First off I need to apologize to The Playaz Basketball Club for spelling the name with an E as opposed to an A in the past. Sorry guys. Can't misspell the name of one of the top travel teams in America. Now all I need to do is learn to spell everyone else name correctly. A person who reads this blog sent word to me at the HS event for Inner City Youth at Kean University Sunday.
I Want to send a shout out to a wonderful women I met from Secaucus who happens to be a huge St. Anthony's fan. I loved her spirit and the way she embraced what St. Anthony's and Bob Hurley is all about. I also applaud her for walking the walk as opposed to just talking the talk. She had at least 4 or 5 young ladies with her on her birthday exposing them to something new as she took them to the game and than to a steak house. It is people like her that will make this such a better world.
Had a great talk with John Morton who I have known and followed since his days at Walton HS. When thinking about John all I can say is he is a great representative of Seton Hall University as he coaches at St. Peters. He is Class with a capital C and will eventually be a head coach on the D1 level. I am positive he will do it the correct way. Funny how when he went back to his seat and spoke with other Assistant Coach from St. Peters and told him about the this Blog (John had not read it), the Assistant looked up at me and laughed as he said he reads what I write all the time and wondered who I was lol.
Had a great talk also with my main guy Jon Cano who works for the NBA. Jon and I was busy trying to figure out who were the top 7 recent HS players in the Garden State. We came up with Tim Thomas from Paterson Catholic who to me is the best HS player I have ever seen in NJ, Dejuan Wagner from Camden who was exceptional, Shaheen Holloway from St. Patrick's, Jason Williams from St. Joe's of Metuchen, Troy Murphy from Delbarton, JR Smith from St. Benedict's, and Al Harrington from St. Patrick's. Odd that we have no St. Anthony players. That's because the system is much better than the players and its a compliment to Coach Hurley that he can take very good players and create GREAT TEAMS! Honorably mention could be Brian Lynch from Christian Brothers Academy, Malik Allen from Shawnee, and the Billet Brothers, Earl Brothers, and even the Crispins.
Biggest shockers to us is Brandon Knight becoming Big East Player of the Year as a junior at Pitt, and Andrew Bynum being a first rounder out of St. Joe's of Metuchen and a future starter on the Lakers. These kids had game but no one could have expected what they became.
Best fans in the state of NJ? Camden during the Wagner years. You had to see them to believe them! They traveled like Kentucky!
Why is it we cannot get better HS match-ups in these great charity games? Bergen County had some games on Sunday that were dreadful. The Homeless games at Elizabeth has a great final game with St. Patrick's vs St. Benedict's. But the others are dreadful. What happened to the Prime Time Shootout? Not such a prime-time event any longer to me. Horrible match-ups. Too spread out. Too ambitious. And maybe too corporate. Where is the Slam Dunk to The Beach when we need it? There is a great opportunity for a group or company to do a great showcase event in the Garden State because most of the other events are similar to David vs Goliath with Goliath winning the battle. Please promoters bring us good match-ups next season.
The games today were very 1 sided although Trenton Catholic was a very good team. They just played a great team led by the best guard out of NJ since Dejuan Wagner. Kyree Irving looks like he should be on the chess team but when he plays you understand why Howie Garfinkel feels he is the next John Wall. I could not believe my eyes watching him operate with class, skill, and ability. Funny thing is he has a NYC game. Bronx to be exact. He has that Tiny Archibald/Rod Strickland skill set and he is a road runner. What a joy to watch! Duke get ready for the real deal and the guy who will take over where Jay Williams left off.
Watched St. Benedict's destroy Our Savior New America. What happened to this program? I remember them based on the new gym years ago and all the international players. I even think Samardo Samuels attended there before transferring to St. Benedict's. Well, they could have used him Sunday.
St. Anthony's had a decent challenge from NIA from Newark, a school with Post Grad players. Some even had full beards. I always say you have to play like Michael Jordan to have a beard or braids on my team. Sorry! Decent game but St. Anthony's pulled away to win by double figures.
Lots of talk about the Greg E transfer from Rutgers. Fred Hill was attendance and making the rounds. Shook alot of hands. I could not help feeling bad for him based on how hard it is for him to compete with the facilities and budget he has to work with. And this does not include how hard it is for Rutgers and similar area programs to compete against programs that cheat in various ways. OK stop acting innocent if your mouths are wide open. Everyone including Stevie Wonder and Jose Feliciano can see what is going on nationally. Only ones that do not see is the folks that should.
Watched Tim Thomas Nephew play. hard being the Nephew of one of the best who ever played HS ball in NJ. By the way him changing schools every year did not help his development. I see him as a high CAA player or low A10 at this time. Temple? RI? St. Joe's? Richmond?
Here is my Rutgers prediction. Fred Hill will get more time as they redo the RAC, build a practice facility, and build the extension. I can see them playing games at the Medowlands for a year or so as they get it together. When the facility is done, RU will decide if there is reason for a change. This is just my opinion.
Hats off to Kean University for doing a great job hosting the event to benefit Inner City Kids. They did a spectacular job. The facilities there are OUTSTANDING. Kids should consider all the NJ Athletic Conference Schools. All but Montclair have exceptional facilities and all play competitive basketball.
Lastly please forgive me if I mispelled some names. I sincerely apoligise in adavance.