Just a couple of years ago, North Star High’s Jordy Donoven was not known for his golf game. Instead, Donoven was known more for his athletic abilities on the football field, the basketball court and in track and field. And it was never a question of whether or not Donoven would play college sports. It was more a question of what sport Donoven would choose to play at the next level.
Donoven is gearing up to take on his sophomore year at Rocky Mountain College in Billings. But besides gearing up to hit the books, Donoven is also counting down the days until the start of his second season with the RMC golf program, as well as the start of his first season with the Rocky basketball team. Donoven signed his letter of intent to play men’s basketball for Rocky before returning home this summer. He must report back for golf by Aug. 18, while he has until October before the basketball season begins.
“I was interested in Rocky for quite a while,” Donoven said. “I just wanted to get out of the small town and go try something new. I also thought about going to Northern for a long time because it is close to home, but I decided to go to Rocky for golf, and it all worked out.”
While in Rudyard as a Knight, Donoven was a four-year varsity standout for the football and basketball programs. But he was also a three-year standout for the Knights’ track and field program. And being such a small Class C school, golf is not offered at North Star, meaning Donoven’s passion for the sport was enough to get him on the golf course as much as possible over the last several years.
And he was right, things worked out pretty well in his first year of playing with a team. Donoven was one of 13 golfers at Rocky, and played in two tournaments in Billings last season. His goal this year is to crack the top eight and make the traveling team, and he has already spent plenty of time at Prairie Farms Golf Course in Havre to help make that a reality.
“I started golfing quite a bit my freshman and sophomore years,” Donoven said. “And from there, I would just spend a lot of time at Prairie Farms playing, and sort of got hooked on golf. I have been playing ever since. I knew I could get a lot better playing with guys at that level and being coached. I called the head coach at Rocky last summer, and got the chance to play as a walk-on, but it worked out good for me. And even though I didn’t get into that top eight, and I didn’t’ get on that traveling team, I got a whole lot better. I am excited to get back out there this year.”
Golf was never Donoven’s best sport in high school, though now he sports a two handicap, but basketball might have been. His senior season he averaged around 20 points per game, and was one of the top players on the Hi-Line. If he can survive at the NAIA level playing golf, fans should be curious to see how his basketball career ends up.
“I just thought that I played my best through high school,” Donoven said. “And did the best I could with those (basketball and football). I decide to play golf in college and just be a college student, and really thought basketball was behind me, but then I got to college and really missed basketball. That is what really led me to play for them this year.”
Donoven didn’t play his freshman year for Rocky, but he never stopped playing basketball altogether. He frequently played at open gym, as well as played intramurals. And if the college guys were playing, Donoven wasn’t afraid to get in on those pickup games either. Donoven may not have played for Rocky last season, but he did continue to build his game, as well as get to know a lot of the players and staff, including longtime RMC head coach Bill Dreikosen.
Juggling athletics and academics can be a tough task for many college students, but juggling classes and two sports seasons would be tough for anybody. That was never an issue, or a concern for Donoven. Playing golf was his main goal at Rocky, but once he realized how much he missed basketball, his new goal was to play golf and basketball, never one or the other. And now that all the wheels are in motion to do just that, it will be interesting to see just how successful Donoven becomes over the next several seasons in Billings.
If he can accomplish feats anywhere close to the ones he accomplished as a North Star Knight, both the golf and basketball programs are lucky to have an athlete like Donoven.
“I have been working out this summer, so now I am excited for both golf and basketball this year,” Donoven said. “The choice of either basketball or golf was never an issue. I knew I could play both for sure. It will definitely keep me busy, but the seasons only overlap by about a week, so I will be able to focus on golf during golf season, and really focus on basketball during basketball season. But I am looking forward to the challenge of balancing the two sports, and it will be a lot of fun being able to be a part of two sports teams.”
Donoven has already made it known that for golf, his goal is to make the eight-man traveling team. But he also has goals for basketball, and in the next few years, Donoven could once again be a household name around here, especially with the rivalry between Montana State University-Northern and Rocky.
“They (RMC) have both junior varsity and varsity basketball programs,” Donoven said. “So for this year I am just hoping to get some good time in the junior varsity program. I need to get in to the gym and get stronger and just get used to college basketball, but hopefully in the next year or two, I can work hard, and work my way onto the varsity team.”