Lakeview’s Pavlansky joins KSU basketball
By BOB ETTINGER
Lakeview’s Annie Pavlansky isn’t driven so much by a need to win. It’s something deeper that has led the two-sport athlete to become one of the best volleyball and basketball players in the Mahoning Valley.
“It’s really just wanting to be great,” Pavlansky said. “I really try to focus on winning every day. That’s the way my parents brought me up. We’re not threatened if we lose, but we try to win. I hate losing more than I love winning. That’s the way my parents raised me. They push me to want to be great and do my best to have fun while I’m at it.”
Pavlansky, the daughter of Tom and Kate Pavlansky, pushed herself and had enough fun playing basketball that she’s chosen to accept a full scholarship to play play basketball at Kent State University.
“They offered me a full scholarship, not this past summer, but the summer before in June,” Pavlansky said. “They were my first offer. I kept visiting and I fell in love with the place. I want to go into the medical field and they have a lot of good majors. And right now, they’re playing at a pretty high level in basketball.
“There wasn’t anything I didn’t not like about it. It’s definitely a bonus I’m going in to play college basketball. I really wasn’t thinking about the distance, but it’s nice that it’s only 45 or 50 minutes from here.”
Pavlansky had her choice between playing basketball or volleyball at the collegiate level. Ultimately, it was her love for the hardwood that won out.
“Basketball was always my one true love starting when I played at the old Y in Niles when I was 5,” she said. “I remember I had a really good coach in seventh grade, Ted McDivitt, and he got me to love it more. I always fell back to it. I always miss playing. I’m always wanting to go back to it.”
The senior guard/forward is coming off a foot injury that had sidelined her for the end of her junior season and all of volleyball in 2017. The injury did not curtail her scholarship offer.
“After the injury, Coach [Todd] Starkey was one of the first to call me,” Pavlansky said. “That meant a lot. He told me not to worry. He told me to keep my head up and come back better than ever. He called me the day after I got hurt.”
Heading into her final high school campaign with the injury and her college choice wrapped up allows Pavlansky to simply enjoy her last rodeo.
“I definitely think it’s a weight off my shoulders,” she said. “I don’t have to worry about where I’m going. I can focus on my senior basketball season, be the best I can be and help the team be the best it can be. Coach Starkey told me to enjoy my senior year and have the best season I can.”
As one of the taller yet more athletic players on the floor on most nights, Pavlansky presents a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses. She also presents a unique advantage to her coaches as she can play all five positions. For the Golden Flashes, it appears she will play more of a swing position much like LeBron James.
“I’ll work up to that, anyway,” Pavlansky said. “In high school, I’ll play some four or five when we have a mismatch, but I’ll also play the one, two or three when we need someone to handle the ball or the situation calls for it. I’ll learn to play the position they need me to to help things happen at Kent. I think it will be really exciting to specialize in one area and be coached to be the best I can be at that spot.”
If not for her support system at home, Pavlansky isn’t quite sure she’d be making the leap to collegiate athletics.
“They’re support means absolutely everything,” she said. “I really don’t know where I’d be without them. They support me more than anybody knows. Having my parents be my biggest supporters drives me in so many positive ways.”
It doesn’t end with Pavlansky’s parents, however. She has two younger brothers and a sister who have also helped along the way.
“It’s an amazing feeling to have them look up to me,” Pavlansky said. “They support me, too. When I was making this decision, I asked them what they think. They rebound for me when I want to shoot. It made me better to knowing I was a role model. It’s cool being a role model for what they should do or who they should be. I want them to see hard work does pay off.”