By BRADEN LAYER
---- — Josh Stombaugh has always been one half of the equation. His impact on the Effingham program, his skillset or his basketball versatility, can't be described without mentioning his twin brother Jake. The pair, who transferred to Effingham High School by way of Beecher City after their sophomore seasons, helped the Hearts earn their first outright Apollo Conference regular season title since 2004 this winter and advance to the Centralia Regional final.That's all well and good, but Josh is now ready to create a new name for himself, one where he stands alone without the all-too-easy association of grouping him with his twin. On Monday, Josh committed to play college basketball at Parkland, where he will be the only Stombaugh on the roster."Me and my brother have played together since we were younger, and we were ready to do something else," Josh said. "(Parkland) has a really good program and a great facility."The Cobras are coached by Anthony Figueroa, who was seeking a new start in his own right when he accepted the job in the summer of 2012. Now entering his second year, the relative newcomer will welcome a 6-foot-7-inch forward that has the low-post touch of a big man with the smooth stroke of a shooting guard, talents that were on display each night for Effingham under coach Ron Reed."I think the way the game is evolving, he's a nice fit," Reed said. "That's the kind of post guys you think about now, you want to be able to stretch the floor, allow for dribble penetration."Josh will continue to grow his outside presence with Parkland, as the recent graduate said he will spend even more minutes playing outside the paint. "I think I'll be a tough matchup," he said. "I'd like to be more of a perimeter player, being 6-foot-7, it's a lot harder matchup."The Cobras employ a fast-paced style on offense, and Stombaugh will have plenty of practice finding open space on the wing to catch and shoot after a guard draws help.But to truly extend his game, Reed said his former player will need to develop more skills than just a spot-up shooter."He's going to have to develop a little more confidence in his ballhandling," he said. " He needs to be able to shot fake and put it on the floor and get to to the rim."If Stombaugh can develop some go-to moves facing the bucket, opposing defenses will have a multitude of problems deciding how to to defend the lengthy threat. His long arms and jumping ability also make him a definite asset defensively, as he can routinely block shots and alter plenty others.Parkland, a junior college program, will use his services for two years before Stombaugh. If he has it his way, will wrap up his career at a four-year institution."My dream is to play Division I," he said.Stombaugh said he would continue to play no matter what the level, so long as he is given the opportunity. First, however, he'll go about the Parkland campus and create a new identity, without his usual partner in crime."It worries me a little bit, since I don't know anyone going to Parkland," he said. "But I'm ready for it."
Braden Layer can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 123, or at email@example.com