Before Penn State dominated Utah to win the NIT at Madison Square Garden on Thursday night, a few of the Nittany Lions had their paws on PIAA gold Wednesday night in Hershey.
Tony Carr, Lamar Stevens (the NIT's most outstanding player) and Nazeer Bostick didn't actually play or attend the Class 6A championship game when their alma mater, Roman Catholic, beat Lincoln to claim the school's third state title in four years, but their fingerprints were certainly there.
Shep Garner, a senior at Penn State, is another Roman product who helped create a winning culture for Penn State coach Pat Chambers's program.
Before the most recent triumvirate headed for Happy Valley, they showed Seth Lundy, then a freshman, what championship greatness looked like.
Against Lincoln on Wednesday, Lundy scored a game-high 28 points, including 17 in the second half and 9 in the fourth quarter. He was also key in the Cahillites' Catholic League title win at the Palestra.
Postgame, the thoughtful 6-foot-7 junior forward gave credit to the trio who also wore PIAA and Catholic League crowns in 2015 and 2016.
"Sitting on the bench my freshman year just watching those guys play just made me better," Lundy said. "I was sitting on the bench watching Tony Carr, Lamar Stevens, Nazeer Bostick, Paul Newman [who went to Bucknell], and just watching those guys and practicing against them every day in practice really made me better. I sat there on the bench, and I never put my head down. I was always clapping. I was always the loudest on the bench, just trying to help my teammates play harder and stuff like that. And I just kept telling myself, 'My time is coming.' And it did."
Lundy also added 9 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 blocked shots and finished 8 for 16 from the field in Hershey, all while not fully healed from an ankle injury sustained and aggravated in the PIAA playoffs.
Persevering through injury might be a byproduct of his awareness of the greatness that came before him.
"Coming to Roman my freshman year, I knew I wasn't playing for myself," he said. "I knew I was playing for the school, the history, for the alumni and all the great players who came before me. I just knew I had to play hard. I heard all the stories about Roman Catholic players and teams before winning all these championships, and I was like I've just got to go hard every single day in practice, and I can be just like them."
The Original is a classic. The Sequel is a legend. And Version 3.0 is just getting started but already has one up on his predecessors.
Roman Catholic sophomore Lynn Greer III helped lead the Cahillites to Catholic League and PIAA championships this season.
His father, Lynn Jr., is a Philadelphia legend for his scoring exploits at Engineering and Science and later as a star at Temple who made it to the NBA and was successful for several years oversees. The patriarch, Lynn Sr., was drafted by the American Basketball Association's Carolina Cougars and by the NBA's Phoenix Suns, is in the Virginia State athletics hall of fame and was on Edison's 1969 city title team.
But neither of them won a state title (yes, their respective leagues didn't compete for them).
"It's a big accomplishment. It's something that my dad didn't do," said Greer, flashing a championship smile postgame at the Giant Center in Hershey.
He finished with 20 points, added 5 rebounds and shot 5 of 7 from the field and 9 of 11 from the foul line.
The 6-3 guard has matured on the court perhaps more than most other players in the city this season.
He authored the game-winning basket in the Catholic League championship game by adeptly bleeding the final seconds away before driving and finding Hakim Hart, who made the game-winning basket with 1.6 seconds left against Bonner-Prendergast.
"Our coaches always said that we never played our best basketball," he said. "We still haven't. If we had played to our full capacity the whole season, I feel like we'd been even scarier than we are now."