By David Fong
COLUMBUS — For all his individual awards and accolades, the moments Matt Terwilliger remembers best from his star-studded basketball career at Troy High School are the ones he spent with his teammates and best friends.
“One thing we used to do the summer going into my senior year, as six of us would pile into my dad’s old Blazer and we would just go to open gyms wherever we could and play anybody who wanted to play us,” Terwilliger said. “It was the same six of us who would get the bulk of the playing time that season.
“It was a true testament to the fact we were real team. I couldn’t have done what I did alone — it’s not like it was just me out there.”
Perhaps not, but what Terwilliger did himself on the court was remarkable enough to earn him one of five spots in the Troy Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2015. He will be in attendance for a ceremony before the Troy football team’s game tonight, and then formally inducted into the hall of fame Saturday night at a banquet at the Crystal Room in Troy.
“This is a huge honor when you consider the sports tradition surrounding Troy,” Terwilliger said. “I remember seeing the pictures of some of the great athletes hanging in the hallways around the school when I was a little kid rollerblading down the hall while my dad was in parent-teacher conferences.”
Terwilliger — a 2004 graduate — wasted little time in establishing himself as a force on the basketball court for the Trojans. The 6-foot-9 center was a starter all four year at Troy. He is the leading rebounder in school history and is one of only four boys basketball players in school history to score more than 1,000 points in his career.
He was a two-time All-Greater Western Ohio Conference selection, including the GWOC Player of the Year as a senior. That same season, he helped the Trojans capture the GWOC West Division title and finish with an overall record of 21-2. He was named the Division I Southwest District Player of the Year and was an All-Ohio selection. He played in the All-Ohio North/South game and was a Nike All-American.
Following his career at Troy, Terwilliger — who would end up being one of the most-highly recruited athletes in Troy history — would go on to play at The Ohio State University. He was a four-year letterwinner, helping the Buckeyes to Big 10 conference titles in 2006 and 2007 and the Big Ten Tournament title in 2007. In 2007, the Buckeyes would end the season as the national runner-up after falling to Florida in the NCAA title game.
In 2008, Terwilliger was named a team captain and helped led the Buckeyes to a National Invitational Tournament championship. He and his classmates graduated with more wins than any other class in school history.
Once again, Terwilliger’s favorite memories from his incredible run in college were not individual ones, but rather those of the team variety.
“I just remember the closeness of that 2007 team,” he said. “We were very much like a family. We hung out together all the time — not because we had to, but because we wanted to.”
Following his graduation, Terwilliger would play professionally in Germany and Finland before returning to Columbus, where he currently works as a financial advisor. He said he gets back to Troy as often as he can, but wouldn’t miss the hall of fame ceremony for the world.
“I’m excited,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to it.”
Contact David Fong at email@example.com; follow him on Twitter @thefong