PHS grad Hoehn living hoop dream

WEST LIBERTY, W.Va. -Devin Hoehn’s transition to college basketball has included all the bells and whistles.

Not only is he a member on the country’s top-ranked Division II men’s basketball program, but he also contributes on a regular basis as part of the starting rotation for the 16-0 Hilltoppers from West Liberty University.

“I never thought about playing this well – I just wanted to do what I could to help the team out,” Hoehn said. “I was willing to do whatever it took. Whether it was scoring or not scoring.”

Hoehn has appeared in all 16 games for West Liberty. Entering last week’s home games with Notre Dame on Thursday and Charleston on Saturday, the redshirt freshman was averaging 13.6 points per game -one of seven Hilltoppers averaging in double figures.

“The first couple of games, I was a little slow and didn’t play as many minutes,” Hoehn said. “I was hesitant the first couple of games. I didn’t want to make anyone mad and step on anyone’s toes.”

After leading Parkersburg High to the Class AAA Final Four during his senior year, one of Hoehn’s top college choices was West Virginia Wesleyan. When West Virginia Wesleyan’s head coach took a job elsewhere, Hoehn turned his attention to West Liberty and coach Jim Crutchfield.

Hoehn arrived on campus and both parties agreed the best option would be to redshirt his freshman season. Hoehn gained valuable insight both as a spectator at games and as a practice partner in the gym.

“I didn’t know if I would like sitting out a year – I had played basketball for such a long time,” Hoehn said. “As the season went along, I learned the system. If I had to do it again, I would.”

This season, Hoehn is just one of many threats to shoot from the perimeter. In West Liberty’s case, the 3-pointer has been its ally. Recently in a 133-92 victory against Urbana, the Hilltoppers combined for a school-record 30 3-pointers. Hoehn’s 16 points featured four 3-pointers, including the record-breaking 30th make.

“Everyone was hitting that night,” Hoehn said. “My high school coaches (Jeff Mennillo) and (Bob Carr) told me I would love this system. We love to run and gun, but it also requires hard work on defending the press. We know if our defense isn’t doing anything and stopping the other team then our gameplan is pretty much deflated.”

The difference is distance between the high school and college 3-pointer didn’t have much affect on Hoehn. In the Mountain East Conference, he ranks fourth in 3-pointers made per game at 2.94 and sixth in 3-point shooting at 43.5 percent (47-of-108).

“Getting my shot down is something I’ve personally worked on,” Hoehn said. “I take a lot of extra shots in practice. Plus we have shooting games at the end of practice where we specifically work on the three.”

Hoehn is the son of Becci Nestor and Sherman King. His parents have attended just about every home game and all but a few of the road games.

“They are my biggest supporters – they mean a lot to me,” Hoehn said.

Last year, West Liberty reached the Final Four before losing to eventual runner-up Metro State, 83-76. The Hilltoppers ended the campaign 34-2 and the goal is once again nothing short of winning the national championship.

“That’s the ultimate goal,” Hoehn said. “It means a lot to play for this program and I’m blessed to be on this team.”