Brownlee helps Thiel basketball team succeed
By Bruce Wald
Published: Saturday, April 20, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
His individual statistics at the end of a game, season or even career will not overwhelm anyone, but R.J. Brownlee's contribution to Thiel College was a valuable one.
A 6-foot-2-inch senior guard from Donora and Ringgold High School, Brownlee helped the Tomcats achieve a fourth straight winning season and advance to the semifinals of the President's Athletic Conference Tournament in 2012-13.
“R.J.'s maturity level went from a 50 to 100 this past year,” said Tim Loomis, who completed his sixth year as Thiel's head coach this past season. “Not talent-wise, but I think this past year's team was our best overall team since I've been here, and he was an important factor in our success.”
Brownlee made 12 starts in 23 games played and averaged more than 23 minutes per game, the most of all the players coming predominantly off the bench. He averaged 5.5 points and nearly three rebounds per game. Brownlee was fifth on the team in made field goals (49) and also produced 31 assists, 20 steals and three blocks. Thiel's 6-0 start to the season was its best in program history. The Tomcats also upset NCAA Division II rival Clarion University in an exhibition game, 61-59.
Loomis said Brownlee provided depth, leadership and was a defensive stopper.
“He's the kind of guy we wanted to drive the ball, draw the foul, push the ball down the floor and just fit in with everybody, and that's what he did,” Loomis said.
Loomis, who has coached college basketball for more than 30 years, also praised Brownlee's blue-collar effort.
“R.J. was a leader on this team and always doing the dirty work,” he said. “He's a great defender and could defend anyone regardless what size they were. He just did what he could do. There weren't too many nights he was taking bad shots and he could wear down opponents defensively.”
Brownlee was one of four seniors on the 2012-13 Tomcats who produced Thiel's finest three-year stretch of basketball after enduring a two-win season in 2008-2009.
Over the past three seasons Thiel has compiled a 50-25 cumulative record and 36-10 conference mark.
The 2010-11 squad won the program's first regular season conference title with a 13-1 mark and reached the PAC title game before losing by seven points to perennial power Bethany (W.Va.) College. Brownlee appeared in 17 games that season and averaged 7.3 minutes per outing while producing 12 points, 15 rebounds, six assists, four steals and two blocks. Thiel finished with a 20-7 overall record, the most in school history.
In 2011-12, Brownlee played in all 24 games and averaged more than 17 minutes per game. He averaged nearly three points and two rebounds per game and was fourth on the team in assists with 38. Brownlee also produced seven blocks and 13 steals. Thiel went 13-3 in PAC play and went 16-8 overall.
“This senior group has set just about every record in the history of the school,” Loomis added. “They built the program and solidified everything for us moving forward. It's too bad that they aren't around for one more year.”
The veteran coach also said that Brownlee helped make this past season his most enjoyable one in coaching.
Loomis' assistant coach is Dave Pastorkovich, a native of Belle Vernon. He joined Loomis' staff in the summer of 2010 after serving 17 years as a part-time coach and the primary recruiting coordinator at Carnegie Mellon University.
“He's a great kid off the floor and never gave us any problems, whatsoever,” Loomis said about Brownlee. “R.J. and the other seniors were all four-year members of our program, which is exceptional in this day and age.”
Bruce Wald is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Alleged scammer arrested
- Benefit planned to help late Washington Twp.police officer’s family
- Pa. transportation bill may breathe life into Mon-Fayette Expressway project
- Project will benefit Madison industrial site
- Wreck snarls Interstate
- Ex-Cal U student claims sex assault
- Restaurateur’s roots planted in Mon Valley
- Confederate Cabinet focus of Cal U’s Civil War roundtable
- Mother’s suspicion leads to 4 arrests in Charleroi thefts
- 2 Mon Valley educators up for state’s Teacher of the Year honor
- Donora woman dies in fire