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Saturday, Apr. 25, 2015

Donlon pleased after signing Yoho

Posted Friday, November 11, 2011, at 10:21 AM

Eastern Greene senior JT Yoho (front row, center) poses after signing his official letter-of-intent to attend Wright State University on a men's basketball scholarship. Pictured in the front row with Yoho are his parents Jay and Sandy Yoho. Pictured in the back row (from left) are Eastern Greene athletic director Trevor McConnell, EGHS boys basketball coach Andy Igel and EGHS principal Kevin Frank. (Submitted photo).
Earlier this week, Wright State men's basketball coach Billy Donlon announced the signing of two high school seniors who will attend WSU and play basketball for the Raiders.

Eastern Greene's JT Yoho and Jacob Roddy of Manual High School of Peoria, Ill. will join the Raider roster next season.

Roddy, a 6-5 forward, averaged 10 points and eight rebounds in his junior year for the Rams, including 10 double-doubles. Roddy has always relied on strong defense and a great work ethic for his success, according to his high school coach, Derrick Booth.

Yoho, who is listed at 6-6, 220 and plays both guard and forward for the Thunderbirds, helped them to the Class 2A regional final in 2011. Yoho, a member of the Indiana Junior All-Stars, averaged 18.3 points, 7.8 rebounds and 4.1 assists as a junior and has started every game at Eastern Greene since his freshman season.

I would like to thank my staff for doing a terrific job with this recruiting class," Donlon said. "J.T. and Jacoby bring skill, size, and athleticism to our team. Both J.T. and Jacoby come from winning high school programs and have a great tenacity for winning."

Donlon said there were three things that stood out with Yoho.

"First, he played for a great coach in coach (Andy) Igel," said Donlon. "He could coach at any level of basketball. My high school coach Brian James went on to coach in the NBA with the Philadelphia 76ers.

"After playing under coach Igel, JT will come in well prepared and won't have to make as many adjustments as some kids. They work out early in the morning and have day of the game walk throughs, so that will not be anything new. Players coming in from high school have to make the hard adjustment to how time consuming it is to play college basketball and be a student athlete. But it won't be as big of an adjustment for JT."

Donlon said the second thing that Yoho had going for him was his parents -- Jay and Sandy Yoho.

"He has a great family and his parents are fantastic people," said Donlon. "We like to recruit kids with great character.

"To be successful as a player, you have to have the support of your family and community, and JT has that."

He added that the third thing is that Yoho is a good fit with WSU because of his love for the game.

"A lot of guys have talent, but when push comes to shove you can't always get by just on talent alone," said Donlon. "If you love the game like JT does, you want to be in the gym and have a willingness to improve.

"Guys like that will stick it out when things don't always go your way, like they will for any player going from high school to college."

Donlon said that Yoho will have many things to learn, like all new players.

"Ninety nine out of 100 players have to learn to take as much pride in their defense as they do their offense," said Donlon. "That is the biggest adjustment that kids have to make and that is no knock on JT."

The Raiders play in the Horizon League, which includes back-to-back NCAA runner-up Butler. Donlon sees Yoho having unique skills to fit in at Wright State.

"Most of the four men (power forwards) in our league average about 6-6 or 6-7, not 6-9 or 6-10," he said. "We think that JT will be able to fit in as a 4.

"He is going to cause match-up problems for teams. He will be able to take smaller guys inside or go out on the perimeter and drive by bigger guys. It will be an adjustment for him to play a more physical style and to play in college. Defensively, he will need some time to get acclimated but he will learn and understand what it takes to play that end of the floor."

Even though Butler has gained a lot of attention, Donlon said that the Horizon is a competitive league.

"Our league has had a team advance in the NCAA tournament several times over the past five, six or seven years," said Donlon. "Our tournament champ gets an automatic bid, but we feel like we have deserved a second bid.

"We have some excellent coaches in our league. The hardest thing to do is to get in the tournament, but that is goal for all of us."

Yoho and Roddy are the only players that Wright State will be signing.

"We have a very young basketball team," he said. "We have nine freshmen and sophomores, making us the seventh or eighth youngest team in college basketball.

"We will have some growing pains, but with our work ethic and talent, we think we can be very good in February and March."

Donlon said that Indiana native Scott Woods first discovered Yoho, which led him to joining Levi Carmichael (Austin Peay), Jeff Allen (DePaul), Clint Burris (Weber State) and Mike Burris (Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo) as Eastern Greene players that earned Division I men's basketball scholarships.

Coach Igel said the year and half recruiting process involved JT being contacted by Evansville, Eastern Kentucky, Western Michigan, Ball State, Loyola, Stetson, Wright State, IP-Fort Wayne and Bowling Green.

Yoho said the final decision came to Bowling Green, who made the first offer, IPFW (Indiana Purdue-Fort Wayne) and Wright State.

"We went to Italy this year and JT was able to come over and see us practice," said Donlon. "I think it was a big advantage for us and JT for him to be able to see the way we conduct practice. Kids don't always get the chance to do that since most of those decisions are made in the summer.

"I know it was not an easy decision for JT. But we have a school with a lot of diverse people from different backgrounds. Our business school is one of the best in the country. We have a basketball facility that holds 11,000 fans."

Donlon said that any recruit is a work in progress.

"We are now in the area of microwave retention where we expect everything to happen within 60 seconds or we think it didn't work out," he said. "But we are excited to watch JT become a college student, young man and player over the next four years.

"There are going to be some bumps in the road for JT. The thing that excites me the most about him is that he has not reached his ceiling yet. We are looking forward to watching him develop over the next four years."

Wright State University contributed to this story.

B.J. Hargis is the sports editor of the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached at (812) 847-4487 or at hargisbj@gmail.com.

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