A majority of college athletes have quiet freshman years. Some redshirt to get more familiar with the system, others quietly do their time as a backup.
For Shippensburg University basketball guard Joe Lococo it was a different story.
Lococo was a force on the court for the Raiders in his freshman season and has even taken his game to the next level this year.
Lococo played high school basketball at Freedom High School in Bethlehem, Pa. under Coach Joe Stellato in a tough Lehigh Valley Conference.
The former Patriot was a leader on the court, collecting three varsity letters while also being named LVC and Express Times MVP as a senior.
The 6 foot, 2 inch guard averaged 14 points along with five rebounds during his senior year while collecting a Morning Call All-Area First Team accolade.
The lights out three-point shooter led his team in three-point in each of this varsity season. Lococo finished his senior season with an impressive 109 3-pointers.
When it was time to make the transition to college ball Lococo felt the LVC had prepared him for his future endeavors.
“It was a lot of fast-pace basketball in the LVC and that’s what its like in the PSAC division now,” Lococo said.
According to Lococo he received a variety of offers from collegiate teams including several Division I offers. Despite the D1 offers, Lococo felt that Shippensburg was his best fit.
“Ship felt like the best fit for me. I loved the campus, it’s a really nice campus,” Lococo said.
The Freedom High School graduate showed he was a valuable asset for the Raiders in his first season. Lococo started 17 of the 23 games he played in, averaging 12.3 points per game.
His 12.3 ppg ranked him third on the Raider squad and was good enough to rank him Top-30 in the PSAC division.
After an offseason full of adversity, Lococo has proved to be the leader for a young SU squad.
This offseason was an interesting one for Lococo along with the rest of the Raider team.
After firing former coach Dave Springer the Raiders had to wait and see who their new coach would be. After a long hunt it was announced that Chris Fite would be leading the Raiders for the 2013-2014 season.
Fite knew what he had in Lococo before even coming into Shippensburg.
“I knew how talented he was and I had a feeling for what type of competitor he was. He is one of the toughest kids I have had the privilege of coaching and I feel fortunate to have him in our program,” Fite said.
Lococo showed that toughness after he fractured a bone and tore a tendon in his elbow and was questionable on whether he would be ready to start this season.
Lococo never lost fate and rehabbed as quickly as he could and was prepared to take the court on opening night.
The second-year starter set a tone for how the season would be, posting 17 points along with three assists against Alderson Broaddus College.
So far this season Lococo leads the Raiders in points per game with 19.78, ranking him fourth in the PSAC division and 55th in all of division two.
In just 18 games so far this season Lococo has posted an impressive field goal percentage of .425 along with a three-point percentage of .378.
“He quietly goes about his business and leads in a different fashion. He (Lococo) comes out and works harder than anyone else day in and day out,” Fite said.
Lococo puts his heart into the game of basketball and always looks for ways to get better. Lococo and the Raiders might be off to a rough start this season but the future looks promising.
The Raiders are a young team with only one season in Dylan Edgar who looks like he will come back next season after a knee injury sidelined him this year.
Lococo is going to continue to become an all-around better player and leader as the Raiders head into the home stretch of the 2013-14 season.
“I’m just trying to do whatever is best to help the team. We haven’t been winning a lot but we are starting to get better and better,” Lococo said.
The seas might be rough right now, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. Lococo and the Raiders are chasing that light.