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Penn College Men Stepping Up in Basketball

Four-year eligibility for its players, new teams on the schedule like Lycoming College and Elizabethtown University, and a new conference the Pennsylvania College of Technology men’s team is stepping up in the basketball world. “We’re playing Lycoming (away, Jan. 8), and E-town (away, Nov. 19) has all but one player back and it has won the Commonwealth Division of the Middle Atlantic Conference the last three years in a row,” said coach Gene Bruno. “It’s not about winning those games as much as it is about elevating the schedule so that it will prepare us better for going into the Commonwealth Campus Athletic Conference. “As a coach, I’m excited to be able to go in there and coach against full-time coaches. The staff is excited and my players are excited to go against these various teams. I think it’s nothing but a good thing,” added Bruno, in his eighth year as coach. Starting for the Wildcats in their opener Saturday at Penn State DuBois will be Greg Davis (6-foot-7 senior center/Kutztown), Tony Flint (6-foot junior guard/Port Allegany) and freshmen O’Dell Jones (5-9 guard/Levittown), Dawan Moore (6-5 forward/Buffalo, N.Y.) and Ken Vialet (6-foot guard/Manhattan, N.Y.). Davis played at Penn College two years ago and returns with the new four-year eligibility. Flint led the team in scoring last season with a 12-points-per-game average. Bruno’s “second wave” of players includes Sam Fatherly (6-2 freshman guard/Williamsport), brothers Adam Walker (6-3 freshman forward/Williamsport) and Joe Walker (6-3 freshman center/Williamsport), Sam Sawyer (6-2 freshman guard/South Williamsport) and Nate Yocum (5-10 sophomore guard/State College). After graduating from high school, Fatherly spent two seasons at Virginia Tech, where he played football. “When I recruit, I like to get 10-11 kids with even skills, for the most part; that way, when I sub, I don’t lose a lot… I keep an even keel,” Bruno said. “I don’t do it all night long (sub five at a time), but, at the beginning of the game, it’s a great thing to try. You find out how much depth the other team has in a hurry. It wears them a little bit.” Also on the squad are Matt Michaels (6-1 sophomore guard/Williamsport), Gus Bird (6-1 freshman forward/Canton), Josh Hoffman (6-3 sophomore forward/Halifax), Anthony Sofranek (6-foot sophomore guard/Newport), Steve Young (6-1 freshman forward/Philadelphia) and Kulu Momo (5-7 freshman guard/Somerset, N.J.). Offensively, Penn College hopes for a better transition game than it had a year ago, when it finished 6-19 overall and averaged just 71 points per game while allowing 81. Bruno will continue to use a trapping defense. As is often the case, how well the Wildcats do record-wise on the court will depend on how well they do academically in the classroom. “My season is broken into two seasons,” Bruno said, “now to Christmas, and whatever happens after Christmas. . . . I’ll either have a merry Christmas, or a Grinch Christmas. I can say this: I’ve had three successful years and they were the three years that I kept my whole team intact. We went to the playoffs each time. It’s all about the academics. “If I keep my team intact, I’m very confident that we’ll have some success this year,” the coach continued. Assisting Bruno will be Williamsporters Matt Johnson, Adrian Harry and, new to the staff this year, Kevin Pletz. “I was always taught, if you surround yourself with good people, good things will happen,” Bruno said of his assistants. “They’re here mainly because they like being around kids and those are the kind of people I want around me. They’re here for the love of the game and the kids.” (NOTE: Home games are at Bardo Gymnasium on West Third Street.)

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