He was a man among boys in high school, yet Colter Lasher of Anchorage admitted he wasn't ready for college basketball when he graduated from Dimond High a year ago.
So he completed a seven-month training program at the Impact Basketball Academy in Las Vegas – and now those concerns are history.
"After being there for a year," he said, "and playing with Chinese pro teams and playing against pre-draft guys, I have no doubt that I can play at the next level."
The 6-foot-7, 215-pound forward took the first step by signing his letter of intent with Houston Baptist University, a NCAA Division 1 school that is moving to the Southland Conference.
"That was always my dream, to go to a D1 school," he said. "I always wanted to play against the best. I want to play against the players everybody sees on TV."
Lasher, of Dimond High fame, last played in Alaska as a senior in 2012 when he was an all-state forward for the state champion Lynx team.
Then he went to Impact and for more schooling.
"It's basically basketball heaven," he said. "Getting to train with the guys who train the pros, and getting to play basketball every day, it was a dream come true."
In terms of how he's gotten better, Lasher, 19, believes he has increased his athleticism, improved his interior game and sharpened his focus.
At Houston Baptist, he joins a team that went 14-17 last year and returns only two players taller than him.
"When I went there I seemed to fit in really well with everything they wanted to do," Lasher said. "When I played with the guys I felt like I could get a lot of minutes early and jump right into playing rather than having to sit behind somebody and wait for my opportunity.
"My opportunity would be next year."
Lasher will be one of eight Alaska men playing NCAA Division 1 basketball for the 2013-14 season.
Van Williams, a 20-year local sports writer and the former sports editor of the Anchorage Daily News, blogs on the accomplishments of Alaska athletes for the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame. He can be reached at email@example.com. Used with permission.