Noah Rittinger is back.
Where has he been?
Ah, that’s a long and winding road.
The saga began in the summer of 2017. That’s when Marshall University head basketball coach Danny D’Antoni offered Rittinger a scholarship.
It was the slick, left-handed point guard’s very first major college offer. That particular “first” wasn’t much of a surprise considering Rittinger was only a ninth-grader at Winfield High School.
But, obviously, it speaks volumes about how talented he is.
That’s why Rittinger virtually falling off the basketball radar in 2018-19 was so odd.
It all started when there was a controversial coaching change at Winfield and Rittinger transferred to Teays Valley Christian School.
Then, it got fuzzier and fuzzier. Rumors were flying that Rittinger was here, there and just about everywhere except Winfield.
Finally, it was announced that he had enrolled at Huntington Prep. That appeared to be the end of this dribbling travelogue.
Well, guess what?
Much to my surprise, there was the 6-foot-1, black-haired Rittinger playing in Marshall’s team camp last week for … Poca High School.
Even D’Antoni was surprised.
So, just how many stops has Rittinger – a rising junior — made since his ninth-grade season at Winfield?
“Too many, too many, too many,” said Rittinger with a rueful grin. “Yeah, probably too many.”
But, apparently, he has found a home at Poca.
“Yeah, for sure,” said Rittinger. “I started out in Putnam County ...”
So, now, he’s back. And he hasn’t lost anything. Rittinger proved that during Poca’s impressive 59-44 win over Cabell Midland.
Rittinger came out on fire, hitting a 3-pointer for Poca’s first points. By halftime, Rittinger had 13 points on 4-of-4 shooting from 3-point range with a foul shot.
He finished with 15 points on 5-for-11 shooting, including 4 of 6 on 3-pointers, with four rebounds, three assists and a steal.
But the numbers really didn’t show his game. Rittinger handles the ball seamlessly, penetrating with ease off the bounce and finding cutters with laser-like passes. He sees the floor extraordinarily well.
Not bad for a kid who didn’t play competitive hoops last season.
“There were a lot of personal things that were going on in my life,” said Rittinger. “Actually, I haven’t been playing basketball consistently for probably seven, eight months. So, I’m just getting back into it. I’m excited to get back to playing basketball.”
Wait a minute.
What about his time at Huntington Prep?
“I didn’t play at Huntington Prep,” explained Rittinger. “I sat out last season. Honestly, I had some stuff going on and I just wasn’t playing.”
So, obviously, the layoff rekindled the flame.
“I’d say so,” agreed Rittinger. “Yeah, I kind of missed it. I’m glad I’m back into it. It does feel good to be back, finally, just playing for fun. I really wasn’t enjoying the game for a while just because of some stuff that was going on. But I’m starting to enjoy the game again.”
He’s just going into his junior year of high school. He’s too young not to enjoy the game he excels at.
“Yeah, I was feeling pressure,” said Rittinger. “But it’s good to be back on the court. I like Poca. I like Coach (Allen) Osborne a lot. He’s a great coach.”
So, this story has a happy ending.
Noah Rittinger is back where he belongs … on a basketball court.