The University of Akron men’s basketball team will welcome a new member when Pat Forsythe officially starts school on Monday after transferring from West Virginia to be closer to his family.
Forsythe, a 2011 Brunswick High School graduate, is returning to the area after spending a season in Morgantown because his father Patrick is legally blind.
“Akron is where my dad’s eye doctor is,” Forsythe said. “I was getting interest from Cleveland State and other schools, but Akron was the one that is more convenient for my father and I. It was very important to come back and play locally. I wanted to be closer to my dad, my stepmom [Chelly] and my [four] siblings.”
Forsythe, 19, said he will apply for a hardship transfer with the NCAA that could make him eligible to play this season for the Zips instead of sitting out the traditional one year.
“I am not sure yet if I will be able to play this year or not,” he said. “I have put together the paperwork and I wrote a letter. My parents wrote a letter, too. I will know in the next two or three weeks.”
UA spokesman Dallas Moyer confirmed that Forsythe is enrolled but said that UA coach Keith Dambrot “can’t comment on his status either way per NCAA rules.”
Forsythe, who is 6-foot-11 and 245 pounds, is a major addition to the Zips, who feature 7-foot senior Zeke Marshall.
If the NCAA grants Forsythe the hardship transfer, he will have four years of eligibility to play. If the NCAA rules the other way, he will practice this year and have three years to play.
Forsythe, who plans to major in sports management, said he will pay his own way this school year and be a walk-on for the Zips. He is hoping to earn a scholarship next year.
“He will be going to Akron and I am happy for him and his family,” Brunswick coach Joe Mackey said. “He is all set. He will be a Zip this year. He went there for an unofficial visit when he was in high school and loved it.
“He needed to get back home for a family situation with his father. Akron did not have a scholarship available. This just shows how strong he wanted to come home and play for Coach Dambrot and his staff.”
Forsythe played in seven games last year for WVU and received a medical redshirt after a right ankle injury that did not require surgery. He fractured the ankle during his senior year Brunswick and did not have surgery then, either.
“Pat is 6-foot-11 and he gets up and down the floor,” Mackey said. “He has great footwork and is very good with his back to the basket. He is like an old-school post player that can score inside. He learned a lot in Morgantown and played for a legendary coach there in Bob Huggins.”
Forsythe was an All-Ohio Division I first-team selection as a senior at Brunswick, where he averaged 22.5 points, 12.6 rebounds and 6.1 blocks. He was named the district player of the year and chose West Virginia over scholarship offers from Virginia Tech, Ohio State and Cincinnati.
Forsythe said he will be back in Morgantown for a court hearing in October stemming from an arrest and charges that he used stolen debit cards in March.
“It was pretty much a bad decision, being at the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong people,” Forsythe said.
Mackey said he was surprised by the incident.
“Pat is the best player I have coached in my 17 years at Brunswick,” Mackey said. “Good kids make mistakes. He has owned up to it and I don’t see it happening again.”