Boy was I wrong about this area based on what I saw Wednesday evening. I had an opportunity to watch 2 games played in what is called the Mountain Valley conference which is really the Pocono Mountain region. In the past the talent in this area has not been that great. In fact very few players have gone on to stellar college careers. Some of the past greats have gone on to mid and low major schools such as Rider, Canisius, and Quinipiac. One from a few years ago is at Arizona State but not playing much at this point. I also remember that Martin Salley lived in the area when he attended Seton Hall University. Not sure if he attended HS there.
Well the games I saw last night were exciting and extremely well played. The games took place at Pocono Mountain East HS which has a gym that would make Manhattan College, Iona, FDU, and others extremely jealous. In fact most of the high schools in this area have great gyms as well as exceptional football facilities. Most games have fans attending who might have attended participating schools such as Stroudsburg 40 years ago.
Well the games themselves kept fans on their feet especially the Stroudsburg vs Pocono Mountain West game which was a double overtime event which neither team deserved to lose based on 1 great game after another. The game was won by Stroudsburg making up for two prior loses by 20, and 10 points this season.
In this game I was extremely impressed with Riley Maye, a 6 ft 8 player with very good skills getting D1 looks. I also loved the play of Lance Washington. He was all over the court and made great plays. Danny Akerman And this kid named Robbie Kaiser were excellent in the game. In fact Robbie Kaiser could be a poster boy for what HS basketball should be about. He was a pleasure to watch as he made huge shot after huge shot.
The next game was Pocono Mountain East against East Stroudsburg North. The number 1 seed against the 4 seed. East Stroudsburg East won as expected in a pretty well played game. Terrence King is a very good player for SEN while DJ Strahorn is a standout for PME. But Kaheim Hall is a player at PME that has a number of D1 assistants preparing to watch him this summer and next season.
It seems that the talent in this area is being influenced by recent arrivals from NJ and NYC moving the area from basketball hotbed areas. In fact I saw no less than 10 kids playing last night who with exposure could play D1, D2, or NAIA basketball in the future on scholarship. If I was any mid major type school I would run and not walk to the next games in the area which take place on Friday evening at Pleasent Valley HS in Broadheadsville Pa. Great opportunity to watch Riley Maye, Kaheim hall and others who are very worthy of D1 looks.
Saw a replay of the UConn game from last night. game was good but what impressed me was the atmosphere. It is a huge difference between the haves and have nots even on the high D1 level. The arena was electric to say the least. How do kids turn down that type of atmosphere?
Saw highlights of Oklahoma game as well. Even the game at Baylor had great atmosphere. Can this atmosphere ever be duplicated in this area. I do remember St. Johns having this going on during great games at Madison Square Garden. But to get the real 4 plus star players and compete for a national championship it takes more than folks realize. College basketball is a business and those who understand this know marketing and promotion is very important to team success,