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Yooper hooper Jason Whitens chooses WMU

Tony Paul
The Detroit News
Powers North Central's Jason Whitens has generated interest from Division I schools.

Jason Whitens will stay in the state, but still will be a long way from home.

The Upper Peninsula basketball star announced Thursday he has committed to playing at Western Michigan, a late entrant into the mix for the Mr. Basketball finalist and three-time state champion.

It's not yet clear if Whitens will be on scholarship or be a preferred walk-on.

He had Division I scholarship offers from Green Bay and North Dakota State, as well as preferred walk-on opportunities at Michigan State and Central Michigan.

Whitens visited Western and Michigan State this week.

He starred at Powers North Central, not far from the Upper Peninsula/Wisconsin border, winning three state titles in basketball, and leading his team on a still-active 83-game winning streak.

Powers North Central edged Southfield Christian in the Class D semifinal, then beat Buckley in the final.

Whitens last lost a basketball game March 18, 2014, and last lost a football game Oct. 17, 2014. He was quarterback for a football team that won the last two eight-player state championships.

At 6-foot-5 and 210 pounds, Whitens averaged about 23 points as a senior. He finished third out of six candidates for Mr. Basketball, behind winner Isaiah Livers, a Michigan commit from Kalamazoo Central.

Western Michigan was 16-16 last season, closing strong to win the Mid-American Conference West Division championship. It loses one player, senior big man Tucker Haymond, assuming star guard Thomas Wilder returns to school. He's considering the NBA Draft but hasn't hired an agent.

tpaul@detroitnews.com

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