Freshman has high hopes for his season

Freshman guard Olando King Jr. (center) attempts to avoid defenders senior guard Nate Snodgrass (right) and sophomore forward Levi Masua (left) during practice last week.

Asha Njeri

Freshman guard Olando King Jr. (center) attempts to avoid defenders senior guard Nate Snodgrass (right) and sophomore forward Levi Masua (left) during practice last week.

Emily Moore, Staff Writer

One of Pitt-Johnstown men’s basketball team standout players is a freshman.

Freshman guard Olando King Jr. is fifth in scoring and field goals; fourth in rebounds, blocked shots and steals; and third in assists.

King said he has two ultimate goals this year for the team and himself.

“I want our team to travel all the way through the brackets and end up being the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II champions,” King said.

“Also, I am working on becoming Freshman of the Year in the conference.”

Sophomore forward Levi Masua said King has improved greatly since open gyms in the preseason.

“We have the four best freshman in the conference, and I think anyone of them could get the award of Freshman of the Year in the conference.”

“However I think Olando has put himself in a great position to where that goal is achievable,” said Masua.

King said that it was difficult to earn his high statistics.

According to King, the game he was used to in Dallas, Texas was much different than what he has learned to play in Pennsylvania.

“Collegiate competition is different between my home state and here because here, we have a shot clock and I have never played with a shot clock before.”

“Also, the speed of the game and the players are faster than what I have experienced and have seen in Texas.”

King said that this will be his biggest challenge and adaptation this year, working hard to bring his game speed up.

“He has identified what his strengths and weaknesses are.”

“He also is helping the team win games by bringing a lot of energy to the court,” said Masua.

Senior guard Nate Snodgrass said King has already contributed greatly to the team.

“He has really helped our team defensively. He can guard virtually any player on the opposing team,” said Snodgress

At King’s high school, he averaged 12.3 points, 9.5 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game.

King was also named First-Team All-District 13, Texas 5A.

Leaving out all the other collegiate options he had, King said that Pitt-Johnstown stood out to him.

“I was looking for a school that had good degrees,” said King.

“I wanted to play collegiate basketball so badly too… I saw Pitt-Johnstown and it automatically became my No. 1 pick.”

In his career as a Mountain Cat, he is averaging 6.5 points per game, 2.4 rebounds per game and 2.4 assists per game.

King said that, given the way he’s been playing, he’s hopeful he will achieve his goal of becoming conference Freshman of the Year.

Three other freshman on the team include center George Prota 6 feet 11 inches tall; guard Romano Sebastiani 6 feet 4 inches tall; and forward Dom Keyes 6 foot 7 inches tall.

In the conference, the Mountain Cats are 4-2.

Their two losses were against West Chester University and Kutztown University.