Hey, high school seniors! I applaud you for picking up a newspaper. If you're reading this online, that's cool too. It's good to know that you're interested in local news, sports and events.
Either way, you're taking advantage of a valuable form of media that is underappreciated by your generation (and by my 20-something age bracket as well). But after that quick, shameless promotion, it's time for some advice about your college decision.
Go somewhere where you feel comfortable. College is the best four years of your life, so make them count. That's what LaBrae senior Peyton Aldridge plans on doing, and he'll be at the perfect place for it.
Even though local schools like Akron, Kent State and Youngstown State showed heavy interest in the athletic, versatile and spunky 6-foot-8 forward, his ultimate commitment was to a school that fit his playing style.
"It'll be different being away from everybody, but I'm excited about going down there," Aldridge said. "I'm ready for a new experience."
While Davidson has a student population considerably less than all three of those schools (and others that were high on Aldridge), it plays at a level of higher pedigree and tradition. With an impending move from the Southern Conference to the Atlantic 10, things are even brighter on this western North Carolina campus.
"He'll succeed there," his coach, Chad Kiser, said. "He'll be able to play a high level of basketball in a smaller town. He didn't just jump at one thing; he looked at the whole picture."
The Wildcats have appeared in the NCAA tournament 11 times, going as far as the Sweet Sixteen four times. They're kings of their conference with 22 regular-season titles and 12 league championships. Davidson went 26-8 in 2012-13 and played in an early season tournament in New York City's Madison Square Garden. This year, its slated to play in tournaments in Buffalo, N.Y. and Charleston, S.C.
"Just getting to travel around will be a great experience," Aldridge said. "Seeing new places and playing basketball around the country is a dream come true."
Aldridge will be the fourth player from northeast Ohio joining the Wildcats. Brian Sullivan is a sophomore guard from Upper Arlington, Jack Gibbs is a freshman guard from Westerville and Jordan Barham is a sophomore guard from Cleveland's University School.
They're coached by Bob McKillop, who was the most successful high school basketball coach in the state of New York. In 23 years at Davidson, he's compiled a 401-263 record.
"He's one of the most respected coaches in the entire country," Kiser said.
It's hard to argue against Aldridge's decision. Though it would be nice to see him playing near home, Aldridge will carry on Davidson's success. You'll see him on TV, you'll pick his Wildcats to go one round further in your March Madness bracket and say you saw him when...
Same thing goes for newspaper articles, kids.