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Great start of 2002 season for Tyrone alum Eric Castorina

Only months after a campaign that included twenty-eight wins, a Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference title, the NCAA East Region crown, and advancement to the Division II Mens Basketball Final Four, the Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s mens basketball team now faces the feat of once again achieving the lofty expectations of completing another stellar season. Last season, four mature, battle-tested seniors and a cast of solid role players took the IUP basketball program within two wins of a national championship. Now, a lone starter returns and those role players from last year must shoulder the load of being everyoneís ìteam to beat.
“This will be the youngest team I have ever had at any school. All our guards will be freshmen and sophomores. And we only have one senior who has any substantial game experience,” says IUP head coach Gary Edwards.
After seeing limited action as a backup point guard last season, sophomore Eric Castorina steps into the starting role this year. Castorina, a Tyrone Area High School product, played in 27 games as a redshirt freshman last year and dished out 29 assists while making 23 steals in only 8.2 minutes per contest. To say that he brought a great deal of excitement when he stepped on the floor is an enormous understatement.
Now Castorina, the most improved of all the returning players, needs to show that he can take over the team, when to push the ball and when to put the reins on his fast paced game. His performance after two years preparing for a starting position will go a long way in determining how far IUP can go this season.
In his first two games of the season, Eric has played an average of 33 minutes per game, averaging nine points-per-game while shooting 36-percent from the field, but 50-percent (2-4) from beyond the arc and 67-percent (6-9) from the line. In addition he has pulled down three offensive and three defensive rebounds for the Indians and has dished out eleven assists while committing only five turnovers. He has compiled seven steals while committing only three personal fouls.
His efforts against Neumann and Frostburg State at the Bobcat Tip-Off Tournament at Frostburg, Maryland, Castorina was named to the All-Tournament team as IUP won both contests, 73-73 and 93-76 respectfully.
If the results from the start of the season is any indication that Castorina has finally settled in with the Indians and is now comfortable enough to play his unique brand of basketball, IUP fans are in for a treat this season when they pack Memorial Fieldhouse. However, this should be no surprise to Tyrone sports fans. After all, greatness is what we have come to expect from Eric Castorina.
Editor’s Note: Alan Friday is a senior communications major at IUP and will be updating The Daily Herald about Castorina’s progress throughout the season. Friday is the Sports Director and IUP Men’s Basketball Broadcaster on WIUP-FM.