For the second consecutive year, Danville boys' basketball can claim it graduated a Division I athlete.
Sean Houpt will join Brian Wardle's Bradley Braves as a preferred walk-on later this year, Illinois Irish CEO Gavin Sullivan announced via Twitter on Wednesday evening. Houpt follows in the footsteps of Kendle Moore, who just completed his freshman season for Colorado State.
"It's been a goal of mine since I was little," Houpt said. "It's what I've always worked for. ... (The Braves) have a great culture there, so I'm happy to have the opportunity to be a part of it."
The Vikings senior is coming off a campaign in which he received Big 12 Conference co-Player of the Year and News-Gazette All-Area first-team recognition after helping Danville to a 31-4 record and Class 4A sectional final appearance.
Houpt said he also received interest from Division II schools Flagler (Fla.), St. Augustine (N.C.) and Missouri S&T, while a few other D-I programs desired his services as a walk-on.
But Houpt described knowing Bradley was "the right fit" after chatting with Wardle following a game at Peoria Manual on Feb. 15 and recently visiting the Peoria-based institution.
"It was just fun to be around them," Houpt said. "They played hard, competed, shared the ball well. There's a lot of talent on the floor. And then they took me around campus. It's a great campus. I enjoyed it a lot."
The Braves won the Missouri Valley Conference tournament in March to qualify for the NCAA tournament before losing to Michigan State in the first round.
Houpt averaged 17.3 points, 5.9 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.5 steals while hitting a Danville-record 93 three-pointers during the 2018-19 season.
That shooting was one aspect of Houpt's game Wardle and his staff were impressed by, in addition to Houpt's "competitiveness and defense."
Simultaneously, Houpt was offered a blueprint for how he can more quickly fit into the Braves' system.
"They told me I ... need to get stronger, so I'm going to get in the weight room a lot over there," the 6-foot-4, 185-pound Houpt said. "I also need to be more assertive and aggressive on offense, as well as talking more."
Even though Houpt never had the chance to play at Carver Arena in high school — Bradley's downtown Peoria home venue is the state tournament host — he'll soon be able to claim an even bigger accomplishment on the same playing court.
"Danville's had a lot of talent over these past few years, a lot of success from people," Houpt said. "It means a lot to be able to play at this level and have the opportunity to compete there."