Allegheny College head basketball coach Bob Simmons has announced a pair of additions to his staff for the upcoming 2016-17 season.
Simmons has tabbed Jon Valeriano as assistant coach, and former four-year Allegheny letter winner Brandon Smith ’16 as volunteer assistant.
“I am very proud and excited to announce the additions of these two men to our men’s basketball family,” said Simmons. “Both Jon and Brandon will be excellent representatives for Allegheny College, our alumni, and the Meadville community, as well as great role models for our student-athletes.”
Valeriano comes to Allegheny after spending the past year as athletic director, head performance coach, and assistant men’s basketball coach at the Scotland Performance Institute in Scotland, Pennsylvania, a prep school program designed to provide a bridge between high school and college. At Scotland, Valeriano conducted all practice and film study sessions, created individualized strength and conditioning programs for each athlete, organized and administered off-season conditioning, and developed all practice plans.
Prior to his time at Scotland, Valeriano worked as a men’s basketball graduate assistant at his alma mater, Slippery Rock University, from August 2013-September 2015. With the Rock, he assisted the head coach in all game-day operations and in-game adjustments, developed scouting schedules and game plans, created individualized strength and conditioning programs for all players, and facilitated team study tables. During the 2013-14 season, he helped the Rock to a 20-11 record and strip to the semifinals of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference championship tournament, while the 2014-15 Slippery Rock squad went 21-11 and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Division II playoffs.
Valeriano served a strength and conditioning internship at the University of Pittsburgh in the summer of 2013, assisting in the evaluation and design of off-season conditioning programs for the Panthers’ men’s and women’s basketball teams. He also conducted fitness and nutritional assessments of student-athletes, while he conducted on court workouts for a number of current and former Pitt basketball players, including Aaron Gray, who had an eight-year NBA playing career.
A guard during his playing days, Valeriano began his playing career at the Community College of Allegheny College in 2008. During his freshman season, he helped lead CCAC to a #3 ranking in the final NJCAA rankings, as he finished as the NJCAA National Tournament leader in assists (7.1/g), and ranked second in scoring (17.0 pts/g). In 2009-10, he received First Team All-Region and Honorable Mention NJCAA All-America honors for CCAC, before enrolling at Slippery Rock in 2010. During his first season at the Rock, Valeriano ranked third in the PSAC in assist-turnover ratio (2.19), and helped the squad to the NCAA Division II tournament for just the fourth time in team history. As a senior, he started all 27 games at point guard, and led the team in both free throw percentage (.837) and three-point percentage (.446).
“Jon brings very good knowledge of the game of basketball,” Simmons said. “He has a very good eye for talent, and is very detailed in his scouting of opponents. His work ethic is unmatched, and will certainly help us to continue moving the Allegheny men’s basketball family forward. His passion and energy is contagious.”
Smith graduated from Allegheny this past May with a degree in history, after a solid playing career in the Blue and Gold. A power forward, Smith appeared in 74 games with 59 starts, averaging 8.0 points and 4.7 rebounds per game with a .515 field goal percentage, while his 72 career blocked shots rank sixth all-time in program history.
As a junior in 2013-14, Smith ranked fifth in the North Coast Athletic conference with 39 blocks, while he scored 10 or more points in nine different games, with three double-doubles. The next season, he started the first nine games of the season, averaging 11.2 points with a conference-best .670 field goal percentage, before missing the final 16 contests due to injury. In his last game of the year, Smith turned in one of the finest single-game performances in team history, as he scored 20 points, on 10-for-10 shooting, in a Dec. 9 meeting with Kenyon. He recovered from injury to average 8.4 points and 4.8 rebounds in 2015-16, scoring in double figures 11 times, posting three double-doubles, and again ranking in the top-10 in the NCAC with a .517 field goal percentage.
“I really enjoyed having the opportunity to coach Brandon during his senior year and build a relationship with him,” said Simmons. “We had talked all season about him getting into coaching, and I was very happy that he decided to stay on with us as an assistant. Brandon brings great knowledge of Allegheny College, and will be able to help our younger student-athletes navigate through their academics. I am excited for Brandon to start his coaching career, and to help him develop as a coach and mentor for young men.”
Valeriano and Smith will join volunteer assistant Norm Price and student-assistant Patrick Martinelli to comprise Simmons’ staff for the 2016-17 campaign, which begins on Nov. 15 with a non-conference tilt at Grove City College.