METAMORA, Ill. (WMBD/WYZZ) — He understands he might have to work a little harder than most to get noticed.
Noah Persich says people have underestimated him for a long time.
“It was easy to look over me, looking back at it,” said Persich. “Seeing who I was in seventh and eighth grade. It probably was easy to look over me.”
The point guard started his high school career at Peoria Heights then transferred to Metamora. He initially signed to play at Illinois Central College but never played for the Cougars.
H went to Southwestern Community College in Iowa and practiced with that team before landing at Parkland College in Champaign. Along the way he worked at UPS and took other part-time jobs while he waited patiently for a Division I offer.
COVID wiped out the National Junior College Athletic Association national tournament last March, denying him a chance to play for a title with Parkland. With recruiting at a standstill, he took this past year off.
He worked out with players like Illinois’ Da’Monte Williams under the watchful eye of coach David Williams in Hanna City. Finally, he got an offer.
It came from former Bradley coach Geno Ford, now at Stony Brook University. The long journey that started in Peoria and zig-zagged through Iowa and Illinois finally landed a scholarship in New York.
“Two factory jobs, two JUCOs,” said Persich about his path to a college hoops opportunity. “It’s such a great feeling knowing what it’s like to be a part of a team again.”
Williams says Persich earned this opportunity with his work ethic.
“He’s a fighter. I’m proud of him. He’s put in a lot of work. It’s not easy coming in here three days a week,” said Williams. “I’m super excited for him in the future.”
The road to a Division I scholarship was loaded with twists and turns. Even some pot holes for Persich.
But he says his journey has made him better. And ready to prove he belongs on a college basketball roster.
“The No. 1 thing I miss the most, along wit the fans and the excitement, is just the camaraderie with teammates,” Persich said. “The (teammate) pushing you to be your best, getting after it and then being friends afterwards. I miss it. I can’t wait to get back to it.”