It is not often one finds a high school that regularly churns out athletes who have the ability, dedication and determination to play their chosen sport in college.

Camden Hills Regional High School has been doing that for years, and, again, is sending former Windjammers to strap on their sneakers and hit the hard wood at the next level.

Former Camden Hills basketball standouts John Curtin, Daniel Peabody and Lauren Miller are three freshmen who will take their strong hoop talents to various colleges around Maine.

Curtin, a 6-foot 7-inch forward/center, will play at the University of Maine in Farmington — a Division III school — where he is a first-year player.

"It’s an honor to have the chance to wear a college basketball jersey, and to be able to compete at the next level," Curtin said.

"I chose to play basketball at UMF because I felt like that’s where I fit in most," Curtin said. "I had support through high school from the UMF assistant coaches, and they were very helpful. They didn’t push me to make decisions or rush me to commit, but I didn’t just go to UMF to play basketball. I’m a student-athlete and I found that the academic programs at UMF were just what I was looking for."

"John has continued to grow — I think he's listed at 6-foot 7-inches on the UMF program," said Camden Hills boys basketball coach Jeff Hart. "He has always been an excellent shooter, and he has incredible range. His biggest challenge will be to adapt to the more physical college game."

Curtin was a key contributor who helped the Windjammers get back to the regional playoffs last season for the first time in four years, as he averaged 11.6 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.3 blocked shots, while he shot 59.3 percent from the foul line and 44 percent from behind the 3-point line.

In the early part of this year's season, through three games, Curtin has averaged seven minutes and three points.

"My goal is to play as hard as I can, and to show the coaches my skills and my weaknesses, and have them help me become a great player," Curtin said. [I'm going] to soak up every bit of information possible to help me be the player I need to be."

Curtin's high school teammate, Peabody, plays his college basketball a little farther inland from his former high school, at Thomas College in Waterville, also a Division III school.

"It's great to be playing in college," Peabody said. "It motivates you to be better in the classroom and to better yourself as a player, and as a person. It's a great feeling to look around you on the bench knowing that everyone you sit with is very good, which is different from high school."

"I chose to play [at Thomas] because for two years, while I was still in high school, I came here for summer camps, and then as I worked and showed my dedication to the program early on, I got onto the recruitment list," Peabody said.

"Daniel has worked really hard to get in shape for the season, and the work is really paying off for him," Windjammer coach Hart said. "His ability to play physical in the paint will serve him well at the college level, and his biggest challenge will be adjusting to the speed of the game."

The 6-foot 6-inch Peabody was another key piece for the Windjammers on last year's postseason team, as he averaged 11.5 points, 6.1 rebounds, a block and assist, while shooting 56.8 percent from the foul line.

Through five games this season, Peabody has played in three, but has yet to score.

"The transition [to college basketball] has been rather easy actually," Peabody said. "I expected it to be much different and tough, but I was ready for the next step. It's only been about a month into the season, and I feel like I'm such a better player already."

"My goal is to work my way up," Peabody said. "Going from a high school starter to sitting on the bench is what I expected, but still tough. I'm excited to earn more minutes and work hard."

"Both [Curtin and Peabody] are hard workers and I think they will need some time to adjust to the college game, but they will be ready to contribute as the season goes along," said Hart.

Down the interstate, a third former Windjammer basketball player, Lauren Miller, has found her college home, at the University of Southern Maine in Gorham, also a Division III institution.

Miller was one of seven seniors on the Windjammer girls basketball team last season, and also in the beginning of her first collegiate season.

"It’s been very fun playing college basketball," Miller said. "The competition and intensity in practices and games is much higher than high school. It was a bit of an adjustment getting used to playing with new girls at a higher level, but we have great leaders and every member of the team is very supportive, and pushes me to be the best I can be."

"I am so proud and excited for Lauren for making the USM women's basketball team," Camden Hills girls basketball coach Kim Kuhn said. "She's such a competitor, and every year she improved her game at Camden Hills. She was such a joy to coach, and she has a never-give-up attitude."

"I think coach [Samantha] Allen is going to like Lauren's style of play because she does the little things that don't show up on the stat sheet, and she's going to love her all-out hustle," said Kuhn. "Lauren and I talk about once a week, and she sounds so happy at USM. She said she loves her teammates and coach. She's working hard on the court and in the classroom. It sounds like it's a great fit for Lauren, and I couldn't be more proud of her."

"USM has a very competitive and successful basketball program, and the team has done well in the past few years, so I knew that was the community I wanted to join," said Miller.

Miller, a 5-foot 6-inch guard, averaged 10.2 points, 2 steals, and 2 assists her senior year, while shooting 56 percent from the foul line.

In her first season as a Husky, through three games, Miller has played in two, scoring two points in each contest.

"My goals for my freshman season are to improve and become a better player," said Miller. "All the members of my team are so talented, so it only pushes me to become an even better player."

"I know I have a lot to learn from my upperclassmen," said Miller, a nursing major. "Also, like any other freshman athlete, I would just be happy with any playing time. My team has a lot of talent and potential to do well this year, so a goal of mine is to see us go far this season."