Photo and article courtesy of Casey Tolliver of the Mountain Advocate.
Many student-athletes who decide to play their sporting trade at the collegiate level are posed with the daunting task of selecting the right school to attend.
But former Barbourville High School shooting guard Josh Hildebrand was not in those ranks.
He signed a letter of intent last week to play basketball at Union College.
"(It was) Union all the way," Hildebrand said. "It's where I want to go."
He cited Union's proximity to home as the reason he didn't consider playing or attending any other school.
Hildebrand was recruited by former Union College Men's Head Basketball Coach Sean Gillespie, who resigned in March.
However, he's relishing the chance to make his mark on recently hired Union coach Kevin Burton
's clean slate.
"The coach before came and talked to me last year," Hildebrand said. "But I like Coach Burton. I think he'll be a good coach."
Hildebrand's former high school basketball coach, Dinky Phipps, said the star guard should fit in well with his new program.
"Josh has...been around with us since about the 7th or 8th grade. He was always gifted in basketball. He can shoot the basketball. He can play the game," Phipps said. "He's going to be a hard player to replace for us and we'll miss him a lot."
Hildebrand was a four year starter for Barbourville High School.
He scored the 1,000th point of his high school career near the end of his junior year, played in two All-A Classic championships and was named All-A Classic tournament MVP his junior year.
Accolades aside, his recent signing with Union means his focus will shift to only one thing.
"Getting better," Hildebrand said. "I know I have to work hard to earn my spot on the team."