Greetings fellow basketball junkies! It is a pleasure to again be able to find time to give my thoughts on the sport we all love so much. But before getting into stuff that will again have coaches and fans rolling their eyes at me, let me do an official shout out to all those scouting services who consistently get out to games all over the country covering games.
People such as Jay Gomes of NJHoops, Chuck Meeger, Ed Butler (Saw you Ed but you were busy as usual) Robert "Rebel" Boyd who pisses folks off because he tells it like it is and loves helping all the kids, Steve who has helped hundreds of kids over he years, and all the others who are grinding all season getting information out to colleges and fans. We all know the Tom Konchalski (sp) and Bob Gibbons type guys and they too are very much appreciated, but the other group does it year in and year out with very few folks actually knowing them.
Now many who have followed my thoughts know I have been hard on certain services over the years based on them not actually understanding talent or ever playing or coaching the game. But after all these years they must know something by now and based on what I see, they really are doing a great job identifying talented players. So a special shout out to all of them!
Went to see the games at Seton Hall last Sunday and was somewhat but not overly impressed with what I saw. Interesting to see a video camera pointed at the court in the SHU basketball offices above the gym. Not sure if it was taping games or there for practices. But interesting nonetheless!
St Anthony's vs Gil St. Bernard's School
Legendary Coach Bob Hurley vs New Coach Mergin Sina! It was a pretty good game throughout but their was no answer for 6 ft 8 Jr. Kyle Anderson! He is so good he looks bored on the court. He was like a giant playing with ants. He could do a;most anything he wished to do. Inside or outside, he did it effortlessly. I still think if he was 6 ft 2 he would still be a top level player. He was joined by a very stretched 5 ft 10 Sr. Myles Mack who has a long way to go to become a good Big East Player! Sorry, it is just how I feel! He does not pressure the ball, does not seem like a pest on the court or a good on the ball defender which he needs to be at his height, and looks to score more than he looks to make plays. Remember this is based on the few times I have seen him play. Division 1? Yes!!! Not convinced he is a Big east Type yet!
Now the Guard that really impressed me was a stretched 6 ft. Soph. named Jaren Sina of Gil St. Bernards. Yes the coaches son! Remember the coach is every bit of 6 ft 6 or 6 ft 7 so this kid will have a growth spurt. But even if he does not, what a future he has in front of him. Kid smiled entire game and is way better than I ever imagined. He had Coach Mike Rice of Rutgers following his every move from a court side seat. You could tell he was very impressed. Also impressive was 5 ft 10 Alex Mitola who someone needs to recruit soon! He would be great in the Ivy, Colonial, MAAC. or Northeast conferences. Also keep an eye on 6 ft 7 Dominic Hoffman who is also a Jr. They also have a 6 ft 8 transfer who will be eligible in 30 days and I hear he is pretty good. They might just be the team to beat in 2011-2012.
Interesting watching Coach Hurley lead his team to victory. Not an impressive bunch as in years past and judging by how calm Coach Hurley was, he understands the makeup and how he has to be more patient than ever before. This did not seem like the demanding Hurley. More like a nurturing Hurley who understands this will take time. Big question is if Paterson Catholic had stayed open, would they have beat St. Anthony's based on the current 2 best players would be in Paterson.
Teaneck vs Linden
New Coach Jerome Smart vs Almost legendary Phil Colicchio
This is game I really wanted to see. The new Teaneck HS Program under 1st year coach Jerome Smart. The word was Teaneck had beaten a lot of great programs in fall league ball. They looked great in warmups and thats when it all stopped.
Despite very good coaching including ex Paterson Catholic Head Coach Damon Wright, this team looked like the softest Teaneck team in the past 30 years. They also seemed not to play hard until the 4th quarter. I had heard Teaneck had at least 3 D1 prospects. On this day I did not see 1 D2 prospect on the team. Yes the uniforms were nice, warmups great. and the kids looked impressive until the whistle blew to start the game. It was all down hill. One bright spot in the loss was Soph Shakir Lindsey who put on quite a show. Others do not deserve a mention.
For Linden it was all about Prigley Mallory and Rodney Sanders who controlled stuff along with the guards who all understood roles. Bad loss for Teaneck who went on and lost to a Hackensack Team on Tuesday with a new coach. Not a good day in the neighborhood for Teaneck!
St. Benedict's Prep vs St. Raymonds
Two good coaches and a lot of good talent. Some feel St. Raymonds might be the 2nd best team in NYC after Christ the King.
St. Benedicts had new coach Rashown McCleod who will do a great job at the Newark Based school. Talent galore in many of the players. Loved Vaughn Grey who might have chosen his college a bit too soon. He was clearly the best guard I saw at Seton Hall all day. In fact Rutgers and SHU will be upset about not recruiting him. I liked him much more than I like Myles Mack! I just wonder if he will stay with George Mason of the CAA over getting out and going to a big east type program? Ummmmmmmmmmm. Wherever he goes they will get a solid players and a solid citizen!
Glad to see St. Benedicts and Coach McCleod smart enough to embrace Brian Crawford as an Assistant Coach. Might be most important pickup for Coach McCleod for next 4 years based on Brian Crawfords expertise and connections. This will payoff huge! Loved Tyler Harris who will be a special player in college. His future is very bright and if you watch closely you will agree he will be better in college than in HS. And he is BIG! Got to be 6 ft 9 when it is all done. A great get for NC State!
For St. Raymonds it was a pleasure watching Jr. Daniel Dingle play. He is a Jr. who will choose the right school and be an impact college player. And yes he can play! Just another Dingle at St. Raymonds sent there by his Dad. This guy will be a high level recruit next year. Trust me on this! Joining him upfront was Nkereuwem Okoro who is as talented as Dingle. Another Jr. who will have The Parkchester section of the Bronx hopping with college coaches this and next year.
Did not watch the Seton Hall Prep vs Columbia game but was surprised to see Columbia won by a significant margin. Did meet the family of a player named Dallas Anglin and they were very impressive as a family. Nice to see that type of support on the HS level.
Nice to see John Morton at the games on sunday. What a classy guy who should be welcomed into every living room in America. I am stunned SHU did not attempt to get him back. He told me Fordham was doing well and said when they beat SJU grown men cried. Glad John is doing well and I am sure he will be a tremendous Head Coach in the near future.
St. Johns will be better next season just not sure if they will be the NCAA team everyone predicts they will be. Losing to teams they have lost to is not a good sign for this once powerful program. But folks must be patient. And so must the SJU coaching staff. I guess it is time to actually buy that home Coach Lavin because you might just be around for a while.
Also want everyone to know I am and always will be a fan of both Tony Chiles and Mo Hicks. I do not know other SJU coaches but those two guys are folks anyone would trust with their sons. Both are Class with a capital C.
Rutgers will steal some games this season. Bank on it! Coach Rice seemed very approachable at the games. Not sure he was sincere but nonetheless seemed like a nice person.
Kansas State suspends players? Wow! Does anyone believe hanky panicky takes place there? Come on not at Kansas State with boosters and clothes! Is has to be a misunderstanding!