His sports this school year were football and basketball, but at times he felt as if he were swimming. In a pool of uncertainty.

Malvern Prep's Joe Hoban was hoping to wind up with a Division I scholarship. Tick . . . tick . . . tick. And the school year kept marching on.

"I didn't know what was going to happen," Hoban said. "I wouldn't say I went through a tough time [while waiting]. I just stayed positive and kept my patience and had hope it would all work out."

Mission accomplished.

Hoban, a 6-1, 175-pound point guard, has signed to play hoops at Colgate, of the Patriot League.

"I started hearing from Colgate after an AAU tourney at Penn State maybe 3 to 4 weeks ago," he said. "I had a solid tournament playing for the Philadelphia Patriots, but there was one game, where I really played well, that I could probably point to as the one that got them interested.

"When they said they'd like for me to come play for them, that was pretty exciting. I knew Colgate's name and that it was a good school academically, and then I checked it out some more, just so I'd know what it'd be about.

"My official visit [Tuesday a week ago] went great. The people were nice and came off as very sincere."

A wideout, Hoban was courted for football by New Hampshire.

"If they'd offered a full scholarship, I would have taken it," he said. "But it never got past 'partial,' and UMass wanted me to go up there as a preferred walk-on. Not knowing if football would work out, I put more emphasis into trying to get a scholarship for basketball."

Hoban, who plans to major in sports management, also visited Navy for hoops. St. Peter's, Le Moyne, Merrimac and Quinnipiac were involved to varying degrees. *