Ironton dynamic duo ink with Walsh
The two-headed monster that terrorized high school coaches the past four years plans to do the same at the college level for another four-year stint.
Ironton Fighting Tigers’ senior basketball standouts Zac Carter and Trey Fletcher will remain a one-two punch in college after signing to play for the Walsh University Cavaliers.
The dynamic duo helped lead Ironton to a 77-21 record over the past four seasons that included three district titles, one regional championship and a berth in the Final Four.
Both players were excited to make the jump to the next level together.
“It’s going to be great knowing that you have someone you trust on the court — on and off the court,” said Fletcher. “You can play with him four more years and add a new chapter in your life.
Carter said playing in the same program will make the transition easier for him.
“It makes it easier on myself to know that I’m going to have someone I’ve basically been playing my whole life with. We’ll be in the same room together, we’re going to be playing ball together, we’re going to be doing everything together just like we have been our whole life,” said Carter.
Carter — a 5-foot-9 guard — finished his career with a school record 1,778 points. He averaged 24.1 points a game this past season along with 4.7 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 3.0 steals. He shot 48 percent from the floor, 87 from the line and 32 from behind the 3-point line.
He was named to the Associated Press first team All-Ohio in Division III after being named first team All-Southeast District as well as the district Player of the Year. He was first team on the District 13 coaches’ team, the coaches’ Player of the Year and the North/South All-Star Game representative.
Fletcher — who also scored more than 1,000 points in his career — averaged 20.5 points a game and 7.2 rebounds. He shot 55 percent from the field and was 37 percent from the 3-point arc.
The 6-foot-6 Fletcher was an AP first team All-Southeast District selection and third team All-Ohio. He was first team on the coaches’ District 13 team.
Carter and Fletcher were both chosen to play in the annual Ohio/Kentucky All-Star Game.
Ironton head coach Mark LaFon said both players should make an impact at Walsh, possibly the first year.
“If they do their work that’s being asked of them from that coaching staff, I think that they’ll find themselves playing time within the first two years if not sooner. That’s exactly their fit they needed at both positions — one (guard) and whatever combination they use Trey at,” said LaFon.
“Trey can move at 3-4-5 at Walsh. He can play all three. At that level they want (Trey’s) size and that versatility. As fast as they found out (Carter) wasn’t going someplace else, they called and said they didn’t even need to see him (workout on campus).”
Walsh has been a power at the NAIA level, winning the 2005 national championship. This year the program jumps up to the NCAA Division II level and joins the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
Cavaliers’ coach Jeff Young has a 242-52 record the past 10 seasons for a program where current West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins got his start.
“It’s a good basketball program. They’ve got a long tradition of good basketball and good coaches,” said LaFon.
Both players talked with numerous schools before finally settling on Walsh. Fletcher said it was a tough process but he’s excited about his final decision.
“It was a pretty tough decision. Every college that came at us was pretty tough and they gave us a pretty good deal to come there,” said Fletcher.
“Walsh just stood out to me for some reason. Me and Zac went to all these school visits and that was the school for me and then I’m just glad he came along with us.”
Carter flirted with offers some Division I schools such as Morehead State and Canisus, but ultimately he decided on Canton-based school.
“It was going to happen. It was my decision. I just wanted to wait until the right time. Me and Trey talked about the whole process and Walsh. I like their style of play. I think it’s going to fit for myself and Trey,” said Carter.
“It was one of the toughest things I’ve done. You think you’ve got one school and then you go and visit and the school you think you wanted wasn’t what you really thought and then you go look at another school and your head starts getting clogged up with all these thoughts and it gets pretty aggravating. But at the end of the day it’s my decision and I’m happy with my decision.”
With their decision made and their college education paid, next on the agenda is earning their playing time.
“I have to go and earn a spot. Nothing’s going to be given to me. I’m going to have to go up there and earn a spot just like everybody else,” said Carter.
Fletcher echoed Carter’s sentiments.
“My role is I’ve got to work to earn my role first. Then, however I can help the team, that’s how I’ve got to do my job,” said Fletcher.
Ironically, both players plan to major in physical therapy.
LaFon expects both players to be successful both on and off the court.
“The greatest thing about both of them was they were willing to put the time in form a coaching standpoint. It wasn’t like you had to pull teeth to get them to work. They weren’t problems. They grew into a couple of fine young men,” said LaFon.
Trey is the son of Joe and Monica Fletcher.
Zac is the son of Randall and Aleesha Carter.