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Destination Known; Garcia To Marquette

11/21/2019, 12:15pm CST
By Tom Schardin

Dawson Garcia can get to playing basketball now after making his college choice Wednesday.

The Prior Lake senior donned a Marquette University baseball cap, making his decision live at the high school Nov. 20 on cbssports.com. The Golden Eagles landed a 6-foot-11, 215-pound stretch power forward who can knock down the open 3-pointer, take defenders off the dribble and score in transition.

Over the past few months, Garcia narrowed his four Division I choices to Marquette, Memphis, Indiana and Minnesota. He said he had a "gut feeling" about Marquette when he made his second visit there a couple weeks ago and decided the Big East school was the right fit.

"I just felt part of their family there," Garcia said, adding he had a good relationship with the players. "I can see myself fitting in there and doing some serious damage in the future."

Garcia is ranked the No. 35 prospect in the country by rivals.com in the 2020 graduation class, the second highest Minnesota recruit. Point guard Jalen Suggs of Minnehaha Academy is ranked No. 11 — he's still undecided about where he will play next year.

Garcia has been a member of the Prior Lake varsity since he was a ninth-grader. He led the team in scoring last season, averaging 27.5 points per game, while pulling down 11 rebounds.

Prior Lake finished last season with a 25-4 overall record (16-2 in the South Suburban Conference). The 25 wins were a program best.

Steve Wojciechowski is in his sixth season as the head coach at Marquette. He played his college ball under legendary Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski and was a Blue Devil assistant from 1999 to 2014.

Duke has been known for taking players with skills, size and stature similar to Garica's and turning them into All-Americans and NBA prospects. That has followed Wojciechowski to Marquette, and Garcia noticed.

"I've seen what they've done with guys in the past like me," Garcia said. "They allow them to play, be versatile, guard one through five on the defensive end as well as get the ball off the rim, push (the ball up the floor) and be a playmaker.

“When I was having a conversation with the coaches, they showed me what I’d be doing [for them] when I was there and it really hit home.”

Garcia starting opening eyes nationally in his sophomore season with the Lakers, averaging 21.7 points in the team's 23-win season. He followed that with an even stronger junior year.

This past summer, Garcia's stock rose even more. He led USA Basketball to the gold medal in the FIBA 3-on-3 U18 World Cup in Mongolia and was named the tournament's most valuable player.

Team USA finished with a perfect 7-0 mark, beating Turkey 16-12 in the gold medal game.

Now with the college decision behind him, Garcia can focus on trying to get the Lakers to the Class 4A state tournament. Last year, Prior Lake lost in the Section 2AAAA title game, falling 62-45 to Eden Prairie.

The year before, the Lakers lost to Edina in the section semifinals.

Garcia and the Lakers will open the season Nov. 30 in the Big 12 Classic at Champlin Park, taking on East Ridge at 4:30 p.m.

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