BP’s Hagerty commits to Colgate
The adage ‘you never forget you’re first love’ applied to Wyatt Hagerty when the Bethel Park graduate chose his college. He recently committed to Colgate University. There the 6-11 center will continue his basketball career.
“Last year when I visited for a camp in July, I fell in love with the school,” said the 18-year-old son of Mary and Richard Hagerty. “I could see myself going there.”
However, the Raiders, enamored with another prospect, offered a full ride to another schoolboy. “They gave my scholarship to somebody else,” sighed Hagerty.
“But,” he added adamantly, “I wasn’t accepting any other offer. If I had to go to prep school, I would wait.”
“Wyatt loved Colgate so much,” said BP floor boss Ben O’Connor. “He considered prep school rather than accept any other offers.”
When Colgate’s prized recruit had a change of heart a few weeks ago, Hagerty’s phone rang. The Raiders were on the other end, saying they had an opening.
“I was elated,” Hagerty explained. “I’m going to a place that I really wanted and they were interested in me. I let out a sigh of relief. They were always honest with me but I never lost interest. I never lost hope. Now, there’s nothing but happiness.”
The Raiders surely must be ecstatic, for they have supplemented their roster with a ‘big man’ who has plenty of potential. Last winter, Hagerty averaged 12 points, a team-high 13 rebounds and 2.5 blocked shots per game for the Black Hawks.
“You can’t teach size,” explained O’Connor of Hagerty’s primary asset. “Wyatt is so big and strong. Plus, there is room to put more muscle on his frame. If he puts the time in and works hard, there’s no telling what he can do because you can’t teach his height and physical presence.”
Since he started playing the sport, Hagerty has always been a presence around the basket.
As soon as he could stand, he picked up a ball. At 5 feet, 3 inches in third grade, he shone in the recreation leagues in the community. But between his freshman and sophomore years of high school, he sprouted 6.5 inches to his present height of nearly 7 feet.
“My physique has always been my strength,” he said. “Because of it, I didn’t have to back down from anybody. It was like playing football on the basketball court, pushing and shoving.”
Under O’Connor, however, Hagerty learned to finesse his way around the rim. While he admits his ball-handling skills can be refined, Hagerty is willing to work on ‘broadening his range and becoming a more dynamic player.’
“Wyatt is extremely athletic,” O’Connor said. “He has good hands and good feet. Plus, it’s all still new to him. He did not do all that AAU stuff and get burned out. He’s fresher than a lot of guys.”
Hagerty, nonetheless, labors at his craft. He says he works out six days a week and relaxes on the seventh day. During the basketball season, that usually meant no action on Saturday.
“Last year, Wyatt reaped rewards for the work he put in. He worked hard in the weight room. His work habits improved,” said O’Connor. “He has a way to go but it’s exciting to see his progress.”
While nothing prepares one for Division I basketball says O’Connor, time is Hagerty’s ally. “He will do great,” predicted O’Connor. “Time will tell.”
Time will tell what Hagerty explores academically. Though he participated in DECA, a marketing/business-type club at school, Hagerty plans to focus on philosophy, film and languages.
“I’ll figure it out,” he said of his non-athletic endeavors. “That’s the nice thing about Colgate, they have vast resources and there are plenty of opportunities. I’m excited. When I enroll, I’ll chose classes and see which ones interest me.”
If Hagerty falls in love with his first options, don’t be surprised if he sticks with those choices, too.
One of only two
Wyatt Hagerty is only the second Bethel Park graduate to earn a Division I basketball scholarship out of high school. In 1968, Steve Previs committed to North Carolina. While Armon Gilliam played at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, he first attended junior college.
While Hagerty never thought about the distinction, he said that it’s pretty cool to be part of such a select group. “I knew I’d end up there (Division I) but I didn’t think about being only 1 of 2 people from my school. I never thought about it being a big deal until all these people kept telling me.”
Wyatt Hagerty file
Parents: Mary and Richard
Siblings: Shannon, Ethan, Seth
Residence: Bethel Park
Year: 2013 graduate
Clubs: DECA, PACS
Career highlight: Beating Upper St. Clair on our own home court two years in a row, particularly when we opened our new gym. I enjoyed that game most out of any other game I played.
Favorite class: Humanities
College choice: Colgate
Major(s): Philosophy, film, languages
Top graduation gift? My parents got me a nice, new camera. Money-wise, though, the scholarship to Colgate is most valuable. Definitely beats anything else I’ve gotten as a present.
Favorite players: Dennis Rodman, Tyler Hansbrough
Best eats? Chicken breast and brown rice.
Diet constraints? Consumes nothing with chemicals. “If I can’t pronounce it, then I am not eating it.” Tries not to eat processed foods. Sticks to whole foods such as fruits and vegetables. Seldom eats pizza and does not eat out.
Music: Marilyn Manson gets me pumped up.
Facebook or Twitter? Facebook is good. I like to share pictures. That’s what I use it for.
Life lesson learned through sports? Don’t stop. Teamwork and dedication are overrated clichés. My motto is to life in the present. There are only so many seconds left on the clock and you need to go for it and forward because time runs out before you know it. It’s the same approach you should apply to life. Take advantage of your opportunities.