Trio of West Valley players sign to college basketball
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - A year after penning four players to the collegiate level, the West Valley Wolfpack Boys Basketball program is sending three more in the Class of 2021 in Cortarius Mingo, Judah Ward and Ben Foshee. The trio grinded through the questions marks surrounding their senior season and came out on the other side as college basketball players.
Cortarius Mingo - Lewis & Clark College
The verbal and emotional leader of the ‘Pack, Mingo is taking his talents and intangibles to Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon. A role player his junior year, Mingo flourished into a go-to scorer by his senior year, averaging nearly 15 points and 6 rebounds a game, earning him Mid Alaska Conference Most Valuable Player honors.
“I am excited to get the show on the road,” Mingo said after signing at West Valley Thursday. “These two guys up here with me are my guys. We grinded it out every day, they made me better, I made them better. It means a lot seeing them going to the next level with me, that is everything.”
Standing at 6-foot 4, Mingo was a Class 4A All-State 2nd Team selection with the Wolfpack, progressing every summer. He shared some advice for those wanting to follow a similar path.
“Work hard and on the court, remain humble and stay focused, Mingo said. “Off the court, stay focused in the classroom so you can be able to do what you want to do on the court.”
Signing to the next level is a big step - but one Mingo is prepared for with the guidance of his family - including his older brother who previously signed to college basketball.
“I got my mom and brother here and they’re good mentors,” he added. “My brother, he is a good role model so I am pretty sure he is willing to lead me every step of the way, so I will be able to get through it. I get to follow in his footsteps and I get to play at the next level and I just hope to do as well as I did in high school.”
The Lewis and Clark Pioneers are led by head coach Tim McCrory, competing in the Division III Northwest Conference.
Judah Ward - Treasure Valley Community College
Judah Ward, the high-flying senior, signed to play ball at Treasure Valley Community College in Ontario, Oregon.
“Individually, I am really proud of how hard I worked to get where I am,” Ward said. “As a team, we had really good team work and worked everyday. We had ups and downs but in the end, we pulled through.”
Ward led the team rebounds, while instilling fear into opposing teams that did not want to be on the wrong side of a highlight reel.
“I felt like it was a really good location,” Ward said of Treasure Valley CC. “The coach really wanted me so it felt like a good fit.”
Ward was assigned to guard the biggest player on opposing teams, while being relied on for production on the glass. His two-way ability earned him Mid Alaska All-Conference honors.
“Work hard and have a good attitude, because everyone notices that,” Ward added as parting advice.
Treasure Valley is led by interim head coach Andy Ward, competing in the Northwest Athletic Conference (NWAC).
Ben Foshee - Park University
Ask Ben Foshee to do the dirty work, he will respond with ‘no problem’. That attitude combined with his determination landed him with Park University in Parkville, Missouri.
“They have my four-year program for athletic science, plus the coach has been there for like 16 years,” Foshee said of signing to Park University. “They were really the only school that hit me up and wanted me, so all around it was a good fit.”
Foshee led the Wolfpack in charges by a wide margin, while stressing out opposing players with his on-ball defense. As a football player, track athlete and basketball player, previous injuries narrowed down his collegiate options to one sport - and to one school.
“I just knew that is what I wanted to do and I was going to stick to it until I couldn’t anymore.” Foshee added. “I am just grateful that it happened, I don’t know what I would have done if it hadn’t.”
From the days of taking him to practice to finalizing his collegiate decision, Foshee always had support in his corner.
“They just supported me in whatever I decided I wanted to do and put me in the best position possible to succeed and that’s all you can ask for really.”
The Pirates compete in the NAIA Hear of America Athletic Conference (HAAC), going 14-8 during the 2020-21 season led by head coach Jason Kline.
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