Kromka heads toward milestones in final stretch of basketball career

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]When Mike Kromka first committed to playing basketball at Clarion University, he had only one goal in mind, work hard.
He had what it took to work his way up the chain, as a two-year captain for Gateway High School, averaging 12 points and nine rebounds per game, leading Gateway to being the WPIAL runner-up and a PIAA quarterfinal appearance in 2010.
Working hard is always a good goal to have for any player new to any athletic team, but for Kromka, this would be the foundation of what turned out to be a memorable career.
“I really didn’t know what to expect,” he said, “I wanted to do what I could to contribute to the team.”
He made four starts his freshman year in 2011, averaging 4.7 points and 4.9 rebounds per game, playing in 26 games.
He then started a little over half of the games his sophomore season in 2012 and was third on the team in rebounding.
He scored in double digits six times, including a season high 21 points vs. Central Penn.
After that season, Clarion lost two star big men, Paul McQueen and Quintus “Bud” Teer.
Kromka’s teammates turned to him to be the new go to guy in the post. Mike Kromka
And he delivered, averaging 12.5 points and 8.5 rebounds per game, starting in 25 of 26 games that season.
He had a career high 24 points against Shippensburg, and had eight double-digit rebound performances, including 16 against Houghton and Gannon.
Kromka finally began to make his mark in Clarion basketball.
He continues to lead the way this season, as the team’s leading scorer with 13.1 points and 8.9 rebounds per game.
He’s also had five double-double performances, including a 20-point and 17-rebound performance vs. Pitt-Johnstown, and a 26-point and 15 rebound effort in the memorable overtime upset of Slippery Rock at Tippin Gymnasium.
With four games left in his Clarion career, the Golden Eagles senior is four rebounds away from 700 in his career.
He would become the seventh player at Clarion since 1971 to record 700 career rebounds and the first since David Shearer in 2002.
He also needs to average 18.2 points per game to finish his career with 1,000 points.
“It’d be nice to finish my career,” Kromka said, “I’m going to play each game like I have been playing them.”
While working hard on the court, Kromka was also working hard in the classroom, collecting some academic awards along the way.
He was named to the 2013 NCAA Division II Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All American second team, a 2012 and 2013 first team NCAA Division II Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-District 2 award winner, and was named a Clarion and PSAC Scholar Athlete, just to name a few.
“The biggest thing was time management, knowing I had to put time in the gym too.” Kromka explained, “My parents stressed it with me and my siblings.”
Despite all the great accomplishments over his career, Kromka will graduate without a trip to the playoffs.
“I would give anyone of my individual accomplishments for a playoff berth,” Kromka said.
Even without a playoff appearance to show for it, Kromka’s career certainly is one of the more memorable ones in Clarion basketball history, on the court and in the classroom.
So what’s his legacy?
“I would want my teammates to get the understanding and importance of hard work,” Kromka stated.
And that’s how it all got started, with hard work.
Kromka, along with three other seniors on the Golden Eagle men’s basketball team, will be honored before the final home game on Feb. 23 as part of the Senior Day festivities.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_facebook type=”standard”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_tweetmeme type=”horizontal”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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