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Penn State basketball recruit Geno Thorpe leaving Shaler

| Tuesday, July 31, 2012, 5:18 p.m.
Christopher Horner
Shaler's Geno Thorpe was a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review 2012 Terrific 10 selection after averaging 21.5 points per game for the WPIAL Class AAAA semifinalist. Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Shaler's Geno Thorpe battles Plum's Austin Dedert for a rebound during the WPIAL Class AAAA basketball quarterfinal game at North Allegheny High School on February 25, 2012. Shaler won the game, 57-48. (Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review)
Shaler's Geno Thorpe ties up Allderdice's Tevin Bell at Peabody High School during PIAA action March 10, 2012. (Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review)

Shaler's Geno Thorpe, one of the WPIAL's top basketball players, transferred Tuesday to West Oaks Academy in Orlando, Fla.

Thorpe, a rising senior, made the move to live in Florida with his father, he said. However, the change of schools also could provide better competition for the Penn State recruit.

West Oaks Academy, a small private school, has built a reputation in Florida for high school basketball success. The team was 38-1 last season and won the Sunshine Independent Athletic Association title. Its only loss came in Virginia against Oak Hill Academy, then ranked No. 1 nationally. Last year's roster had a number of Division I recruits.

“The school's in a prep league, so it's different than what the WPIAL has to offer,” Thorpe said, “but living with my father was the main reason. Basketball was second.”

His father, Gene, who is from Pittsburgh, has lived in Florida for more than two years, said Thorpe, who has lived here with his mother.

The 6-foot-3 point guard averaged 21.5 points last season for Shaler, which reached the WPIAL Class AAAA semifinals. Thorpe played his freshman year at Shady Side Academy before returning home to Shaler as a sophomore. He considered transferring to a New Jersey prep school last summer.

“It was a tough decision (to leave Shaler),” Thorpe said. “Not from a basketball standpoint but because of the community. The community has supported me for so long, and I appreciate them for that. But I had to do what's best for me.”

Thorpe said he had told Penn State coaches about the move and they were supportive. He remains committed to the Nittany Lions.

Chris Harlan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at charlan@tribweb.com or 412-380-5666.

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