ASHEVILLE – When Spencer Kirkpatrick decided to close his college recruiting process and commit to North Greenville (S.C.), he knew he had made the right decision for himself and his family.
“Staying close to home played a lot into my decision. (Family) have driven me to all these tournaments and all these camps,” Kirkpatrick said.
“They have done a lot to get me where I am and if I went to a school in Florida or a long distance away, they wouldn’t even have the chance to see me play and I wouldn’t be able to get home for holidays and things like that.”
Kirkpatrick is a 6-foot-7 forward who averaged 10.7 points and 6.0 rebounds per game for the Wildcats (22-6) last basketball season.
He had formal offers from a pair of Division II schools, Mars Hill and North Greenville. Catawba was in the process of making an offer when he committed to the Crusaders.
Kirkpatrick also had offers from Division III schools in Virginia and Tennessee.
“It was a really long process. I had a lot of really good schools that offered me or had really strong interest in me at both the Division II and Division III level,” Kirkpatrick said. “After I had taken my visits to all the schools, I just really felt like North Greenville was the best fit for me athletically and academically.”
When it came down to it, the players and coaching staff really sold him on the school, according to Kirkpatrick.
Carolina Day coach Trip Cogburn said he thought Kirkpatrick really developed a relationship with the coaching staff at North Greenville very quickly. Kirkpatrick felt like he fit in with the players there as far as the type of people they are, Cogburn added.
Former North Buncombe standout Daniel Burchette, who was the 2015 Citizen-Times All-WNC Player of the Year, is a guard for the Crusaders. Burchette was named the Conference Carolinas Freshman of the Year back in March.
“I really liked the coaching staff and the players. It’s a really good Christian school and its got very good academics. Those were the big turning points for me and why I liked it a lot,” Kirkpatrick said.
The coaching staff at North Greenville showed a lot of interest in Kirkpatrick early on in his recruiting process and showed him that he was high on their priority list.
“They have stayed in touch with me and were very persistent in recruiting me which I liked a lot. They didn’t’ want to offer me until I was completely interested in the school which is a big deal to me because they don’t just offer people just to offer them,” Kirkpatrick said.
It was more of a personal connection rather than like a business decision.”
Cogburn is happy with Kirkpatrick’s choice.
“He has a chance to play early and often there because he’s a true post which is a type of player that has been kind of a dying breed,” Cogburn said. “He’s a post and he knows he’s a post. He’s willing to do the dirty work inside and I think North Greenville is really excited about that and that’s something they really need. I think that you always want to go to a place that you’re wanted and North Greenville really wanted him.”
“I think he is excited about the level of play. I think he wanted to play at the highest level he could so to get a chance to play at the Division II level was important to him.”
Being able to continue his basketball career at the collegiate level is what Kirkpatrick said he is most excited about.
“Playing basketball is what I am looking forward to the most. I’m really excited about the next four years and getting to play in that tough conference with really good competition and good teams. I’m really looking forward to playing the next four years,” Kirkpatrick said.
Kirkpatrick has battled through a lot and worked extremely hard to be able to have the opportunity to play collegiate basketball, his mother, Beverly, said.
“It has been a long time goal and he has had many obstacles to overcome. We are very proud of his accomplishments,” she said.