Parkland Press

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PRESS PHOTO COURTESY OF KUTZTOWN UNIVERSITY As the Golden Bears' starting point guard, Austin Beidleman picks and chooses when to go to the basket. PRESS PHOTO COURTESY OF KUTZTOWN UNIVERSITY As the Golden Bears' starting point guard, Austin Beidleman picks and chooses when to go to the basket.

Beidelman handles new role

Thursday, January 29, 2015 by CJ HEMERLY Special to the Press in Sports

Austin Beidelman was used to being the go-to guy on his high school basketball team. He was counted on to take the last shot his junior and senior seasons, and finished each season as the leading scorer for Parkland.

But as he left high school behind and went on to play at Division II Kutztown University, Beidelman was not depended on to take 20 shots a game, or even the last one for that matter.

Playing alongside teammates that were all leading scorers on their respective high school teams, the Kutztown University sophomore can divvy out shots as there will be more to go around.

And that is a big reason why Bernie Driscoll felt the need to move Beidelman from his familiar shooting guard position, to point guard starting with his freshman year. It was a change he has adjusted to well thus far through a season and a half.

"As a freshman I was just learning the college game from what coach [Driscoll] taught me," Beidelman said. "I've had to play a lot differently than I did in high school because I am playing point guard. I'm a pass-first guy and trying to get everyone involved in the offense. I take shots when I feel that I'm open and can hit it."

Beidelman came to Kutztown as a two-time first team selection to the All-Lehigh Valley Conference team and averaged 16.7 points per game in his senior year. He was also a member of the Via All-Star team as one of the top players in the Lehigh Valley. The Trojans also won their first district title since 2009 his senior season.

"It was nice," said Beidelman. "Parkland has a great tradition and has always had good teams, but we had a great year my senior year and won a lot of games. All the credit goes to coach [Andy Stephens]."

In 2014, as one of nine freshman, the Golden Bears' roster was inexperienced and needed contributions from young guys early on. Beidelman started in 24 of 25 games and averaged 9.6 points and 3.3 assists in 33.2 minutes per game as a first-year point guard. Kutztown also made the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference playoffs after missing the previous season.

"I just try to find guys that can score," noted Beidelman. "The transfer of Tynell Fortune (Pocono Mountain West/California University) has helped a lot this year. We have some guys that can make and create their own shots this year. I like being one of the leaders out there. I'm tough on the guys but they are also tough on me, which I like."

The goal from day one this year has been not to get back to the PSAC tournament, but to win the PSAC East and the tournament, to qualify for the NCAA tournament. So far, Kutztown (12-8 overall, 9-5 PSAC) has a shot at just that.

Before committing to Kutztown, Beidelman was courted by Bloomsburg, East Stroudsburg, West Chester and Navy. It was the strong elementary education program, and the allure of playing that drew Beidelman to the Golden Bears.

After graduation, Beidelman wants to become a kindergarten teacher and remain around the game of basketball as a coach.