GREENVILLE – Greenville’s Peter Pandey committed to the Indiana University East men’s basketball team on Wednesday, reaching a goal he set this past year.
Pandey, the son of Rani and Rocky Pandey, said he didn’t start thinking about playing college basketball until his senior year of high school. As a senior he decided he wasn’t quite ready to give up a sport he loves.
“It feels good,” Pandey said of his college commitment. “I didn’t start thinking about it until this past year. That’s when I thought about it. Junior, sophomore, freshman year I didn’t really think about playing, but then last year was like, oh, I want to play, I want to play. I just didn’t want to stop playing.”
Pandey is joining an IU East program that competes in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics and this past season reached the quarterfinals of the NAIA Division II tournament.
The Red Wolves only had one senior on that team, Tri-Village alumnus Kyle Pipenger, so there’s a lot of talent returning, IU East coach Mark Hester said. However, he thinks Pandey could quickly carve out a position on the team.
“I think he’s a good add for us,” Hester said. “He really adds some shooting. He showed some aggressiveness when he came and played with us. Anytime somebody comes in that’s a high school guy and they don’t show a lot of fear and they attack, that’s a good sign for the future.”
This past season Pandey averaged 11.5 points per game for Greenville and was named to the American League special mention team by the Greater Western Ohio Conference.
Greenville boys basketball coach Kyle Joseph said he’s seen a lot of improvement in Pandey over the past year, and he thinks he’ll only get better in college.
“He’s an extremely hard worker who I think still has a lot of good basketball ahead of him,” Joseph said. “He’s going to continue to improve. He’s a good athlete with a very quick first step and can get the ball to the rim.
“It’s great to have someone who’s worked so hard be rewarded for all that hard work and get to continue to fulfill a dream of playing college basketball and also just going on to college to get a degree is great, too.”
Pandey is unsure what he’ll study at IU East. He’d like to pursue a career in mechanical engineering, he said, but that program isn’t offered at the university. Still, he felt comfortable at the school.
“It was more of like a home feel, smaller, and it was close by to home,” Pandey said. “And I really like the coaching staff, and I like playing with the players down there.”
Pandey will be a guard for IU East, Hester said, but how exactly he fits in with the program is still to be determined.
“Finding where he fits in with what we’re doing in our system I think will be the biggest challenge,” the IU East coach said. “But he’s a smart kid so I think he can figure it out.”
Hester likes that Pandey played multiple sports in high school, excelling in baseball along with basketball. He also likes that he understands team basketball and played his role even when teammates got more attention.
“His maturity should be there to accept whatever role he finds and fits in when we get started,” Hester said.
Pandey’s goal as he enters college?
“Just be successful, make my parents proud, community proud,” he said.
Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.