WARDSVILLE -- After wearing Kelly green for the past four seasons with the Blair Oaks Falcons, Luke Northweather was sporting a crimson red T-shirt Wednesday afternoon.
Several family members and friends traded in their colors as well.
Northweather, whose past two months have been just as busy as the Falcons’ three-and-a-half month basketball season, signed his letter of intent to play basketball for the Oklahoma Sooners in the Blair Oaks High School gym.
Northweather chose to play for the Sooners over Missouri and Wisconsin.
“It was a very stressful process,” Northweather said after his signing ceremony. “Honestly, the offer from Mizzou added additional stress, but to be able to say I was committed (to Oklahoma) was a heavy load off my shoulders.”
Northweather, who was named the Gatorade Missouri boys basketball player of the year and Mr. Show-Me Basketball in March, led the Falcons to a 26-2 record this past season, averaging 29.2 points and 11.4 rebounds per game.
He will graduate with six Blair Oaks program records, including most career points (2,018) and most career rebounds (935).
Northweather had verbally committed to play for the Kansas City Roos in December, but in his first post on Twitter on March 21, he announced, “My recruitment is 100% open!” The announcement came two days before Northweather was named Mr. Show-Me Basketball.
“I called their coach and decommitted from there right after the season ended,” Northweather said. “I reopened (my recruitment), and that’s when everything started to go fast.”
Many college coaching staffs quickly became interested in the Falcons’ 6-foot-10 forward.
“There were several schools where he just fits their mold, as far as what they do offensively,” Blair Oaks coach Ryan Fick said.
Fick said although Northweather’s social media presence is minimal, coaches were able to get a glimpse of the Blair Oaks standout in a highlight video that was linked to his tweet.
“Guys talk, it seems like they all know each other, they’ve worked with each other,” Fick said of the booming interest in Northweather. “The word spread quickly. Guys watched on film to see what kind of player he is, and they were calling and doing their homework to see what kind of person he is, what kind of character he has.
“As a coach, it’s easy to talk about Luke and the type of person he is. … Oklahoma’s getting a good one.”
Of the three finalists, Northweather visited Oklahoma’s campus first.
“The facilities were really nice,” Northweather said. “I really liked the coaches’ personalities. We talked some basketball, and I just loved everything that they were doing down there.”
The Sooners offered Northweather a scholarship, then he made a visit to Columbia and was offered by Missouri.
“I loved everything about Mizzou,” Northweather said. “I really like Coach (Dennis) Gates, I think he’s going to do really well coaching next year and that they’ll turn the program around.”
Following a visit to Wisconsin, Northweather posted his second tweet April 29, announcing his commitment to Oklahoma.
“Oklahoma was just a better fit for me,” he said.
During his visit to Oklahoma, Northweather said he visited with Jacob and Tanner Groves, brothers who played this past season for the Sooners, to see where he could fit in Oklahoma’s roster.
“I really like their style of play,” Northweather said. “Their offense, they run a lot of pick-and-pop with their 5 man, where the big man can shoot a lot of 3s and play on the perimeter, so I think I’ll fit in well.”
Like many other student-athletes who play for Power Five programs in the past few seasons, Northweather said coaches have told him there will be opportunities to collect on his name, image and likeness.
“But just having my school paid for is good enough for me,” he said.
Northweather was one of three Blair Oaks basketball players to participate in Wednesday’s signing ceremony. Brysan Jeffries will play at Westminster College next season and Quinn Kusgen will continue his career in Springfield at Baptist Bible College.
“It’s a special day for us as a program,” Fick said.
It won’t be until the fall when Northweather first puts on an Oklahoma jersey, but he’ll be in Norman, Okla., well before then.
“I have a couple weeks off, and then in early June, I’ll have to go down there and start classes and start practice,” he said. “It’s a short summer, but I’m looking forward to getting down there and getting to work.”