Beidelman, KU look to make a run
The 2016-17 basketball season has been different than past years for Kutztown University senior guard Austin Beidelman. The 2013 Parkland High School graduate arrived on the Berks County campus and was immediately inserted into the Golden Bears’ lineup.
During his first three years in the program, Beidelman started in 81 of the 84 games he played.
But this year, his senior season, that hasn’t been the case. And, like a good teammate would, he accepted the change and adapted to what was asked of him.
So far through 17 games this season, Beidelman has made six starts, five of which came in the first five games.
“It’s been different, that’s for sure,” said Beidelman. “I came in and was used to starting for three years. But nothing changes for me. I come in off the bench and do what is needed for the team to be successful. I am always going to be a facilitator out on the court and get my teammates involved.”
That leadership and willingness to be a team-first type player hadn’t gone unnoticed, even dating back to last year.
Before the start of the season, Beidelman was named a team captain for the second consecutive year.
“It means a lot to me, that not only did my coaches feel I deserved this honor, but my teammates as well,” said Beidelman. “I felt that I was a leader in high school, so it’s a trait that has carried over with me. You’re either a leader or you’re not, you can’t learn that trait. It’s a big responsibility, but one that I work hard for.”
Through about the midway point of the season, Beidelman has averaged 6.1 points per game, and dished out 2.6 assists. With less than half of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference schedule left to be played, Beidelman is working harder than ever to extend his final season past the conference tournament.
“It’s been a long journey,” Beidelman said. “I always wanted to play basketball in college, and I am grateful that it came true. I’ve taken the most of my opportunity, and continue to try and get better every day.
“I came in as a freshman, worked hard, and bought into the plan that was laid out by the coaching staff. It’s been a long ride, and it’ll be sad when it ends.”
Good thing for Beidelman is he and his teammates have been on a tear during league play. Kutztown (15-2 overall, 11-2 PSAC) is on a seven-game winning streak heading into a showdown with West Chester on Jan. 25.
The streak has boosted Kutztown to No. 11 in the National Association of Basketball Coaches Division II poll. Their two losses have come to teams ranked ahead of them. Shippensburg is No. 5, and IUP is No. 6, which shows the balance of the league.
“The league is loaded,” said Beidelman. “This has been the best the league has been so far in my four years. We lost to Shippensburg close and IUP at the buzzer. We have to keep getting better each day. We stick together and play well together. We’re close on-and-off the court. It’s a senior- and junior-driven team, so we know what to expect.”
Coming out of Parkland, where he brought back a District 11 championship to the school, he had some options of where he wanted to continue his studies and his playing career.
“I was down to Kutztown, West Chester, Navy, and DeSales,” Beidelman said. “Kutztown was just always there, and were with me since day one. I had a comfortable feel with the program and campus, and my major is offered there.”
The elementary education major was on the Dean’s List last spring, and was named a PSAC scholar-athlete last year.
The plan for after the season is to student-teach during the fall semester, and then graduate in the winter. His goal is to also be a basketball coach either at the AAU level or on the college stage.