Wednesday is the first day many high school athletes playing sports other than football can sign with their future colleges. But, because of COVID-19, most of those signings are being done virtually – including by an Arlington Oakridge basketball player making the most of his situation.
This isn’t how Arlington Oakridge senior basketball player Rytis Petraitis envisioned making his college decision – in a virtual, mini celebration with a small group of family and friends. But then again, everything surrounding college recruiting has been different because of COVID-19 concerns.
“When all the schools started recruiting me, I wanted to visit those schools because it’s where I want to spend the next four years of my life,” Petraitis said. “But that couldn’t happen because of COVID.”
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So instead, Petraitis, who is the son of two former division one basketball players at Oregon State, took “virtual visits” with college coaches taking him on campus tours over the phone, before he eventually decided the Air Force Academy was the best place for him to continue his basketball career and beyond.
“Man, only 1,000 people per year graduate from Air Force,” said Petraitis. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, you know. I felt like I had to take it because it has a great education, division one basketball, and you’re set for life.”
Set for life, with a life-changing decision made a little differently than expected, but still resulting in a dream-come-true opportunity to play college basketball.
“When I was two years old I touched my first basketball,” said Petraitis. “This is the game I was meant to play.”