Ean Oprean
Name: Ean Oprean
Team: Neshannock
Number: #10
Grade: 12
Height: 6' 0''
Weight: N/A
Position: G
By Clayton Sauertieg
New Castle News

Ean Oprean’s coaches challenged him to step up and be a leader for Neshannock this season.
Oprean has answered that challenge.
Through seven games for the Lancers boys basketball team, the senior guard is averaging 21.7 points per game and has led his team to a 6-1 start.
“I think he’s been very consistent,” Neshannock coach John Corey said. “Scoring-wise, he’s averaging around 21 points per game. But it’s beyond scoring, it’s him being a leader on the floor on both ends.
“In each of our seven games, he’s shown growth and in each of our six wins he’s had something to do with those wins late in the game. In the end of the game and in the fourth quarter when we need someone to step up he’s been there.”
The performance earned him Lawrence County Athlete of the Week, an award sponsored by Washington Centre Physical Therapy and selected by the New Cast New sports staff.
Oprean was there, yet again, for Corey’s bunch last week as Lancers went 2-0 to win the Neshannock Christmas Tournament.
In the first game, a 54-51 overtime victory over Wilmington, Oprean scored 21 points, grabbed eight rebounds and had four steals. Oprean followed up that performance with a 27 points in the championship game to lead Neshannock to a 60-54 victory over Union.
“I’ve definitely been more aggressive and confident in my own game,” Oprean said of how he’s improved this season. “Coach drives me a lot to be a leader and has a lot of confidence and trust in me.”
The newfound confidence is something Corey says has benefitted Oprean greatly, allowing him to become a more vocal leader and take charge of the team.
“At times I think Ean’s too quiet and we’ve tried as a coaching staff to bring that out and I love the fact that he’s getting a little bit more vocal with his teammates,” he said. “He’s trying to help them through situations. Having a guy on the floor with his knowledge and his energy and passion is a real asset for us with some of those guys.”
Following a preseason, season-ending injury to starting forward Brandon Scheidemantle, Oprean became the team’s lone-returning letterman and was immediately thrust into a starring role.
“Obviously, with me being the only guy returning from last year’s team with significant playing time, there wasn’t much expectation and pressure,” Oprean said of the team’s outlook to begin the season. “Coach Corey told me I needed to step up big time and be a leader. It put more pressure on my back which I’m willing to carry and I’m definitely starting to feel more comfortable in that role.”
Corey noted that Oprean’s work in the offseason, without the team’s supervision, is what has set him apart.
“Ean’s a basketball junkie and understood each offseason that he needs to get better,” he said. “I really applaud his efforts in the offseason working to get better. It’s up to players to put the time in if they want to be good and he’s definitely done that over the last four years. From a coaching standpoint, it’s great to see him have success knowing all the time and hard work that he put in to getting where he is.”
So what comes next for Oprean and the Lancers after the strong start?
“We have a tough section with a lot of good teams,” Oprean said. “But now that we know how good we can be, we’re looking forward to building off the good start and improving from here on out.”
(Email: csauertieg
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