Saturday, January 3, 2015

What A Friday Evening in Roselle, New Jersey

They came from far and near to see what was supposed to be an exceptional basketball game. From Bergen and Passaic Counties up north to Essex County and even Morris, Sumerset and yes Hudson County as well.  They all came to Roselle Catholic HS to see two of the best HS teams in America play for Garden State bragging rights, though I still feel The Patrick School or St. Patricks will make a statement on that very soon.

Driving in from NEPA I did not know what to expect except a good hard fought game.  Having heard from friends that Roselle Catholic had a gym with old school charm and character made me eager to enter the building and see for myself if it was a HS version of Cameron Indoor Stadium at Duke or something similar. Well, it was not Duke but it sure was unique and old school gorgeous not to mention packed to the rafters. Even Darryl "Chocolate Thunder" Dawkins and Charles Smith the ex Knick were in attendance.  There were even some serious VIPs from entertainment, business, and industry in the building that people failed to recognize.

Its always amazing when I see guys walk into HS events free by flashing credentials for a blog or website they  rarely post on. I saw this yesterday as I patiently went inside and purchased a ticket 3 minutes before they stopped selling tickets,  This was at 4 PM and the game started at 6!  Little did I know there were games all day long and entering the gym which was packed with over 2000 people I had an opportunity to see a nice Plainfield Team get beat by Rutgers Prep. The joke in the stands was that it's a shame to get beat on the basketball court by people you will also work for one day!  Ok-Ok horrible joke sorry.  

The first game had a super talented Life Center with numerous D1 players beat up on Bloomfield Tech. Nuff said!  Now it was time for the final game and the game everyone came to see. St. Anthony's, who has the absolute best family and friends support group I have seen in years, entered the court first along with 6 Assistant coaches with 3 more sitting behind the bench. Somtimes I wonder if certain people would pay to be an assistant there?  Next came Roselle Catholic with fatigue T shirts on representing the purpose of the games,  which was supporting our troops. What a great cause!

St. Anthony's took control and their fans were going berserk making the gym seem like it was in Jersey City. If you came in blindfolded you would think you were at a game in Jersey City right near the Holland Tunnel (smile).  It seemed St. Anthony's who will always be well coached,  play great defense,    play hard, and play with class, was there to win it. Roselle Catholic and its star player Isaiah Briscoe had a rough 1st Quarter keeping up with the St. Anthony intensity and desire to win. But in the 2nd quarter it was the the Briscoe show as he closed it out like the player he is, despite some flashes of immaturity similar to what another player who John Calapari sent packing years ago exhibited,  Briscoe has all the moves and you can tell hours and hours have been spent in gyms working on his game.  But he sure has a nose for getting into it on the court, something he needs to learn to channel before he meets up with the wrong people.

Interesting that the highly rated freshmen, 6 ft 9 Nazren Reid, did not enter till late  in the first half but in my opinion  the complexion of the game changed after he entered despite him not scoring one point. It was his presence and energy and many noticed.  Of course the second half became more Briscoe and Chris Silva who really will be a terrific College Player if his coach Frank Martin does not yell at him every time he does something wrong.  Great place,  but there over Seton Hall, Rutgers, St. Johns?  Well, it is a great campus with a big time arena with all the bells and whistles associated with a SEC program.  

Many felt the game was over with 2 minutes left but as Bob Hurley, who could be the best HS basketball coach in the history of the game,  yelled "THIS GAME IS NOT OVER"   And truth be told it was not till the final whistle sounded with St. Anthony's coming back again to within 3 points with a chance for a tie.  But despite Briscoe missing multiple free throws, something no star guard should ever do, Roselle Catholic held on for the win with Chis Silva being huge down the stretch.

Tid Bits

Markis McDuffie really is better than advertised.

Jagan Mosley is a star in the making

Taurean Thompson really is a very good player

Briscoe is better than advertised but with attitude that could be good or bad depending

Chris Silva is special

Roselle Catholic equals  Great Players, very little offensive sets, good defense, unselfish play, and despite it all well coached!

St. Anthony's equals tradition, very good players, consistent defense, hard work, great sets, patience on both offense and defense, and very well coached!

AAU and Travel Team guys seem to have a lot of say these days.  Saw Roselle Catholic players communicating with summer coaches during the game.

Lastly, to the young man I knew when he played for Teaneck HS and was a good little Player but better yet a wonderful young gentlemen.  Just because you now are an Assistant Coach at Teaneck  and with The Playaz, an organization I think the world of who are doing wonderful things, do not change who you were because you never know who knows who. Follow the lead of those you work with who always exhibit class while being humble.

Finally, saw a guy who has done so much for the Newark NJ community being unnecessarily hassled by a Roselle NY Police Officer inside the game. Was it really that important for them to attempt to embarrass him? . Maybe the game should have been at Kean University!

Friday, January 2, 2015

Exciting Basketball

I have to start with the huge game between nationally ranked St. Johns and soon to be ranked Seton Hall if they can hold off Villanova on Saturday at the Prudential Center. A great win by Seton Hall in an atmosphere that seemed to be electric as I watched from the emergency room of my local hospital.  

We all know the final score and who did what. What I thought was great is the outstanding game atmosphere. On TV it seemed like at least 15,000 people similar to what Seton Hall often drew back in the days of Ramos, Bryant, Morton, Salley, Green, Advent,  and others (please excuse the spelling of some names) . I think it might have been right after the Mountain Arena bomb that did not work with SHU even losing  to Columbia in a home game at the Hockey Arena.  

Well, I always wanted to see SHU, SJU, and RU excel and have true natural rivalries that meant something other than just a win. SJU and SHU seem headed in the right direction but there still remains a question of how SJU will bounce back and what will SHU do if  VU beats them badly at home? If they can win more than they lose both SHU and SJU are headed for a possible NCAA Birth or at least a NIT birth.  Heading out to buy snacks for the huge game tomorrow.  

Rutgers is still  finding its way  but is 8 and 6 despite losing to Big 10 foe Northwestern.  Northwestern is the team they should always circle on the schedule as a must win along with a few others because we already know its about 4 or 5 teams they have almost zero chance of beating till the program improves in most areas. No need to again say all that I think they need.  I will say the coaches they have are fine and with the correct support facility and program wise the improvement will come sooner than later. Hard to even compete with what those other schools are showing to potential players. 

HS basketball was great on Monday evening in Paterson NJ. Hats off to the NJ Playaz Organization for putting on the Jingle Bells Jubilee and making all of the games competitive ones as opposed to matching schools who recruit from 10 states against local HSs who compete with players from the town. I think the Hoop Group, which is still a great organization, needs to change it up next season and get the great match ups with power teams going against power teams and good players matched with good players. $13 is a lot of money to see Roselle Catholic with 25 D1 players at the school (smile) matched up with Blair Academy who has a few good D3 players and two big future role players on the high D1 level.  The Playaz tournament had some great talent and wonderful match ups.  They even had decent concessions and gave out real meaningful trophy's

Loved watching Teaneck HS who I will see again Sunday in the New Years Jump-off at the same location, Paterson Charter School (the old Paterson Catholic) against East Orange who seems to have a pretty good team this year. I cannot wait till the well coached Teaneck Squad matures next season, though they could still win the Bergen Jamboree. Next year they could be a special bunch led by top 5 sophomore guard Deondre Washington and Top 5 freshmen guard Ja'Quaye James, who just happens to have a very famous hip hop Uncle.  Life Center might just be the 2nd most talented team in NJ man for man. Well,  maybe 3rd because The Paterson School is loaded also. Life Center is coached by Never Nervous Pervis, the ex Louisville Star and he has at least 4 high major players on the roster but the record despite beating a very young Teaneck in the consolation game, is nowhere near what it should be. Being an ex great player is not all thats needed to be a great coach. But in time this team could be rolling. How much time? I wonder! 

Paterson Eastside gave all it could against a very talented and well coached Hudson Catholic who seems to be jelling early in the season. Paterson Eastside could still possibly win the North group 4 championship based on some very good talent. Unfortunately it seems people in the stands realize how talented the players are but the players and coaches seem to not know.  Shakur Juiston is a beast who does not realize it. Every high major program between Connecticut and Virginia should watch him. If this kid goes to JUCO he could end up at Kentucky, UNLV, NC State, etc. Yes,  that much natural ability but so unselfish it makes the average fan scream. This young man needs to stop being afraid to be a star! If it does not come out in HS it certainly will come out in college. You cannot go by his stats you have to watch him perform.  Hudson Catholic has a few D1 players as well and seems to have quietly snuck up on everyone and if people blink this could be a future program on the same level nationally as St. Anthony's, Roselle Catholic, St. Benedict's, and the team that I feel just might be the best in NJ, The Paterson School. 

Speaking of St. Antony's they play a huge game Friday evening against Roselle Catholic at Roselle Catholic. Game time is 6 PM and I hope to be there by 4ish to secure a ticket.  Two things for sure are St. Anthony's will not back down and they will play defense! Roselle Catholic? They have the best player in the state and at least 6 or 7 others we will be watching on TV one day. 

If you have any comments feel free to contact me on this page or at

Monday, December 29, 2014

A very interesting weekend in local HS and College Hoops around NJ

HS Basketball

We had an opportunity to attend the Playaz Basketball Club Jingle Bells Jubilee at Paterson Charter HS on Saturday Evening.  Paterson Charter is the old Paterson Catholic HS and the games on Saturday were just as exciting as they were when Tim Thomas and Donald Hand led the Cougars into battle many years ago. In fact some of the same fans were in attendance for the games which really were so great we are going back today for the championship. Well, we really need to see a certain player play again because I want to make sure he is what I think he is, The Best Big Player in NY, NJ, or Pennsylvania and he does not attend a private or Catholic HS. More on him later!  

First game I saw was Life Center which is not a NJHSAA sanctioned program against Hudson Catholic HS . Interesting to see Pervis Ellison coaching Life Center.  You folks remember him. The ex NCAA National Championship MVP at Louisville! Or was he the National College Player of the Year? Well, he was very good and had a decent NBA run as well.  Hudson Catholic was coached by Nick Mariniello who has turned into an exceptional coach after many years learning on the job at various schools.  Guy gets his players to compete, runs great offenses, and defenses, wins, and gets kids into college all while looking like a movie star on the sidelines.

Well the game went back and forth with at least 7 or more D1 caliber players on the court. Hudson Catholic won the game despite Life Center having a roster full of D 1 players including Never Nervous Pervis, as they called him years ago, Son Malik Ellison, a 6 ft 6 Sr. guard who could give Isaiah Briscoe a run on the court based on size and ability. This young man has all the tools which is why many super high majors are recruiting him as they did his sister who also plays the game.  SHU, RU, and others need to be all over this young man. Life center has at least 4 other potential big-time recruits as well including a point guard, Traci Carter,  being wooed by the local high major teams after de-committing from The University of Delaware, where he is actually from.  Back to Malik Ellison!  I am really not convinced he is not the best point guard in the state of NJ,  though he currently plays out of position.  Cannot wait till tonight when he plays the consolation game against Teaneck and their great sophomore guard Leandre Washington who also is projected as a high major recruit.

Hudson Catholic also has some terrific players including 6 ft 8 Sammy Friday who could be a mid major or a high major depending on how hard he competes. When he gets after it he looks terrific and when he watches he looks like a good MAAC player at best.  Which Sammy will show tonight against a player with great potential but lacking consistency.   Yes,  I an talking about Shakur Juiston a 6 ft 7 Guard Forward with nice skills and ability.  This kid was nothing short of terrific and if he has grades and could be more consistent he could  go anywhere in America based on what he did on Saturday evening. He was so good I HAVE TO GO BACK TONIGHT to see if he really is as good as he looked or was his performance a one time thing.   I walked out of the gym super impressed at this Paterson Eastside Senior who dunked off the rebound, dunked in traffic, hit the open J, passed very well, understood the game, blocked shots, and sold food at the concession stand at halftime. Tonight will definitely tell the entire story! was his performance something that can be repeated? 

Shout out to Teaneck HS who did a great job despite being so young. I am telling anyone who listens that Teaneck HS will be a state and regional power next season and that does not mean they will not be very good the remainder of this season.  But with super talented guards like sophomore sensation Leondre Washington and Freshmen sensation Ja'Quaye James,   Teaneck has a very bright future and seem very well coached by veteran coach Jerome Smart.  One note is the freshmen needs to stop whining and complaining to the Refs during games!  Calls will not be changed!

Lastly on the organizer Jim Solmon,  and the entire hosting organization. It’s a pleasure supporting a program that does so much for so many people without a lot of corporate sponsors.  This program has sent hundreds of kids to college as well as acted as a conduit for higher education via tournaments and events for many years. A huge thank you also for keeping the price of admission so reasonable at a time others are charging $13 or more for games that are far from competitive. I saw great games on Saturday and was able to stop and eat on the way home.  And thanks for having actual FREE PROGRAMS though we need magnifying glasses to read them (smile).  

College Basketball

Seton Hall won easily over Maine in the type of game that would have been much more of a struggle for past Seton Hall Teams.  Now those with amnesia need to refer back to losses to FDU and similar schools, schools they should never ever lose to never mind winning by a few points.  The win over Maine is supposed to be what happens when a Big East team goes against a team from a lower conference on the East Coast.  In fact it should happen against most lower level conference teams that do not have Wichita State or Gonzaga on the front of the uniforms.  SHU is showing better consistency than they have shown in many years.  The real tests will be St. Johns and Villanova, and not just based on the final outcome, but by the teams approach to the game and level of competitiveness. 

St. Johns destroyed Tulane University just as they should based on all the great talent they did flips and tricks to get on campus.  The days of the local products dominating the roster is officially over with so many kids signing on from places a plane ride away. They really have become a national team by the way they recruit. I know they have worn sneakers for a great cause in the past, but now it seems they also need to wear sneakers for all the running across the country they do to convince players as only they can do to attend SJU.  Right now looking at their schedule it seems they are undefeated.  But the same source, Rivals, had Seton Hall undefeated last week and they had a few losses.  Again the SHU game will be a wonderful test for both teams!

Rutgers wins by a single point at Monmouth! I am telling anyone willing to listen that Monmouth is a true sleeping giant in college basketball on the East Coast.  No way should a Big 10 school win by 1 at Monmouth. Those are the easy games before they play Wisconsin, Michigan State, Michigan, Iowa, and others who are a hard out every singe night. Those programs put so much money in the basketball programs with private jets, private charters, wonderful facilities, and in many case unlimited recruitment budgets.  Eddie Jordan will only be super successful if he gets the resources. He has a good staff in place including a barracuda recruiter who will get them in doors not only in the USA but also in Europe as well.  I still believe RU will be a wonderful program after recovering from years of program abuse from the inside via a meddling AD and coaches not prepared to handle the stress of big-time basketball at the time.  

FDU info is up!!! They are 4 and 6 after losing the big game to St. Peters on December 23.   I did not see that great CPA James Brown at the Teaneck HS Basketball Game Saturday night to get the full story (smile).  Next 3 games on the road before facing powerful St. Francis of Brooklyn coached by one of the true great people in the game despite being the hardest job, yes even harder that FDU, in the country based on location, campus, and facilities. That’s a home game so I might sneak and purchase a ticket for this one to see just how far they have come as a program.

Back to Monmouth and what a great job that could be!  I really hope the guys there get it together in the near future but that building needs to be ¾ filled every games with winning basketball.  Ditto The University of Delaware, which has a class act coach in Monte Ross but the folks there are still waiting for the next Mike Brey.  Honestly I would bet sometimes Mike Brey wishes he was still there as opposed to the pressure of winning at ND.  But to me these are the two best mid major jobs on the East Coast based on facilities and more!

A bit of a struggle thus far for a great guy in John Dunn over at St. Peters University. But if they know what I know they will get him to sign an extension because he does it with smoking mirrors on a campus two or three blocks long with a big HS gym. In fact maybe  FDU needs to get their coach signed for a few extra years because it sure is not a reflection on him when he has little to work with budget or support wise.  I still wonder if the FDU President knows they have a D1 basketball team? 

Fordham with a super classy staff  really needs more time than 2 more years.  Tom Picora (sp) is one of the best people you will ever meet coaching  college basketball  At a school that frowns on junior college transfers and requires far above average grades to be admitted, they do a great job and worthy of a new 5 year contract from the new AD who hopefully understands the challenges. John Wooden would have had a difficult time. Ditto all the current super star college coaches earning a million dollars plus a year.

Manhattan according to many is the best 4 and 7 team in America. They play extremely hard and do it for 40 minutes a game with no time off to relax.  This is the team people hate to play because they will compete every day and every minute.  No doubt the respect the coach has despite the negative and unnecessary PR from thus past summer.  Manhattan along with Iona remains sexy places to attend if you love playing or watching great basketball. 

Rider 6 and 6 with mirrors lol. Horrible non D1 facilities but very good coaching and hard working student athletes make things work out.  And remember they had a 1st round draft choice to the NBA a few years back meaning he learned to play better after signing with Rider. By the way what happened to the new facility?

LIU is 4 and 7 and that’s about right considering the honeymoon is over and they cannot sneak up on anyone else. I still say the new gym should be called Ray Haskins Field house or Arena based on him taking the Blackbirds to the NCAA and NIT two consecutive years in a row before he was let go in a true unfair way by people who schemed on him. Place was rocking with fans with applications for admission at an all-time high during his time there coaching.

This brings me to the unfair treatment of many coaches. Now we all know there is a lot of cheating going on across the board with players getting paid through an outside source with the coach acting as if he has no idea.  We all know about the transcript stuff at many places. We all know about the Mickey Mouse courses many kids take often completing 4 or 5 years with 25 true credits only to return to the streets or neighborhoods they left as stars without a degree. We all know about the illegal payments by boosters while kids are on campus. So much going on yet if the program is winning no one cares.  So with that said I still look at guys like Gary Waters at Rutgers, Louis Orr at SHU, Ray Haskins at LIU, and current guys like Tom Picora at Fordham, Eddie Jordan at RU, and yes even Kevin Willard at SHU. Oh these guys could have or could do some minor things but not on the scale as others. Yet they are expected to win right away. And in the cases of the first 3 mentioned it has taken years to recover from them departing.  I say all this to say people need to be patient with coaches and not expect an NCAA championship this year. Not at SJU, not at Seton Hall, and yes not at FDU.  Look for improvements and hold the marketing people accountable for butts in the seats just as you hold coaches accountable for wins and losses.  More on this next time!

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Tuesday, December 23, 2014


Today starts the official 2014-2015 version of LFBallonhoops, a basketball blog covering HS and College Basketball in NJ, NY, and even on occasion Northeast Pennsylvania.  This blog is considered by many controversial and extremely opinionated. Truth be told those who believe that are absolutely correct and its something we pride ourselves on. 

This year we are fortunate to have secrete eyes on players, coaches, boosters, supporters and even parents from Pennsylvania to Connecticut. Please note we love telling it like it is and are more interested in the story behind the box score than just reporting who won or lost. This is a blog that will highlight the good, the bad, and even the ugly of HS and College Basketball. Please be aware of the hidden messages and hints as we talk about all thats happening we feel might be of interest to you. 

A huge part of this blog will always be talking about the skills and abilities of many players others give zero or no credit to. Players who just might be better players in college than they were in HS. Players like Ronald Roberts who had a great career at St. Joe's of Philly after St. Johns had him de-comit from his athletic scholarship. Is it only us or could SJU, SHU, and RU not have benefitted from the player he turned out to be.  

Before getting into the meat and potatoes of todays blog please note we are more and more surprised at the large number of foreign players now paying HS basketball in the United States especially the state of New Jersey! Who is paying the tab? Where do they live? How did they get here? Now we sure are not anti providing opportunities but just how serious and how much money is involved when we see so many international players being recruited so that a team can win a HS championship? Amazing  how the  best HS player in America for n2014-15  is actually from Australia and he signed with LSU. LSU? Ummmmmm! Very interesting that they beat out Kentucky and other heavy hitters in many different kind of ways.   

Speaking of Kentucky we need to say we certainly are John Calipari fans. You see he is only doing what the rules as they are written allow him to do. He is smart enough to know how to work the system. We are also fans of him as a person based on the many great deeds he has done for so many away from basketball. Even as the Head Coach at UMass he bussed in young non basketball playing children for special college days to learn about the college experience. This guy, though a true win at all costs guy, has done a lot of good things that many have no idea about!

This season we will talk more about the slick not caring coaches as well as street agents, basketball crooks, and get over artists. We will even give hints about who is cheating and who is getting what for families and friends without saying names. You just have to figure out, and it will not be hard, who is who in the posting.  AAU and Travel team influences? We have it covered and truth be told some who you might think are bad are actually outstanding and some you feel are great are really up to no good. 

So stay tuned and hopefully we can have something for you once or twice a week schedule and news permitting. 

Hoop Group Tipoff  

Before getting into the actual information regarding the games that were held at West Orange HS over the past weekend I have to again ask how or why do they charge $12 and $13 dollars for tickets to a HS  basketball event!  This HS basketball thing is now a huge business and folks are really getting very wealthy. Why be a Doctor or Attorney when you can do basketball stuff and get rich. 

Also interesting that Mike Rice has gotten a second chance getting an opportunity to be a Hoop Group Executive and thats a great thing. I wonder if he is cursing, and throwing balls at little kids as they workout with him.  Interesting how so many who dogged him were  hugging him at the event. Some folks are so phony! But Mike did not seem to have a care in the world and will most likely be back on the college scene very soon screaming and yelling at a place that will not care. 

One of the people who shares information with us was in attendance on Saturday and said the turnout was less than great. The one team that totally impressed him was Gil St. Bernard who actually played without their  best player. Our person feels Gil St. Bernard could be the second best HS Team in NJ. 

On Sunday

Same cast of characters but different year. $13 admission wow!  

Watched the Patrick School who had uniforms with St. Patrick's on the front. St Pats or The Patrick School was  huge with  a few African players. But than again Bergen Catholic has an Italian import Pier Oliva as well and he really is a nice player Watch for him to be a very good college player at St. Joseph's University in time. So many were saying he is overrated and soft, etc. Well,  what we saw was a guy extremely skilled with great basketball IQ.  He actually made every player on his team better by being on the court.  Seems to me Teaneck will not have an easy time winning the Bergen Jamboree. 

Interesting at the game the same Hounds and street agents out in force. Wow do they ever retire? Deals and more taking place with many D1 coaches in attendance getting earfuls from want to be coaches or basketball hustlers. 

Interesting how the African players  on St. Patricks were smiling and happy at opportunities they are getting while home grown kids take so much for granted They seems so happy to be a part of something so organized and good.  

Holland Mack ex Paramus Catholic and D1 College player at either LeHigh or Bucknell  is the current Paramus Catholic Coach. Nice kid but trying too hard to fit in with  guys who  could not care less about him or his program.  When he wins in the future they will embrace him inviting him into their circle. Good luck to him! 

Just watching I had to wonder  why would anyone attend some of these High Schools who are almost like store front schools with great teams? What about the HS experience? 

Bergen Catholic still only 2 or so players of color. Oh well!!! 

Nicholas Richards St Patrick's sophomore has great upside and will be a extremely high level recruit in the furure. Everyone will want that kid who is about 6 ft 8 or 6 ft 9 with toughness and skills!
Watched Newark Eastside ve St. Anthony's.  Newark Eastside is a pretty good HS academically believe it or  not. The team has tradition and the coaches are really doing a nice job. But whats up with the horrible uniforms and appearance taking the court like a rec. team at the local Y with 55 year old men with any old sweats on. Where were the team sneakers and warm-up shirts? Horrible look for some great kids who played so hard in a loss. Of course St. Anthony;s who had 16 players dressed, looked like the top level program they are.   St Anthony;s will always be a great program because they always will play hard and play defense not to mention they are well taught and even better coached.   One question I do have is does Bob Hurley ever sincerely smile at anyone?  Marquis McDuffie  heading to Wichita State. Special. player but on past St. Anthony teams would have been a great role guy but still D1 bound.   

Watched the 1st half of Roselle Catholic vs Blair Academy. Now everyone knows Blair is a ritzy residential boarding school that costs around $40,000 to attend. Their teams are always good and well coached This year they have two good players up front with one signing with Villanova and the other with Notre Dame. Now thats two big-time recruits! Unfortunately the opponent this day was Roselle Catholic led by national top 5 player Isaiah Briscoe and what a player he is. Well worth all the effort Kentucky put into recruiting him. Well worth all they did to get him!!!  This guy is really the next big thing from the Garden State! We would have loved seeing him play with the super Freshmen on his team but due to injury  the freshmen did not play but watching him walk you know he is gifted.   Roselle number 5 or 6  nationally but uniformed like they are number 10000. What's up with  that?  Chris Silver who signed with South Carolina is pretty good and makes me wonder how he was allowed to get away from local high D1 teams? 

NJ Top HS Teams (based on first few games 

1. Roselle Catholic
2. The Patrick School
3..Gil St. Bernard
4. St. Anthony's 
5. Pope John XXiii
6. Trenton Catholic
7. Hudson Catholic
8. Linden
9. Ewing
10 Patterson Eastside

College Information

The college season has been here for a few weeks and some things never change. Tried to get information on FDU from Rivals site and FDU is the only D1 team where the schedule and information is not posted. Did they drop basketball and not send me a notice? Are they now D2? Are they quietly closing down without letting us know? Well, thank God all the other programs have information showing. And yes we plan on attending an FDU game this season as well as many other college games in the area. 

St. Johns seems to be the best team in the area and all they have done to get players seems to be paying off. They are currently 11 and 0 and just might be NCAA bound with players from all over the country. Looking forward to some great battles this year as well as many more great HS players being persuaded to attend school there. Great start and again the hard work has paid off!  

Seton Hall University has a special thing going on. They have only lost two games and one was expected based on it being an away game in the Midwest in a packed arena. But here is where it gets tricky. How will they recover from the Georgia loss? I do feel they will be just fine and with so many young players the future is extremely bright. Now its about preparation and  mental toughness!

Rutgers really has a ways to go but I am sure they can get there with Eddie Jordan.  So much to put inn order from practice facilities to a better arena environment that will attract a certain type basketball recruit. St. Peters loss cannot happen in the future because those are the games a Big 10 team is supposed to win. St. Francis Pa.!  Not supposed to happen! Lots of work to be done here across the board.  Maybe they should not charge folks for tickets this season to start developing a great fan base.  

St. Peters is 4 and 7 and who knows what the  future will hold for them. Not much of a campus especially when kids visit places like Siena, Albany, Binghamton, Manhattan, Fordham, and more. Even FDU is huge in comparison. I still remember the great teams at the Jersey City Armory prior to them building a gym.  Waiting for the huge St. Peters vs FDU game! 

Monmouth is interesting at 5 and 5 and a coaching staff more athletically talented  than the current team led by HC King Rice. Heck of a name King Rice!  Well,  will the King lead them to the promised land? Time will tell but we all know that many hugh D1 Assistants from all over America are watching this program carefully because it could one day be a Gonzaga type program based on facilities, area attractions including beaches, and a potentially large fan base. Guys are drooling for this job! Hope it all comes together for them out in Long Branch! 

NJIT has turned it around as maybe the only independent program in America. The coach needs to get a medal  or at the least an interview for the next mid major opening. Playing in a 1200 seat gym and with kids taking real classes they are really over achieving and moving in he right direction. 

Binghamton made more of a situation than it needed to do years ago and just might never recover as a basketball program. The Coaches should never have been fired years ago!  Not sure if they even care but it was an on the rise program years ago. 

Fordham with a wonderful coaching staff has a hard job. Recruiting kids to Fordham Road and playing in a facility that they attempt to make seem like a version of the Philly Palestra or Cameron Indoor Stadium  but really just an older gym with some renovations. Yet they continue to get kids who want great basketball and great academics. Currently 3 and 6 with a very young team including many international players. But losing to The University of Massachusetts LOWELL? 

Iona really has a very good coaching staff and they seem to get it done year after year after year. Without a doubt this could be a premier program with a larger campus and premier facilities. Someone will eventually snatch the coach up for a higher level program. I would not be surprised if he interviewed for SJU if Steve Lavin ever left. 

Manhattan has a coach who I have watched since he played for  the Gaucho Junior Team many years ago. he always had that swagger. But what happened to the great hair style from years ago? OK thats another post! Manhattan is 4 and 7 and I would bet young Steve as he was called years ago has dreams or nightmares about life in South Florida. He just might be in Riverdale a few more years and that could be a blessing to him and Manhattan College

Please know we have not covered all the area teams and will be adding the others at a later date along with more information on FDU (smile).  The season is now in full swing as is the HS season with so many great games coming up. Lots of recruitment talk and observations from HS events and college games coming your way soon. Stay tuned!

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Saturday, January 18, 2014

Saturday, January 18, 2014

NBA Mock Draft

As we get into the meaty part of the college basketball season all sorts of NBA mock drafts are popping up on the internet and even in local papers all over America. It seems as if the experts are continuing to forget the importance of toughness and maturity and making popular as opposed to realistic predictions.  What are they thinking when they take a skinny freshmen guard on a great team and make him a top draft pick over a more seasoned player with much more upside, especially when he gets to the next level surrounded by more players capable of finishing around the rim and hitting open shots? 

So here are my thoughts on this years player’s at this point. Remember it could all change but from what I have seen thus far these are my thoughts on talent and playing potential in the NBA!

Doug McDermott,  in my maybe very unqualified eyes,  has to be the top pick in this years 2014 draft!  What are folks thinking with all those ahead of him on the various draft sites?  These days a player who could be a top draft choice who returns to school will be the focus of every defense scheme teams play against his team.  

Doug McDermott is actually a marked man and the focus of double and triple teaming and still gets his shot off almost scoring at will.  His footwork, ball handling, shooting, passing, basketball intelligence, toughness, strength, and more seems to me to be heads and shoulders over every other college player this season. No I will not compare him to Larry Bird as a Pro because Doug is far more handsome. But skill wise as a collegiate he sure seems as skilled as Larry was at the time.  I am sure Red Auerbach, if he was alive and still with Boston, would be behind the scenes finding out how to get this future star on and off the court!  It just seems that he will be punished for returning to school because he would have been a top 10 selection last season. 

It seems if a player does not run from school after their freshmen year,  their stock automatically goes down. It also seems like international players at 18 and 19 who would be slaughtered in the USA in many cases on the court are taken high in the draft based on potential. Are you kidding me?  Nothing like a 7 ft kid from Russia who is a scrub sitting on the end of the bench based on potential. Well, at least they look good in warm-ups and in the Airport!  

To have the players mentioned on many mock draft boards ahead of Doug McDermott is nothing short of ridiculous.  In fact I think the 2nd player chosen should be a sophomore. Yes,  Marcus Smart of Oklahoma State should be 2nd because he is the total package as well. Tough, skilled, confident, unselfish and more!

Leadership wise no way Kyle Anderson should not be a top 10 pick. I love Tyler Ennis on and off the court because he seems like a great player and even better person. But how in heavens name is he ranked higher than a more mature, skilled, leader and player such as Kyle Anderson? It all boils down to people with no idea or even playing or coaching experience putting together these lists. Same way on many HS recruiting lists the rankings have always been suspect at best. 

So here is my 2014 Mock NBA Draft top 11 TALENT Wise and NBA Ready list with a few sleepers!  Granted there are some with more potential but still unproven..  If I was choosing strictly based on talent and readiness this would be my list! 

1        Doug McDermott         Creighton
2    Marcus Smart               Oklahoma State
3       Jabari Parker                 Duke
4       Joel Embiid                   Kansas
5     Andrew Wiggins          Kansas
     TJ Warren                    NC State
     Gary Harris                  Michigan State
     Kyle Anderson             UCLA
     Julius Randall               Kentucky
1    Aaron Gordon              Arizona
1     CJ Fair                         Syracuse

Sleepers (In No Order)

Russ Smith                     Louisville
LaQuinton Ross             Ohio State
James McAdoo              North Carolina
Bryce Cotton                  Providence
Noah Vonleh                  Indiana
Jerami Grant                   Syracuse

Monday, December 23, 2013

December, 23, 2013

Well,  we are officially off to the races in NYC, NJ, and Pa as far as HS Basketball. Interesting that college basketball minus maybe St. Johns in NYC, is at an all-time low in regard to fan support and expectations.  When FDU can go out and beat the two premier basketball programs in NJ despite not winning a meaningful game all season it's a strong message that work needs to be done in both Piscataway, and South Orange.

In all fairness basketball has also  been quite interesting in other parts of the country with some upsets and other contests that should not have been as close as the final score. I mean the team I wish to see right now is none other than the Knights of FDU! I am reviewing the schedule to make sure I can catch that great FDU vs LIU game. It is least I can do based on the hard time I have given them over the past few seasons. I hear from reliable sources that on the FDU campus I an along with the Governor, a wanted man. He for support, and me to jump and tear apart for the things I have said. I guess the AD would be the first to get a punch in lol!

NBA Draft wise the Tri-State Area could be shut out with local players only getting tryouts through free agent camps etc.  But as far as players I sure would take Oklahoma State Guard Marcus Smart or Duke Freshmen Jabari Parker as the first pick in the 2014 draft. Aaron Gordon would be next followed by Julius Randall!  As they often say, And A Young Man will lead us!

Seton Hall and Rutgers are in such a bind. So close for the stud players who want to get away. Poor fan support based on a poor product on the floor currently. Recruiting budgets good but far from where they need to be to compete against the big boys.  Neither has a practice facility. So how do you get players? By winning! But how do you win? By getting players!  What do players want and not in this order:  Great fan support, great facilities, outstanding tradition, great coaches who can teach, beautiful campuses, and solid education opportunities leading to great graduate school and employment opportunities  especially for those not skilled or big enough for the NBA.  St. Johns? On their way to reestablishing themselves as a legit program soon to be recognized again nationally.

This brings me back to FDU. Congrats on a job well done winning against the big boys. I am so looking forward returning to to see the new end bleachers if nothing else. Hope I am able to buy a ticket!

HS basketball was in full affect at West Orange HS on Sunday. Some pretty good games though I still feel to charge $12 is way too much,  especially when the participating schools get zero and the MVP awards are not more substantial!

Sat with a great group including a very animated gentleman who has a son playing for The Hun School. As I listened to him talk about his son over and over it made me realize how  I must have sounded  talking about my son as I did. So nice to see a great dad supporting his son!  Such memories although if I had to do it again I would change some things about my approach. Boy would I be different and much better! lol

Seems Hun lost to a good Gil St. Bernard team who will be even better in time with more maturity. West Orange upset a solid CBA team who will be better as season goes on.  Linden defeated a solid but often out of control Newark Tech. I do have to shout-out  Otis Livingston Jr.  Still remember seeing him on the St. Pats team as they warmed up a few years ago. I really thought he was the mascot based on his than height.   Well fast forward to now and I see he is taller and in my opinion the best guard on the court during his game and might be the most improved player I have seen in 20 years on the HS level.  Such a nice kid who sincerely thanked everyone who complimented him on the game he had. If he came this far in a year or so,  the sky is the limit for him.  Plus again he seems like a wonderful young man!

The later games started with Teaneck, who has missed going to the state finals the past few years storming on the court to take an early lead on last years State Champs Roselle Catholic HS. Well, it was good at first but became quite ugly to say the least,  except the better team with the better recruited players including two very tall African players won the game. Ummmmmm, I wonder how long the commute is daily for them?  Lastly on this:  Does Teaneck Ever Run a play or set? Just curious!!!

Next up was Bob Hurley HS....oops I mean St. Antony's HS. But if there is a NJ Treasure it is Bob Hurley!  Just watching his team warm up is worth a regular price of admission.  But not $12.00 (smile).

I left before the last game but heard it was a great game won by St. Joe's  with many D1 players vs Shore HS from South Jersey who looked like a freshmen team during warmups. Well,  good solid coaching and a kid having a career day often keeps you in  the game. They were in it against the best team in NJ if not the entire area for an entire game.

Until next time!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Monday, November 25, 2013

Basketball is here in full swing and fans all over the country are experiencing ups and downs with some of their favorite teams. North Carolina lost to Belmont and than came back to beat a great Louisville Team.  Ketucky the pre season number 1 with a bag full of...... no not money, but big time one and done recruits loses its first game out of the blocks. Just proves anything can happen no matter how a team looks on paper!

Even FDU went out and took a powerful Michigan Team to overtime and beat up on both Kansas, and North Carolina. Yes, this is a season of ups and downs!  Wait, you say I was dreaming and FDU did not do as I said? You mean to say they are so bad they lost to a team called Metro State University and people do not even know where the team is from or if this is really a university or correspondence school where you get you degree on line and the actual games are played with game systems since the players are all over the world. They just came together for the FDU win!  I cannot believe I was dreaming!

Seton Hall University is currently 4-2 with a nice meaningful win over Virginia Tech of the ACC. I believe SHU just might win the next 10 games in a row and be 14-2 going into a rough part of the schedule. Included in the 10 wins could be Rutgers who still is seeking answers to a team who does have good talent.

Rutgers is 3-3 but should be 5 and 1 based on who they represent and who they played against. But the good news is FDU is on the schedule and they also play Stillman, a school I remember from the Bill Cosby Show. Is this a real game or is someone playing with us? Than again the better game would be FDU vs Stillman with Bill Cosby giving a trophy to the winner.  In fact if Stillman played FDU,  Dick Vitale would be screaming how Stillman is playing a weak patsy schedule lol.  Stillman? Oh boy!!!  In Eddie Jordan I trust and soon he will have this team soaring!  But right now they are bleeding Scarlet!

St. Johns still seems like the best team in the area but is also not playing many local schools this season. Dartmouth,  Longwood, Penn State, Youngstown State? Why not Iona? Why not Rutgers? Why not FDU? lol  I like this SJU team and looking forward to attending a game soon. Think they would leave me a ticket? (smile) 3 and 1 and soaring! The Garden just might be rocking this season!

Binghamton must be questioning all the things THEY did wrong. Kevin Broadus (sp) please come back and bring your Assistants?  They are 1-4 and still getting a good turnout! Unlike another school in NJ near Teaneck I will not mention lol

Monmouth is 1-3 but really playing some quality teams. All I will say is a lot of Assistants are drooling as they watch what plays out in Long Branch NJ!

Does Rider have a team this season? Just kidding I am sure they do. Just again wish they would improve the facilities or did they? Wonderful place and a wonderful school that supports!

Siena, the best mid major program attendance wise in the NE continues to struggle. If I did not know better I would think the old coach was still there.  They are 2-4 and dropping!  But since there is still nothing to do up in the Albany area folks will go to games. They drew 11,000 ti the home opener vs Albany, a game they lost!

Fordham 2-2! ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ   Great school, great coaches, great location, but something boring about the place.  We do understand that a Fordham degree is a powerful piece of paper. But it just seems like something is missing! Ok just realized what it is, a new arena on campus or on Fordham Road!

HS season in NJ is weeks away and in NYC the games have begun. I hope to follow both areas well this season as well as some of the games in NEPA, a place with magnificent gyms and improving basketball programs.

By the way the results of the losers event between St. Peters and FDU are in. The winner is FDU who remains without a win. Poor St. Peters moves into the winning at least a game circle!

Have a great Monday everyone!