athletics and academics at the next level.
Geuke signed a national letter of intent Thursday to play basketball right up the road at Black Hills State University, where he will study business.
"I had been worried throughout the school year, it had been stressing me out," Geuke said. "It's kind of a dream to go to a school that I wanted to go to and get to play basketball, which is something I’m really passionate about.
"Last summer was when I was considering (not playing basketball in college) because I was thinking about focusing on academics, but it hit me this year that basketball is something I want in my life as long as possible."
He will still focus on academics at BHSU, a Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business accredited business school, where Geuke said he wants to pursue a career in sports management, or potentially end up in a team's front office one day.
Geuke averaged 13.1 points, 2 assists and 3.4 rebounds per game in his senior season for the Scoopers. He was also a three-year captain, a three-year All-Black Hills Conference first team member and he played in the Northern Hills All-Star Game.
"We are excited to add local talent to our roster for next year in Dawson Geuke, who had an excellent high school career at Sturgis," BHSU coach Jeff Trumbauer said in a release from BHSU athletics. "What jumped out to me was how much he loves the game and his high understanding of how to play.
"Dawson has proven that he has the ability to shoot the ball at a high level which is something we would like to continue to improve on with our team. He is a very bright young man with a great head on his shoulders. Dawson will be a welcomed addition to the program and will undoubtedly aid in the ongoing development of the culture of our program."
Geuke said he considered Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell, or not playing basketball at other schools out east. But playing at BHSU is something Geuke said has been attractive to him for a long time.
"I had always known that was somewhere I wanted to go," he said of BHSU. "I like the coaching staff there, they were all really friendly. I’ve to gotten to play there and the players were all really friendly and I was impressed with that."
Although he considered going far away for school, he said the close proximity of Spearfish to Sturgis is important to him. His sister just had a baby, and he said he wants to be around for her and his family.
He also likes the direction the Yellow Jacket program is trending. Last season BHSU went 15-12, 12-10 in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference and made its first RMAC tournament in program history.
The Yellow Jackets also had a big win against then-No. 21 ranked Fort Lewis in January. Playing against top 25 competition is something Geuke said is appealing to him.
"I think it's really cool that they have a good chance at becoming one of the top 25 teams in the country, and to have an opportunity to beat a ranked team," he said. "I want to be part of a team that has a winning culture and I think that’s what we’re heading for."
The playing style of the Yellow Jackets also was intriguing. He said he prefers the "run-and-gun" style of BHSU that is similar to what the Scoopers did on offense.
The Yellow Jackets also are graduating only two seniors, so Geuke said he knows playing time as soon as he steps on campus isn't guaranteed, but he's willing to put in the work and wait if necessary.
"As of right now it looks like I wouldn’t play a lot," he said. "Of course if I work hard and impress enough there always a chance."