YORK TWP. — Cory Inman and Tony Stockman are now indelibly linked.
The 5-foot-11, 160-pound Inman, who helped the Buckeye boys basketball team to a school-record 21 wins in 2013-14, Friday signed a letter of intent to continue his playing career at Ohio Christian University, which has won back-to-back National Christian College Athletic Association Division II national championships with 2000 Medina graduate Stockman as head coach.
Inman became the first MedinaCounty player to commit with Stockman, who recently signed a three-year contract extension.
“It’s hard for us to talk to kids early in their careers because everybody thinks they’re going D-I or D-II,” Stockman said. “Cory’s the perfect kid. He’s a good athlete and a great kid. Those are the kind of kids we can get.
“I’ve definitely got to start getting kids from this area. The schools up here have the type of kids we need.”
Inman, an All-Gazette honorable mention choice who averaged 6.4 points, 5.4 assists and 2.4 steals while shooting .746 at the line as a senior, first heard of Ohio Christian through Stockman’s older brother, Adrian, his AAU coach on the Stockman Basketball Club for the past six years.
The 18-year-old attended a summer camp at the Circleville school — OCU is just south of Columbus — and a seed was planted when he had the opportunity to scrimmage against Stockman, who played at Clemson, Ohio State and professionally in places like France, Brazil and Mexico.
“It was kind of eye-opening,” Inman said.
The 1,750-student school does not offer athletic scholarships, but Inman, who carries a 3.8 grade-point average, scored a 28 on his ACT and plans on majoring in sports management, will receive academic and financial aid that will cover part of the $17,000 yearly tuition.
“It’s a dream come true,” he said. “I love basketball. I just want to play the game I love.”
After helping Buckeye to a 21-4 record and Patriot Athletic Conference Stars Division title as a senior, Inman is slated to back up OCU point guard Evin Bartlett, who will be entering his junior season.
The Trailblazers finished 27-8 in Stockman’s first season and went 25-10 in 2013-14. Led by NCCAA Player of the Year Wesley Russell’s 27 points, nine rebounds and six assists, they defeated Arlington Baptist 91-69 for their second straight national title.
“I like Cory’s game a lot,” said Stockman, the co-winner of Ohio’s 2000 Mr. Basketball award as a senior at Medina. “He’s a natural point guard, he’s unselfish and he changes speeds well.”
Inman, who had a 2.2-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio as a senior, is anxious to play at Ohio Christian, whose schedule includes several D-III schools in the state.
“The main attributes of a point guard have to be being a leader and always being aware of what’s going on,” he said. “Scoring is what newspapers look at, but I like to move the ball around and be the coach on the floor.
“I’ve never really cared much about points and individual accolades. They’re nice, but I just want to win.”
Contact Rick Noland at (330) 721-4061 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Like him on Facebook and follow him @RickNoland on Twitter.