HEISER: With college choices made, Y-A stars can focus on highly-anticipated prep seasons

  • Two York-Adams League basketball standouts recently made their college choices.
  • York Suburban's Aidan Hughley will play for NCAA Division II Shepherd University.
  • Central York's Nolan Hubbs will play for NCAA Division III York College.
York Suburban's Aidan Hughley, right, is seen here in a file photo from January. Hughley has committed to play for NCAA Division II Sherpherd University in Sherpherdstown, West Virginia.

Aidan Hughley and Nolan Hubbs have a fair amount in common.

Both were York-Adams League boys' basketball all-stars a season ago.

Both have developed their games for the well-regarded York Ballers' club team.

And both recently made their college decisions.

Their common ground doesn't stop there, either.

While they may not be headed to high-profile NCAA Division I programs, both players appear to have settled on schools that should be solid fits on multiple levels.

They also both got their decisions out of the way early so they can concentrate on high school seasons of great expectations under new head coaches. 

Finally, they both found some much-needed certainty during the uncertain times of the COVID-19 era.

Hughley, a 6-foot, 6-inch senior at York Suburban, has committed to Shepherd University, an NCAA Division II program in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.

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Hubbs, a 5-11 senior at Central York, has decided to stay a little closer to home, committing to NCAA Division III York College.

Hughley coming off big season: Hughley was the leading scorer (15.7 points per game) on a Suburban team that finished 21-8 a season ago, reaching the Y-A semifinals while also winning a Class 5-A state playoff game.

With former Suburban standout Mitch Kemp taking over the Trojans' program for veteran bench boss Tom Triggs, and a strong group of returning players, the Trojans are expecting big things this coming season.  

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"I'm definitely glad that I finished up (with college recruiting) and know where I want to go," Hughley said. "I can focus on (his York Suburban) team and winning. I think we have the potential to be one of best teams in the league and definitely go far in the playoffs."

Hughley, a Y-A Division II first-team all-star a season ago and a double-double threat every time he gets on the court, expects to play in the front court for Shepherd, which is coming off a 14-15 season. Shepherd offered Hughley a full scholarship, which played a major role in his decision. 

"They gave me a full ride and other schools didn’t know how much they’d put on the table," Hughley said.

Hughley chose the Rams over East Stroudsburg, Lock Haven, Franklin and Marshall and West Chester.

"After visiting the school, I really liked the teammates and the coaches," Hughley said of Shepherd. "It was one of my favorite options. It was the safest bet and I really enjoyed the school. ... Because of COVID and the uncertainty of how things will go, it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up."

The fact that Shepherdstown is about a two-hour drive from York was also a selling point.

"It's close enough so that my parents can come out and see my games, but far enough away that I can get the college feel and be independent," Hughley said.

Hughley enters his senior campaign needing fewer than 100 points to reach 1,000 for his career.

Central York's Nolan Hubbs is seen here in a file photo from February. Hubbs has committed to play for NCAA Division III York College.

Hubbs joins long list of Y-A players at York College: Hubbs, meanwhile, will join a long list of Y-A players who have found a home under York College head coach Matt Hunter.

Hubbs was a Y-A D-I second-team all-star a season ago for the Panthers, averaging 7.8 points per game. He helped Central to a 24-5 overall record, which included Y-A D-I and Y-A playoff titles. The Panthers also finished third in the District 3 6-A playoffs and earned a 6-A state playoff win.

Like Suburban, Central will have a new head coach this season in Jeff Hoke, who is replacing Kevin Schieler.

New Central York boys' coach: 'God put me on this earth to coach basketball'

At York College, Hubbs will join a program that finished 23-6 a season ago, the latest in a series of strong seasons for the Spartans under Hunter. The Spartans have been led in recent seasons by another point guard from Central York — Jared Wagner.

The recently-graduated Wagner will go down as one of the great players in York College history — and he just happened to coach Hubbs with the York Ballers.

"(Wagner) coached me the last three years with the York Ballers, and I knew him and his family very well even before that. I would talk to him about York College. ... He pushed me hard on and off the court to be a better player. He also allowed me to gain more information about the York College program. ... The Ballers made a huge impact on my basketball career. Since I went there three years ago, the coaches there made me a thousand-times better player."

The Spartans' up-tempo style of play also played a role in Hubbs' decision. The Spartans averaged more than 80 points per game in 2019-2020.

"It started last fall when they first showed interest in me," Hubbs said. "I came to a few games and started falling in love with it. The style of play is exactly what I was looking for. I also enjoyed the energy and camaraderie between the coaches and players. It was outstanding. There's no better place than there for me."

Hubbs was also considering Lebanon Valley, Arcadia and Hood, but, like Hughley, the uncertain COVID situation led him to make an early  decision.

"(COVID) was a problem for every recruit," Hubbs said. "You couldn’t visit campuses for a while. York got to me early before COVID."

Also like Hughley, Hubbs and his Central teammates are expecting a standout season, despite having a new leader on the bench. The Panthers became a traditional Y-A power during Schieler's reign.

"(Hoke) has very high expectations, as does every player on the (Central) team," Hubbs said. "We have a great chance at winning districts and making a state run. (Hoke has) brought a ton of energy."

Steve Heiser is sports editor of The York Dispatch. He can be reached at sheiser@yorkdispatch.com.