“With all of the COVID issues, you never know when you’ll get another chance to do that so you might as well make the most of it.”

MCCANDLESS, Pa. (KDKA) – Last October, North Allegheny star Khalil Dinkins verbally committed to play football at Penn State for the next four years. But for the next few months, he’s committed to play a different sport in Wexford.

Many in Dinkins’ (big) shoes would simply focus on football, but this past year has opened his eyes to making the most of opportunities.

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“It’s very important to finish out your senior year,” Dinkins said. “With all of the COVID issues, you never know when you’ll get another chance to do that so you might as well make the most of it.”

His head coach agrees.

“You don’t get these days back,” said NA Head Coach Mark DeRose. “These are your high school days. I look at the great players from around here like Terrelle Pryor, Darrell Revis, Phil Jurkovec, two-sport athletes. They finished up and look at their careers.”

In his first year at NA, Coach DeRose loves that Dinkins is a two-sport and not a one-sport athlete, but he hasn’t been afraid to offer some “tough love” to his big man.

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“I talked to him and told him ‘Hey, you’re too nice,” DeRose said. “You gotta quit being so nice. We need to see you playing on Sundays five years from now and you’re going to have to be a heckuva lot meaner.”

Apparently, Dinkins has taken his coach’s advice. Over the past month, he’s been one of the best players in the entire WPIAL.

“He’s been unreal,” DeRose said. “There have been quarters where he’s just dominated and just flat out won the game for us because he’s such a presence.”

“Basketball helps me in every different way,” Dinkins said. “Hand movement, feet movement, your quickness and agility and that’s why I keep on playing.”

Those are valid reasons to play, but Dinkins is also motivated to win a WPIAL title – something he hasn’t been able to do at NA in either sport…so far, that is.

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“He’s expressed how he really wants to win a championship,” DeRose said. “Because he’ll never have the opportunity to do that again, so I think it would be even more extra special for him.”