Keegan Hyland’s senior season of high school basketball was filled with the frustration of a fractured pelvis that limited him to just three games.
But the offseason is proving much more productive for the two-time Bangor Daily News All-Maine shooting guard from South Portland High School.
He is now back to good health, save for the aches and pains that come from several months away from the game.
And now he’s headed for the major college basketball ranks after making a verbal commitment this week to accept a basketball scholarship from Division I Gonzaga University of Spokane, Wash.
Hyland expects to sign a National Letter of Intent in the next day or two to formalize the agreement.
Gonzaga is coming off a 27-7 season that included the school’s 10th consecutive West Coast Conference regular-season title and a trip to the NCAA Division I Tournament, where the Bulldogs lost to Syracuse in the second round.
A year earlier, Gonzaga finished 13th in the final national poll.
“I wasn’t expecting a West Coast powerhouse to call me after not playing for six months,” said Hyland. “But all along I was kind of looking to play at a power school, a team that goes to the NCAA tournament.
“It was kind of a shock. It’s still kind of a shock that I’m going there.”
The 6-foot-4 Hyland, known for prodigious individual workouts that include shooting as many as 500 shots per day, averaged 27.7 points per game as a junior at South Portland.
He was generally considered the top returning player in the state this winter before being sidelined.
Hyland returned for the final game of the regular season, then played in two tournament games — scoring 32 points in South Portland’s Western Maine Class A semifinal loss to Westbrook.
Hyland subsequently was a finalist for Mr. Maine Basketball.
“After the season I took another three or four weeks off for physical therapy, but for the last three or four weeks I’ve been playing,” he said. “I’ve got some aches and pains, my legs are sore, but I’m pretty much back to 100 percent health wise and the next step is getting back there playing wise.”
Hyland initially was contacted by Gonzaga coaches after a practice earlier this year as he was beginning his comeback from the stress fracture in his pelvis.
He and the Gonzaga staff remained in regular contact, and once the Bulldogs’ season ended a representative of their coaching staff came to Maine to watch Hyland work out.
Hyland then was invited to visit the Gonzaga campus, which he did last week, and after working out with members of the team he was offered a scholarship by head coach Mark Few.
“They’re looking for one who can spread the floor and create room for their bigs and also hit shots on the kickouts,” said Hyland.
He added that Gonzaga’s offense features a multitude of screens to get perimeter players open shots, a style similar to what he played on the AAU level with MBR.org teams coached by Bangor’s Carl Parker.
Gonzaga will return four starters next season, including senior swingman Steven Gray, who projects as the team’s primary perimeter offensive threat. Two other shooting guards on the roster are considered more slashers than long-range shooters, leaving Hyland an opening to contribute.
“There are no guarantees,” said Hyland, who plans to spend the rest of his offseason getting back into full basketball shape while concentrating on individual quickness and defensive skills.
After his strong junior season, Hyland initially considered scholarship offers from Vermont, Northeastern, William & Mary, Rhode Island and Elon (North Carolina) last fall, but eventually decided to attend prep school.
More recently, he had been contacted by Seton Hall, Penn State, Boston College, Providence and Vanderbilt but said Gonzaga had shown the most consistent interest.
Hyland becomes the second Maine high school player in as many years to accept a major-college scholarship. Tom Knight, a 6-9 center from Dirigo of Dixfield, currently is a freshman at Notre Dame.
MMA to host high school regatta
The New England Schools Sailing Association regional women’s regatta will be hosted by Maine Maritime Academy on May 9.
Twenty public and private high schools from throughout New England will compete for the Herreshoff Trophy, with teams coming from as far away as Greenwich, Conn., and from nearby as George Stevens Academy of Blue Hill.
This marks the 22nd running of the event and the first time it has been at MMA. The public is invited and can view the races from the water.
Meeting set on boys volleyball
The Maine Volleyball Project, through the Maine Games, will hold a meeting to gauge the interest in developing boys high school volleyball in the state at 7 p.m. Monday, May 3, in Room 104 of the Saco Parks and Recreation Department building, 75 Franklin St., Saco.
The Maine Games has teamed with USA Volleyball, the national governing body for the sport, to put together a plan that could come together as soon as next fall or spring, depending upon when conducting such a season would be most advantageous.
The first step is to see if there is an interest in the sport for boys in Maine. Maine Games executive director Jeff Scully believes there is.
“I’m a high school volleyball official, and typically when a girls match is concluded, there are as many as a dozen boys who take to the court to play as much as they can before the nets are taken down,” said Scully in a press release. “This happens at almost every school where girls play volleyball.”
Any interested parties who would like to see boys high school boys volleyball in Maine are encouraged to attend the meeting.