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Kratzenberg happy for 2nd chance

Ironton Fighting Tigers’ senior point guard Phillip Kratzenberg signed a letter-of-intent to play basketball at the University of Rio Grande on Wednesday. Attending the signing ceremony were: from left to right, brother and Ironton assistant coach Chase Kratzenberg, father Robert Kratzenberg, Phillip, mother Kim Kratzenberg and sister Cassie Kratzenberg. (Kent Sanborn of Southern Ohio Sports Photos)

Ironton Fighting Tigers’ senior point guard Phillip Kratzenberg signed a letter-of-intent to play basketball at the University of Rio Grande on Wednesday. Attending the signing ceremony were: from left to right, brother and Ironton assistant coach Chase Kratzenberg, father Robert Kratzenberg, Phillip, mother Kim Kratzenberg and sister Cassie Kratzenberg. (Kent Sanborn of Southern Ohio Sports Photos)

Jim Walker

jim.walker@irontontribune.com

 

Phillip Kratzenberg changed his mind. Fortunately, the Rio Grande coaches didn’t.

A second shoulder injury last season had Kratzenberg soured on the idea of playing college basketball.

But after some second thoughts, Kratzenberg had a changed of heart and signed a letter-of-intent to play for the University of Rio Grande RedStorm on Wednesday along with Ironton Fighting Tiger teammates Marques Davis and Travis Carey.

“As soon as I was injured, I didn’t want to play anymore. I thought it was just going to keep happening and I didn’t want to go through it anymore,” said Kratzenberg.

“But after a couple of weeks, I was thinking about it and I got a little better. I still have to have surgery, but I decided I still want to play no matter what.”

The 5-foot-11 senior guard averaged 12.4 points a game. He also averaged 2.4 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.5 steals while shooting 45 percent from the field and 32 percent from the 3-point line.

He was a first team All-Ohio Valley Conference pick, a second team Division III All-Southeast District selection and was honorable mention on the Associated Press All-Ohio team. He was also a Coaches District 13 first team selection.

“At first I didn’t want to play after the season. But Rio Grande stuck through and still stuck with my scholarship and said I could play. That’s why I want to go to Rio Grande,” said Kratzenberg. “I’m ready to go. I’m excited to go.”

Kratzenberg’s toughness was something that reminded the Rio Grande coaches of RedStorm player Travis Elliott who also played at Ironton.

“Coach (Mark) LaFon is a Rio grad so he knows what Rio is like and what is expected from the Rio program,” said Rio Grande assistant coach Phil McKnight.

“Travis Elliott is an Ironton High grad and with a guy like that, there’s surely a few more like that coming out. Those kids work hard, they can take someone criticizing them to help them be better people.”

Kratzenberg said his surgery is scheduled “very soon” and he’ll have about six months recovery time. He said the possibility of being red-shirted hasn’t been discussed.

“I haven’t really discussed it with (Coach Ken French). I know coach LaFon has discussed it with him and he said that everything will be fine,” said Kratzenberg.

Phillip — the son of Robert and Kim Kratzenberg — is undecided on a major.