Kenston's 6-foot-10 Eric Truog and 6-foot-7 Peirce Cumpstone create several problems for their high school opponents on the basketball court. One specifically, height, cannot be coached.
Underneath the hoop, Truog will twist, turn and simply overpower whoever guards him as he is a traditional back-to-the-basket player. He averaged 18.9 points and 10.9 rebounds last season. Before the season, he was ranked the third best low-post player in Ohio's class of 2012 by the Ohio Prep Spotlight.
When defenses attempt to collapse on Truog, trigger-happy Cumpstone turns deadly from three-point range. Last season, Cumpstone buried 47.7 percent of his downtown attempts while averaging 14.9 points and 7.8 rebounds.
The low-post and perimeter offense Truog and Cumpstone create for Kenston is a one-two punch that opponents struggle to size up.
Both of them, however, will have to play with people their own height in college hoops next season. Before their senior season got under way, they each signed a letter of intent.
Truog signed with Division I Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., on the border of upstate and downstate New York.
Cumpstone signed with Division II Stonehill College in Easton, which is south of Boston, Mass.
The coaching staff at each college is what attracted the Kenston duo in making their final decisions, they said.
"I just felt like they wanted me. That was a big thing," Truog said about head coach Chuck Martin and his assistants. "They said I would get a lot of time my freshman year. They also have a bunch of brand new facilities, so that was a bonus."
Martin, who is in his fourth season as head coach of the Red Foxes at Marist, is known for his reputation as a tenacious recruiter. His underclassmen have led Marist in scoring and assists the past two seasons.
This year, Marist's five freshmen and five sophomores make up the majority of its varsity roster. Two of those sophomores are 6-foot-10, just like Truog.
"I haven't done that before," Truog said about playing with guys his own size. "I plan on just competing with them and hopefully getting a starting job or coming off the bench early in the game. We'll definitely have a chance to win the conference and make the NCAA tournament the next few years because we're so young, so that's exciting."
One of Truog's future 6-10 teammates is from South Africa, he said
"He was a real nice guy and really, really funny," Truog said. "So he was one of the guys who I really connected with, so that was cool."
Meanwhile, Cumpstone also will be the tallest player along with two other 6-foot-7 Skyhawks at Stonehill next season.
"The coaches said if I came out strong, I would have a lot of playing time my freshman year," Cumpstone said of head coach David McLaughlin and his assistants. "I flew out there and met with the coaches and I hung out with the players a lot. I stayed overnight for two days and got along with them well. So, it was a good impression."
A member school of the Northeast-10 Conference, Stonehill and its athletes compete in the largest NCAA Division II conference in the nation with 15 other colleges and universities.
"The coaches said the competition is like playing your rival every single game," Cumpstone said. "It's always going to be a close game no matter who we play in the conference."
Although Cumpstone has missed the past two Kenston games with a broken finger, he said he hopes to be back for the Bombers' next game at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 4 at Painesville Harvey.
This season, Cumpstone is focused on improving his ball handling and dribbling along with quickness on defense, he said.
Truog said Kenston obviously wants to win as many games as possible and repeat their outright Chagrin Valley Conference title.
"Then, we want to win districts and go from there," Truog said.
The last time a Kenston boys basketball team won a district championship was during the 1971-72 season.