By Jay Wu
Staff Writer and Reporter
NEW KENSINGTON, Pa. – As the Penn State New Kensington basketball team continues to work hard and play hard, their season is coming to an end. This season introduced new freshmen to the team, and welcomed back seasoned players who have all worked together as a team to improve tactics and be successful.
Since the team’s newest freshman players graduated high school, they made the transition to our college campus and are playing for our college basketball team. However, they may have seen some differences from the way their high school team was set up and what our college team had in store for them.
Tony Hill (Guard), who is a freshman Information Science and Technology (IST) major, and Minhea Dinu (Small Forward), who is a freshman Engineering major, both stated that competition is a difference between high school and college. Hill also said that a college team is, “more serious and more independent which helps them get better.”
Brandon Burchette, a sophomore Communications major, stated that there were challenges along the way, such as the work ethic needed to meet the team standard. Burchette stated, “We had to condition a lot more than high school. High school has about 3 practices a week while college has 5 or 6.” Shane Barroner (Forward), a freshman Business major, stated that college is “more physical, [the players are] more skilled, and the game is a little bit faster.”
Jordan Williams (Shooting Guard), a junior Psychology major, stated that “between the semester breaks, you lose some players and gain some players.” Williams went on to say that “our team chemistry seems to be a little better after we grew over the semester and got some new people.” Dorian Broadwater (Small Forward), a sophomore IST major, mentioned that he thought the team chemistry got better as the season progressed. Lou Payne (Point Guard), a senior IST major stated, “The team has evolved pretty well; we’re actually playing more as a family.”
The basketball team has seen various support throughout the season. Broadwater stated, “I think we got the best fans. The school, they’re always supportive and they always got our back at whatever we do!” Meanwhile, Payne took the time to appreciate the students who live at the neighboring apartments and even some of the faculty who come to the home games.
The team has certain methods to help them balance athletics and academics. Tony Hill stated that the players have group studies before practice. Shane Barroner stated that he goes, “to the Academic Success Center for two hours a week so we have to study there and then every night, we study 6-8pm. We have a study table, so we have to go down there and we bring our homework to the computer lab.”
Jordan Williams highlighted their teamwork, “The team works together very well. We practice almost 7 days a week.” Williams also went on to say that the team is always together and even in the classroom, the teammates are willing to help them out with classes that they have already had. Dorian Broadwater stated, “We have a good amount of [time] playing together, so we know what we can all do.”
When participating in our college basketball team, the freshman team would have their pros and cons when it comes to their high school team and college. Tony Hill stated, “high school is more like a certain family. You’re sure that they’re going to be there for the whole season.” Hill also went on to say that “as for college, you can have a family for a semester and have a different family for the next.”
Jordan Williams stated that the team’s rival is Beaver and they just beat them on January, 26th. Broadwater stated that the team’s rival is Greater Allegheny. Broadwater said, “We beat them two times last year on two buzzer beaters, so I would say that’s our rival.” Lou Payne, however, stated that everybody is their rival. As stated before, “we just beat Beaver. We played against DuBois and we play against Fayette coming up.”
The team remains hopeful as the end of the season nears. “I’m feeling confident! I’m excited for the end of the season! I think that we can make the playoffs and I think we can go deep in the playoffs,” Burchette stated.
The team’s next game is Tuesday Feb. 9 at 8 p.m. at Penn State DuBois. Their next home game is against Penn State Fayette Wednesday Feb. 10 at 7 p.m.