OKARCHE — Hunter Frisby proudly sported his Northwestern Oklahoma State colors Tuesday night at Okarche’s All-Sports Banquet inside the high school gym where he became a star.
Frisby wore a dark black suit complete with a bright red tie and his customary bright white smile to the gathering of more than 100. Although Frisby had already officially signed his letter of intent with the Rangers weeks earlier, the night gave friends, family and coaches of Frisby a chance to celebrate the accomplishment with him, which carried with it a bit of history.
When he inked with NWOSU, which plays at the NCAA Division-II level, he became the first Okarche’s boys basketball player to sign with an NCAA school in program history.
“To look back at my freshman year I would have never thought I’d get the chance to go play college ball somewhere,” he said. “And then to be the first male athlete from the basketball program to play in the NCAA, I feel honored to be able to get to do that.”
“It’s a really compliment to him I think,” Okarche head coach Ray West added. “I think he has a great opportunity, he just needs to work hard and go take advantage of it now.”
The 6-foot-5, 250-pound senior forward dominated his competition as a senior, averaging a double-double for the year, (18 points, 10 rebounds) twice collecting more than 20 rebounds in a game. Colleges were interested in him, but after the season ended Frisby considered giving up basketball and attending Oklahoma State instead.
An April visit to Northwestern’s campus and conversations with a higher power ultimately helped him make his decision.
“I just prayed about it a lot,” he said. “I just heard something saying ‘go play.’ That’s really what pushed me towards that.”
It was a decision that West, who’s played a large role in Frisby’s development the last four years, was happy to see.
“The best time to go to play is right out of high school,” he said. “If you’ve got any kind of doubt, if you get an opportunity to go play you should take it. That way a few years later you never say, ‘I wish I would’ve tried to play.'”
Frisby said he’s already had a chance to meet most of the team along with first-year head coach Brad Franz, and is excited to join his new squad.
“They’re great guys. I’ve had a chance to go up and down the court with them,” he said. “They’re going to be a good bunch next year, so I’m ready.”
He’s not sure yet where he fits in on next year’s team, but expects his talents to translate well at the next level.
“I feel like if they put a smaller guy on me I can post him up, and if I have a bigger guy on me I can step out to the 3-point line and knock a couple down,” he said. “That’s the plan right now. Just take advantage of what they throw at you.”
Though he admits there will likely be some growing pains as a freshman.
“I’m ready to get faced with adversity,” he said. “I’m just going to go have fun and play my game.”
That’s an approach that hasn’t failed him yet.
“He can play inside and step out and shoot the 3,” West said. “He’s a pick and pop guy and that’s what a lot of the colleges like to do now. Hunter is valuable because he can do that and I think they saw that in him.”