VERSAILLES – Versailles senior Connor Custenborder will continue a family tradition as he committed to play college basketball for Defiance College on Thursday afternoon.
Both of Custenborder’s parents, Pat and Kim Custenborder, were NCAA Division III athletes, and now their son will compete collegiately as well.
Custenborder said he got a lot of good advice from his parents during the recruiting process, which led him to Defiance. In Defiance Custenborder said he found a place where he fit in well.
“I connected better with the players and the coaches than all the other schools that have recruited me,” he said. “The assistant coaches reminded me of coaches I’ve had in the past like AAU coaches; the personalities are the same. Going up to open gyms to all the different colleges, I just developed a friendship with their players right away. They’re really easy to get along with.”
Custenborder also liked that he will have an opportunity to play immediately for the Yellow Jackets.
“They said that they see me getting a lot of playing time right away,” he said. “That’s part of the reason I chose it compared to some of the other schools. And also they see me as the two or three, playing shooting guard or small forward.”
One of Custenborder’s greatest strengths as a basketball player, Versailles boys basketball coach Travis Swank said, is his ability to play multiple positions.
“Of course he’s a really good shooter,” Swank said. “He’s got deceptive speed and deceptive athleticism at that size, being 6-5. He’ll be able to play multiple positions there at Defiance so I think that’s what they like about him. He can play a two, he can play a three for them, and depending on what they run he may be able to even play a four as well so he brings a lot of versatility, and that’s another key to him as a basketball player. He can do so much on the floor and help out the team.”
In his first season as a starter for Versailles, Custenborder averaged 6.12 points per game, 2.31 rebounds per game and 2.96 assists per game as a senior.
“He worked extremely hard to get to where he’s at,” Swank said. “That’s what it comes down to. When you work hard you’re rewarded, and he was rewarded by earning a starting spot on varsity this year.”
In college Custenborder wants to help lead Defiance to a Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference championship and an appearance in the NCAA Division III tournament. He’d also like to make the all-conference team.
Academically Custenborder plans to study accounting and then pursue a Master of Business Administration degree.
“I think it’s going to be an awesome experience for him,” Swank said. “I’m very excited for him. Any time you can try to work in academics and play sports at the same time, he’s got a lot of work ahead of him, but I think he’s the type of kid that can accomplish those two goals and be successful in both his education and basketball at the next level.”
Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.