Third Wright State senior, Darling, signs to play in Europe

Billy Donlon told his seniors they couldn’t rest after the season if they wanted to play basketball at the next level. They may have wanted to enjoy life as a regular college student after a grueling season on the court, but he advised them to take no more than week or 10 days off before resuming workouts.

“To Cole, AJ and Matt’s credit, that’s what they did,” Donlon said Monday.

The Chaminade-Julienne graduate Matt Vest signed in May to play with Gotha in Germany. The Vandalia Butler graduate AJ Pacher signed with the Starwings Basel (Switzerland) in July. Cole Darling, of Holt, Mich., signed Monday to play in Hungary with Zalakerámia-ZTE KK.

Donlon expects a a fourth departing Wright State senior to play pro basketball next season, too. Jerran Young had shoulder surgery after the season, so he’s likely to sign to play in Australia, Donlon said. The season there starts later, giving Young more time to rehab.

“It would be pretty neat for four guys from the same class to go pro,” Donlon said.

Donlon said the fifth senior, Miles Dixon, has elected not to play professionally and is going to pursue a master’s degree. Dixon had shoulder surgery last week.

Darling, the latest player to sign, battled injuries throughout his Wright State career. There was even talk of him redshirting last season, Donlon said. But Donlon said Darling can do well at the next level.

“He’s got to put weight on,” Donlon said. “He had a really hard time putting weight on. He didn’t lift weights the entire offseason (before last season). Nobody knows that that. He had the surgery on his shoulder. For five weeks, he couldn’t lift. You can’t lift one side and not the other. He could do the maintenance things, but he couldn’t get himself bigger. I don’t have any doubt that impacted the kind of year he had. He had a good year, but I think he would have had a better year had he not had to go through that surgery.”

Donlon knows something about playing overseas. He played in France and Germany and for the Irish national team after finishing his career at North Carolina-Wilmington.

“All three of those guys can score more than people think,” Donlon said. “There’s no question all three of them can play different spots and guard different people. I’m really excited for them. As I told them, ‘This is now your profession. You need to really every day you have to be advancing yourself in your profession. You need to put in the time. You don’t have school. You don’t have other commitments. You need to commit five or six hours to your day to improving your body, improving your game and then going back and improving your body again.”