Coy Van Tilburg’s world got bigger when he moved down to Arizona over the summer.
The sharpshooting Galion graduate attends Hillcrest Academy in Phoenix to play post-graduate basketball. Hillcrest offers student-athletes the opportunity to play their sport for one year after they graduate without losing any college eligibility.
“It’s a different environment,” Van Tilburg said.
While Galion is a small town, he says, there are vast differences in Phoenix including the scenery and weather.
“It’s still 102 [degrees],” he said. “It’s beautiful year-round.”
While he loves Galion for the friendships and family he has up there – he visited his mother in August – he likes his new home for the sport.
“Everyone here is an athlete,” he said. “You have to improve or you won’t last long.”
Van Tilburg received an 80 percent scholarship to Hillcrest Academy since being recommended to head coach/recruiting director Nick Weaver by several junior college coaches with whom he had been in contact during the season. Weaver and Hillcrest Academy program director Matt Allen have extensive experience working with post-graduate basketball programs and have placed numerous young men in college programs across the country.
Van Tilburg said he has aspirations to play for a Division 1 college basketball programs. He said he and his coaches have been in contact with five programs throughout the country. He’s also looking at junior colleges as an alternative.
“I’m getting better here everyday,” he said.
Van Tilburg transferred from Madison High School in Mansfield, where he averaged 14 points per game. But in his senior season at Galion in 2014-15, he averaged 12.2 points, 2.9 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.9 steals per game. He scored a season high 25 points on Dec. 30, 2014 in a 71-65 loss at Pleasant.
Hillcrest Academy post-graduate basketball team started its 2015-16 season and have played three scrimmages. The team won its last game 107-95 against Pima Community College in Tucson, Ariz., on Oct. 10, Van Tilburg said. The team will play its next game at 3:30 p.m. Oct. 16.
“This is the best place for me to be,” he said.