IMPERIAL On his birthday, DJ Whaley received the best gift of all.

The standout point guard at Buena Vista High School chose to attend Dean College in Franklin, Mass. to continue his academic and athletic career, signing a letter of intent Tuesday afternoon in front of a packed auditorium.

Whaley helped lead the Longhorns basketball team to a 21-8 overall record and a regional semifinal berth this past season. He averaged 25.8 points per game his senior season.

Not only was Whaley a standout on the court, he was an All-State football player and is currently headed to regionals in track and tennis.

In the classroom, he has already accumulated 57 college hours through a dual-credit program at UTPB.

Whaley chose Dean College over Oklahoma Wesleyan and the University of Maine at Augusta.

“It’s definitely a blessing overall,” he said. “I’m definitely thankful for the position I’m in and to have the team that I had. These guys from Buena Vista … not many people know of them.

“Some of these cats are the best athletes you’ll see. I’m just definitely grateful to be in this position to continue my basketball career.”

Whaley is the first African American male to graduate from Buena Vista. His sister, Daria, was the first African American female to graduate.

DJ Whaley has been through many trials and tribulations. Through the journey, he kept a positive attitude and had faith.

“I’m definitely happy to be a role model and to be someone that these kids can look at,” he said. “It’s been a longtime coming for Buena Vista, and I’m happy to be the first African American male. My sister was the first female.

“It’s been a great journey. I hope I was a good representation of my culture.”

Whaley hopes to major in sports broadcasting.

Playing in the travel basketball circuit really opened up doors and also got him attention from several colleges. Whaley’s father, David, is very excited for his son’s future.

“For me, it’s huge to see him continue on,” he said. “It was a dream that he kind of discovered himself. Of course, I put the ball in his hand wanting him to play basketball.

“He realized there was gonna be a lot more work to become a college athlete, and that was something that he saw, realized and decided he was gonna work hard to obtain.”

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