Feb. 23, 2006
- By Tom Acox- One of the rotating pictures on Saint Joseph's website is a shot of senior marketing major Chet Stachitas. He stands in line with his fellow orientation leaders - the "Red Shirts". Stachitas, with his hands folded in front of him, sports a mischievous grin along the traditional red shirt the group leaders wear to stand out amongst the incoming freshman.
This website photo is fitting because Stachitas says one of his best memories at St. Joe's was his first summer as an orientation leader. "It was pretty remarkable."
Sharp shooter Stachitas' role on the court may have grown significantly every year but he says, "being part of the orientation group and participating in the school's community really eases the pressure - you don't always have to be the basketball player."
Although Stachitas may feel like just any other student on Hawk Hill it doesn't mean he didn't feel the pressure to improve every year. "The first year in college is a challenge for every player and sophomore year I was the sixth or seventh backup but I proved I could score and belong on the court," said the senior from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL.
Freshman and sophomore year Stachitas started just one game replacing an injured John Bryant. As a junior he cracked the starting lineup and started 36 games, which is shared school record. "My ankle was a challenge by the end but it was certainly something special to make that run into the NIT and get to play more games then almost any other player in college." His ankle, which he sprained in early December, held out though and he managed to increase his offensive production from 6.5 to 10.8 points per game in his junior year.
"I went from being from being a third or fourth option to be a first or second option with Pat Carroll," he said. Stachitas would soon be the likely first choice in the offense his senior year. "The off-season after my junior year was very important, we needed to improve."
And improve he did. Stachitas has become a more selective shooter and has maintained a 3-point percentage of 37% despite the added defensive attention. At one point early this season, he led the country with an impressive 63 percent.
"It was a pretty lucky accident I found my way to St. Joe's," admits Stachitas. While he admits he was quickly sold on the coaching staff he nearly chose Penn where both of his parents had attended. Additionally, Stachitas had been a standout soccer star for much of his high school career.
He's been a standout in the classroom as well, earning mention to the ESPN the Magazine Academic All-District team for the second year in a row, and becoming a nominee for Academic All-America honors.
"Whenever things get rough during the season you have to remember there are a ton of students on campus who would love to trade places with you and get to do the things you're doing. Being part of this high level of competition is something most people don't ever get to do," he said.
That is the advice Stachitas received early on in his college from his Dad. "It really helps keep things in perspective for me." He claims to just be like anyone else. He loves music. He's played piano since the first grade and guitar since eighth grade. The last band he listened to was Citizen Cope.
Right now with his time on Hawk Hill winding down he remains focused on the game. "I just want to see where basketball will take me - check out the camps, whether it be overseas or whereever. It would be nice to think I could be connected with sports the rest of my life. If not, I might go through withdrawal."