While an 8-14 record isn’t considered a success by any stretch of the imagination, Pittsburgh (Pa.) Shaler Area High School’s Geno Thorpe found a way to make the season a positive learning experience.
Thorpe was Penn State's first 2013 commit.
When his team, which made the PIAA quarterfinals last year, lost some talent, the Penn State signee faced the brunt of opponent’s focus this year and had to adjust how he approached each game.
“It was kind of hard at first. I wasn’t really used to being box-and-oned, having double teams on me in given situations,” admitted Thorpe. “I learned from it, and I think it helped my offensive game as a whole. I think just getting other people involved.
“It’s always been easy for me to get my points, so getting my teammates involved is something I definitely got better at.”
Despite the extra attention, the three-star guard led the WPIAL in scoring at 26.3 points per game. He almost wasn’t a part of the 2012-13 Shaler team after moving down to Florida in August to live with his father and attend West Oaks Academy. After about a month in the Sunshine State, Thorpe returned to Pittsburgh to play out his senior season in Pennsylvania.
“It wasn’t too hard transitioning back, I mean just because I grew up at Shaler,” said Thorpe. “My first day back was a little bit different, but people took me back with open arms. Everyone accepted it and it was like I never left.”
Living in the same state in which he will attend college, the No. 162 player in the class of 2013 made a point to catch his future teammates on TV whenever he could, and shared some thoughts on what has been a long season for the Nittany Lions.
“I thought the guys did good playing out of position all year,” said Thorpe. “I think if Tim (Frazier) would have been there it would have been a different story, but it forced other guys to get better. I think D.J. Newbill is a better player now than he was at the end of the season, Sasa has improved.”
“Basically, their message to me is just be ready to come in and play,” said Thorpe. “They’ve always said how my skill set is needed, and next year I should be coming in ready to play and get started right off the bat.
“With Tim coming back next year, that’s a good thing. John Johnson is coming in, he’ll be cleared in a year and we get almost all of our guards back. I’m trying to be as prepared as possible when I come up.”
Now that his senior season is over, Thorpe is working to improve his physical makeup by working with a personal trainer in addition to honing his on-court skills. The 6-foot-3, 180-pound Pittsburgh product has mixed feelings on getting his college career started, but can’t wait to be a part of Penn State.
“I’m excited to start my college career, and a little bit nervous to come in as a freshman, but I’m ready,” he said. “I think I’m mentally and physically prepared and I think it’s my time, so I’m ready to get started.”
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