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Harrington steps up for PSNK men's basketball team

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Bill Shirley | For The Valley News Dispatch
Darryl Harrington, a returning junior guard for Penn State New Kensington's basketball team, drives against incoming freshman strong forward Rashon Boone during practice at the campus in Upper Burrell on Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012.

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By George Guido
Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, 12:11 a.m.

If the Penn State New Kensington Lions basketball team is going to improve on last year's 5-14 overall record, the responsibility likely will fall on the shoulders of junior guard Daryl Harrington.

The team's only returning starter, Harrington averaged 13 points last season.

Harrington doesn't seem to mind the pressure to lead.

“I think we can make a run this year,” said Harrington, a graduate of Pittsburgh's Perry Traditional Academy. “It will be an extra challenge because we don't have a lot of height. Speed will play a big part.”

Third-year coach Doug Schneider likes what Harrington brings to the floor.

“He's a good, left-handed shooter who's tough to guard off the dribble,” Schneider said. “He's established positive leadership, and he keeps his composure. We're looking for Daryl to show his maturity.”

PSNK has only nine players to start the season, and Harrington is, by far, the most experienced. Some players expected to be back this year did not come out for the team.

Depth and inexperience are the main obstacles in the team's quest to move past last year's 4-12 mark in Penn State University Athletic Conference play.

“We're going to be very, very young, and (lack of) height is also a problem,” Schneider said. “If we can compete on the boards, we can do well. I believe in the guys we have.”

Taking on an expanded role this year will be guard and 3-point specialist Dom Strapac, a sophomore and a Leechburg High School graduate.

The Lions also will look for help from newcomer Rashon Boone of Summit Academy, a team that was seeded in the WPIAL playoffs last season, and lost a double-overtime encounter against Northgate. Boone is a 6-foot-2 forward.

Also in the frontcourt will be Jordan Buchanich (6-3) from Franklin Regional.

“Jordan's a determined young man, and he's very versatile,” Schneider said. “We have no true big men; they'll have to play bigger than they are.”

Point guard duties will fall to Paul Carrington, like Harrington, a Perry graduate.

“Paul's a quick learner and a hard worker,” Schneider said. “He could be one of our most improved players by the end of the season.”

Rounding out the Lions' roster will be Casey Cavanaugh (Burrell) and Mike Toney (Valley), two players, perhaps, more known for soccer in high school but reportedly adapting well to the rigors of small college basketball.

PSNK also is looking for help from guards Junbo Luan and Mike Worthy.

“We've got a great freshman core,” Harrington said. “With our special plays and conditioning, we should be fine. Our versatility and chemistry will be good this year.”

PSNK starts its season Tuesday at Mount Aloysius. The first five Lions games are on the road, including the PSUAC opener Nov. 28 at Penn State Greater Allegheny in McKeesport.

PSNK will play its home opener Dec. 8 against Penn State-York.

Schneider will be assisted this year by Valley graduate Joe Mandak.

George Guido is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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