Eddie DiRugeris is defined by his toughness on the basketball court.
Pennsbury’s senior guard was plagued by knee injuries as a freshman and sophomore, but that hasn’t slowed him down a bit. DiRugeris plays full throttle every second he’s on the basketball court, fearlessly attacking the basket at one end and playing tenacious defense at the other.
“He’s going to take chances, and he plays very aggressively,” Pennsbury coach Frank Sciolla said.
Coach Herb Magee apparently loved DiRugeris’ style of play. The legendary coach offered the Falcon senior a full scholarship to play basketball at Philadelphia University.
“I felt Philadelphia University was a perfect fit for my style of play,” he said. “I enjoyed the facilities when I was on my visit and felt comfortable on the campus.
“Coach Magee was a major reason I chose to go to Philadelphia University. I always wanted to play for a Hall of Fame Coach like Herb Magee. Coach Magee will bring the best out of my game while at Philadelphia University.”
Magee is in his 42nd year at the helm of the Rams and has led them to 870 wins in his remarkable career. DiRugeris hopes to help him win a few more.
“I like the style of play that coach Magee and his players run,” he said. “It’s up and down and shooting a lot of three’s. I really think I’ll fit in their system good.”
Holy Cross, New Hampshire and New Jersey Institute of Technology also expressed interest in DiRugeris, but Philadelphia U was a clear favorite.
“Philadelphia University has been at every single game since the beginning of the summer, and I really knew they wanted me,” he said. “I was the top recruit, and it was good to go where I was wanted.”
DiRugeris, who missed almost his entire freshman and sophomore seasons due to injury, is a two-year starter for the Falcons.
“I had a really good rehab person,” he said. “When I hurt my knee, I was probably 5-7 or 5-8, 150 pounds, and after I hurt my knee, I got a lot stronger through rehab, and I grew.
“I actually worked harder, and I think it helped me in the long run. It made me more explosive, so once I get out on the court, I forget what happened in the past and cherish every time I’m on the court and healthy.”
DiRugeris’ ability to come back strong after tearing the anterior cruciate ligaments in both knees is a testimony to his hard work and determination. And his toughness.
“Eddie has proven to be among the toughest players to ever play at Pennsbury,” Sciolla said in a press release. “He’s faced adversity every year and handled it with class and a positive attitude.
“His ability at both ends of the floor has enabled us to compete with and even beat some of the best teams in the state and the country over the last two years. He allows us to play at different tempos, and he opens up the floor for his teammates to score and handle pressure.”
Last season, DiRugeris played a key role in the Falcons’ post-season run that included a trip to the state’s final four. The Falcons were undefeated in league play and had a school record 30 wins. DiRugeris earned first team all-league honors, and he was named the MVP in the 2008 Kobe Bryant Classic at Villanova University.
Earlier this season, the Markward Basketball Club of Philadelphia honored DiRugeris for his accomplishments.
Sciolla believes his senior guard is even better suited for play at the collegiate level.
“The shot clock, faster tempo and improved athletes and players will enable him to thrive,” the Falcons’ coach said. “He can get by just about anyone he wants to, and he will also bring a defensive intensity that coach Magee will enjoy.”
DiRugeris, who attended Germantown Academy as a freshman and sophomore, expressed gratitude to GA coach Jim Fenerty and his staff.
“Coach Fenerty taught me the fundamentals of basketball,” he said. “He was always there to support me, and that means a lot to me.”
DiRugeris went on to credit Sciolla for the role he played in his development as well.
“Coach Sciolla was a huge help in making my college decision,” he said. “He worked so hard for me calling different colleges.
“The coaching staff at Pennsbury made me into a point guard that is ready to play at the next level. They pushed me so hard at practice and were always there to guide me off the court.”
With his college decision out of the way, DiRugeris can focus on what promises to be an interesting finish for a Falcon squad ranked first in the state in the latest rankings by The Patriot-News of Harrisburg.
“It’s just a big burden off my back,” he said. “I can focus on our team now, just getting to the state playoffs and (trying to win) the state championship.”