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The NTL has set a start date for league basketball games on Jan. 4.

However, one big name won’t be on the court this basketball season.

Wellsboro’s Joe Grab made the decision to leave the Hornets and he is playing for a prep school in Ohio — Spire.

“It was an extremely tough decision to make, but it was the right one,” Grab said. “Sometimes you can get caught up in what you think is good for you in the moment and lose sight of the future, and thank goodness I had my parents to remind me of the bigger picture. I want to play basketball at a high level in college and hopefully after college as well, so it was the perfect opportunity for me to prepare myself for that and put me in a better position to accomplish those goals.”

The idea of prep school after high school had been on Grab’s mind for a long time.

However, the fear of a shortened, or lost, basketball season in Pennsylvania made him start thinking about it right now.

“We had always talked about prep school, but not for my high school career,” Grab said. “When we talked about it it was usually in the context of doing it for a post-grad year giving me one more year to develop being one of the younger kids in my class. The fear of not having a season here did play a part in my decision to transfer, I needed to make sure that I had a senior season especially for colleges to get out and see me so I can go to a good college that suits me academically and athletically.”

For Grab Spire just seemed like the perfect fit.

“Spire had reached out to me over the summer to see if I had any interest in playing for them for my senior season, but at the time I didn’t, and it wasn’t the right time. But, during the soccer season there were whispers about possibly not having a basketball season and fortunately for me my trainer Seth Turner, who used to be the assistant coach at Mansfield (University) ended up getting the job there and called me and asked if I would be interested in transferring there to play for my senior season.

“With all the uncertainty, and after talking with my parents and visiting Spire and talking to Seth, who I already had a really good relationship with, we made the decision to transfer there.”

One thing that helps at Spire is that they play a national schedule, making it more likely they will get games in this year, even if some states have no sports.

“We do play a national schedule, which gives us a lot of opportunities to play considering all the different states we play in,” Grab said. “If we lost a couple games, we know that we have a lot more that we can play.”

One tough thing for Grab was having to leave the soccer team before the season ended. The Hornets were unbeaten in the regular season, and Grab had to miss the postseason tournament.

“It’s bittersweet for me because it was my last season of soccer, and I’m leaving my teammates who are also my friends,” Grab said. “But, there is so much to look forward to and I know they will be fine. Coach Fitch is an amazing coach, coaching a very talented group of guys and I know they can do anything they put their minds to.”

One of the biggest things for Grab is now he gets to play against top-notch competition, throughout the country, really putting him on the map for colleges.

“Getting more exposure was also another huge part of my transferring,” Grab said. “With playing at a prep school and playing a national schedule, it maximizes the opportunities I will have to be looked at by a lot of colleges.

“The last couple months or so I have started to get interest for a couple D1 and D2 schools, which is great, and playing at Spire should boost that a lot if I have a good season. It has always been a dream of mine to play D1 basketball in college, which is within my grasp. But, any opportunity I get to play at the next level is great, because not a lot of kids get to play in college at all.”