University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown
Pitt-Johnstown Seal

2009-10 Season Preview

     Head Coach Bob Rukavina and the Pitt-Johnstown Mountain Cat basketball team will have a brand new look when the 2009-10 season tips-off.  The Mountain Cats must replace four senior starters who guided Pitt-Johnstown to a pair of West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletics Conference (WVIAC) titles and two consecutive Atlantic Region Tournament berths.
     Gone is forward Marcus Tullis (Johnstown, Pa.) and guards Quinton Davis (Pittsburgh, Pa.), Matt Ionadi (Pittsburgh, Pa.) and William Sharpe (Johnstown, Pa.).
     Despite the losses, Pitt-Johnstown will look to continue its success and make it five straight 20-win seasons behind three returning seniors and 2008-09 WVIAC All-Freshman Team selection Patrick Grubbs (Turtle Creek, Pa.), who is expected to be a force in the paint again as a sophomore.
     As a true freshman, Grubbs ranked 65th in NCAA Division II and third in WVIAC in rebounding at 8.2 rebounds per game.  Grubbs, who also finished third on the team in scoring at 10.4 points per game, led Pitt-Johnstown in rebounding 17 times in 2008-09.
     Senior guards Andy Byer (Tire Hill, Pa.) and Jordan Medich (North Huntingdon, Pa.), senior forward Steve Heidenthal (Clymer, Pa.) and junior guard Danny Branch (Washington, D.C.) are also expected to make big contributions this season.
     Byer, a terrific long-range shooter, will need to make big shots after finishing third on the team in three-point field goal percentage (36.8%) and second in free-throw percentage (80.0%) a year ago.
     Heidenthal has given Coach Rukavina quality minutes in the paint for the last three years.  With additional playing time, his 2.5 points and 2.1 rebounds per game should improve.
     Medich looks to make an impact after averaging one point and one rebound off of the bench in 2008-09.
     Branch, another very good outside shooter, finished second on the Mountain Cat squad with 52 three-pointers.  Branch also tied for fourth on the team in total rebounds with 116 and was fifth in scoring at 8.0 points per game.
     Kevin Byer (Davidsville, Pa) and Rudy Roberts (Cleveland, OH) will make their Mountain Cat debuts after red-shirting in 2008-09.   Byer, the cousin of Andy Byer, is a very athletic guard with good range from the field, while Roberts is a strong rebounder who will add depth in the paint.
     The Mountain Cats added six recruits, including a pair of All-State choices in Jordan Miller (Mineral Point, Pa.) and Nick Novak (Murrysville, Pa.)Miller was a First-Team Associated Press Pennsylvania Class AA All-State selection in 2009 and a Class AAA Second-Team All-State choice in 2008.   Miller ended his Central Cambria High School career with 2,105 points and 283 three-pointers, both of which are Cambia County and Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference (LHAC) records.  Miller also ranks 97th on Pennsylvania’s All-Time Scoring List.
     Novak was a 20009 Associated Press Second-Team AAAA All-State selection.  He led the WPIAL in scoring at 28.8 points per game on his way to being named the Section I Most Valuable Player and the WPIAL AAAA Player of the Year.  As a senior at Franklin Regional High School, Novak, who could take over the starting point guard spot for Pitt-Johnstown as a true freshman, averaged 28.2 points, 5.5 assists and 3.2 rebounds per game.
     Noah Hartung (Butler, Pa.) joins the team after red-shirting at Snow (UT) Junior College in 2006-07 and spending two years on a Mission.  Hartung was a three-year letterman in basketball and football at Butler Area High School where he averaged 13 points, 11 rebounds, and five assists per game.
     Joel Kaminsky (Central City, Pa.), the 2008-09 Somerset County Most Valuable Player, was a four-time All-Somerset County Team choice and a three-time All-District V selection.  Kaminsky, who averaged 15.7 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 4.4 assists per game as a senior, ended his Shade High School career as the school’s all-time leading scorer with 1,416 points.
     Mike Stanzel (West Mifflin, Pa.) and Paul Weatherly (Johnstown, Pa.) will red-shirt in 2009-10.   Stanzel was a three-year starter at West Mifflin Area High school, where he earned AAA All-Section honors following the 2008-09 season.  Stanzel averaged 14 points per game and finished his career with 612 points.  Weatherly was a four-year letterman at Greater Johnstown High School.  He was a two-time LHAC All-Conference Team choice who ended his career with 1,261 points and over 500 rebounds.  As a senior, Weatherly averaged 18 points, 10 rebounds and four assists per game.
     The 2009-10 Mountain Cats have some large shoes to fill.  Last year’s senior class ended their careers with a four-year program best 89-31 (74.2%) record.
     Tullis was a 2008-09 Honorable Mention Division II Bulletin All-American, a NABC Second-Team Atlantic Region selection and a First-Team All-WVIAC choice.  He ranks third on the Mountain Cat All-Time Scoring List (1,570 points) and seventh on the rebounding list (640 rebounds).
     Davis, another First-Team All-WVIAC selection, ranks second on Pitt-Johnstown’s All-Time Three-Point Field Goal List (174 3-FG), fifth on the scoring list (1,441 points), sixth on the rebounding list (611 rebounds) and seventh on the assists list (368 assists).
     Sharpe earned the Springer Sportsmanship Trophy at the 2009 WVIAC Tournament and finished his career as Pitt-Johnstown’s all-time leader in assists with 520.
     As a team, the Mountain Cats were fourth in the country in assists per game (19.4 apg) and seventh in field goal percentage (49.9%).  Pitt-Johnstown also led the WVIAC in scoring defense (67.6 ppg) and field goal percentage defense (39.7%) and was second in the conference in field goal percentage (49.9%), rebound margin (6.6 rpg) and assists per game (19.4 apg).
     The Mountain Cats have voids to fill in 2009-10.  However, with experience from the returning players and the addition of a talented recruiting class, Coach Rukavina and the Mountain Cats could make the upcoming season another memorable one.