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Lights sign Chicago prep hoops standout

 

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Chicago high school basketball standout NaKyel Shelton has signed an NAIA national letter of intent to play basketball for the Montana State University-Northern Lights, starting this fall.

Despite the setbacks caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Montana State University-Northern head men's basketball coach Shawn Huse has had a successful recruiting season. And he's not done yet.

Wednesday, Huse announced the signing of NaKyel Shelton of Schurz High School in Chicago, Illinois. The 6- 2 guard put up impressive numbers and earned many accolades while leading his team (19-11) to the White Division North Championship and promotion to the Red Division (top division) for the first time in school history. In their championship game vs. Northside Prep, he was the leading scorer on the night with 16 pts, and added four steals, three rebounds and three assists.

In the prestigious Chicago Public School (CPS) playoffs, Schurz advanced to the Sweet 16 before losing, 76-67, to Chicago high school power Whitney Young. In that game Shelton amassed an impressive 27 points, seven rebounds, three assists, two steals and one block versus their daunting opponent which featured Duke University commit, D.J. Stewart and Georgetown University commit, Tyler Beard. Schurz eventually reached the Illinois Regional Semifinal before losing to Main South High School, 59-51.

"We could not be more thrilled about this recent addition to our group," Huse said. "NaKyel, his family and myself are excited for him in this opportunity, in our setting, in our program, and as a future graduate of MSU-Northern. He is another high-character guy that has been raised extremely well and has had great tutelage under his father who doubles as head coach and athletic director. Together they accomplished great things at Schurz, and we look forward to watching his further development and growth out here, at this level. He is a great kid both on and off the court and yet another guy that will enhance everything we do and what we are about."

Shelton led Schurz in scoring this season at 17.8 points per game. Over his three-year varsity career, he averaged 16 points per game, shot a remarkable 45 percent from the 3-point-line, averaged 3.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists, two steals, and one block per game, playing primarily at the point guard position. In total, he accumulated 1,136 points, 236 rebounds, 192 assists, 143 steals, and 56 blocks. This season he was named to the prestigious Chicago Sun-Times All-City Team. He was named to the Chicago Public League White Division North All-Conference Team in his senior and junior years, and was on the 2019-20 Chicago Public League All-Star nominee list.

"With this year's graduation of some key ball-handlers and shooters, NaKyel fits a need for us in terms of being a guy who played primarily at the point position the past two years, but can also play well off the ball with his shooting and playmaking ability," Huse said. "Not only is he a lethal shooter who scores well at all three levels, but with his athleticism and hustle, he has the uncanny ability to block shots at a high rate (1.4 per game this season), get steals, garner rebounds, and rack up assists as well."

A solid student in the classroom, Shelton plans to major in business at MSU-N and joins a Lights squad that finished 20-12 in 2019-20. They won 8 out of their last 11 games and narrowly missed an at-large bid to the NAIA National Tournament. MSUN advanced to the semi-final round of the Frontier Conference Tournament before falling 68-73 to eventual champion Lewis-Clark State.

 

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