Offers from Oregon and Valparaiso, and some conversations with a handful of Big Ten schools are distant memories for small forward Ryan Fazekas.
“It's just been so long,” the senior-to-be said. “I can't remember.”
The offers started rolling in during his freshman year at Marquette Catholic High School in Michigan City, Ind. He'd already talked to several schools when an offer came in from Providence College two years later.
Though Fazekas could have easily taken a spot at Valparaiso or followed up on interest from Purdue and Indiana, his heart was stuck visiting the east coast. Big East basketball, a “beautiful” gym, as he called it, and a visit before Midnight Madness sealed his decision.
“I walked to the hotel room that night, and I was like 'I just feel at home. This is the right spot,'” Fazekas said about his commitment to Providence. “People say you know when it happens. I'm pretty sure I knew.”
He talked to his parents later that night and all but solidified his decision to commit to the Friars. Now he struggles to recall other colleges that were once on his radar.
His focus has switched to improving ballhandling skills, getting stronger and adding to his shooting arsenal. Now 6-foot-7 and 180 pounds, Fazekas said he is looking forward to working out this season because he recognizes the need for a little more muscle.
“It's going to be big boys out in the Big East,” he said.
After scoring 12 points in the Kentucky Junior All-Stars game Friday, Fazekas said he wished he would have shown more aggressiveness. He wanted to drive more and maybe finish the dunk opportunity he had near the end of the game.
But the outside shot was there, and he was part of an Indiana team that sailed to a 127-104 victory over Kentucky. Three-pointers were falling for just about everyone, so he was OK with the performance.
Though Providence is just around the corner, Fazekas hasn't forgotten about his senior year with Marquette Catholic.
“I'm ready for this offseason and working out before our senior year,” he said. “We have a chance to repeat in the 1A, but I'm just ready to be in college and play at that level.”
Despite attention from schools in his backyard and across the country, Fazekas' decision was unwavering. He saw more than just a welcoming campus or a spot on a team stuck in the middle of a strong basketball conference.
Just like in that hotel room, Fazekas found a home in Providence.
“The coaches out there made me feel at home, and I just felt it was the right spot,” he said. “Once I got there, I just had that feeling. So I had to pull that trigger.”