ST. CLAIRSVILLE - Anthony Wallace grew up in Wheeling, so exactly what West Liberty was, and is, was not lost on the Linsly senior.
"I've been to a lot of West Lib games, and it has always been a class program, a championship program and the atmosphere there isn't like a typical Division-II atmosphere," Wallace said, after the OVAC All-Star game, won by Ohio 102-88.
"When I went there it just felt like home. I love it there."
Sometime during the Hilltoppers' run to the Division II National Championship game, which he, like most of us, watched on CBS, the Linsly star made up his mind.
Home was home and he couldn't, and didn't have to, veer too far down the beaten path to find where his heart lies.
Sometime during the next few weeks, Wallace will make it official.
He will become a Hilltopper.
By all accounts, and by his showing in the OVAC All-Star Game Sunday at Ohio University Eastern, it is a match made in Hill Top Heaven.
Wallace led the West Virginia team with 15 points, on four 3-pointers and an old-fashioned three-point play.
In doing so, he flashed the skills that will mesh perfectly with what he will be asked to do at the next level. That is, be a shooter or slash to the basket, both of which he does with aplomb.
"No doubt, when I watched them play, I saw a perfect fit for the things I like to do, the things I think I can do," Wallace said. "I like to slash to the basket and I think I can hit the 3-pointer if I have to do that."
At one point the Linsly star, who had a career-best 45 against Bishop Donahue this season, had four straight 3s to keep West Virginia in the game early.
With a 15-man rosters, it was hard for players, and coaches, to get a rhythm going with one group. Truth is, the players were each all-stars in their own right, and deserved some run.
Which makes the four straight even more impressive. Bang, bang. Bang, bang.
No doubt, Wallace landed in the perfect college locale to flash the uber skill set he possesses (he averaged 23 points, nine rebounds and five assists for Linsly his senior year and finished with more than 1,500 career points). At the same time, West Liberty, which isn't hurting for star-quality players, got itself quite the player in home-grown talent Anthony Wallace.
One player who is a man without a school is Wheeling Central's David Park.
"No offers," Park said, when I asked about his college of the future.
Hard to believe.
After averaging 18 points and more than seven rebounds for Class A state champion Wheeling Central, I would have thought someone would take a chance on the 6-foot-5 Park.
He can shoot (and won the 3-point shootout at halftime). He battles hard in the paint. More than anything, he knows how to win.
"It is a little bit frustrating," said Park, who then recalled he does have one offer from an NAIA school in Michigan. "I want to play at the next level and I feel like I am good enough to play at the next level."
Bet is before it is over Park will find a school that can use a player who is competitive as heck and yes, has skills to go along with the heart.
Nate Scott of Wellsville was a shooter for Ohio, draining all five of his 3 pointers in the first half and finishing with 15 points. Ohio had 17 in the victory.
It was almost like deja vu for the Wheeling Central contingent of coach Mel Stephens and seniors Park and Alonzo Manns.
After all it was Scott who, on the same court, had canned four 3-pointers, from NBA range, in what ended as a 69-65 Wheeling Central victory.
"We knew he was a shooter," Stephens said. "That is the one great thing about this game. Seeing guys you might see once or twice, and coaching guys who you hadn't seen but had heard about like (Morgantown's) Scottie Core and (Parkersburg's) Logan Lawrentz.
Some of the players who played in the game are going to college to play other sports, most notably Madonna's Ross Comis, who will be a quarterback at UMass, and Martins Ferry's Robert Vargo, who will play at Ohio Dominican. Both hit double figures. Comis had 11, as well as some top-shelf passes, and Vargo, the lone player in the game with his own hashtag that at one-time was trending (#VargoNation), at least locally, had 10.
The players who came in with little fanfare but impressed me the most wer Magnolia's Zach Willhoite, who had 14 points and several rebounds, and Brandon Czuchran of Buckeye Local, who led all scorers in the game with 16.
Dave Morrison can be reached via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org