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Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

From D3 to D1: David Coit’s path to NIU

Northern Star File Photo
Then-sophomore guard David Coit dribbles the ball past a Kent State University defender in the quarterfinals of the MAC Tournament on March 9. Senior Sports Reporter Zach Bertram highlights Coit’s journey from Atlantic Cape Community College to NIU. (Sean Reed | Northern Star)

DeKALB – Before leading the country in scoring at the NJCAA Division III level at Atlantic Cape Community College and transferring to NIU, junior guard David Coit was a kid who fell in love with the game of basketball at a young age.

“My father got me into basketball,” Coit said. “I was always the youngest, but they (Coit’s sister and father) were saying that I had a chance to be better than those older guys. So, that gave me the confidence and made me fall in love with it (basketball).”

After averaging 30.6 points per game and earning Garden State Athletic Conference Player of the Year at Atlantic Cape Community College in the 2021-22 season, Coit transferred to NIU. Coit’s family played a huge role in his decision to transfer to NIU.

“When my father and my mother were sold (on NIU), that really had me,” Coit said. “Those two people aren’t sold on anything. My dad was like ‘This is the place he’s going to earn it, and this is the level for him.’ So, I knew it was right.”

NIU men’s basketball head coach Rashon Burno said more went into recruiting Coit to NIU other than his skills on the court.

“He’s a guy that wasn’t heavily recruited coming out of high school, so he has a chip on his shoulder,” Burno said. “He comes from a blue-collar background, and we needed to get a guy who had a passion to get better.”

In addition to Coit, junior guard Zarique Nutter also transferred to NIU prior to the 2022-2023 season. Coit and Nutter are both from New Jersey but developed a strong relationship once they arrived at NIU.

“On and off the court, our relationship is unbreakable,” Nutter said. “Nobody can come between us. That’s my brother for life, and I’ll do anything to see him smile.”

Like Nutter, Coit spoke highly of his Huskie teammate, saying their relationship is built on trust and loyalty.

“That’s my best friend, we do every single thing together,” Coit said. “If I’m doing the wrong thing, he’s going to tell me. If he’s doing the wrong thing, I’m going to tell him. We always go to each other with everything, so I think that translates to on the court.”

Burno said Coit’s work ethic and willingness to get better are some of the reasons that he has loved coaching him.

“His hunger to get better on and off the court,” Burno said. “He’s a guy that will ask a million questions. He’s very inquisitive, but he’s also very coachable because he wants to do his very, very best, and that’s a pleasure to be around.”

Coit was forced into a bigger role as the No. 1 scoring option during the 2022-2023 season, when NIU’s leading scorer, senior guard Keshawn Williams suffered a season-ending injury in the second game of conference play.

In his expanded role, Coit finished 11th in points per game in the Mid-American Conference and finished third in three-pointers made in the MAC. Coit also helped the Huskies reach the MAC Tournament for the first time since 2019.

“He sees the floor, and he can also score himself,” Nutter said. “He’s 5 foot nothing, and nobody can stop him.”

In addition to making improvements in his game, Coit wants to be more of a leader for the upcoming season.

“Last year, I was a leader, but I didn’t showcase that to the best of my abilities,” Coit said. “I got guys that listen and guys that want to play. Everybody wants to be the best team in the league, so it’s easy to lead guys that want to do that. I’ve definitely been a 10 times better leader than I have been before, but I’m still learning, I’m still growing, still doing my thing.”

After being named to the All-MAC Third Team for the 2022-2023 season and being named to the preseason All-MAC First Team for the 2023-2024 season, Coit has his sights set on team goals rather than personal achievements this season.

“The goal is to win and cut down nets,” Coit said. “Personal goals are obviously first team, player of the year, all of that, but my main goal is to be a champion. That’s what I want to be. I don’t really care about anything else.”

Coit’s confidence level in both himself and the Huskies team are at all-time highs heading into the 2023-2024 season.

“We have a great chance to be really good,” Coit said. “This is one of the best teams that I’ve been a part of in my life.”

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