Chase Harler, a sophomore guard who led Wheeling Central to the Class A state basketball title in March, has committed to West Virginia University.
Harler cast his lot with the Mountaineers on Sunday — the same day that WVU made him a scholarship offer. It’s the first commitment of the 2016 class for WVU.
The 6-foot-3 Harler, who averaged 20.2 points last season, earlier received a scholarship offer from Marshall. He has two seasons left with the Maroon Knights.
“I am extremely proud to say that I am verbally committed to West Virginia University!’’ Harler wrote on his Twitter account on Sunday. “I cannot wait to become Mountaineer.’’
Harler said that once WVU’s offer was made, he had no reason to hesitate and accepted right away.
“I made the decision [quickly],’’ he said. “It’s just being a fan my whole life and staying in state, and you have such a big fan base. I want to contribute to another winning [program] when I get down there.’’
Harler made a lot of believers at last winter’s state tournament, scoring 65 points in three games to propel Central to its 11th state basketball championship, second all-time among West Virginia high schools only to Woodrow Wilson (16).
He poured in 30 points in the title game, a 64-55 victory against Charleston Catholic.
Harler said he’s ready for the added expectations that will now come with the rest of his high school career.
“Definitely,” he said. “Personally I think we have a chance to repeat. I’m sure a lot of people don’t think that because we graduated seven seniors. But we have a lot of good underclassmen who can contribute to the team.’’
His father, John Harler, said earlier this summer that his son had also received interest from Elon, James Madison and Davidson. Besides Marshall, Winthrop was the only other school to issue a scholarship offer.
If and when he signs, Harler could be the third straight highly-rated state prospect to sign with WVU. Nathan Adrian played as a freshman last year and former Liberty Raleigh standout and current Huntington Prep player Levi Cook is committed to the 2015 class.
Reach Rick Ryan at 304-348-5175 or firstname.lastname@example.org.