Sam Vinson verbally commits to play basketball at NKU


     On Tuesday, September 15, Senior Sam Vinson verbally committed to play Division I basketball for Northern Kentucky University (NKU).

     According to the NCAA, a verbal commitment happens when a college-bound student-athlete verbally agrees to play a sport for a college before they are eligible to sign a National Letter of Intent. Vinson’s next step will be to sign a National Letter of Intent on signing day, which is scheduled for mid-November. 

     Vinson has been playing basketball since he was in Kindergarten for the Moyer League, and since he was nine for Gametime, an Amateur Athletic Union team. He began playing basketball for Highlands in sixth grade, and by his freshman year of high school, he was playing on the varsity team. He currently plays point guard.

     Vinson’s parents, Ed and Debbie Vinson, shared a bit about Vinson’s roots in basketball, when he would “play with his Little Tikes basketball hoop for hours on [their] deck,” and how far he has come since then. 

     Vinson’s parents believe that basketball has changed his life for the better, as it has helped him develop life skills that are applicable to all walks of life. They said, “Playing basketball taught him the value of self-discipline, hard work, commitment, leadership, and teamwork.”

     Leadership and teamwork are a large part of Vinson’s role on the team. Over the years, he has been a strong leader who many on the team look up to. 

     Teammate Daniel Buchanan, who has been playing with Vinson for three years, shares that some of Vinson’s most admirable qualities are his “work ethic and calmness.” Buchanan knows that Vinson’s talent, alongside his drive and passion for the game, will take him as far as he wants to go.

     Alongside his many admirable qualities, Vinson’s stats speak for themselves. Varsity basketball coach Kevin Listerman shared that last year, Vinson averaged 24.7 points per game, 8.4 rebounds per game, 4.8 assists per game, and 3.7 steals per game. He eclipsed 1,000 career points in the regional semi-final win versus Conner High School. In terms of his awards, he was voted player of the year by the Northern Kentucky High School Coaches last year, a huge accomplishment for a junior, and has been placed on the Mr. Basketball Watch List by Cats Pause magazine, the most prestigious basketball award in the state of Kentucky.

     Listerman shared that Vinson’s hard work has allowed him to have this opportunity. “The combination of his size, athleticism, and skill made him a highly sought after recruit.” Additionally, his individual and team success at Highlands, as well as his summer AAU team, have shown college coaches that he has what it takes to play at the D1 level. 

     Vinson has been a highly sought after recruit, as Listerman mentioned. He has had offers from NKU, The University of Toledo, Miami University, Valparaiso University, George Mason University, Bellarmine University, and Saginaw Valley State University. Ultimately, he decided on NKU because he had the best relationship with the NKU coaching staff and wanted to stay closer to home. 

     “NKU just felt like the perfect fit for me,” he said. 

     Vinson’s friends, family, and basketball team couldn’t be happier for him. Starting during the 2021-2022 school year, the Highlands community will be able to see Vinson rock the court at NKU.