ATHLETE OF THE MONTH: Daniel Woll collected 75% of this month’s votes for athlete of the month. (Photo provided by Huntington Athletics)

For junior Daniel Woll, Huntington University was the full package.

“When I came on my visit here, it just felt like home,” Woll remembered. “I know that sounds really cliché, but I just got along really well with the guys on the team and the coaching staff.”

Woll also said he knew that the university’s education department was held in esteem both locally and state-wide, making the university a perfect for both passions.

Additionally, two of Woll’s childhood friends and Columbia City High School teammates — Derek Hinen and Drew Benedict — were on-board to join the 6’7” junior as Foresters.

“It has truly been a dream come true to continue my career at HU with the guys that I grew up with,” Woll said.

Woll began playing the sport at the age of six at the local YMCA. He said basketball has impacted his life in such a way that he “would not be the person that I am today without it.” Woll has been primed by many mentors, role models and coaches during his career that led to the opportunity to play at the collegiate level.

One of his favorite parts at playing so near his hometown is the opportunity to play in front of his parents each game. It’s a blessing he said he never wants to overlook.

His time as a Forester began with a successful 24-8 season, which ended at the NAIA National Tournament. Woll averaged seven points off the bench as a freshman. While Foresters have finished just under the .500 mark his last two seasons, he doubled his scoring average as a sophomore and bested that with a 17-point average this season.

This season, Woll’s numbers garnered him recognition within the Forester history books and in his individual columns. He recorded his personal-best 34 points against Mount Vernon on Jan.19, a day where he sunk 16 of his 17 shots at the charity stripe. And ten days later, he became the 45th Forester to join the 1,000-point club.

Head coach Ty Platt said his team depended on Woll’s consistent scoring and rebounding performances as he put together “a very good junior year.”

Woll credits his improvement each year to off-season diligence, especially strength training.

“That allowed me to hold my ground a little better both offensively and defensively,” he said of his junior production.

With a final season on the horizon, Woll has some goals he’d still like to accomplish, with all having the program and his team in mind.

“I would love to be able to walk out of HU saying that we won our conference, made it to the national tournament, and even won the national championship,” he said.

Platt said in the upcoming season, he “will be calling on him to improve in all areas,” in addition to keeping his teammates accountable for their work ethics.

When the final buzzer rings, and it’s time to turn in the forester green and white jersey for the last time, Woll said what he’s learned on the court will translate well into the workplace, no matter the outcome of the game.

“My on-court experience at HU as taught me how to work hard,” Woll said of the off-court takeaways. “And I think that is an extremely important aspect to take away from my college career and carry over into my profession.”