Jase McCullough has been through a lot the past two years.
After moving to Fairbanks from Arizona, the end of his junior season was interrupted by a global pandemic. In conference play of his senior year, he suffered an injury that kept him out of his team’s tournament. In the 3A state tournament, he had to play through the injury. All of the challenges thrown his way, however, helped lead him to the point he was at Wednesday afternoon; the point where all of that resiliency finally paid off.
McCullough, a senior at Monroe Catholic High School, signed his national letter of intent Wednesday afternoon to play basketball for Peninsula College in Port Angeles, Washington. He will play point guard while majoring in electrical engineering at the two-year JUCO.
“(I feel) very blessed,” McCullough said. “I’d like to thank God for everything he’s done for me. It was a long ride, but I stuck through it and I’m blessed that I’m here today.”
A long ride is right. After moving to Alaska from the Phoenix area, McCullough’s junior season was ended before the 2020 Aurora Conference Tournament could begin due to Covid-19. That ended his hopes of claiming a state championship that year.
In 2021, McCullough was absolutely sensational on the court, earning Aurora Conference MVP and being named to the 3A All-State team. However, an injury that landed him on crutches knocked him out while he was in conference play. McCullough played through the injury in the 3A state tournament, and his hard work and resiliency ended with Monroe hoisting the 3A State Championship trophy.
Now, it’s led him to an opportunity to play college basketball.
“Every day at practice coach O (Frank Ostanik) trained me to play at the next level,” McCullough said. “Told me to always work hard in practice and it correlated to being ready for playing college at a really high level ... Work hard every day. Find people that work just as hard as you and get in the gym as much as possible.”
Contact sports reporter Hart Pisani at 459-7530 or follow him at twitter.com/hpisani91.