In the news: VASJ'S Dererk Pardon '15 commits to Northwestern

Villa Angela-St. Joseph High School senior-to-be Dererk Pardon is a player who has improved immensely from his freshman year to now and he is going to get better and better each year he steps on the basketball court.

Unfortunately for the other Division I college basketball programs interested in the talented 6-foot-8 center, he is now off the market.

Pardon has made a verbal commitment to Northwestern to continue his basketball career.

"I wasn't sure if I was going to get a Division I scholarship offer when I started high school, so this is like a dream come true," Pardon said. "It is a little bit of a relief to get this decision out of the way now and focus on what I need to do as a senior to help our team win. Having Coach (Babe) Kwasniak and my parents around as people I can fall back on have been a huge help. I feel like they have been there the whole time for me."

Wildcats head coach Chris Collins and assistant Armond Gates (formerly of Kent State) have been two of Pardon’s biggest fans on the recruiting trail, and that dedication to Pardon – as well as the opportunity for the Vikings standout big man to attend a university with such a high academic level as Northwestern - sealed the deal for Pardon and his family.

“Donny and Cynthia Pardon are unbelievable people and they have done everything right with Dererk, so in this case it is much more actions than words from fantastic parents,” VASJ coach Babe Kwasniak '94 said. “Dererk is a talented kid who is going to keep getting better, but the chance to use the sport of basketball to get an education at an institution like Northwestern is hard to put in to words.

“This is just great timing for Dererk and we talked about the recruiting process like trying to buy a house. That house isn’t always going to be on the market. No reason to keep shopping and looking for something better. Coach Collins and Northwestern is a great fit for Dererk and his family. He is a good student and a great kid.”
Pardon averaged 11.4 points and 10.4 rebounds per game as a junior, leading the Vikings on the boards. He has been a key member of the squad helping VASJ win the Division III 2013 state championship and get to the 2014 state title game in D-IV.

Pardon also had serious D-I interest from Pitt and Dayton.

"Coach Collins and Coach Gates have years of experience at the highest levels of basketball and they were interested in me very early on so there is a lot of trust there," Pardon said. "The academics were a huge part of my decision, as was the guidance of my parents and my coach. I am happy and proud of this decision and excited now to focus on my senior season."

Click here to read the News-Herald article "VASJ's Dererk Pardon commits to Northwestern."

Click here to read the Plain Dealer article "Villa Angela-St. Joseph forward Dererk Pardon commits to play basketball at Northwestern."