Pat Suemnick has already encountered a long and winding path in his basketball career, and he’s looking forward to what he hopes are the final steps on his journey.
The 6-foot-8, 230-pound forward from Denmark High School in Denmark, Wisconsin, first took a post-graduate year at Bosco Institute in Crown Point, Indiana for the 2019-20 school year, then signed with Robert Morris University and played a year there in 2020-21. Finding a situation at RMU not to his liking, he left for Triton College in Illinois this past spring, where he will play for the Trojans this season. After committing to West Virginia on Wednesday, though, he sees some light at the end of the tunnel.
“Everyone has had their little hiccups due to COVID, and mine just happened to really affect my recruiting,” the enthusiastic wing told BlueGoldNews.com after announcing WVU as his next destination. “Coming out of my prep year, I had some high major interest and visits lined up, but those got called off, and it put me in a tough situation. Some players stayed, some schools cut down their recruiting, and it just made a frustrating situation.”
Suemnick eventually found a landing spot at Robert Morris, even though he knew it wasn’t the optimal choice for him.
“At the end of the day, I was just happy that I found a spot. I had teammates who hadn’t gotten anything,” he said of the marriage of convenience with the Colonials. “I was very happy I still had an opportunity, and I was grateful to Robert Morris for offering me, but it was frustrating.”
That clearly showed at RMU, where he averaged 2.4 points and 1.6 rebounds in about nine minutes of play per game. After averaging a double-double in his final two seasons of prep play, he believed he had more to offer. The situation at Robert Morris has been a bit dicey, as he was one of nine players to enter the transfer portal since the end of last year.
“I went there and tried to make it work, but when it didn’t, I figured it would be best to go back to junior college and try to revive some of those old recruiting interests and see what I could generate,” said Suemnick. “Before I went to Robert Morris, I had actually planned on going to Triton, so I had a good relationship with the coach there. That led me to look at them again, and the new head coach there had been training some guys that were going in the draft, and he was highly spoken of, so that’s where I am going to play this year.”
At Triton, Suemnick hopes to continue to develop his perimeter game. At his height, he was often a post player during his Wisconsin high school days, but he knew that his future lay in fashioning a combination game where he could operate in multiple spots on the court.
“Every year I have been working on transitioning more to a three or a (stretch) four. My 3-point shot is good,” explained Suemnick. “I didn’t shoot any at RMU, because that wasn’t how I was used, but I have been shooting it in practice well.”
Despite his many travels, and the year at Robert Morris, Suemnick said he didn’t get on West Virginia’s radar until this past summer.
“I played in a juco showcase over the summer, and I didn’t think I played that great, but I played as hard as I could and played strong defense,” Suemnick said. “Coach (Bob) Huggins and Coach (Larry) Harrison were there, and then they came to my next game. I ended up making the Top 20 game at the end of camp, and so they started following me. I took a visit to WVU this past weekend, and it all came together. I was traveling around with the (Mountaineer basketball) team, and we couldn’t go 10 steps without getting words of encouragement or someone wanting a picture. It was everywhere we went, and that’s something I had never experienced before.”
While Suemnick has one more move to make, he is very happy to have recruiting again behind him, and a more stable plan in place.
“I am so happy that this worked out the way it did. It’s only October and I’m already committed,” he said, clearly expecting to have had to lay down some tape of his juco season before getting more offers. “I am ready to hunker down and experience my last three years in one spot. I was looking to play at a higher level, and you can’t get any higher than this.”