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Josh Samec

Hazleton Area’s Samec headed to West Chester

Josh Samec made his college choice in February.

For now, he is working on extending his high school career as deep into March as possible as a senior at Hazleton Area.

Samec accepted an athletic scholarship offer from West Chester University, a National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II school that plays in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference.

“The team seemed like a good bunch of guys,” said Samec, a JB Hoops alum who made an official recruiting visit to Assumption and unofficial visits to West Chester and many other schools. “It’s a beautiful school and a good school, and the program speaks for itself. They’re in the NCAA Tournament.”

Samec liked what he saw in the team’s style of play when he went to watch West Chester play Mansfield.

“The atmosphere was great,” Samec said. “It reminds me of my high school. They play fast; they shoot a lot of 3s. They look inside.

“They needed a stretch 4. They needed another shooter. … I guess that what’s why they recruited me.”

Samec has shown the ability to play inside and outside during a four-year career at Hazleton Area. He leads the 24-1 Wyoming Valley Conference Division 1 and District 2-4 Class 6A Subregional champions in scoring (14.8 points per game), rebounds (8.4) and blocked shots (2.6).

The 6-foot-8 senior forward/center also leads the team in 3-pointers made (46) and is the team’s second-most accurate long-range shooter. He is hitting 56 percent from the floor, 43 percent on 3-pointers and 81 percent at the line.

Samec, who has 926 points, 586 rebounds and 167 blocked shots in his career, said he thinks his progress as a player has been steady, but playing well last spring and summer with JB Hoops did the most in opening up multiple college scholarship offers.

“It’s the last time you’re going to be out on the circuit in front of all the coaches getting exposure, so it was probably the most important season,” said Samec, who plans to pursue a business-related major.

Hazleton Area won the subregional title at the Mohegan Sun Arena to earn its first state tournament berth of Samec’s high school career. He grabbed 13 rebounds Saturday in a 62-45 victory over Norristown.

The Cougars are scheduled to play Pocono Mountain West Wednesday at 7:30 at Wilkes University in the second round of Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association state tournament play.

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