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Fallston alum Ethan Sommer playing basketball for Washington College

Fallston's Ethan Sommer holds the ball and looks to make a move during a 2018 game at Aberdeen.
Fallston's Ethan Sommer holds the ball and looks to make a move during a 2018 game at Aberdeen. (Matt Button / The Aegis/Baltimore Sun)

It has been a few years since Ethan Sommer pounded basketballs off the hardwood at Fallston High School and the 6-5, 210-pound small forward is still playing, although the game has taken him in and out of state to do so.

Sommer is enrolled at Washington College in Chestertown, where he hopes to play a couple of seasons, while he achieves his bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science.

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Currently, though, Sommer and his teammates are on hold as a season of some type hopefully unfolds over the next two months.

“My coach is trying to schedule as many games as he can, but it won’t be any sort of full season. I would kind of assume, we’d probably 10 games max,” Sommer said. “We just got our first two games scheduled, my roommates told me a little earlier, so were definitely going to play some games, though it won’t be a like a full season by any means.”

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Sommer believes games will start the second to last week in March. “Then, I think the hope is we’ll play each team kind of back-to-back, either at our place or away,’ he said. “With how crazy everything is, I think it could always change.”

So, how did Sommer wind up at Washington College?

“I had a couple of schools looking at me, like Susquehanna University, Delaware Valley University and Washington College. Washington College had my major and kind of the best program for it and I really liked coach ‘Goody’ [head coach Aaron Goodman] and just everyone there on the team and stuff like that,” Sommer said. “Just felt like it was the best fit out of the options that I had.”

Sommer is fairly confident that he will see playing time, although he says it’s pretty hard tell. COVID and everything hasn’t allowed him to see anyone play. Since he made the trip to school, he all his teammates have been quarantined.

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“Once quarantine ends, I think I have a pretty good chance of playing, whether it’s off the bench or starting. I think I have a decent chance to do that,” Sommer said. “Then again, when you come into a new program you always have to prove yourself, no matter where you are coming from. So, I think I have a good chance of playing and having a good impact on the team. It’s kind of a chance for me, at least as a new guy, to show them what I can do.”

Being left-handed, Sommer does see that as a bit of an advantage. “I think being left-handed gives me advantage, you don’t have tons,” he said. “I feel like there’s more right-handed players, so that gives me an advantage to play on the left side of the floor more, cause it’s open.”

If this season counts, Sommer, who is listed as a junior, will still have two more years of eligibility, but that doesn’t mean he stays at Washington College. There’s no money athletically for D-III athletes, so he won’t be there no more than needed.

“I think as soon as I finish my major, I’ll probably be finished at Washington College and hopefully if I do well, I’m thinking about doing a master’s in either Wildlife Biology or Fisheries Biology,” Sommer said. “Maybe if I transfer somewhere and I can play there for a year. Something like that, but that’s just kind of down the road. Ultimate goal here is to play as much basketball as I can while I’m working on my major. My main goal is to complete the Environmental Science bachelor degree.”

Sommer comes to Washington College after playing one season at Harford Community College.

Sommers enjoyed his time there, posting respectful scoring (9.5 PPG) and rebound (4 RPG) numbers.

He also had 33 blocked shots, which is seventh most in a single season in HCC program history.

“That was kind of a nice accomplishment for me,” Sommers said.

At Fallston, Sommer was a second team All-Harford selection as junior and a first team selection in 2018, his senior year. Sommer scored more than a 1,000 points in three seasons for the Cougars.

“For me at Fallston, I started sophomore, junior and senior year and it was like, every year I just kept improving. Points per game, knowledge of the game, IQ and defense,” he said. “I knew I wanted to play college basketball when I finished my junior year because I just kept improving so much and I kept growing.”

Growing up, Sommer played baseball and football and despite a freshman season of JV baseball, Sommer played basketball only at Fallston.

Cougars boys basketball coach Brian Hulka remembers what Sommer meant to the program.

“What Ethan meant to our program was immeasurable. He led us to a 16-5 record his junior year and was arguably the top player in the county his senior year,” Hulka said. “Not just a tremendous talent, but a hard worker and great leader. Any future success he has in the college ranks will be well-deserved.“

Sommer headed to Elmira College in New York after graduating, but he left, citing injuries and it just wasn’t a good fit. That’s when he came back home and enrolled at HCC.

“When you grow up in a high school, you’re playing with some of your best friends, I just didn’t want to stop that, Sommer said. “In college, you can make a bond with a bunch of new guys.”

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