Sunday, July 7, 2013

Niagara `Commit' Myers Made Academic Commitment

In the blog post headlined "Early Summer Thoughts ..." we identified Niagara as the team likely to create the biggest positive surprise this year.

And, then, we found another reason ... the type of story we really love ... for better days ahead for the Purple Eagles under first-year coach Chris Casey.

It's the story of Wesley Myers, who recently graduated from Boys & Girls' High School.

Myers is a talent 6-foot-1 point guard who, just a few days ago, gave a verbal commitment to join Niagara for the upcoming season.

Myers' commitment means he will become the first Boys & Girls player to go straight from high school to Division I in four years. It's not that the school hasn't produced more than its share of high-quality players. It's just that, in recent years, none of them had qualified academically to play at the D-I level directly out of high school.

In a story that recently appeared in the New York Post, Boys & Girls' coach Ruth Lovelace said that Myers is a qualifier after finishing school strong and getting the required SAT score, snapping a recent trend of academic shortcomings at the school for star basketball players.

"I take pride in that," Myers told the Post. "That's an accomplishment."

"He's a kid who pretty much listened academically, listened to what he needed to do," Lovelace told the Post. "It was important for him and his family to qualify, and he got it done. We're very, very happy about it."

Myers' high school teams have won a pair of city championships. As a junior, when he was a key part to his team's third straight PSAL Class AA crown and a state title, big-name programs including South Carolina, Dayton and Miami were showing interest. But, that interest waned and Myers was considering prep school before programs such as Niagara, Rider and even Hofstra, where former Niagara coach Joe Mihalich is now coaching.

"It was a comfortable fit," said Myers. "I liked the team (Niagara), I liked the coach. I felt welcome."

"I think Wesley can have a great career at that level," Lovelace added, in the article. "In his career he has gotten recruited by bigger schools. But, I named five kids (from Boys & Girls) who didn't play as freshmen or sophomores a the D-I level (because of academics). I asked him `what do you really want?' My thing is to go somewhere where they want you, where you're going to play. That's what it's really about. That's what you want out of your basketball career."

And, it appears that's what Myers really wanted, working hard enough at it academically to make it come true.

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