Penguins continue recruiting in Ohio

YOUNGSTOWN — Click. Refresh. Click. Refresh. Repeat a couple of more times.

Potential Youngstown State University men’s basketball recruits are out there. Searching under Youngstown State and going latest is the key.

I read a little over a week ago a senior guard, who is around 6-feet tall, was visiting the YSU campus last weekend.

Keep reading, searching.

Found Darius Quisenberry and a few things said about the talented point guard from Huber Heights Wayne High School:

Plays with as much energy and toughness as anyone in the country.

Getting after it on D, challenging much taller opponents at the rim.

Leader. Low center of gravity.

Hmmm, sounds a heckuva lot like YSU’s current senior point guard Francisco Santiago. No one has a drive like this former St. Ignatius High School standout. Even my son, who sometimes isn’t easily impressed, said “that’s my dude.” I think a lot of YSU fans feel the same way.

Now Quisenberry drew my interest because of his last name. OK, I date myself. Dan Quisenberry was one of my favorite players when I played youth baseball for the now defunct Prairie College Elementary in Canton. All that remains of the school is a vacant lot, but the field remains where I emulated during practice the submarine delivery Quisenberry used with the Kansas City Royals. I played shortstop and outfield, though. Coaches yelled at me I’d throw out my arm.

I had to follow this younger Quisenberry on Twitter @dquiz23.

Bowling Green, Robert Morris, YSU, Cleveland State, nearby Wright State and Cleveland State made their offers to the Dayton-area point guard. He tweeted a couple days earlier all the schools except for Bowling Green were in his top five.

It seems Wayne High School senior L’Christian Smith, a football commit to The Ohio State University, tweeted out that he was patiently waiting on @dquiz23 commitment.

Quiseberry replied it was coming real soon with google eyes and a laughing emoji. Soon, the Wayne point guard made his intention known. He would be coming to Youngstown.

He thanked YSU coach Jerrod Calhoun and president Jim Tressel “for all the love he has given me.”

The Penguins have a great recruiting tool in Tressel, the former YSU and OSU football coach. Ask former John F. Kennedy track standout Chad Zallow, who was recruited by Penn State and OSU. Zallow admits it was a brief meeting with Tressel that convinced him to come to Youngstown. Call Tressel the closer.

Quisenberry said he would continue his education and basketball career at YOUNGSTOWN STATE UNIVERSITY. Yes, it was in all caps.

The most profound part of his committal was when he said, “I can’t thank my parents and siblings enough for all they do for me and I thank God for just allowing me to be in the position.” Gratitude. This represents this inviting YSU team.

Quisenberry averaged 14.3 points, 5.5 rebounds and 5 assists, great statistics for a point guard and a definite asset for this YSU team predicated on an up-tempo offense and defense.

Jelani Simmons, a 6-5 guard from Columbus Beechcroft High School, verbally committed on Aug. 2. He has similar numbers to Quisenberry with 15 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists.

These two Ohio natives are the two verbal commitments for the 2018-19 season. They take the scholarship to be vacated by YSU’s starting backcourt of seniors Santiago and Cameron Morse, one of the best mid-major players in the country.

Simmons (@J_elani) was humble in his tweet on Aug. 2 saying he was committed to YSU, giving thanks to his father, Humphrey, his high school coach, mother and his entire family for their support.

The classiness of these athletes to write something in the notes of their iPhones and attach it with a graphic on Twitter shows to me how much they are appreciated of the process and support systems.

These two Ohio players shows this YSU staff is committed to filling its roster with people from the Buckeye state. Calhoun and his staff cannot comment on recruits until they sign their National Letters of Intent, which is Nov. 15 at the earliest.

Calhoun has previously said he’d like the Penguins to dominate the Cleveland area. With these two recruits, YSU is starting to spread its brand across the great state of Ohio.

The mark is already visible on the Penguins’ 20-man roster (seven non-scholarship players) with eight with roots in Ohio. Jaylen Benton, Braun Hartfield, Santiago, Dan Ritter, Justin Bofenkamp, John Kirinic, Naz Bohannon and Ryan Strollo are Ohio natives.

Two tweets from Quisenberry and Simmons says YSU is keeping Ohio players in their home state, more importantly keeping them away from other Horizon League teams.