Receiving a scholarship offer to play basketball for an NCAA Division I program has been a dream of East Buchanan senior Ethan Kilgore.

This week, that dream came true when the 17-year-old was given an offer from Columbia University, a private Ivy League research university in New York City.

“I was so happy,” Kilgore said. “It’s every kid’s dream to get that DI offer. It gives you a level of confidence.”

Kilgore is in his fourth and final year at East Buchanan. The guard helped lead the Bulldogs to a second place finish in the Class 2 District 16 tournament last season. He ended his junior season with 1,791 points, averaging 24.8 points per game.

Kilgore was named 1st Team All State, 1st Team All District and 1st Team All Conference his sophomore and junior year.

The standout guard has received seven different offers from Division II schools, but the offer from Columbia was his first from a Division I program.

“It feels really good to see all the work I’ve been putting in my whole life paying off,” Kilgore said. “People are picking up on that.”

Contributing to Kilgore’s exposure is East Buchanan coach Jered Curl, who enters his fourth year as the Bulldogs’ head coach.

“I told him the biggest thing is to do what’s going to make you happy,” Curl said. “I told him to visit them all, as many as you can, and ask as many questions as you can.”

Kilgore said his coach has been great to talk to, especially since Curl was once in the same situation during his high school football career.

“He went through recruitment, so having someone with experience give me advice is great,” Kilgore said.

In his five years coaching at East Buchanan, Curl had yet to see one of his basketball players receive a DI offer, until now.

Curl has sent films of Kilgore’s performance to numerous college basketball programs and has been in contact with a variety of coaches.

“The coaches ask me, ‘How’s Ethan?’ and I say, ‘He’s a really good basketball player, but he’s a better person.’”

When asked about Kilgore’s academics, Curl reassures college programs that they will have nothing to worry about as the student athlete holds a 4.0 GPA.

Kilgore has not accepted any offers as he is still deciding where he wants to attend college. He still plans to visit Idaho University and Cornell University in the coming weeks.

When thinking about his future, the senior considers where he will have the best opportunity to play, rather than sitting on the sideline for a season or two.

“I want to make an impact somewhere and also get a good degree,” Kilgore said.

In the meantime, Kilgore and the Bulldogs prepare for the 2019-20 basketball season after going 23-3 last year.

“I expect a big year out of us. I think we will be a force this year,” Kilgore said.

Kristen Carver can be reached

at kristen.carver@newspressnow.com.

Follow her on Twitter: @NPNowCarver