McKeesport, Pa. – It was a historic season for Penn State Greater Allegheny Men’s Basketball in the 2016/17 season. They set a school record for wins in a season with 23 and captured the school’s first ever Penn State University Athletic Conference Championship. They also made their first ever appearance in the United States Collegiate Athletic Association National Tournament and won their first ever USCAA Tournament game when they beat Southern Maine Community College 81-50 before falling in the second round and finishing third place overall.
While last season was a great one for Men’s Basketball, they were not satisfied with the third-place finish in the USCAA and they are back to try and make another bid for that USCAA Championship in 2017/18. They have nine players returning from last year’s championship team and they are once again under the leadership of fourth year head coach Tyler Care.
Among those returners to the team are 2016/17 points per game leader Jordon Payne (McKeesport, Pa./McKeesport), rebounds per game leader Curtis Newby (Sharon, Pa./Sharon HS), points off the bench leader Khari Hicks (East Hills, Pa./Imani Christian Academy), and starters Jeremy McMunn (Pittsburgh, Pa./Woodland Hills) and George Prota (Elizabeth, Pa./Elizabeth Forward).
Jordon Payne was near the top of almost every offensive category last season including leading the team in points per game with 14.3 and free throw percentage at 85.5. Payne was also fifth in shooting percentage (40.0) and second in 3-point shooting percentage (36.4). Curtis Newby joins Payne on the offensive side as he was second on the team with 14.1 points per game and lead the team in rebounds per game with 9.3 last season. Newby also had the second highest shooting percentage on the team shooting 49.5%.
Khari Hicks has done it all in his first three years with the Men’s Basketball team. He has started and has come off the bench and has made a huge impact in both respects. Last season, he played in all 28 games while starting three averaging 7.8 points per game, the most of anyone off the bench. Jeremy McMunn returns to the starting lineup after finishing third on last year’s team with 10.8 points per game and George Prota comes off of a season where he led the team shooting 54% from the floor.
Joining the group of nine returners are a recruiting class of five freshman who are looking to step in and continue the legacy set forth by last year’s team. They will be guided by fourth-year head coach Tyler Care as he looks to lead them back to the USCAA Tournament.
Care has helped to turn around the PSUGA Men’s Basketball program in his four years inheriting a 9-17 team and turning them around to become national contenders. Over his first three seasons at PSUGA Care has a career record of 45-37 making him the winningest coach in PSUGA Men’s Basketball history.
Care and the 2017/18 PSUGA Men’s Basketball team will start their regular season on Friday when they battle Butler County Community College in the Wunderly Gymnasium at 8 p.m. Prior to that, they have one more scrimmage Tuesday when they travel to West Virginia Wesleyan at 7 p.m.