Mike DePersia stays in near-constant motion on the basketball court.

He moves around a lot off the hardwood as well. DePersia's most notable recent trip took him from South Jersey to Las Vegas to Indianapolis.

DePersia, a slick left-handed point guard who led Haddonfield to the Group 2 state title in March, plans to sign a national letter of intent on Wednesday to play for Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, an NCAA Division I program in the basketball-crazy state of Indiana.

"It's been a dream of mine for a long time," DePersia said of playing NCAA Division I basketball. "I think a lot of people thought the odds were against me, but it feels great to prove to myself that I could do it."

Mike DePersia was a first-team All-South Jersey selection after leading Haddonfield to a 29-4 record last season.
Tim Tai/Staff photographer
Mike DePersia was a first-team All-South Jersey selection after leading Haddonfield to a 29-4 record last season.

IUPUI is a 49-year-old satellite campus for both Indiana and Purdue. IUPUI plays in the Horizon League with programs such as Cleveland State, Wright State, Youngstown State, and Northern Kentucky. The Jaguars were on ESPN the other night, losing by 82-69 to perennial national power Xavier.

"I really like the program," DePersia said. "I had never really heard of the school. But when I looked into it, I was impressed. I found out [Cleveland Cavaliers guard] George Hill went there."

DePersia plans to major in engineering. He said because of that academic concentration, he would receive a degree from Purdue University.

DePersia first was contacted by IUPUI coaches during an AAU tournament in Las Vegas in July. He was there with Team Speed, which is coached by his father, Rob DePersia, and features several South Jersey players.

"That's the first time they saw me," DePersia said. "They saw me play three or four games, and then they offered me a scholarship."

DePersia took a visit to the campus in late August. He committed Sept. 2 and plans to sign Wednesday, the first day of the early signing period for all sports except football.

"IUPUI will be getting a winner and leader on and off the court," Haddonfield coach Paul Weideman said. "His work ethic will raise the level of their program."

DePersia (white jersey, No. 3) watches his game-winning shot in overtime in a sectional semifinal against Camden.
H. Rumph Jr.
DePersia (white jersey, No. 3) watches his game-winning shot in overtime in a sectional semifinal against Camden.

DePersia made the biggest basket in recent Haddonfield history last season, a putback with three seconds on the clock to lift the Bulldawgs to a 54-53 overtime victory over defending sectional champion Camden in the South Jersey Group 2 semifinals at Cherry Hill West.

DePersia scored 22 points as Haddonfield captured its first state title since 2006 with an imposing victory over Newark Central in the Group 2 final at Rutgers University.

DePersia's ballhandling, passing, scoring, poise under pressure and unflappable confidence helped Haddonfield to a 29-4 record.

"Mike has been the heartbeat of our program since starting at point guard as a freshman," Weideman said. "His 'rep' comes from his reps, which means he pours all his effort and energy into perfecting his craft.

"His skill level is equally matched by his will level, which is a powerful combination."

DePersia (left) and teammates Aidan Blake (center) and Dan Fleming celebrate the victory over Camden in the South Jersey Group 2 semifinal last season.
H. Rumph Jr.
DePersia (left) and teammates Aidan Blake (center) and Dan Fleming celebrate the victory over Camden in the South Jersey Group 2 semifinal last season.

Haddonfield returns several key players from last year's championship team in DePersia, senior swingmen Aidan Blake and Dan Fleming, senior guard Lewis Evans, and junior guard Ben Ceratto, among others.

The 5-foot-10 DePersia said leading Haddonfield to another state title is tops on his list, a task on which he can fully focus now that his college plans are finalized.

"It's really a relief," DePersia said. "It's kind of a big cloud over you when you don't know where you are going or how the recruiting thing is going to go.

"Now I can just focus on this season and playing with my teammates."

South Jersey Division I signings

Here's a list of athletes who plan to sign national letters of intent with NCAA Division I programs during the early signing period, which starts Wednesday:

Boys' basketball

Mike DePersia, Haddonfield, IUPUI

Girls' basketball

Azana Baines, Gloucester Catholic, Duke

Carly Stroemel, Paul VI, Sacred Heart

Brazil Harvey-Carr, LEAP Academy, Rhode Island

Baseball

Cole Vanderslice, St. Augustine, Villanova

Gerry Peacock, St. Augustine, Dartmouth

Jayson Hoopes, St. Augustine, Virginia

Lillo Paxia, Gloucester Catholic, Florida State

Tyler Cannon, Gloucester Catholic, Iona

Luke Lesch, Gloucester Catholic, Rider

Ryan Nutley, Gloucester Catholic, La Salle

Sean Szestowicki, Kingsway, James Madison

Steve Ruestuccio, Hammonton, Virginia Tech

Zach Grace, Timber Creek, Iona

Dylan Maria, Highland, La Salle

Jordan Sweeney, Egg Harbor Twp., Rutgers

Robbie Petracci, Egg Harbor Twp., Old Dominion

Cory Kessler, Egg Harbor Twp., Hartford

Mike Decker, Clearview, Columbia

Brandon Drapeau, Clearview, St. Joseph

Devin Sharkey, Mainland, Stony Brook

Boys' lacrosse

Jordan Vinci, Gloucester Catholic, Loyola Marymount

Girls' lacrosse

Victoria Rolon, Delran, La Salle

Sydney Coles, Kingsway, Holy Cross

Girls' soccer

Alyssa Palmucci, Kingsway, East Carolina

Julia Evernham, Kingsway, Monmouth

Hailey Russell, Riverside, Rider

Hannah Russell, Riverside, St. Francis

Danielle Rooney, Camden Catholic, La Salle

Field hockey

Domenica Rehmann, Hammonton, Georgetown

Track

Naseem Smith, Deptford, Syracuse

Sincere Rhea, St. Augustine, Penn State

Dennisha Page, Woodrow Wilson, Syracuse

Swimming

Emily Jones, Gloucester Catholic, Georgia Southern

Wrestling

Lucas Revano, Camden Catholic, Penn

Golf

Akhil Giri, Moorestown, Colgate