Thursday, February 4, 2010

Sad Day and More

Curtis March

Received a call from Jon Cano alerting me that Curtis March, the greatest men's basketball coach in Teaneck NJ High School History, and easily one of the best to ever coach the game in the entire state, is officially retiring after this season. Funny how I did not always realize how great he was.

Back when my son played basketball at Teaneck I was one of the worst parents in the history of HS sports. Though Curtis was a friend, I was often blinded by having a son play on his team. I have apologised no less than 25 times over the years and reflecting back I realize just how much Coach March did for my son and at least 300 other ex players and student managers. I still remember him fighting to encourage colleges to consider players and managers. I remember how upset he was last season when he emailed me concerning Javae Gilchrist and his lack of D1 scholarship offers.

I also remember Teaneck playing in the NYC Rucker League during Coach March's early years, often getting beat badly by all star type teams representing the Gauchos, Riverside Church, Dyckman and others. This made Teaneck better and by the time those kids were Juniors they were in the championship game at the Rucker and state contenders!

It was almost comical talking to fans from other parts of NJ. They thought the Teaneck Kids were products of the inner city based on how they played. They thought the kids were from the hood lol. Little did they know, Teaneck did not have a hood and is the first School district in the entire country to volunteer to intergrate its schools many years ago. The players played tough because that's what Curtis wanted. They were really more middle class than anything else, even though they hated to admit it lol.

Coach March made the kids wear Jackets and ties to games. He took Teaneck from just a team and made them a program! We often talked about the difference between being a team and program and he really wanted Teaneck basketball to be a household name as a way to help his kids as he called them. He also would play anyone, anywhere! Just guessing I would say 90 percent of his players went to college, including many to Division 1. The lessons they learned at Teaneck helped them survive and many now hold great positions in business, industry, education, and even film and TV.

That's what Curtis March cared about. The kids and his Teaneck! He lived there, he ate there, and he hung out there! He kissed up to no one although he did admire Bob Hurley as most other NJ Coaches do.

Curtis March is not only a NJ HS Hall of Fame caliber Coach, he is a true HERO! I have tears in my eyes just remembering what he meant to my son, my family, and to the entire Northern NJ Community. I am not sure he can ever be replaced!

More HS Basketball

What is the deal with Englewood NJ basketball? The people in Englewood are some of the best fans in the entire state and supportive of the HS basketball program. However the program is far from where they need to be, I watched this team play earlier this year and left impressed with the talent and how athletic the players were. But as talented as they are they are a bad team and have been for a while despite being 4 miles from NYC, the next door neighbor of Teaneck, and having tougher and just as talented kids as Teaneck. Not saying they need to change coaches but the coach needs to change his ways and allow his ex players to get involved and be open to his kids playing summers with other people when HS is out. No Excuses for the way this team has performed over the years.

Looking forward to next weeks Prime Time Shootout. Well at least a few of the games interest me. I guess I will be a the game at Keane University for St. Patrick's vs Oak Hill. Might even make the games in Trenton depending on my schedule. I still feel The Prime Time is now The Sometime because they have grown so much it is now watered down. JMHO.

College

I still feel SHU will be fine as they move forward. I doubt anyone can say they are not somewhat improved as a program. Though I thought they would be better, they have not reached their potential because Keon Lawrence and herb Pope do not seem to be the players they were in the past AT THIS TIME. Eugene Harvey, though he is playing better, needs to be what he was as a freshmen. Jeremy Hazell is just a bit confused and seems to think he needs to force shots, etc. Again they will be a serious threat in the BE Tournament and still a contender for the NCAA's.

Rutgers could win 5 of its remaining games. Check out the schedule and you will realize that if they give the same effort the gave the last two games anything is possible. Here is where folks will be all over me. I think Rutgers has been better without Greg Enchenique. Why? It has allowed the big fella to get playing time and he has made a real difference. In fact I will be stunned if he is not a 2nd rounder and makes the NBA as a back-up. 9 blocked shots? Are you kidding me? Runs and plays hard and a asset to any team that would give him an opportunity.

I want Norm Roberts to succeed! I hope he succeeds! However that Rutgers loss is a huge one and one the SJU fans are very upset over. He needs to really get that team focused for the remainder of the year. But somehow I feel he will be back next season regardless. And if he is I think it would be the year St. Johns really excels.

I think are a number of local low and mid major D1 positions that will be open after the season. Some are great positions and others are positions where the school administration needs to step up the support. But there are Assistant Coaches already getting in position and making calls for support. Hopefully Darryl Jacobs, the Head Coach of Clark Atlanta, a D2 program that he has taken to a new level, will be considered. Darryl is a Patterson NJ native with many area and national connections. Plus he is LOVED by everyone who meets him! If I was a local school this is a guy I would have to bring in. Last time I looked he only had 1 loss the entire season. Remember I am talking low and mid major D1!

1 comment:

Teeright said...

Hello Link how have you been? This is Tony Wright from uptown Harlem/Iona College! I must say I look forward to reading your blog it makes me lol!! Some of the stuff I read and say know that source funny how word travels in the basketball world! I have a home in Bogota NJ and know you use to be a Teaneck guy. Last 9 years I have been coaching Junior college for two and prep school for seven years. Thought about trying for the Teaneck job you talk about so much seems like everybody is trying to get it. I looked for you at the tournament the Players club had at Teaneck high. I saw all the college and Pep school coaches I knew but not the king of sports blog "L F Ball on Hoops" lol. Hey I would love to chat are you on Face book? Hope to talk with you soon!


Tony