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Gnall adding variety to offensive game

MANHEIM – Dimitri Gnall showed off a variety of moves for JB Hoops Callahan at the East Coast Championship,  whether he started in the paint or was attacking it from the perimeter.

That was no accident.

Gnall already possesses the post moves from doing much of his work close to the basket on Wyoming Seminary’s 2017-18 division and district championship teams.

As an all-state high school player anticipating a position change when he moves on to the college level, Gnall has been going through private lessons with coach John Bucci to add to his offensive moves away from the basket.

“I’m trying to work on my ballhanding a little more with getting some private lessons with coach Bucci,” Gnall said, “as well as more outside play, perimeter game play with driving and shooting.

“I know in college, that’s probably where I’ll be playing.”

Gnall is looking ahead this summer in many ways. He is planning visits and camp appearances at some strong academic NCAA Division III schools.

As a junior at Wyoming Seminary, Gnall averaged 17.1 points and was named Wyoming Valley Conference Division 3 Player of the Year by and division coaches. He was also a third-team Class 3A all-state selection by state sports writers after leading the Blue Knights to a District 2 title and a state tournament win.

There is still work, however, to be done this spring and summer.

Gnall was less pleased with his effort in the first game of the May 5-6 tournament, but started seeing progress in the second game as JB Hoops Callahan was going unbeaten in the Boys 11th Grade Gold Division.

“With my school team, being one of the taller guys, I was stuck down in the post,” Gnall said. “In AAU, playing with some of these guys, I’ll still be down low, but coach Bucci and I are working on getting me out to the 3 spot, working from out there and trying to improve that aspect of my game.”

Depending how much time he spends on the floor with the team’s taller players – Division I prospects Leo O’Boyle from Scranton Prep and George Tinsley from Abington Heights – Gnall still works inside with JB Hoops Callahan, as needed. He is mixing in some game-time opportunities on both ends, including defending on the perimeter as well as his more-established roles as a rebounder and interior defender.

Gnall, a Moosic resident, is a long-time participant in Backcourt Hoops programs, developing his game there in the spring and summer. He attended Wyoming Seminary’s Lower School from first through sixth grade, went to the state 8th-grade tournament as a junior high student at Our Lady of Peace in Clarks Summit and began his high school career with a season at Scranton Prep before returning to Wyoming Seminary for his final three years.

With a strong JB Hoops presence and Gnall leading the way, the 2017-18 season turned into a special one at Wyoming Seminary, which won its first District 2 title since 1986 and first state tournament game since 1992. With only one senior in that starting lineup, a sense of excitement has developed around the Blue Knights program, including feedback from many of the school’s former players.

“It was good to know that even though they’re not in the program any more, they still want to be involved because they just love it,” Gnall said. “It was nice being recognized by the school as well as the fans.”

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