JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (BVM) – Luke Northweather was one of the most dominant basketball players this past winter in the state of Missouri. While his play has earned him multiple accolades over the past month, his main focus now is finding a home to play college basketball.
“I’m not too close to a decision, I still have a decent ways to go,” Northweather said. “I’m hoping to schedule a few visits and see how it goes. Hopefully I can pick up a few offers and find the right place.”
Although Northweather is not particularly close to a commitment right now, his interest from colleges has grown significantly since season’s end. Currently, he is looking at setting up visits with both Oklahoma and Wisconsin.
“Especially these past couple of weeks, it’s really picked up since the season ended,” Northweather said. “I’ve been contacted by a lot more schools.”
Currently, the 6-foot-10 standout is also considering a year of prep school to further develop his game which could lead to even bigger offers over the next year. No matter which path he takes, he will look to make a strong impact on the next program he plays for, hoping it will springboard him to a pro career someday.
“It’s been my dream for a long time to play basketball for money whether that’s overseas or G League or wherever that is,” Northweather said. “I think I can bring a drive to that team. I’m going to work hard regardless of where I’m at just to improve everyday and come in and play as hard as I can.
Hard work and continuous improvement have been keys throughout Northweather’s basketball career, which began by playing alongside his older brother, Eric, who is currently a college basketball player, most recently with Truman State.
“Basketball is something that we always enjoyed playing together,” Luke said. “I spent a lot of time playing with him and that kind of just drew me in … He’s two years older than me, I’ve always kind of been chasing him, always trying to get where he’s at.”
Perhaps one of the best moments of Luke’s career was getting to play with Eric in high school at Blair Oaks.
“Especially when we got to high school, I loved playing with him, loved everything about it,” Luke added. “We played well together and I just really enjoyed it.”
Throughout his youth, Luke competed with his school team, and began AAU basketball in fifth grade with Mid Mo Elite. Always a taller kid than most, the big man developed strong footwork in the post over the years, studying the game of one of the best to ever do it down low in Hakeem Olajuwon.
Once he got to high school, Luke decided he was going to want to take the next step in his basketball career someday. As a result, he continued to put in work, and has also added a solid shooting stroke to his arsenal.
As a freshman, Luke played primarily on Blair Oaks’ JV squad. While it wasn’t quite the leap to varsity, it was still a big jump from the competition he had faced in eighth grade, and Luke found it very beneficial to learn the game at that level.
“That really helped me I think,” Luke said. “Even JV was a big jump from eighth grade so it was a nice transition to just being able to get used to playing against older players and at a higher level of basketball. It was definitely a good experience.”
Later in the season, Luke had a 40-point game, and was promoted to varsity shortly after as the Falcons made it all the way to the state quarterfinals.
Luke took the next step forward as a sophomore by becoming a full-time varsity starter. Playing alongside his brother, the Falcons went 25-3 and back to the state quarterfinals.
With Eric graduating, Luke became much more of an offensive force in his junior year. Another impressive season set the stage for what would be a truly special senior season.
Going into the winter, Luke and his teammates had high hopes coming off a couple of deep postseason runs. Although they did not achieve their goal of winning state after suffering a tough loss in the district championship, going 26-2 as the No. 1 ranked team at the MSHSAA Class 4A level late in the season was something to hang their hats on.
“Being to two final fours, we had it in the back of our mind to win state, and I think we had a real good shot this year,” Luke said. “Obviously, it really sucked to come up short and lose that district championship game … But we had a really good year, I’m really proud of our team.”
Not only were the Falcons a dominant team, but Luke was one of the most dominant players in the state. The 6-foot-10 standout averaged 29.2 points and 11.1 rebounds, also contributing 2.4 blocks and 2.0 steals per game on the defensive end. He made over 71% of his shots, and also improved his shooting stroke from deep, going 38.8% on 3-point attempts.
Luke sprinkled in some truly special games throughout the campaign, highlighted by a 51-point outing against Eldon in early February in which he went 22 of 24 from the floor, breaking the program’s single-game scoring record that stood for over three decades.
“That 51-point game, it was really special to break that record,” Luke said. “I just thank my teammates for that. That really just described the team that we had this year, very unselfish and they always wanted what’s best for me and the people next to them.”
He followed that up with a 43-point outing, and by the end of the season, Luke accomplished a feat not many do, becoming a 2,000-point scorer. His 2,018 career points are also a program record. While Luke clearly left a historic individual legacy during his time at Blair Oaks, it’s his team’s success that he hopes people remember.
“I hope we left as one of the better teams that went through here,” Luke said. “We had a really strong season. I think some people are going to look and judge our season on that district championship loss. But I hope that people are able to see past that and see all the great things we were able to do this year.”
After the season, the accolades rolled in for Luke, beginning with being named Missouri Gatorade Boys Basketball Player of the Year.
“I got the email from my coach that said I was nominated, so it was kind of in the back of my head,” Luke said. “To be honest, I was still pretty upset about losing that district game, but I thought it was kind of cool to get nominated for that. And then a couple of weeks later, I found out that I won it … That was really exciting. Going into the year, I didn’t have any expectations to win it and wasn’t really thinking about it at all. I’m just extremely grateful to get that award.”
Soon after, Luke was also named Mr. Show-Me Basketball by the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association.
“That was another great accomplishment for me,” Luke added. “I was also extremely grateful to get that.”
Concluding his high school career better than he maybe could have ever imagined, Luke is now set to take the next step in his basketball journey. It may still be a bit before he knows exactly where the next road will take him, but he remains focused on staying patient and putting in the work to keep getting better.
“It’s definitely going to take patience,” Luke said. “I have to get physically stronger and have a ton of improvement to do and to build on. But I think if I work hard enough and stay patient, the results will come.”