Share This Page

PS Fayette men aim to build on last season

| Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012, 1:36 a.m.
Members of the Penn State Fayette men's basketball team are working hard to produce a winning season in 2012-13. Jason Black/Daily Courier

For the Penn State Fayette men's basketball team, the time for success is now. The Roaring Lions are coming off a strong 2011-12 season in which they racked up an 11-7 record in the PSUAC.

Penn State Fayette also won a game in the USCAA National Tournament to close the season.

This season, the Roaring Lions return four-fifths of their starting lineup, which should give the team plenty of confidence.

“They get better every day,” Penn State Fayette third-year coach Mark John said. “In our first year together, we had four wins and last year we had 14 wins. When you have a season like that, the guys are hungry to come back and see what they can do.”

The Roaring Lions lost starter Tyler Van Olst, who transferred to Penn State's main campus. However, Penn State Fayette has the luxury of an experienced team taking the court this year. Senior guard James Pratt and senior forwards David Winns and Ryan Hart join sophomore guard Brandon Cunningham as returning starters. Winns averaged nearly 20 points last season. Senior guard Will Gaines also saw plenty of starting time and will play a major role this season.

“These guys have been around each other for three years,” John said. “They are getting better and everybody is on the same page. We don't have to tell them to do the little things. They just do it.”

Senior center Andrew Hoye and sophomore guards Darius Mack and Derek Jones add plenty of veteran experience, while freshmen C.J. Gaddis, Tony Bristol and Spencer Perieff bring new energy to the program.

With a strong and experienced foundation, the goals are high for the Roaring Lions.

“We want to compete at the highest level,” John said. “We lost in the PSUAC quarterfinals last year, so we want to build on what we did in the past. We want to compete for the (PSUAC and USCAA) championships. We go into every situation thinking we are going to win.”

Of course, like any team, the Roaring Lions have room to improve.

“Offensively, we have to react more,” John said. “We have to be able to take what a defense gives us and react and create off of it. Defensively, we need to focus more on positioning. We are a man-to-man team, so we have to focus for 35 seconds on every possession.”

For Pratt, a Uniontown graduate, one of the keys to success will be the team's speed.

“We can run the floor and we've got a good offense,” Pratt said.

Pratt also believes the Roaring Lions are in position to build on last season.

“Since last year, we've put high expectations on ourselves and I think we can do better this year,” Pratt said. “Any senior wants to go out with the best and we're trying to achieve our goals as one team.”

The concept of team is certainly a powerful theme for this group of Roaring Lions.

“Our strength is team unity and how much they care for each other,” John said. “When you have that, anything becomes possible.”

Jason Black is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at jblack@tribweb.com or 724-626-3534.

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.