By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes
Matthew Ismay, three-time Greater Valley Conference Defensive Player of the Year, will be terrorizing a whole new group of opponents over the next two basketball seasons.
The 2017 McNary graduate has decided to play at Linn-Benton Community College in Albany.
Before Ismay chose Linn-Benton, he first had to decide which sport he would play in college.
Playing third base and hitting in the heart of the Celtics lineup this season, Ismay was unanimously voted to the All-GVC First Team by the league’s coaches after hitting .425 with two home runs, 11 doubles, 20 RBI and 22 runs scored.
But Ismay’s mind was already made up before the baseball season even started.
“I probably had a choice to play either (basketball or baseball) but I’ve always just enjoyed basketball a little bit more,” Ismay said. “I think it’s a little more exciting, a little more vigorous, and that’s why I like it. Even though I knew I was probably better at baseball, my goal was always to play basketball.”
While Ismay also looked at Southern Oregon and Oregon Institute of Technology, he ultimately chose Linn-Benton for more playing time on the basketball court and a dual enrollment program at Oregon State, where he plans to major in engineering.
“If I go to a place like that (OIT), I might not play for a couple of years,” Ismay said. “I’d rather just go to Oregon State where I’m going to have a lot more of my friends and people I know going there and just play right away.”
Due to Oregon Promise, Ismay, who was one of 20 valedictorians in McNary’s 2017 Class, can also take classes at Linn-Benton for free, before taking engineering and science courses at Oregon State.
“I’ve always had an affinity for science and math and I’ve taken some classes like that in high school that I’ve really enjoyed so that was one of the key things I was looking for was a good engineering program,” Ismay said.
Ismay, who was voted all-league First Team, led the Celtics in points (13.5), assists (4.6) and rebounds (5.1) last season.
His favorite memories on the basketball court were when McNary cut down the nets after winning league his sophomore season and then a 61-47 win at home against West Salem on senior night.
“I’ve always had a ton of great teammates over the years and I’ve been able to play on a lot of good teams,” Ismay said.
“There’s just a lot of big games and it was always fun to play in that environment.”