Some college basketball fans watched Ohio’s 2012 NCAA Tournament run with frustration, ripping brackets up as the No. 13 seed Bobcats upset No. 4 seed Michigan and No. 12 seed South Florida en route to the Sweet 16.
WKU recruit Darrell Combs, a senior from Thornwood High School in South Holland Ill., wasn’t one of those disappointed.
The 6-foot-1 guard models his game after his former “Mean Streets” AAU teammate and close friend D.J. Cooper, the Ohio guard who played a big role in the school’s tournament upsets.
“We always chill when he’s back home or are always tweeting at each other,” said Combs, a two-star recruit according to Rivals.com.
Originally committed to Loyola (Ill.), in September of 2011, Combs and Loyola’s coaches recently decided to take separate paths, which reopened his college options.
He’s now narrowed his list to two final schools, Horizon League member Cleveland State, and WKU.
“It’s a beautiful campus,” Combs said of his visit to WKU during the April 6-8 weekend. “Just a really beautiful place. Great gymnasium, facilities too.”
He said he took a special liking to a few WKU coaches and freshman forward George Fant, who accompanied him during the visit.
“Coach (Ray) Harper and (Jake) Morton, they are both two good guys” Combs said. “And Big G (Fant) was real cool, someone I could hang around a lot.”
He wants to save judgment on his other option, Cleveland St., for after his campus visit there, which he’s scheduled for the weekend of April 13-15.
“I like their coaching staff and style of play,” Combs said. “I’ve really got to do more homework on them though.”
Similar to Ohio’s Cooper, the 6-foot-1 Combs has a well-rounded skill set, evidenced by his 15 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists per game averages his senior year.
“My best strength is breaking my defender down, knocking the long ball down or getting to the rim,” Combs said. “I can do whatever is needed.”
Combs’ favorite sports moment in his career came at the end of his senior year, when he led Thornwood to its first conference championship in a decade, scoring 24 points in an upset over Andrew High School.
He currently doesn’t have a timetable set for when he’ll make his college decision final, but he did say academics could be a deciding factor for him.
“Books come before basketball,” Combs said. “The academics will play a part.”