HIGH SCHOOL College prospect drawing some big time attention
Pennsylvania's Ben McCauley has already signed .
Before the season started, Yough High boys basketball coach Brian Znavor received numerous phone calls from athletic directors wanting to get their teams on Yough's schedule.
The reason? Ben McCauley.
McCauley is a 6-foot-8, 237-pound senior forward-center who has signed with North Carolina State and is one of Pennsylvania's top high school players.
"He's a big attraction," Znavor said. "But we wanted to play a tough schedule because we think we're good enough to go a ways (in the PIAA tournament) this season."
Yough, located in Pittsburgh's southeastern suburbs, is 8-4 overall and 4-1 in section play. Yough defeated Indiana 55-42 Tuesday, when McCauley scored 29 points.
Last season, McCauley averaged 26.6 points, 14.5 rebounds and 3.5 blocked shots per game. This season, McCauley is averaging 26.2 points, down slightly from a year ago because he's not getting to the foul line as much.
McCauley has added extra weight to fight off double-team defenses. Znavor said the disadvantage of that is officials are shying away from calling fouls against defenders.
"He's so strong going to the basket that he'll get fouled and not have it called," he said. "Probably 75 percent of our offense goes through Ben and it's disheartening to see him go to the foul line only four times in a game."
McCauley has had some big nights. He had 38 points and 20 rebounds in a 60-54 victory against Blackhawk and 22 points and 23 rebounds in a loss to Beaver Falls.
"We played Derry and he had, like, 28 or 30 points, but he also had 32 rebounds," Znavor said.
"Those weren't only our statistics, but that's how many rebounds the other team had him for and so did a reporter who was at the game."
Bob Craig, one of Pennsylvania's best-known high school coaches, died at age 72 last week of complications from a long illness.
Craig coached wrestling at Newport and Cedar Cliff high schools and had 513 dual meet victories in 41 seasons as a head coach.
His victories total was a PIAA record when he retired but has since been eclipsed.
His behind-the-scenes contributions also had an impact on the sport.
Craig pushed the PIAA to expand its wrestling championships to its current three-day format. He also lobbied to increase the number of PIAA medalists, and served on the wrestling rules steering committee for the National Federation of State High School Associations.