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Yoho announces his college decisionPosted Monday, August 22, 2011, at 8:02 PM
Eastern Greene senior JT Yoho makes the announcement that he will be playing college basketball in 2012-13 at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. (By B.J. Hargis/Greene County Daily World).
Monday afternoon here at Eastern Greene High School, such was the case for EGHS senior guard JT Yoho.
But before the soft-spoken 6-7 Yoho, who was wearing khakis short and an red Eastern Greene basketball T-shirt, made his announcement, I noticed a couple of things.
The entire student body was invited to attend the ceremony. That's not something you see every day.
I ran into photographer Jackie Hutchison, whose son Miles has played basketball on the same teams with JT since they were both wearing short pants. It was Jackie who offered a much different view of Yoho.
"JT is ours. He is one of us," said Hutchison, who was no less excited and nervous than JT's parents Jay and Sandy Yoho. "I have been watching him play ball since they were in biddy basketball.
"This is a big deal for JT. But it also is a big deal for Eastern Greene. This is probably one of the most exciting things to happen here."
Jackie, who said she had been very emotional leading up to this moment, added it could not happen to a better kid.
"Sometimes you see kids signing to play college ball and they have an attitude," she said. "I have been around JT and his parents forever.
"He is a really quiet kid that has worked very hard to achieve this. It's not just JT's accomplishment, but it an accomplishment for all of us and the school. I know I am not alone when I say I am thrilled for him."
It was shortly after the scheduled 12:30 p.m. when EGHS coach Andy Igel stepped in front of the microphone to introduce Yoho.
"The past year and a half JT has been involved in the recruiting process," said Igel. "He had contact from Evansville, Eastern Kentucky, Western Michigan, Ball State, Loyola, Stetson, Wright State, IP-Fort Wayne and Bowling Green.
"We received many phone calls and spent hours going through information to try and come to a decision. I am thankful that I was allowed be a small part of the process."
Coach Igel added that Yoho has done a wonderful job of representing himself, his family and Eastern Greene High School.
Yoho then said it came to down Bowling Green, who made the first offer, IPFW and Wright State.
"It has always been a dream of mine to play college basketball," said Yoho, who averaged almost 19 points per game and was a member of the Indiana Junior All-Stars this summer. "I based my decision on the best fit for me and that is Wright State."
Before the press conference, I was walking down the hall to the gym with his father Jay.
"He's already called the other two schools," Jay said meaning Bowling Green and IP Fort Wayne. "That might have been one of the toughest parts of this, but he wanted to be fair to them and to get it over with as soon as possible."
In the face of changing technology, the Greene County Daily World livestreamed the press conference and my interview with Yoho, who led the Thunderbirds to a Class 2A Sectional title in March and a 23-3 record after a loss to Forest Park in the regional final. I realize I am no Roy Firestone, but I tried to do the best I could for a guy who could best be desribed as someone having a face for radio.
A few points of interest from the interview included:
* Yoho really liked the coaching staff of the Wright State Raiders (including head coach Billy Donlon), a Division I school located in Dayton, Ohio and a member of the Horizon League, which includes back-to-back championship game participant Butler.
* He also said that he liked the players, including Alex Pritchett of Bedford North Lawrence.
* Yoho said that he loved IP Fort Wayne and Bowling Green as well as Wright State.
* He said that he will have to play the 3 (small forward) or 4 (power forward) position at Wright State and will have to get stronger and quicker to do.
Ironically, I was talking to an area coach over the weekend who had heard through the grapevine that Yoho was probably going to sign with Wright State, and he said, "There are not a lot of big guys in that league. Look at Matt Howard, a 6-foot-8 kid playing center for Butler. I think that JT, who is built well, can play a 4 in that league."
* Yoho said his parents were probably his biggest influence, including his mom who "was a pretty good player."
* He said players and coaches in AAU told him that he could play Division I basketball, but he didn't realize a scholarship might be within his grasp until he visited the University of Evansville.
"I always seem to have a basketball in my hands," Yoho said. "It just seem to come naturally.
"But there was no way back then that I believed something like this was possible."
* Yoho said he want to the phone to ring with calls from college coaches, but that when it started he wished it would stop.
"It (the recruiting process) was a lot different than I thought it was going to be," said Yoho. "But I am just glad it's over now."
* Yoho said that coach Igel probably took more phone calls than he did and he is thankful for that and everything he's done throughout his career.
* He said he is looking forward to his senior year and believes the Thunderbirds can do even bigger and better things in 2011-12.
"We are just going to play hard and see what happens," Yoho said.
* He added that he plans to be a business marketing major, but is undecided about a vocation about after he hangs up his basketball shoes.
B.J. Hargis is the sports editor at the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached at (812) 847-4487, ext. 12 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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