PITTSBURGH, Pa. (EYT/D9) – From the family farm in the small town of Tionesta to the “City of Bridges,” Brady Kingston is getting a full taste of what Western Pennsylvania can offer.
The former Venango County standout hooper and golfer was one of the top athletes to suit up for the Vikings over the last decade.
(Photos provided by Pitt Greensburg Athletics)
It started out with a basketball in hand and a dream for the Forest County native, but the dream was not achievable without a lot of hard work, sacrifice, and faith. That dream was to become a college basketball player, and it was not an easy journey for the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg graduate.
“It started in the third or fourth grade for me first playing organized basketball,” he said. “I was one of the original three in the Rising Stars youth program alongside Christian Cypher and R.J. Laugand. We were the first group to play from the youth program all the way through till our senior year of high school.”
Though he was playing a lot of basketball, Kingston admits he was not a great player early on in his basketball career.
“I had a pretty honest conversation with myself and took a long look at myself in the mirror and said to myself that I needed help. I think sometimes people are afraid to ask for help, but I am glad I did. It helped me get to work on becoming a better player and a better worker.”
There are two men that the 2016 Venango Catholic graduate says helped demonstrate and show him the type of work ethic it would take for him to improve his game and one day reach the college ranks of basketball. These two men are Rogers Laugand, the founder of and a long-time coach of the Rising Stars AAU program, and Kingston’s father, Mark.
“Rogers (Laugand) really developed me into the player that I am today. He was so helpful in my skills and also my preparation for a game. He really did so much for me.”
As for Kingston’s father, Brady watched him work as an entrepreneur in the landscaping business in addition to running the family farm. Needless to say, Mark Kingston had some long days as a farmer and entrepreneur, but he taught his son well and the kind of work it is going to take to be successful not just in basketball, but in any endeavor he set out to accomplish.
Kingston went to St. Stephen School for his elementary school days and then decided to enroll in Venango Catholic School for his high school experience. While there were a lot of miles put on the Kingston vehicles over the years to take him to school in Oil City, those miles paid off as he got a great education, a solid athletic experience, met some lifelong friends, and also grew his faith and relationship with Christ.
“Venango Catholic and Tionesta each had an influence in shaping me into the man I am today. I felt I would have greater opportunities heading to Venango Catholic like competing in basketball at a higher level and the faith base is something that has made me a better person and closer to Christ. It was the right path for me and the half hour drive to school each day was worth it.”
There were plenty of commutes back and forth from home to school as Kingston would go to school, head home to do homework and have a family meal, and head back to Oil City for basketball practice or workouts in the evening. However, one thing it did help him with was self-discipline and staying on a strict schedule and routine.
There were also plenty of commutes to Clarion County for Rising Star practices over the years with Rising Stars playing a vital part in helping him reach the college level with the Pitt-Greensburg Bobcat basketball program: a program coming off the 2016 Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference (AMCC) crown and eight graduating seniors.
Becoming a Bobcat meant having the chance to play from the start of his college career, something that was both helpful and exhausting for the Forest County product. The Bobcats went just 1-24 in his first season of college basketball, but then, a new era of Pitt-Greensburg men’s basketball started; the Brody Jackson era.
Coach Jackson in just three seasons took the Bobcats from worst in the AMCC to a 20 win team. He was successful in blending prior recruits like Kingston with his recruits, a formula that proved to be the right one as the Bobcats reached the AMCC semi-finals in Kingston’s senior season. While it was a sour end to his life in competitive basketball, it is impressive to look at the resiliency of the Pitt-Greensburg 2016 recruiting class, and instead of quitting or transferring, this group stuck together and improved season by season.
“It was embarrassing,” Kingston said of his freshman year of college basketball. “I even thought about looking into another program or school, but after a meeting with Coach Jackson, I knew that staying at (Pitt) Greensburg would be the best option. I trusted him from the start, and I met some great friends in my four years of college.”
Kingston also followed in his dad’s footsteps in a small way by becoming interested in business. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and has spent time with two great companies in his youthful business career. The first experience he had was as a Management Trainee Intern through Enterprise. This is one of the more impressive internships a business student can receive, and Kingston got a full experience of the retail, tourism, rental, customer service, and automotive spaces in this four-month experience.
Once someone has an Enterprise internship on their resume, many companies are impressed with it as Enterprise has one of the top training programs of any firm in the world, regardless of industry. It helped lead him to BNY Mellon, a Fortune 500 firm and one of the world’s largest investment management companies in the entire world. He began his working career with the company virtually in 2020 from Tionesta, but now, he has made the move to Pittsburgh.
“BNY Mellon has been great so far,” said Kingston. “There is a lot more finance than I had ever done in this position, and it was tough to start the job from home, but I have gotten better at teaching myself and learning what I have to.”
Kingston admits he plays no basketball these days, but he is a pretty consistent visitor to the weight room and keeps himself active in that regard. Some day, he is hopeful to enter the coaching ranks in the Pittsburgh area at the high school level or below.
He brings with him a great deal of experience and a list of accolades like scoring over 1,000 points in his time at Venango Catholic, winning four letters as a Viking and Bobcat, playing in the PIAA state playoffs his junior year of high school, scoring 605 points in his college career, leading District 9 in scoring his senior year at 21.7 points per game, and being a two-time District 9 All-Star.
Kingston was also a solid golfer in high school and won four letters in his high school career. Golf has been the sport he has turned to as of late in addition to watching basketball.
“I am not the man I am today without basketball,” said Kingston. “It has been an adjustment to find what is next for me. I faced adversity before, but I know not to panic and instead pivot.”
While I (Nate Steis) played my last regulation basketball against Brady Kingston some six years ago in Brookville on a cold winter night, both of our careers came to an end at some point. Everyone’s career as an athlete does at some point, and it is never easy to adjust to. However, Kingston is getting by just fine and has shaped a strong future for himself in business. Basketball will always be there to take Kingston back whenever he is ready. Each time the 6’3” guard has the rock in his hands, he can always remember where this game has taken him both near and far.