Pyle signs cage letter with Washburn

By Steve Sell
April 19, 2016
Shane Backhus

There are a lot of numbers associated with Drew Pyle, but maybe the most important are 71-3.

That was McPherson High’s boys basketball record the three years Pyle started, which included two state championships and a runner-up state finish.

Pyle today signed a letter of intent with NCAA Division II Washburn University, where he’ll keep the McPherson tradition alive. Christian Ulsaker, Mr. Basketball at MHS his senior year, just wrapped up his Ichabod career this past season.

The 6-3 Pyle averaged 22.4 points a game this season and his 558 points were the third-highest in MHS single-season history. He finished his career with 1,170 points, good for sixth on the all-time list behind Ulsaker, Jordan Fithian, Josh Alexander, Brian Henson and Kyler Kinnamon.

His career game occurred this season in the Kansas City Hy-Vee Shootout when he poured in 37 points against Blue Springs South, the defending big school Missouri state champion that featured K.J. Robinson, a big-time recruit himself.

Pyle actually had his coming-out moment in the 2014 Class 4A Division I state championship game against Topeka Hayden when he poured in 21 points. From there, he was a household name among the elite players in Kansas as he was a two-time All-State player, including this year when he made first-team All-State All-Class to land himself an automatic spot on the MHS Wall of Fame.

Pyle had been recruited by a couple of other NCAA Division II schools as well as the NAIA and junior colleges. 

“They have a really nice school and I liked the coaches a lot,” Pyle said of Washburn, led by veteran coach Bob Chipman. “A lot of McPherson guys have gone there over the last few years and they liked it a lot. I think that’s one thing that really drew me.”

Pyle said he’s had conversations with Ulsaker, whose time at Washburn was somewhat short-circuited due to injuries, though he finished his final year strong.

“He enjoyed it for the most part. He was hurt a lot,” Pyle said. “He said it was a really nice school and he got a good education. Once I figured I was going to go here, I stopped stressing over talking to coaches and all that.”

Pyle said he watched Washburn play this year and another enticement was that the Ichabods shoot a lot of 3-pointers, which is in his wheelhouse. Pyle was among the top marksmen in the state, but also showed the ability to drive and finish with either hand, as he developed his left hand after countless hours of practice.

Pyle said between now and when he heads to Washburn that he needs to work on his strength and quickness. He’s at 175 pounds right now, but he could easily add 20 before the 2016-17 season begins.

MHS coach Kurt Kinnamon said the Ichabods are getting a winner.

“71-3, two state championships and a runner-up state finish. That says a lot right there,” Kinnamon said. “He always had the ability to score. We were so balanced for those two years (his sophomore and juniors years) and then we needed to him to step into that scoring role in his final year and he did a good job of that.”

Kinnamon said Pyle will do all the right things to ready himself for the college game.

“He’s going to have to gain some strength and those are things he’s continually working on,” he said. “I hear from coach (Jace) Pav (Pavlovich) that he’s one of the hardest workers in the weight room. So he knows what he needs to work on. There’s a lot of guys that know what they need to work on, but guys willing to work on what they need to are rare. I think he’s one of those who’s going to put in the time to do what he needs to work on.”

Pyle is undecided on his college major at this time.