MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — A fifth West Virginia native in the Class of 2020 will soon sign a Division I basketball scholarship offer. Wheeling Park’s Alex Vargo has verbally committed to compete at Youngstown State University and will officially sign his letter of intent in April.
“They came in kind of late but they expressed a lot of interest. They got me up on campus and stayed in touch all the time. I like the campus, their coaches and players. I am excited about going there and I think it will be a good fit.”
There are a pair of West Virginia connections in the Youngstown State program. Head coach Jerrod Calhoun is a former WVU assistant coach and he led Fairmont State to the Division II national championship game in 2017. University High School graduate Geoff Hamperian just completed his sophomore season with the Penguins. YSU went 18-15 this season and was scheduled to play in the CIT before their season was cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Vargo is a 6-foot-6 guard/forward who is a 4-year letterman and 3-year starter for the Patriots. He also had scholarship offers from Oakland, VMI, West Liberty and Fairmont State. In his senior season, Vargo is averaging 27.8 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. He is shooting 88.6 percent from the foul line and 42 percent from 3-point range.
“That’s what I have been working towards for the last six years since I started taking basketball really seriously. I just want to play at the highest level. I have the skill set and the size so I made that dream come true.”
Vargo has scored 1,634 points in his Wheeling Park career and says he continues to work on all aspects of his game to adjust to the Division I level.
“I am working on my athleticism, getting stronger and getting faster. But I am also trying to tighten up every aspect of my game — ball handling, off-the-dribble 3’s, catch-and-shoot 3’s, off-the-dribble mid-range and finishing through contact with both hands.”
Vargo broke a school record for points in a single game when he scored 53 against Parkersburg South on January 30. The record stood for 22 years and was previously held by his head coach Michael Jebbia (52 points).
“Since I was so close, I knew he was going to keep me out there. He left me in against South because they have always been pretty good.”
Wheeling Park (18-6) claimed a Class AAA Region I title with a thrilling 57-54 win over Morgantown on March 10. Vargo led the Patriots with 27 points. The basketball postseason is currently suspended due to the COVID-19 virus.
“It is awful. That’s the first time we would have been down at the state tournament since 2012. We have been getting killed by Morgantown and University for my whole four years. It was good to get that (regional) victory and then it just gets taken away.”
Vargo hopes to create a few more memories in his Wheeling Park career if the state tournament can eventually be played. Regardless, he will leave school as one of the most decorated players in program history.
“I am close with the coaches and it is a family up there. All my best friends are there that I grew up with so I wouldn’t change anything.”
Vargo joins Chapmanville’s Obinna Anochili-Killen (Marshall), Logan’s David Early (Marshall), University’s Kaden Metheny (Bowling Green) and University’s K.J. McClurg (uncommitted/several offers) as Division I scholarship players from West Virginia in the Class of 2020.