Oskaloosa’s boys’ basketball team is beginning to turn a corner with the influx of talent that is quickly rising the ranks and joining the varsity team in the next couple of years.
One of those players who laid the groundwork has decided to stay close to home to watch what happens next.
On Wednesday, Wade Votroubek signed his letter of intent to play basketball at William Penn University, leaving a bubbling program for one that is on the national stage.
“It was a really easy decision after I knocked out another college,” Votroubek explained. “I see how well of a family this team is and how much success they have and how much I enjoyed watching them. I said, ‘I want to be a part of that.’ And that’s how I made the decision to come here to Penn.”
Votroubek had his signing in the Penn Gymnasium with his parents and Statesmen Head Coach John Henry. Votroubek says he’s excited to play for one of the top collegiate coaches in the region.
“I can see how hard Coach Henry pushes his players to be as good as they possibly can be,” Votroubek said. “I’m looking forward to having him as a coach because he knows how to coach each and every single player.”
Henry is excited to bring the Oskaloosa native into the program, especially for his intangibles.
“First and foremost, Wade is a great kid and a great person from a great family,” said Henry. “I’ve known him for a long time and always thought that he’d be a great addition to our program. [He’s a] character building kid and a hard worker.”
In terms of basketball, Votroubek draws a comparison to another Osky grad who was a big part of recent postseason runs for the Statesmen.
“I don’t like to compare players to other players,” explained Henry. “But the comparison to Erik McGee is inevitable. It’s right there, glaring. And that’s tough for Wade, because McGee was fantastic. But we think it’s something he can live up to. There will be a lot of the same type of attributes that Wade will bring that Erik did.”
McGee was a rotation player his junior and senior seasons for William Penn, helping the Statesmen to the Elite Eight in his junior campaign in 2014. The Oskaloosa alum was notable for his tenacious rebounding and effort, despite only standing 6’4’’.
For now, Votroubek is focused on getting better before joining the team in the fall.
“I definitely need to work on my conditioning right now because I see how fast-paced the games are,” said Votroubek. “[For] weightlifting, I need to build up a little more weight. And definitely shooting, because they want me to play a stretch-4, which means I need to be able to make a jump shot here and there, or a three-pointer here and there.”
Votroubek will look to compete for playing time early in his career, but it won’t be easy, as the Statesmen will have another large group of transfers that are looking to help get Penn back to the National Tournament and even further than the Elite Eight, which is what they accomplished in their first year in NAIA Division I in 2016.
William Penn was ranked 6th in the postseason poll after an outstanding 29-7 campaign. They finished 17-5 in their first season in the Heart of America Athletic Conference, claiming a share of the regular season title, and winning the Heart Conference Tournament.