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Veteto worth the wait for Sac State

Placer grad makes a difference right away after sitting out a year
By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
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Konner Veteto is relishing the chance to spend Thanksgiving with his tight-knit family in Auburn this year, where home-cooked meals are never taken for granted. “I love being close to home,” said Veteto, a 2007 Placer High graduate. “I try to come home every two weeks, or whenever I get a day off. Having any home-cooked meal from mom is good for me.” After an agonizing year without basketball, Veteto is now getting his fill at Sacramento State. The 6-8, 265-pound Veteto started his college career at UC Riverside. After showing glimpses of greatness with the Highlanders in two seasons, Veteto knew he wanted to be closer to his loved ones. He opted to join coach Brian Katz’s Sac State program, which appears to be on the rise. “It was really hard to watch games and know I couldn’t play,” said Veteto, who was required to sit out last season due to NCAA rules regarding transfers between Division I schools. “But it helped me get better as a player with the extra practice. And sitting out made me more determined to do better when I did get a chance to play.” Veteto’s making the most of those chances lately. He helped rally the Hornets past rival UC Davis on Tuesday night, contributing 14 points and a game-high nine rebounds. Sac State trailed by as many as 17 points before storming back in the second half. “We all knew we were going to win the game — we kept saying it in the huddle,” Veteto said. “We just kept getting stops. We were down by 17 and we just slowly crawled back in it. In the second half we got more aggressive and started to go inside.” The clash with the Aggies featured two of Auburn’s all-time greats on the hardwood. Veteto faced Forest Lake Christian graduate Josh Ritchart, whom he had formerly guarded during open gym sessions at ARD and at Forest Lake. Ritchart is averaging 15 points per game as a sophomore to lead the Aggies. Veteto likes where the Hornets are headed. They’re 3-1, with their only loss coming at Washington State last week — a game Veteto missed with a bruised knee. “I like my team a lot,” he said. “Coach Katz has done a really good job recruiting and everyone on the team likes each other. It’s a good atmosphere to play in.” Veteto lives off-campus in Sacramento with teammates John Dickson and Josh McCarver. The roster is filled with talented players from around the region and the Hornets are believing this could be their year in the tough Big Sky Conference. “I think we’re going to do better in league than we ever have — that’s my prediction,” Veteto said. “I have high expectations.” Optimism is a way of life for Veteto. He hopes to use his sociology degree to work with people who suffer from depression. “It’s an illness that people don’t think is that serious, but tons of people are affected by it,” he said. Veteto, who is averaging 11 points and 4.7 rebounds in three games this season, is excited about the immediate future with the Hornets, and the feast he’ll enjoy at grandma’s house today. In Riverside Veteto shed 30 pounds and was playing at about 240. Now he’s close to 265, where he feels comfortable. “I got really skinny before, but now I feel much stronger,” Veteto said. “I’m about 20 pounds heavier than a lot of the guys I’m guarding and it’s been a big asset.”