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Yough's McCauley makes transition to North Carolina State

| Sunday, Jan. 29, 2006

After helping Yough High School enjoy its finest boys basketball season ever, West Newton's Ben McCauley has made the transition to college basketball's highest level at North Carolina State University.

Playing for 10th-year head coach Herb Sendek, a native of Penn Hills, McCauley has appeared in 14 of the Wolfpack's first 16 games. He is averaging 8.1 minutes, 3.0 points and 1.4 rebounds a game.

The 6-9, 235-pound forward has scored 42 total points and hauled down 20 rebounds. McCauley is shooting an effective 55 percent from the floor (11 of 20), and more than 65 percent from the foul line (17 of 26). He also has converted three of eight three-point attempts and produced six assists, two blocks and three steals.

In the Wolfpack's 91-61 season-opening victory at home against Stetson University in DeLand, Fla., McCauley played 18 minutes, scored eight points and grabbed down a season-high seven rebounds and made one steal.

The next night, McCauley came off the bench and played 15 minutes in a 91-59 North Carolina State home win over The Citadel Military College, Charleston, S.C. He scored a season-high 13 points with two rebounds, one assist and a blocked shot as the Wolfpack won the Hispanic College Fund Classic Tournament.

McCauley also scored in double-figures when he netted 10 points in a 92-68 home win over Appalachian State University, Boone, N.C., on Dec. 10. He also added two rebounds, one assist and two steals.

North Carolina State, a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference is ranked 14th nationally among all NCAA Division I schools and last season advanced to the NCAA Tournament's round of the "Sweet 16." The Wolfpack men's basketball team won national championships in 1974 and 1983.

"Ben has worked very hard since he got here and though he has seen limited time he is playing smart and making things happen when he is out on the court," Sendek said. "If he continues to progress, as our coaching staff believes he will, there is no question McCauley will be a good player in this conference. The potential is certainly there."

The only WPIAL player selected to the 2005 Associated Press Boys Basketball First Team Class AAA All-State squad last spring, McCauley finished his brilliant scholastic career with 2,284 career points, eighth best in WPIAL history.

Last season, McCauley helped the Cougars and head coach Brian Znavor reach the WPIAL Class AAA championship game for the first time in school history as well as advancing to the second round of the PIAA Class AAA state tournament. Yough finished 20-9 overall.

During the 2004-05 season, McCauley averaged 28.8 points and 16.5 rebounds a game. Before losing to two-time defending champion Moon High School in the 2005 WPIAL title game, McCauley averaged 37 points in postseason victories over Thomas Jefferson, Knoch and Hopewell high schools. He was 15 points shy of setting a new WPIAL tournament scoring record, and the three WPIAL playoff wins and state tournament victory over Grove City High School were Yough's first-ever postseason victories in boys basketball.

As a junior, McCauley averaged 26.5 points, 14.5 rebounds and 3.5 blocks a game and scored a single-game school record 49 points. He was also a first-team All-State selection that season and helped Yough compile a 16-10 overall record and WPIAL playoff appearance. McCauley averaged 23 points during his 2002-03 sophomore season and led the Cougars to their first of three straight WPIAL postseason showings. He is one of only 20 WPIAL boys basketball players to score more than 2,000 points.

Last April, McCauley played in the prestigious 32nd annual Capital Classic All-Star game on the campus of George Mason University in Fairfax, Va.

McCauley also played on the Pittsburgh Jolts AAU team, the same team current North Carolina State assistant coach Archie Moore (Blackhawk High School) played on during his playing days.

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