Dolan Waldo, a power forward on the Bethel Park boys basketball team, watches NBA games on ESPN and studies the moves of players like Anthony Davis of the Los Angeles Lakers.
“I love to watch and learn,” he said. “I focus mainly on the guys that play my position, see what they are doing and try to do those moves. It helps me improve and get better.”
Since picking up the basketball his father, Jeff, handed him in second grade, Waldo has honed his skills enough to commit to playing in college.
On June 21, the day before his 18th birthday, Waldo committed to Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He will play for Joe Lombardi, who has guided the Crimson Hawks to back-to-back PSAC championships and 10 NCAA tournament appearances.
The 6-6 Waldo picked IUP over Division I program at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington, Youngstown State and Lehigh as well as Fairmont State in West Virginia.
“IUP was a good fit for me,” Waldo said. “The coaches are amazing. It’s a good program and the facilities are amazing as well. I really think I can excel there and with their staff, we can definitely win a national championship there.”
Waldo will focus on bringing a title back to Bethel Park first. He hopes the Black Hawks can improve upon last year’s 8-10 mark that featured a WPIAL playoff appearance against Fox Chapel.
Waldo averaged 18 points, 11 rebounds and two blocked shots a game last season. In the process, he earned Big 5/6 Conference first-team honors as well as all-section and all-Almanac distinction.
He said he enjoyed his junior year, especially scoring the game-winning dunk during a 51-49 win over Grove City Jan. 22, but he is focused on the 2022 campaign. He hopes to achieve more next season that just scoring his 1,000th career point.
“It’s a goal to get that but the main thing is we have a good group of players returning this year, so we have the potential to win the section and compete for a WPIAL title,” he said.
“I’m definitely hyped up and getting excited for the season.”
During the off season, Waldo plays AAU basketball with PK Flash, which also features Peters Township’s Gavin Cote and Butler’s Devin Carney.
“It’s definitely good competition,” Waldo said of AAU. “Playing with talented guys helps me improve my game.”
Waldo is also a middle hitter on the Bethel Park boys volleyball team, earning all-section, first-team acclaim this spring.
“Volleyball definitely helps a lot with certain aspects for basketball,” Waldo said. “I’m just trying to get better every day and succeed.”
To make the transition to NCAA competition, Waldo said he must continue working out every day.
“If you want to achieve your goals you have to work hard,” he said.
Waldo works hard to maintain a 3.4 GPA. He plans to major in business in college with a focus on marketing.
“I’m super excited for my future,” Waldo said. “I want to finish out my senior season on a high not and then do well at IUP.”