Justin Kovac

Justin Kovac was a true leader on and off the court for the Penn State Behrend men’s basketball team from 2006-11. He began his career by starting every game and earning AMCC Newcomer of the Year honors; by his junior season, he led the country in assist-to-turnover ratio. In 2009-10, Kovac was an All-AMCC second-team selection and was named the Behrend Scholar Athlete of the Year. As a senior captain, he led the team with 110 assists and ranked third in scoring with 8.3 points per game. He was a four-time Academic All-Conference honoree and ranks third all-time in career assists, with 425.

Kovac was an immediate-impact player for the Lions. He scored 206 points and dished out 80 assists, ranking eighth with 2.96 assists per game. He started every game and was voted AMCC Newcomer of the Year, the only freshman in the league to receive postseason accolades. As a team, Behrend finished the season 21-8 and 16-2 in the AMCC, leading the conference in scoring defense (58.3 points per game). 

Kovac led the AMCC in assist/turnover ratio (2.89), dishing out 110 assists while only turning over the ball 38 times in 29 contests. He averaged 8.3 points per game and shot 81 percent from the free-throw line. Kovac was fourth in assists, fifth in three-point field-goal percentage (.419) and eighth in three-point field-goals made (52). The sophomore guard landed on the All-AMCC Third Team and led Behrend to the AMCC Championship title, posting a 57-54 win over Lake Erie in the finals, securing a bid to the NCAA Tournament. Behrend advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament with an 83-62 win over Farmingdale State, before falling to Rochester, 65-56.

Kovac was sidelined in his third year with the Lions due to an injury, yet it never showed during the 2009-10 season. He led the nation with a 4.5 assist-to-turnover ratio and shot 83.8 percent from the charity stipe, while posting a team-best 1.75 steals and 4.3 assists per game. Kovac was instrumental in securing the team’s ECAC South Region Championship, the second ECAC title in program history. He was named Second-Team All-AMCC and the Behrend Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

In 2010-11, the senior co-captain ranked third on the team in scoring with 8.3 points per game. He was  first in the league with a 3.4 assist-to-turnover ratio, while ranking fourth in assists per game (4.1). Kovac handed out another 110 assists and shot 43.6 percent from the floor. He helped the Lions receive an At-Large bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament, finishing with a 23-5 overall record and a 16-2 AMCC mark. For the second straight season, Kovac was named the Behrend Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

Kovac finished his career ranked third all-time in assists with 425 and was a four-time Academic All-AMCC selection.