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Jeannette's Pryor refuses to take credit for successes

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Sunday, March 30, 2008

Jeannette High School and its loyal fans celebrated PIAA and WPIAL championships in football and basketball this season, becoming the first WPIAL school to win both in the same school year.

Although the surrounding cast was formidable and perhaps not given appropriate acclaim all season, the catalyst for this unprecedented success was Terrelle Pryor.

The Ohio State football recruit did achieve legendary status in both sports.

Pryor was an all-around player on the court, and he didn't have to lead the team in scoring for it to win many of its games. He had numerous double-doubles and triple-doubles during the season.

His most memorable game came in the WPIAL Class AA championship at Duquesne's Palumbo Center. He scored 39 points, pulled down 24 rebounds, blocked 11 shots and handed out six assists.

Pryor averaged 21.9 points per game this season and finished with 2,285 in his career, which ranks him 10th on the all-time WPIAL list.

For that, he was named the Tribune-Review male basketball Player of the Year, but he insisted he could not have done it alone.

"We had big-time players on the team," Pryor said. "If you win a championship, you can't be a one-man team. My team took that as an insult.

"I didn't have to score for us to win. Usually, I let the other guys do their thing, and usually I sat back."

Pryor admits he took joy in setting up his teammates for easy shots.

But when Jeannette needed a play, especially in big games, Pryor delivered.

"I admire Terrelle because he was so unselfish," Jeannette basketball coach Jim Nesser said. "Terrelle was committed to this basketball team. He delayed his college decision to help this team win championships. That takes a special person."

Many people believe Pryor is destined for the NFL; others say he could play in the NBA if he would have opted to concentrate on basketball in college.

While Pryor will concentrate on becoming a great quarterback at Ohio State, his new football coach, Jim Tressel, said he will explore the possibilities of allowing Pryor to play basketball later in his career.

"He has to learn our system first, and he wants to do that," Tressel said. "Terrelle is a very talented athlete, and he wants to be the best at what he does."

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