This time last month, Tyler Ptacek was signed with UNC Wilmington but growing uncomfortable with the situation. The Seakhawks experienced turnover on their coaching staff before the 3-point specialist from Padua Christian (Ohio) High School received a release from his letter of intent and a week later verbally committed to UE.
Aces coach Marty Simmons formally announced Ptacek’s signing with UE today. He’s one of five incoming freshmen, and his decision was influenced by another future Ace.
Ptacek on his decision to break his commitment to UNC Wilmington and play for UE: “Me and my dad were talking about de-committing and releasing. And that morning – I don’t know which day it was, but I was at school – I checked my phone and had a bunch of missed calls from coaches. I saw Evansville on there. One of my close buddies, Duane Gibson, who I played AAU with (on the Ohio Basketball Club) and am real close with, is committed there so it interested me to get to know what Evansville is all about. That’s one of the main reasons I wanted to go down there – to play with Duane.”
Why not go to UNC Wilmington? “I kind of felt uncomfortable with the whole situation because the guy who recruited me and was really texting me during the whole process was Jamie Kachmarik – he was my main guy – got fired. There was another guy on my visit…that made me feel uncomfortable. I didn’t want to go into Wilmington or any other college not knowing if my coach was going to be there all five years, because that’s the main reason I was there – or committed there.”
Ptacek visited UE on May 14 and made a quick decision. “I knew there was going to be a stop to the recruiting period, so I just got down there as fast as I could and talked to coach (Carson) Harris,” he said. “I talked to him on the phone one time, and me and my dad got down there on a Tuesday. After the drive home, me and my dad and my grandfather all talked about it because they’re both big keys in helping me decide where to go. We decided that would be the best fit for me.”
Ptacek posted results of a shooting drill Tuesday in which he made 672 of 820 3-pointers. “I’ve always been known as a shooter,” he said. “Everyone around my area knows me as a shooter, and I just try to keep that through repetition. Me and my dad have different kind of competitions to see who can get up the most shots in a certain period of time, so that’s what we’re doing before I get to college. I’ve already got up around 3,000 shots in the last three days. Every single day, Monday through Sunday, I’ll be in the gym getting at least 500 shots. It’s all about repetition.”
So if Gibson, the Villa Angela-St. Joseph’s guard, could affect Ptacek’s college decision, how good is Gibson? “I really didn’t know who Duane was,” Ptacek said. “I don’t know if he even played AAU until last year, and everyone kind of overlooked him. Me and my dad both said he’s going to be legit. Once he started playing AAU, he did exactly what we thought. I’d say he’s the top point guard in Ohio, honestly. He’s the most underrated player. I kept saying it to all the coaches at Evansville – they got a steal with him because he’s a true pass-first guy who can score if he needs to. He’s a smart player and always does the right thing. On my AAU team, he was the guy who always found me and got me 90 percent of my shots. That’s why, when we were doing rotations and stuff in AAU, we always played together because it worked so well.”