PARKERSBURG - Talent, desire and dedication can take a student-athlete a lot of places, just ask former Parkersburg Big Red basketball standout Zac Grossenbacher.
Although Grossenbacher had the dream answered as any prep player would want - earning a Division I scholarship - the former Wofford College big man has decided to transfer to Division II hoops power West Liberty University and play his final three years for Hilltopper head coach Jim Crutchfield.
"I loved Wofford as a school and I loved my coaches and my team," said the ex-Big Red, who left PHS after his junior season to play for Massanutten Military Academy. "I'm not leaving because of Wofford at all.
Photo courtesy of Morry Gash
Former Parkersburg High School basketball standout Zac Grossenbacher has transferred from Division I Wofford College to Division II power West Liberty University.
"The style of play wasn't quite my style of play. I just thought I'd have a better opportunity elsewhere. There is always going to be thoughts in the back of your mind, but once I made the decision, I decided to look forward to what I have to do to get ready for West Liberty."
Even though he was redshirted his first year as a Terrier, Grossenbacher was able to travel with the team. Last season, he appeared in 17 games and averaged not quite six minutes an outing. His final game, albeit just a one-minute appearance, came in the NCAA Tournament during a loss to Michigan.
"It wasn't for quite as long as I liked, but I did make that experience and got to play in the tournament, and not a lot of people can say that," noted the two-time Southern Conference all-Academic Honor Roll member, who has been working out here in town with former Florida Gulf Coast University baller Chase Fieler.
The season after Grossenbacher left the friendly confines of Memorial Fieldhouse, the Big Reds made the Class AAA state tournament and advanced to the semifinals. Now, Grossenbacher will rejoin his former PHS teammate and longtime childhood friend Devin Hoehn, who helped the Hilltoppers to a national runner-up finish earlier this year.
"He was my neighbor when I was 3 and I've known him since I was 3 or 4," said Grossenbacher. "We went to different elementary and junior highs, but got to play together in high school. Now, hopefully it can continue and we can have success."
Of course, Grossenbacher said he talked with Hoehn quite frequently as he was debating his decision on leaving Wofford.
"During the whole process, I'd call him once or twice a week," said the near 6-foot-8, 230-plus pounder, who considers himself a stretch-4, but will play as a pivot for WLU. "We'd talk on the phone and I'd ask him different questions about West Liberty.
"As soon as I went and told the (Wofford) coaches, he was the first one I called right after and I told him he had a new teammate. He was yelling on the phone and was excited and was laughing and kept making jokes. He couldn't get over it and was ecstatic that I was coming to join him. It was a pretty good time."
While Grossenbacher hasn't grown much since his days at PHS, one thing he has done is strengthen his frame quite a bit from formerly being about a 190-pounder.
He said having gained about 45 pounds the last few years has made "a huge difference and I'm not so much just a spot-up shooter. Now, I can take the ball to the basket. I feel that I'm quicker and I think everything has gotten better."
The psychology major said he hopes to perform well enough in preseason camp to earn a starting nod for the Hilltoppers.
"Obviously, they are a top-notch Division II program," Grossenbacher added. "The way I play the game, their program really fits my style and I think I'll fit in really well.
"I'll have a good opportunity to play there, have a nice career and maybe play after college. They gave me a better opportunity than I had at Wofford."