Look for more on the Washburn Brothers who are attending St. Patrick's this season. Their Dad, Chris Washburn, has reached out to me and wants to tell me his side of this transfer and much more. In fact, his email response was very angry. Stay tuned!
Eddie Griffin Challenge
Today I would like to publicly thank The Playaz Basketball Club for again proving what happens when a group works together. The Eddie Griffin Challenge held in Conshohoken Pa. was not done good. IT WAS DONE GREAT!!!! Jim Solmon and his Staff put this event together in 3-4 weeks. If he did not mention this I would have thought it was planned over a 6-8 month period. Even my usual complaint of no rosters was addressed with rosters including history of the event. And just in case folks still could not figure who was who, they had names of players on the back of jerseys. OUTSTANDING!
But what also makes this event great is the conversations before, during, and after the games. Nice seeing Fathers with sons watching. I had the pleasure of sitting with two dads and their sons who play for Bishop Eustice in South Jersey. Both seemed like excellent dads with one explaining every single possession to his son in a way that would have made Hubie Brown proud. Both sons are varsity players and I look forward to watching them.
Another great thing was how they kept the cost of refreshments down for the kids and adults attending. $1.00 hot dogs and $.75 sodas? WOW!!! Though this was great, the games were even better as was the talent on hand.
In the first game Philly beat NJ after trailing in the first quarter. I love the way fans comment on young players not finishing or making certain plays. What they fail to realize is these young men are only lacking strength that they will obtain over the next few years. In the game certain players really stood out to me and not because of how much they scored. For Philly I think Amile Jefferson a 6 ft 6 player from Friends Central will be special and a likely McDonalds AA in the future. Played hard and with enthusiasm. Also loved Montana Matfield of Roman Catholic, Ryan Arciadano of Neshaminy, Malik Gardner from Chestnut Hill Academy who reminded me of Ron Artist when he was younger. Also outstanding for Philly was Kyree Wooten of Strawberry Mansion which by the way has a name that makes you think it is a beautiful campus but when visiting is anything but that. For New Jersey Tariq Carey of Newark Eastside did his thing. Wonder what Big East School will not be on his list. St. Anthony's had 3 kids on the roster showing the future is bright in Jersey City as all played well. I have also watched Kyle Anderson for a while. I now see why he could attract jealous haters. Haters always come out for gifted people. It is not ever going to be about how much he scores or rebounds. It is about what he does for others by being on the court. Even at my age I could score 10 points a game playing with him. Special kid with a special gifts. Just happens to be well groomed and middle class looking. But do not be fooled, kid will also be a contender for the McDonalds game in a few years. A few folks were calling him "The Next Big Thing."
The NJ Kids were coached by Marcus Toney-El former Seton Hall Star who is walking the walk by giving back to the team he played for as a HS Student.
In the junior game it was about the NJ Guards and a big guy from Paterson Catholic. Call the Governor of NJ!!!! Close the boarders!!! How did they ever allow Myck Kabongo to commit to Texas as a Sophomore? Are you kidding me? This kid is the next Kemba Walker of UConn and former Rice NY Player. Kid is way better than most folks thought. Who knows, maybe the Texas commitment will not stand. UMMMMMMMMM Long time to signing date in fall 2010! He was great in the NJ win. Also standing out was Myles Mack, Vaughn Gray, Sterling Gibbs (who could be a better player than his brother), and Myles Davis who helped put St. Peters on the map on NJ. But the big guys were also good especially Derrick Randall of Paterson Catholic via New York, and Jarrelle Reischel of Point Pleasant Beach via Germany who was a true clean up man and would be a great pick up for a top mid major program in the future. A huge disappointment was Gilchrist again not participating in a showcase event. I guess all he has to do is hide out and retain his number 1 ranking by default. Personally I think it is like the heavyweight champion not taking fights but retaining his ranking. Is he and his camp scared of how he would look or do? WE all know he is a great talent but come on, lets see him participate against the best in the area. Lastly, Derrick Randall could be special. A big guy at Paterson Catholic with heart and desire to go with good skills. Philly had a good cast as well led by John Johnson who has committed to Pitt already. Again will this commitment hold true? Again Ummmmmmm! Was looking forward to watching Raheem Christmas play but he was out injured.
By the time the Senior game started It was time to get on the road. But as I left I decided to watch at least a half from the entrance to the gym. That's where I heard a great debate by two adults over who was the best on the court. It became almost comical as both gave strengths of favorite players. One loved Kyrie Irving and the other loved Deon Waiters. Honestly both are outstanding! It still makes me laugh how Kyrie Irving sneaks up on folks. Honestly, unlike most kids who you can tell are ballers from the time they enter the gym, this kid looks like he could be in the science club and on the chess team. He could sit in a gym somewhere and folks would never even know he was a great basketball player. Last person like this I knew was Dean "The Dream" Meminger when he played at Rice HS and was a 3 time All City Selection who despite living in Harlem, no one in Harlem knew he played ball because he was always so unassuming. Well, in the half I watched both players were outstanding. I also want to say the big bodied kid, Dominick Morris, will be All Conference in the America East when he attends BU. This is a case of a kid choosing the correct school. Great future there. Tony Chanault, who has been on everyone's radar for many years and will attend Wake Forest also showed why he is rated highly. Tyrone Garland will make Seth Greenburg very happy. Shows Seth knows exactly what he is doing at VT. Loved watching Devon Collier on he court. Brought back memories of his dad Red who was my HS Teammate. Runs floor and has very good skills. When he gets to college and puts on weight, watch out! I guess everyone who doubted Fuquan Edwin are now believers. Kid can ball and will be outstanding at Seton Hall. A great get for The Hall people were saying. I agree! Player who showed tremendous improvement was Aaron Brown of St. Benedicts. talk about underrated? The half I saw, he might have been one of the best on the court. Still remember him in the Teaneck Biddy Program and boy he has come a long way. What makes him even more special is he has TREMENDOUS GRADES and could wind up at an Ivy League School if folks at the other places do not recognize his improvement soon. Before I forget, New Jersey won this game to end the day 2 and 1.
A little bit on behind the scenes stuff. Many of the scouting services and folks who have made a difference were in attendance.
Alot of talk about where kids are going to school
Some talk about salaries at BE schools for coaches and basketball operation people including Rutgers and SHU. Was stunned at what is being paid to support staff!
Loved watching the many Dad's in attendance supporting sons
Enjoyed sitting near different stars from all 3 games at different times and just listening to what they were talking about. They really are just nice kids who enjoy being kids.
Interesting watching the younger girls in attendance trying to meet the players. Enjoyed hearing one great talent from the junior game talk to one nice lady he had just met. Interesting lolol.
Gym was totally full and done in 3 weeks time!
Big improvements to the building from the last time I was there. Place was nicer than a full YMCA.
Nike was the sponsor
Each kid in the Jr. and Sr. game received a pair of Nikes
Each kid received a meal after they played
I would again like to thank The Playaz Club organization for doing this event so well as well as keeping basketball lovers such as myself entertained year round with great events. I would rate this event a 99.9 on a 100 point scale. I need to leave slight room for improvement although I do not know where lol.