York-Adams boys' volleyball standout commits to NCAA Division I program

ROB ROSE
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York Suburban's Brady Stump, left, hits the ball down as Linville Hill Christian's Tyler Zook defends during PIAA District 3, Class 2-A boys' volleyball quarterfinal at York Suburban, Thursday, May 20, 2021. York Suburban would win the game 3-0. Dawn J. Sagert photo

When Brady Stump started high school, playing volleyball wasn’t even on his radar.

Stump entered York Suburban at 6-feet tall and had plans to pursue a career in college basketball.

That was until the Trojans’ volleyball coach at the time approached him and asked if he would be interested in giving volleyball a shot.

Stump wasn’t sure what to think when he got the offer, but he figured it couldn’t hurt to give it a try. When he left that first open gym, Stump started to consider a change in his sport of choice. That proved to be a smart decision.

As his senior basketball season begins, Stump has landed a spot on a college roster, but it’s not in the sport he thought he would play. The 6-7 senior announced recently that he has committed to play volleyball at NCAA Division I Saint Francis University in western Pennsylvania after receiving an athletic scholarship.

“It's very different and it just completely blows my mind that four years ago I was thinking basketball is my No. 1 (sport) and I would maybe play baseball on the side,” Stump said. “Everything has completely changed in the sense of a sport that was brand new to me is now my No. 1, with basketball more so on the side. It's just very surprising to me how much has changed in four years.”

York Suburban's Brady Stump bumps the ball during PIAA District 3, Class 2-A boys' volleyball quarterfinal action against Linville Hill Christian at York Suburban, Thursday, May 20, 2021. York Suburban would win the game 3-0. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Becoming a key cog for Suburban: Stump received some playing time during his freshman volleyball season, but has become a key player for the Trojans in the past two seasons. Suburban reached the District 3 Class 2-A title game and a PIAA semifinal last spring, with Stump leading their attack at outside hitter.

Against Meadville in a PIAA 2-A semifinal, Stump had 25 kills and two aces despite the opposition trying to take him out of the game. 

Despite his frustration with how his junior season ended, that semifinal ended up being an exciting day for Stump anyway.

Saint Francis is first to show interest: Saint Francis had a coach in attendance. That coach had also watched him during the district playoffs. He approached Stump and told him the program was interested in having him join them. At the time it was the first recruiting interest Stump had received. That immediately improved Stump’s mood and motivated him to get back to training.

“It was very confidence boosting just in the fact that I wasn't introduced to (NCAA) D-I interest before then,” Stump said. “I kind of never really thought that I could go that high. Maybe I was going to go D-III, maybe D-II, but when he approached me, that made my confidence go up, gave me a mindset of: ‘OK, I, if I keep working, I could go D-I.’”

York Suburban's Brady Stump hits a slam past Lower Dauphin's Craig Patrick Jr. and Luke Gibbs, right, in the District 3 Class 2-A boys' volleyball championship at Lower Dauphin Friday, May 28, 2021. Suburban fell in the five-game match. Bill Kalina photo

Their conversations continued and resulted in Stump taking official and unofficial visits to the school. He loved the facilities and felt comfortable when he met the players on the team. After his second visit, the offer became official and Stump was still shocked and wasn’t sure how to feel about it.

Achieving something special: Once he started to tell friends and family, the realization finally set in that he had achieved something special and he knew Saint Francis, located in Loretto, Cambria County, was the right spot for him.

“I honestly did not think much of it in a way because I don't think I had the full understanding how much it is to go to college and then just getting an offer in general is wonderful,” Stump said. “I didn't fully understand it, but the more people and my parents talked to me about it the more I realized that it was a huge deal. It's very heartwarming when others see me now and they congratulate me. It just puts a smile on my face.”

He will join a Saint Francis program that competes in the Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association, along with schools such as Penn State and George Mason, among others. Last year, Saint Francis was 6-12 in the EIVA and 8-19 overall.

The Saint Francis roster already includes two other former York-Adams standouts: junior Braden Richard from Central York and redshirt sophomore Alex Finch from Northeastern.

Turning his focus to his senior seasons: With his college commitment done, Stump was excited to turn his focus to the rest of his senior year. The stress of selecting where he would go to school next year is gone and his attention is aimed at the game he grew up dreaming of playing and the one he learned to love.

The decision to accept an invitation to try out a new sport has changed his life and now Stump is excited to enjoy his senior seasons without having to worry about what’s next while trying to lead his teams back to the PIAA playoffs.

York Suburban's Brady Stump beats Mechanicsburg's Tyree Morris for a shot in a District 3 Class 5-A boys' basketball first-round game at York Suburban Tuesday, March 2, 2021. The Trojans went on to win 67-54. Bill Kalina photo

“I am very glad I got it done at the time that I did, because I don't have to worry about college, basketball and then going into volleyball,” Stump said. “Now I can focus more on my academics, my basketball season and my volleyball season to hopefully push our teams to go as far as we can. Because with (college) being on the side of my mind, I don't think I would be able to perform the best I could. So, with that being set aside and finalized, I think it'll be a fun time playing basketball and hopefully we go far in both basketball and volleyball.”

Reach Rob Rose at rrose@yorkdispatch.com.