Josh Wamsley never imagined that basketball would lead him on the trek he's embarked on since leaving Mill Creek for Beckley in 2007.
Wamsley, who is a former All-State cager at Tygarts Valley High School, recently wrapped up his junior season at Mountain State University. Since heading down state in search of an education and bigger basketball endeavors, Wamsley has been fortunate enough to travel across the country numerous times with his college team, including just last month when the Cougars visited Kansas City, Missouri, for the NAIA Final Four, where they lost to Pikeville in the national title game.
"It was a great experience going out to Kansas City and playing for a national championship," said Wamsley, who averaged three points and three rebounds off the bench for Mountain State this season. "We really should have won the game (83-76), but it just didn't go our way. We beat a lot of good teams to get as far as we did, though."
Wamsley's journey out West for the tournament is small in comparison to the one he is about to make. For the second time in the past three years, Wamsley will head overseas to compete with basketball players from across the world.
Two years ago, the 6-10 center made his way to Israel to do some missionary work. While there, he made some basketball contacts and was asked to play with a club team that was pitted against some of the top professional teams in the country, as well as the country's national team.
"I never envisioned I'd be going to another country and playing basketball," he said. "It was a great experience with the different culture and everything. The worst thing about it was the food, it was two days before I got anything to eat. My third day there I found a place that had some barbecue chicken, and then another place that had pizza, so I was set."
To his excitement, Wamsley was recently contacted by the same club team and was asked to come back and play for the squad again. After being cleared by the NAIA, Wamsley began making plans for his second trip, which he will embark on sometime in the first week of May.
"I'm real happy to be going back," he said. "It will be a little bit less of a culture shock this time around. I'm looking forward to playing basketball against some great players."
Wamsley's first two weeks overseas will be spent in Israel for practice with his team. The squad will then travel to Dubai to compete in the Arab Club Championships.
After Wamsley returns to the states, he plans on continuing to work on his game in hopes of being a bigger contributor for Mountain State next season.
"I played some important minutes this season," he said. "I played in 26 games for our team and got some valuable experience. I'm hoping to build off what I did this year and have a bigger impact so I can help the team out even more next year."
Wamsley, who says he'll graduate with two degrees in accounting and finance next year, is hoping his hoop career won't end once he's handed his diplomas.
"Playing overseas is an opportunity to get a lot of looks from some of the professional teams over there," he said. "Hopefully I can open some eyes, come back and have a great season at Mountain State next year, then possibly go back overseas and play professional ball for a while. If not, I'll have my degrees and I'll go to work somewhere."