McDonald’s Rasile enhances game, brings back trophies

Zach Rasile won’t forget his trip to Italy. In some ways, those who saw the McDonald freshman guard won’t either.

Rasile played for Team Ohio during April’s Junior International World Championships, helping his team win the U17 title with a squad comprised of three juniors, three sophomores, two freshmen and an eighth grader.

McDonald is a team with a helter skelter, pressing style of defense, with an offense to match. He played the European style, which is a stark contrast with little or no one-on-one play.

He hopes to take this style of play into his sophomore year.

“At McDonald we don’t play man-to-man defense, so it’s good to get the experience in,” Zach said. “I thought was and OK defender, but I surprised myself a little bit how well I was to defend a couple of players.”

Jeff Rasile, Zach’s father and basketball coach at McDonald, remembers the call he got coming back from scouting a Southern Local-Valley Christian game in Struthers.

It was Warren G. Harding coach Andy Vlajkovich, who has worked with Zach numerous times in the offseason. He recommended Team Ohio pick up Zach for its U17 team, which played near Milan, Italy.

“It was a nice honor for Zach. It was kind of a surprise,” Jeff said.

Columbus resident Bob Kortsen, a former college assistant at BYU and Cincinnati, put this together through the Youth Sports Foundation. He’s led teams to Europe and other areas around the globe since 2000.

Players like LeBron James, Jared Sullinger and Aaron Craft have all gone.

Zach’s team had its toughest game against a team from Italy in the quarterfinals, led by a point guard ranked as one of the top 10 players in the country.

Zach then hit five 3s in a row to end the fourth quarter and seven in the game.

He set the Ohio record for 3-pointers in a season with 140.

Ironically, Zach won a 3-point contest in Italy.

“After that game where I hit seven 3s, a lot of people realized I could shoot,” he said. “There were some other shooters there.

“The basketballs were different weights and stuff. There were street balls and official basketballs. It kind of threw everybody off a little bit. I was definitely one of the favorites.”

Not only will his defense improve next season because of this trip, so will his offense.

“Instead of shooting a floater, attacking the rim a little bit harder and getting to the foul line,” Zach said. “I didn’t to the foul line a whole lot last year, so I’m trying to get there more because that’s easy points.

“Attacking people harder.”

jvargo@tribtoday.com