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Athlete of Week: Versatile Charles ‘special player’

Name: P.J. Charles

School: Altoona Area

Age: 17

Grade: Senior

Sport: Basketball

Athlete of the week achievement: Charles scored 20 points, including 14 in the second half, and grabbed 15 rebounds in the Mountain Lions’ 53-48 victory over county rival Hollidaysburg.

Season update: Charles, who recently returned from injury, is averaging 18 points and 12 rebounds per game for the 6-4 Mountain Lions.

Coach Jarrod Klausman’s quote: “P.J. is a special player. He has the ability to impact the game in a variety of ways. In the paint, he makes great decisions with the basketball in his hands. He can score effectively with his back to the basket and by squaring the post defender up and playing in space. He also does a phenomenal job rebounding the ball on both sides of the floor. He’s a fierce competitor and one of the toughest kids I have ever coached. He leads our team in charges taken and doesn’t think twice about diving on the floor for a loose ball. P.J. is a leader and makes everyone else around him better.”

Favorite teacher: Mr. Watt

Favorite subject: Phys. ed.

Favorite movie: “Home Alone”

Favorite food: Tacos

Favorite song: “BOP” by DaBaby

Outside interests: Hanging out with friends, watching football, going on vacation

Favorite professional team: Los Angeles Lakers

Favorite college team: North Carolina Tar Heels

Pro athlete most admired: Kobe Bryant

Best athlete I’ve ever competed against: Latrobe’s Reed Fenton (now at Lehigh)

Most influential person on my athletic career: My parents, my grandparents, my Uncle Mike and all of my coaches (past and present)

Proudest athletic achievement: Getting first-team all-Mid-Penn last year as a junior

How I got my start in basketball: “Second grade Blair Rec was my first time, and I’ve loved it since.”

Future goal: To go to college and play at the next level and become a gym teacher

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