Chris Rotiroti of Hastings set a goal for himself a few years ago to play college basketball.
After helping the Yellow Jackets win the 2020 Class B sectional crown as a junior, Rotiroti saw his dreams of a run at a state title waylaid by the coronavirus. Any hopes of repeating as sectional champion and finally getting that chance at a state ring were again sidelined by the pandemic this past winter.
While those dreams went unrealized, his hopes of a college career were not.
Earlier this month, the guard announced his commitment to play at Division 3 Westminster College in New Wilmington, Pa.
“Once I took a tour of Westminster and got to talk to the coach and some of the players, it was clear that it was the type of environment that I wanted to be a part of,” Rotiroti said.
While many student-athletes had to forgo the usual recruiting path and tour schools virtually, Rotiroti was fortunate enough to visit Westminster’s campus in person twice — once in October of 2010 and then this past March.
“I had a good feeling about Westminster the first time I visited,” he said. “I met with some of the professors, who all seemed great and very involved. It's a small college and I felt like it would be a good fit for me.”
Rotiroti also saw interest from SUNY Geneseo, St. Joseph’s in Maine, Western New England, and Western Connecticut.
Basketball has seemingly always been part of Rotiroti’s life.
“I have been playing basketball since first grade,” he said. “Basketball was my first love — I just like how no matter what, the game is always evolving.”
Over the years, in addition to Hastings, Rotiroti has played for the New York Blaze, Chris Ward, and 6th Boro travel programs.
“If I had to describe myself as a player, I would say I'm an unselfish teammate who will always make the extra pass. Also, I can drive and finish with both hands,” he said. “My weaknesses are turning down open shots trying to make an extra pass — and I need to become a better defender.”
Few have had greater impact on Rotiroti than his head coach at Hastings, Bob Delle Bovi.
“I have been with coach Delle Bovi since I was a freshman, and he had a huge effect on my basketball career,” Rotiroti said. “He helped me mature as a player and a person. He also taught me how to become a leader. Coach Delle Bovi showed me what hard work looked like, pushing me every day in practice. I am thankful for everything he has done for me “
He continued, “I am proud that I am getting the chance to continue my basketball career. It was always a dream of mine to play at the next level.”
The Westminster College Titans play in the President’s Athletic Conference, which is comprised of a dozen schools located in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia.