On the heels of a successful spring semester in the classroom with nine players obtaining a minimum grade-point average of 3.0, the Youngstown State men's basketball team is continuing its off-season hard work on the basketball court.
For the first time this summer, 10 members of the Youngstown State program are competing in the Pittsburgh Basketball Club Pro-Am Summer League. Competing against college players from Pittsburgh, West Virginia and Duquesne, several Penguins are excelling.
Head Coach Jerry Slocum said he was pleased that his players are continuing to strive to become better basketball players by competing against college players at the highest level.
"Basketball players are made in the summer time," Slocum said. "Our guys have stayed and lifted and have had a great experience playing in the pro-am league in Pittsburgh."
Senior DuShawn Brooks is averaging 12.2 points per game and ranks 10th in the summer league in scoring and 10th in rebounds with 6.5 boards per game. In six games, Brooks has eclipsed the 20-point plateau twice.
Sophomore Kendrick Perry, whose highlight-reel slam dunks have made Pittsburgh headlines, is averaging 12 points per game while shooting 43 percent from the field and 41.2 percent from 3-point range.
"I think the thing for us was for our guys to play against players from Pitt, Duquesne, and West Virginia," Slocum said. "The encouraging thing for us is the people that run the league comment on how respectful our kids are and what good players they are. And I think it has helped all of our guys."
Sophomore Nate Perry, junior Blake Allen and senior Ashen Ward are also posting solid numbers in the pro-am league. Perry, who is averaging 9.8 points per game, has made 12 3-pointers in six games and Allen, who has also made 12 treys, is posting 9.7 points and 2.5 assist per game.
Ward has made 10 3-pointers in seven games and is averaging 9.0 points and 4.3 rebounds per game.
The nine players that made the Athletic Director's Academic Honor Roll included Blake Allen, Shawn Amiker, Josh Chojnacki, Fletcher Larson, Kendrick Perry, Nate Perry, Mike Podolsky, Vytas Sulskis and Ashen Ward
"This is, by far, the best academic year we've ever had with nine on the Athletic Director's Honor Roll, and our team GPA was just under a 3.0 at 2.96."