McDERMOTT — Although only a newbie in terms of a college graduate, Drew Scarberry has already been —and likely will continue to be —a basketball lifer.
And, it’s been an ideal basketball life at that.
He starred and played for his father at Northwest, took his talents and excelled his game in Ohio’s northeast, and now has come back home to help mold the next generation of Mohawks.
Indeed, it’s the path most players desire but is often the one few travel, as Scarberry describes his last decade on the hardwood as an all-around “wonderful experience”.
Now, he starts the next decade back in Scioto County, and teaching at his alma mater —while assisting his father in the Northwest program, as Rick Scarberry returns to the Mohawks’ bench after five years of following Drew’s collegiate career.
The elder Scarberry was hired as Northwest’s new boys basketball coach on May 19, and announced that Drew would serve on his staff in some capacity.
Drew will also be a first-year Special Education instructor in the Northwest district.
Rick and Drew join daughter and sister Devan Scarberry respectively in the coaching ranks, as she was hired in late March as the new head volleyball coach at her alma mater of Shawnee State.
Drew said there is a lot to live up to with the Scarberry surname, as Rick was a successful head coach for 11 years at Rock Hill before arriving at Northwest.
He coached the Mohawk boys for 11 years before stepping away when Drew graduated, and guided the Red and Blue to back-to-back Division II sectional championships in 2010 and 2011.
“Coming home is a surreal feeling. Being able to come back to the school and the people that made me who I am today and having the chance to give back to the community is something that I am very excited about. Having the opportunity to coach alongside my dad is one thing I’ve looked forward to for the last couple of years and is an opportunity that I’m very excited for,” Drew explained. “I just hope that I can live up to the expectations and the bar that my dad and my sister have made for the Scarberry name.”
But Drew did indeed made a name for himself.
He scored over 1,000 career points for the Mohawks, easily earned first-team all-Southern Ohio Conference Division II honors his final three seasons, and captured SOC II Co-Player of the Year honors with Michael Davis from Portsmouth West as a senior.
At the Southeast District level, he worked his way up the prestigious Associated Press selection ladder — landing Special Mention (freshman in 2012), third team (sophomore in 2013), second team (junior in 2014) and finally first team (senior in 2015).
He made Division III all-Ohio second team as a senior, and was selected to play in the Ohio High School Basketball Coaches Association North-South Classic and the Ohio-Kentucky All-Star game that same April.
A three-time District 14 Coaches Association first-team honoree, he was invited to the all-Ohio Top 100 showcase his final three seasons.
And, while Rick was already well-known and highly thought of throughout the Buckeye State’s coaching fraternity, Drew’s game got him next-level looks.
“Not many kids get to play for their father in school. Especially one with the background and connections that my dad has made throughout the years,” he said. “He showed me how to be a leader and really what it takes to be the best player that I can be by putting in the extra time in the gym and working at my craft so that I could further myself into college.”
Drew did just that.
He signed with Notre Dame College in Cleveland — a member of arguably the top NCAA Division II conference in the entire country in the Mountain East Conference (MEC).
Indeed, from Franklin Furnace along the Ohio River to Cleveland along Lake Erie, it was quite the change — but Scarberry said the top draw to play for the Falcons was their coaching staff.
Tim Koening as head coach and Tim Baab as assistant coach were Scarberry’s college coaches.
“The location of the campus was very influential. It was very close to downtown Cleveland, which gave me a chance to go to Browns games, Indians games and Cavaliers games. Being by a big city like that was a change in scenery, which was an amazing experience for me coming from a small-town area. The main thing that swayed me towards Notre Dame College was the coaching staff,” said Scarberry. “Coach Koenig and Coach Baab really took an interest in me from day one. That was very important to me and it was a great decision.”
Scarberry red-shirted his freshman season (2015-16), but once he got court time, he never looked back.
Standing six feet and six inches tall and weighing 200 pounds as a senior, he played in all 29 (2016-17), 28 (2017-18) and 32 (2018-19) games his first three seasons —including eight starts as a freshman, 16 as a junior and all 28 as a sophomore.
As a senior, he played and started in all 26 contests, averaging almost 16 points, five-and-a-half rebounds and two steals per game.
Averaging over 35 minutes a night, he shot 46-percent from the field —and ranked second on the squad with 131 made field goals, 60 three-point goals, 412 total points, 117 defensive rebounds, 144 total rebounds and eight blocked shots.
He paced the Falcons with 90 made free throws.
In Notre Dame history, he scored 1,480 career points with 315 made three-point goals — as the made threes mark rank first in the program’s time in the NCAA.
He also finished his Falcon career ranked eighth in points (1,480) and games played (115), and ninth in three-point percentage (39.2) and made free throws (219).
A versatile forward who could step out and shoot and even play on the blocks, Scarberry tied his own single-game career-high with 31 points against Fairmont State on Feb. 12.
The Falcons won the MEC championship in 2019, and were an NCAA National Tournament participant that same year.
Scarberry, a three-time MEC all-academic team member, said his athletic and academic experience at Notre Dame couldn’t have gone much better.
“My development throughout my college career all started with having the opportunity to redshirt my freshman year. It allowed me to develop not only in basketball, but also as a college student. Throughout my career, I became bigger and stronger and played anywhere from a ‘three’ (guard-forward) all the way to a ‘five’ (center). Though I was classified as a forward on the roster, I was the three-point specialist for our team,” he said. “My main goal coming out of high school was to be a scholarship athlete in college. Being able to make that dream a reality was absolutely amazing. It was an honor to play the game I love at a very competitive level. Not many people get a chance to play sports at the next level, let alone at a very high level like I was. I played on many good teams as well as a Mountain East Conference championship team and went on to play in the NCAA National Tournament. Also getting five years of school paid for is something that I can hang my hat on. Getting a college education was something I always expected of myself. But being able to do that while continuing my basketball dream was a true honor and success that I am very proud of.”
But of course, Scarberry said realizing his dreams was a total team effort from Northwest.
“I wouldn’t have been able to make it as far as I have without the love and support of my family and friends. The Northwest teaching staff made my transition to college much easier, especially Ms. Weaver and her College Prep writing expertise. I would also like to thank Mr. Frantz and Mr. Boyer for their guidance throughout my high school and collegiate career. I appreciate all the family members and local basketball fans that would come to the games whenever they could,” he said. “And mostly, I would like to thank my parents (Rick and Trish Scarberry) and my sister (Devan Scarberry) for their love and support throughout my basketball career. I would not have been able to have the success and achievements without them in my life.”
Speaking of family, Scarberry now turns the page to coaching, although the friendly yet competitive nature of the Scarberrys certainly remains.
“The competitiveness runs in our blood. Losing is not something that the Scarberrys take lightly. We do whatever it takes to win,” he said.
And, winning more basketball games is something the Scarberrys seek to accomplish with the young Mohawks.
The varsity program has fallen on hard times in recent winters, and only went 4-19 last year.
But the Scarberrys — doing what they can since the Ohio High School Athletic Association removed its mandatory no-contact period on May 26 — are already at work with that improvement process.
“We have been able to do small groups with the kids,” Drew said. “We are working on ball-handling, shooting and conditioning as well as foot speed and jumping. As a team, we are going to go out there and compete every night and do the best we can to win as many games as possible. Individually, we want to see as much improvement in the kids as well as ourselves as coaches throughout the year.”
Indeed, Scarberry’s ideal basketball life now begins his role as teacher and coach.
Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @BoggsSports © 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved