Torrey Patton, the Trotwood-Madison senior basketball player whose recruitment soared after one game in this past season’s final four, signed to play at the University of Akron on Tuesday morning.
Patton, a 6-foot-4 guard, chose the Zips over Wright State, Miami, Duquesne and Robert Morris.
Also, Trotwood senior guard Amir Foster signed with Tennessee State. Later Tuesday, Darnell Hoskins Jr., a 2016 Thurgood Marshall grad who played this past season at Victory Rock Prep in Florida, signed to play basketball at Saginaw Valley State in Michigan.
Several area products chose teams during the November early signing period. Girls signees were Alter’s Libby Bazelak (Duquesne) and Braxtin Miller (Oklahoma State), Thurgood’s Ciara Hooks (Ohio) and Centerville’s Victoria Harrison (Wheeling Jesuit, W.Va.). Boys signees were Keegan Saben of Centerville (West Liberty, W.Va.) and Jackson Center’s Brady Wildermuth (Findlay).
Hooks was the first Dayton City League girl to sign with an NCAA Division I program since Meadowdale’s Ebony Gainey landed at Dayton in 2007.
Entering the D-II final four in late March, the best offer for Patton, an All-Ohio Division II co-player of the year as a senior, had been from West Virginia Wesleyan. That changed when he put 34 points and 11 rebounds on Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary in a shocking 62-60 loss. Trotwood (26-3) had crushed Akron SVSM 100-61 in the regular season.
Both Trotwood coach Rocky Rockhold and Akron SVSM coach Dru Joyce raved about Patton afterward, including his lack of D-I offers. Soon, he landed an offer from then-Akron coach Keith Dambrot, who just as quickly resigned to become Duquesne’s coach. Akron followed by luring John Croce, who hadn’t been retained after five seasons at Illinois.
Croce immediately sought out Patton. Dambrot continued to make a pitch for Dusquesne, too.
“I’ve always wanted to play D-I basketball,” Patton said. “It didn’t start out how I wanted it, but it ended how I wanted it to. There were always moments like, what more do I have to do? What more do I have to prove? It was a lot of praying and wishful thinking. I want to prove to all the other coaches that you missed out.”
That could include WSU, should the programs play. “I feel Wright State came late,” Patton said. “That was the school I really dreamed of going to at first.”
Patton led the Rams in scoring (20.7), rebounding (9.1), assists (5.8) and steals (4.0). A three-year starter, he also surpassed 1,000 career points.
“Honestly, it’s a lesson in patience,” Trotwood coach Rocky Rockhold said. “It was a little bit of the old adage, when you come first … (Akron) showed a lot of love early and continued to show it. It was a good situation for him and he felt it was a place he could make an early impact.”
Tuesday was the first day of the basketball regular signing period. It extends through late May for D-I players.
Also signing at Trotwood were girls soccer players Alana Ward (Lincoln), Tamiya Allen (Chicago State) and Rashanti Shafeek (West Virginia Tech). E'Taja Thompson (Urbana) signed to play basketball last Friday.
• A 6-foot guard, Hoskins played for his father, Darnell Hoskins, at Thurgood. A three-year starter, he averaged 18.2 points, 4.9 assists, 4.7 rebounds and 3.5 steals as a senior. He was the Dayton City League player of the year, the Division II District 15 player of the year and first team All-Southwest District.
“I told (my parents) this is the right place for me and they have everything I need,” Hoskins Jr. said during a signing ceremony that drew a large crowd at Thurgood. “This is definitely big. It’s been great. I haven’t been able to get any sleep. It’s been real crazy.”
SVS is an NCAA D-II program in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. The Cardinals were 17-11 overall last season and 10-11 in the conference. Hoskins said he had other D-I and D-II offers, but warmed to SVS on a recruiting visit.
“Sometimes it comes with undue pressure to live up to expectations of your dad,” his father said. “I told him through the entire (recruiting) process, it’s not about me. It’s about you. It’s about the path you desire to take and everybody’s path is not the same. I’m more proud of the kid that he’s become instead of the basketball player he’s become.”
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