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Former York-Adams League basketball standout enjoys surge in NCAA Division I offers

ROB ROSE
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Family members recently reminded Thomas Haugh about the rarity of the opportunity he has before him.

New Oxford's Thomas Haugh shoots for two while covered by Trey Sweigart of Central York during the York-Adams boys' basketball championship, Thursday, February 13, 2020.
John A. Pavoncello photo

The latest numbers from 2020 estimate that only 1% of boys' high school basketball players reach the NCAA Division I level. Haugh is part of that small group. He's been given the chance to achieve the goal of playing basketball at the elite college level, and after last weekend, the list of opportunities has grown significantly.

The former New Oxford High School standout added three more NCAA D-I scholarship offers, bringing the number of D-I colleges chasing after him to eight.

“It's awesome. It's a blessing,” Haugh said. “This has been awesome just being able to train and see my hard work pay off in these last couple tournaments and the offers that flowed in.”

New Oxford High basketball standout Thomas Haugh to transfer to prep school

Haugh decided to transfer from New Oxford in Adams County to the Perkiomen School, a preparatory boarding school in Pennsburg, Montgomery County, last August, with the goal of building a bigger recruiting profile and improving his skills. In prep schools, players typically have more time to focus on training than in public schools.

In the 11 months since he joined Perkiomen, Haugh said he is now 6-foot, 9-inches tall and weighs 205 pounds. That is a one-inch and 15-pound increase since he announced his transfer after his sophomore season in the York-Adams League, when he averaged 7.8 points, 6.7 rebounds, 1.2 blocks and 1.1 steals per game for the Colonials. At the time, he had just one D-I offer, from Mount St. Mary's in Emmitsburg, Maryland.

Trying to gain weight: The rising senior cited the college-style training sessions run at Perkiomen practices as the biggest challenge, but the eat-as-much-as-you-can diet plan his coaches have him on helps him recover and build his body.

“It's been pretty tough,” Haugh said. “Anytime when you're done practice we would always go straight to dinner and they have everything there. You can get as much chicken as you wanted to, or as much whatever you wanted to. I remember I would just always pound like, like three chocolate milks after practice every day. I just try to get those calories in me that I lost in practice because I know I have a really fast metabolism. So, it's definitely hard to gain weight, but I'm starting to see, like starting to see myself gaining some weight.”

Recent flurry of offers: All the training and eating has been worth it. On Saturday, Sunday and Monday Haugh received D-I offers after playing in an event in New Jersey last week.

The first came from Siena College on Saturday. Fairfield University followed on Sunday and less than 24 hours later Marist College became the eighth program to offer him a scholarship.

This is the second time this summer that Haugh has received a flurry of offers. After playing in an event in Philadelphia, Haugh received offers from Lehigh University, Lafayette College and Army West Point. He also holds offers from Mount Saint Mary's and the University at Albany.

Raising his recruiting profile: Haugh's decision to transfer was largely based on the impact that the prep school would have on his recruiting, and he said that between Perkiomen's head coach and his coach at Philly Pride AAU, their connections to colleges have been the biggest difference between getting recruited while at New Oxford.

“It's been pretty different just having a coach that is like a plug to some of those schools that are reaching out to me now, like Princeton and some of those like Ivy League schools, he knows pretty well,” Haugh said. “Just talking to all these colleges coaches and asking them to come watch our games and stuff and then seeing the results, it's been sweet.”

New Oxford's Thomas Haugh challenges York High's Kevin Glover in the key during semifinal action at Red Lion Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020. New Oxford went on to win 60-54. Bill Kalina photo

Staying humble: Nearly one year after his decision to transfer, Haugh's choice has provided the desired result. As his skills and size continue to improve, so does his chance to land a full NCAA D-I scholarship.

As the offers continue to roll in, Haugh's family celebrates the moments with him, but keeps him humble by reminding the rising senior how unlikely it is to be in this position.

“They're all loving it. They're as much fun as I am,” Haugh said. “They're all happy for me and it's been cool just knowing that my mom and dad hopefully won't have to pay for college. It's just been awesome.”

Reach Rob Rose at rrose@yorkdispatch.com.