Senior spotlight: Seton LaSalle hoops standout won’t forget good times on diamond

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020 | 6:01 AM


Editor’s note: Each day, Trib HSSN will spotlight a WPIAL spring athlete whose senior year has been cut short by the coronavirus pandemic.

Seton LaSalle’s Michael Bigley is a basketball guy at heart.

He averaged 18.2 points per game this season, going over the 1,000-point mark for his career, and was chosen to play in the Roundball Classic along with the WPIAL’s other top seniors. He’ll be playing his college ball at Washington & Jefferson next year.

It might come as some surprise, then, that his best memory playing sports in high school came on a baseball diamond.

That’s when he and his Rebels teammates won last year’s WPIAL Class 2A championship.

“Baseball-wise, really all I am is a pinch-runner,” Bigley said with a laugh. “But the coaches made sure everyone felt like they played an important role. We all bought in to that. That’s another reason we accomplished what we did. We trusted our coaches.”

When coach Mike Wagner came in during Bigley’s sophomore year, he said he had a two-year plan to put the Rebels on top.

The team was right on time.

“We were just so close,” Bigley said. “Not just the seniors, but I consider everybody on that baseball team my family, including every single coach. I wouldn’t have rather played next to or for anyone else. Nobody thought we could have done what we did last year. Everyone overlooked us. I think we were ranked sixth preseason, maybe lower. Nobody knew who we were, but we knew what we were capable of accomplishing. I think that’s what motivated us, all of the doubt. We really pulled together.”

What’s the best way to fight boredom when stuck at home?

I work out a ton. Just getting shots up, shooting in my backyard, doing ballhandling drills, lifting. I’ve been trying to hit the weights hard. Play a little bit of video games. At the end of the day, after I get all my workouts in and I finish my homework, I spend time with my family, just watching TV and different stuff.

Who was your biggest rival in high school?

Basketball, I would say North Catholic. Baseball, Serra Catholic or Laurel Highlands.

Who is the best high school athlete you’ve ever seen?

I watched Jordan McCabe play a couple years back. He’s at West Virginia now. I watched him play in an AAU tournament in Indiana. He’s a point guard. He’s like 5-10, just like me. I remember thinking to myself, “This kid is legit.” He can do everything — shoot, pass. He’s a great player.

Why’d you pick W&J?

It came down to LaRoche, W&J, Chatham, Penn State Behrend, Waynesburg, schools like that. They were all great schools. I loved all the coaches. It was great talking to all of them. I really just felt like I had a strong connection with (coach Ethan Stewart-Smith) at W&J. He came to almost every one of my games. Also, I love the campus. Close to home. It’s great basketball. That conference is good basketball.

If you could pick anyone to give a commencement speech at your graduation, who would it be?

Lil Uzi Vert.

If you were asked to give a speech at graduation, what advice would you give to underclassmen?

Always push yourself because there’s always going to be somebody out there working harder than you. You can never work too hard, whether that’s in school, if you play an instrument, if you’re on a sports team, whatever it is. Whatever you love, work hard at that.

Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review Assistant Sports Editor. You can contact Jonathan by email at jbombulie@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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