History was made Wednesday, May 3rd, at Umpire High School in Umpire Arkansas. For the first time in the history of the school and athletic programs, two athletes from the same team signed a letter of intent to play basketball in college. Desmond Pinson and Dusty Kesterson, both players from this years Umpire high school boys team, signed their letter of intent in front of a gym packed with family, friends, school faculty, and students K-12. Both Pinson and Kesterson signed to play basketball at National Park College in Hot Springs.
Present at the signing were family members, but also several guests, including past alumni who had signed to play college basketball in the past. Each of the eleven individuals who played at Umpire and then college were recognized for their accomplishments and their part in the rich history of the school. One of the alumni and current coach, Kenny Tabler, spoke of the significance of both players signing to play, “What we are a part of today is history. In the history of the basketball programs we have never had two student athletes signed in the same year. It has been more than thirty years since a player left here to go play. This is an accomplishment that every wildcat fan should be excited about.”
Coach Tabler recognized each past player present and then spoke to the other students, K-12, that were present. “This is a big day not just for these two young men, but for each of you. What they have done is gone before us and shown each of us a model, a model of what it means to work hard and pursue our goals.” After Coach Tabler spoke, the coach for National Park spoke briefly about the two signees and how excited he was to have them. “As a coach, I need somebody that can put the ball in the whole, someone that can move their feet and play defense, but just as important to me, I need guys who I can trust to represent our program and school the right way. That is what I am getting with both of these guys. We are proud to have them.”
Both Pinson and Kesterson were decorated athletes at Umpire, both of them earning All-Conference honors for three years straight. Along with conference honors, both were named All-State honorable mention, each player was nominated for the East-West All Star Game. “These are the kind of kids you want to coach, the kind you hope you have the opportunity to coach. Two great kids, very coachable. Yes sir, no sir. Good students. Type of kids you want representing you and your community. They have left a lasting mark on this program,” says Coach Tabler.