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Toledo lands coveted 2019 small forward Etherington

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Aaron Etherington of Hamilton Southeastern High School in Fishers, Ind. has committed to play at University of Toledo.

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Growing up in the heart of Big Ten country, recent University of Toledo men’s basketball commit Aaron Etherington said the moment he stepped on the UT campus he got a Big Ten vibe.

That and the fact he felt he could contribute right away for the Rockets were key factors as the senior from Hamilton Southeastern High School in Fishers, Ind., verbally committed Monday to Toledo.

“I love the campus,” Etherington said. “It’s beautiful and has a Big Ten feel to it. Right when I got on campus, I knew Toledo was the place for me. And then I felt like I would have the chance to go somewhere and play early, and step in and do some stuff as a freshman.”

Etherington, a 6-foot-6, 190-pound small forward, is the second commitment Toledo has picked up in the 2019 class after West Bloomfield, Mich., guard Donavan Moore also pledged to the Rockets.

Longtime Hamilton Southeastern coach Brian Satterfield has seen his share of gifted athletes — including current Denver Nuggets and former Michigan State guard Gary Harris and former University of Michigan star Zak Irvin — and said Etherington’s natural athletic ability is among the best he has seen.

“He’s one of the best I’ve ever coached in terms of his athleticism,” Satterfield said. “He ranks up there with Gary Harris, who is now in the NBA, in terms of leaping ability. His versatility at the offensive end is big for us.

“He’s improved his shooting since the end of the year and over the course of the summer. He can also go inside, and that’s one thing we are hoping to do to help his versatility this year is to go inside and outside with him.”

At Hamilton Southeastern, Etherington played for a few years with Zach Gunn, who is now playing at Ball State. Since Gunn was the main scoring option, Etherington was able to fine-tune other aspects of his game.

“He did a tremendous job of turning his game into more of a complete game,” Satterfield said. “He got better with passing and being able to see where the ball needed to be. Those two years with Zach, he really understood his role and continued to get better. He was probably one of the better passers.”

During his junior season, after Gunn graduated, Etherington took on more of a leadership role and ended up leading his team in scoring.

Satterfield said he took his team to a showcase at Toledo five or six years ago and came away impressed with the facilities, and he feels like the school is a great fit for Etherington.

“To see the facilities, they are just phenomenal,” Satterfield said. “With what their program has been about and what they do, I think it is going to be a great fit for him. I know what he’s doing and how he’s improving with his game. It is something that will hopefully be a win-win situation for both of them.”

Etherington comes from a basketball family, with his older brothers Alex and Austin both playing in college. Alex played at Indiana State and the University of Indianapolis, and Austin played at Indiana University and Butler. Aaron’s father, Brett, played at Butler in the late 1980s.

Aaron is hoping to improve his ball-handling skills and consistency with his shooting, but he feels at Toledo he will be a player who is advanced offensively.

“I like to get the ball off the rim and push it and try and get some points in transition,” he said. “I also like to shoot a lot of 3s and play in a motion offense.”

Aaron was a coveted recruit among Mid-American Conference teams. He also held offers from Buffalo, Ball State, and Ohio.

Satterfield thinks Aaron could contribute right away in the MAC.

“With what he does at the offensive end, yes, I think that is a possibility,” Satterfield said. “We are trying to get him to be that complete player. With what he can do at the defensive end, yes.

“We are just trying to get him to buy into a few things. If he does that with us, then I think it’s very possible he will contribute early on at Toledo.”

Contact Brian Buckey at bbuckey@theblade.com419-724-6110, or on Twitter @BrianBuckey.

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