Four basketball players make college choices

Four local players who contributed to championships during the 2021-22 high school basketball season have decided to continue the sport on the college level by committing to local National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III programs.

Three players from the Pittston Area team that won the District 2 title and advanced to the second round of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association tournament are among the group that also includes a Jenkins Township resident who helped Holy Redeemer reach the state semifinals after winning the Wyoming Valley Conference Division 2 and District 2 Class 3A titles.

Pittston Area’s JJ Walsh and Dominic Jannuzzi will remain teammates at King’s College.

Jack Locker from the Patriots will head to Marywood University.

Holy Redeemer’s Matt Prociak has selected Wilkes University.

Walsh and Prociak were both 1,000-point career scorers and first-team, divisional all-star selections by WVC coaches. Jannuzzi was a second-team, all-star.

The decisions by Walsh, Jannuzzi and Prociak all came after the completion of their senior high school seasons.

Locker made his during the season, but did not reveal it until after.

Both Walsh and Locker considered other colleges that would not have fit for them athletically.

“I just wanted to keep playing,” said Walsh, the top Pittston Area reserve as a freshman before becoming a three-year starter and the team leader. “I’ve been playing my whole life.

“This was always a goal of mine.”

Walsh began talking to the King’s coaches last summer and he followed him throughout his senior year.

Jannuzzi, who also visited and seriously considered Keystone College, is looking forward to continuing to play with Walsh.

“Having JJ go there to is nice, having someone you know, having chemistry with and have played with a long time,” he said. “Besides basketball, they have a great academic program for what I’m majoring in, so that was enticing.”

Jannuzzi plans to major in finance.

Locker saw Marywood as the local school that best matched his plans to study architecture. A visit to the school and a chance to interact with the team encouraged him that he could fit in with the Pacers.

An accurate shooter from long range, Locker worked on other parts of his game and worked his way up from little-used varsity player as a sophomore to a key part of the rotation as a junior and full-time starter as a senior.

“I’ve always had Marywood in mind and I’ve know coach (Enrico) Mastroianni for a long time,” Locker.

In the summer of 2020, Locker played for an NEPA Elite AAU team coached by Mastroianni.

“Shooting is my biggest thing,” Locker said. “I worked really hard on that, just to be able to knock down shots because we had a lot of playmakers on the team.

“Mostly that, but also getting in the weight room and getting stronger and better on defense. Defense was stressed a lot in the last four years.”

Walsh averaged 16 points per game while also leading the team in steals and free throw percentage and finishing second to Jannuzzi in assists.

In addition to leading with 3.3 assists, Jannuzzi was second on the Patriots in rebounds and third in scoring.

Locker led the team in 3-pointers.

At 6-foot-5, Prociak led the Royals in both 3-pointers made and rebounds. He was the team’s second-leading scorer, averaging 15.6 points and 9.0 rebounds per game.

Prociak took his time making a decision, also giving serious consideration to joining his brother at Misericordia as well as to offers from Lebanon Valley, Susquehanna and DeSales.

“The biggest thing is I wanted to make sure I saw all the colleges that were interested in me and to make sure I got an understanding of what they wanted from me and what I wanted,” he said.

Matt will be the fourth Prociak sibling to play college basketball locally.

Rebecca Prociak earned All-American honors at King’s where Mike Prociak also played.

“There were many things,” Matt Prociak said. “They were welcoming in the beginning and they really didn’t miss anything. They were at a lot of games … and everything about their campus seemed right.”

Prociak also likely that he was not being viewed as strictly a post player. He said he has talked to Wilkes coaches about starting out as a power forward, but also possibly working toward time as a small forward.

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