Griffin Kinney's patience, perseverance, discipline and hard work eventually allowed him to reach his goal of earning a Division I college basketball scholarship.
The 2013 Delaware Hayes High School graduate, who spent last year in a postgraduate program at Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy, will play at Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C.
"Going to Fork Union gave me another year to develop as a player and a person, to bulk up some and get to play Division I basketball," said Kinney, a 6-foot-8, 220-pound small forward. "I love the game and I guess I was a late bloomer.
"I can play inside and shoot outside, but adding 25 pounds to my frame was the key. Now I have a Division I body. I went to Fork Union a boy and came out a Division I athlete."
Although he was tall and athletic, Kinney did not make his mark in basketball until late during his junior season at Delaware in 2012.
The Pacers suffered a number of injuries that constantly forced lineup changes. While Kinney was part of an eight-player rotation, he became a much more valuable member of the squad as five players missed games with injuries.
He averaged 4.6 points and 4.4 rebounds that season.
"Griff began his progression on Jan. 18, 2012, the night in practice that Jacob (Bosiokovic) got hurt," Pacers coach Jordan Blackburn said. "The moment it happened he went from a second-teamer to shouting out orders. I remember tending to Jacob on one end, figuring that was it for him (for the season). Then all of the sudden I hear a voice shouting orders. The guys listened to Griff because they always respected him as a person even though his work ethic sucked at the time.
"One of the things I tried to make clear was that I had unbelievably high expectations for Griff and that I thought he could get paid to play someday. ... I also think Griff started to figure out that if he put the time in he could be special."
As a senior, Kinney averaged 15.0 points and 8.3 rebounds but did not receive any Division I scholarship offers. He chose to attend Fork Union and play postgraduate basketball while working out heavily in the weight room.
Kinney averaged 11.8 points and 7.0 rebounds at Fork Union.
Appalachian State will be competing in the Sun Belt Conference for the first time next season after leaving the Southern Conference. The Mountaineers will be coached by Jim Fox, who guided Davidson from 2001-13 and helped Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry become a two-time All-American in college.
"Their system fits my game and I'm really excited about this," said Kinney, who also had offers from VMI and Presbyterian. "I wish I could play a little closer to home, but the good news is that we play at Ohio University on Nov. 15 in our opener. That will be fun, getting a chance to play in front of family and friends."