Monday, October 10, 2011

Thank God For HS and College Basketball

Good day to all my fellow basketball fans and the many basketball junkies who have followed basketball in NY, NJ, Pa., and Connecticut over the years. A special good day to our areas wonderful and rich in tradition HS and college basketball programs for always providing us with something to cheer for and in a few cases something to cheer against.

Well,  I for one sure hope the NBA Players come to their senses over the contract issues that continues keeping the professional season from taking place. Come on players every one of you are making more money than 95 percent of the Americans who pay outrageous prices to watch you perform. Be real if you can and understand you could be working at The Community Center for $9.00 an Hour, or teaching School for $37,000 a year to start, or even practicing Law for around $130,000 a year if you have it going on. All three are good and needed careers but instead you are making millions yearly and more with endorsements.  Even guys averaging 6 points a game and playing less than half a game,  while playing a game you played at one time for the fun of the game are millionaires.  

I often wonder what many of these players would do if there was no basketball? I honestly think at least half of the current professional players might just  be playing in adult leagues and have careers we would not be saluting as we do the careers I mentioned above. I mean guys averaging 11 points and 6 rebounds are getting $35,000,000 contracts. Are you kidding me!

So please with the BS about the owners. These owners, many of whom might just be grimy, still put up and invested money in a product called NBA basketball and deserve to make money on their investment.

Eddie Griffin Challenge

Loved traveling the 90 miles from my home to The Haverford School which was right down the road from Villanova University. And what a wonderful area this is and it's no wonder they call it the Main-Line. It is right on the way to Philadelphia and if you travel Lancaster Avenue you are almost right at St. Josephs University.

Tree lined  streets with beautiful homes sitting back, wonderful restaurants, and gas stations with the highest prices in 100 miles which also told me I was in the high rent district. I would bet any young kid playing in the game somehow noticed Villanova University as they drove by.

The Haverford School is one of those prestigious HS prep schools located in the Philadelphia Area.  Located down the street from Haverford College, a great school and one that attracts a certain type of student, this campus was gorgeous. And the facilities were traditional prep school similar to the New England traditional schools such as Choate, Berkshire, and the others as well as NJ Prep schools such as Blair Academy, Pennington, Hun, etc. Not sure if they had dorms but the school itself was attractive. Oddly only one single player was listed on the rosters of any of the three games from The Haverford School. Did not get to watch EricAnderson play but hopefully he did a great job and represented well.

Great Job by Jim Salmon and his wonderful team. Always classy, always a great presentation, and always worth every dollar spent.  I also want to thank Jim for stopping the guy coaching the NJ Juniors from continuously dribbling a basketball during the game like he was in the park waiting for next.  Jim went over and took the ball only to have the guy now start making phone calls while coaching the team. Grass roots basketball at its best lol.

Also great to see Kyrie Irving, Wayne Ellington, and JR Smith coaching the teams. In fact Kyrie was really into it even debating the ref a bit over calls. One quick note was the fact all 3 PROFESSIONAL BASKETBALL PLAYERS did not look like the players of past who would look like a star when they came into the building. They looked and dressed just like young guys from all over America with the capri type pants (JT), jeans down on butt just a bit (Wayne), and erg Jeans (Kyrie). I guess I am just getting older!

The games very good with NJ winning the Junior Game while Philly won both the Sophomore and Senior games convincingly. Did not get to see much of the Sophomore  game but what I did see was Quadri Moore, a 6 ft 9 true big man with a  great feel for the game and skills from Linden HS. Also noticed Rashad Figures from Hackensack HS do his thing although he has never met a shot he did not like. He could be called never going to give it up  Figures of even It Figures he was not giving it up! And he sure did not unless he could not get a shot off.

The Junior game was good and full of Talent as New Jersey showed it has a wonderful Jr. Class. Say what you wish about NYC and Pa. Yes,  very good players but NJ HS basketball will be great in 2012-2013.  Philly seemed to have a very weak Jr. Class but it just might have been NJ was just that much better. Reggie Cameron is a true big-time player and smooth as silk. Shoots, runs, competes, and wins! His teammate this season Mike "Where Did he Come From" Young could be a big-time stud player so good they might clone him to make an army. He really is a skilled big guy. I could have sworn prior to him being at St. Benedict's he was from Pittsburg. Fellow Hudson Catholic player Kavon Stewart is a very fast and quick point guard you will either love or hate depending on if your son is playing with him or not. He has talent and skills but seems to be on a mission to get his as the kids say and not see the court as well as he could if he tried harder. Also holds the ball far too long. He needs to look at tapes of Nate Archibald as Kyrie Irving did in his youth I am sure. But the kid has talent. His head will determine if he is a BE or A10 recruit of a MAAC or NEC recruit.

Of course Jaren Sina played in this game and was also outstanding. Kid can do more than shoot! Moves well and seems to be a tough as nails player who rarely backs down and when he shoots everyone including him expects the shot to go in. He is a huge recruit for people such as Seton Hall, and Rutgers, but I can see him at Syracuse as well if they recruit him, They can hide him on defense and they run an offense geared to him getting his shot off.  Joel Hernandez of Teaneck was only player in the game without his name on his jersey. Jim Solmon, the games director and organizer,  publicly apologized and Mr. Henandez went out and played in a way that made everyone watching know who he was when the game ended.

But here is my best player on the court award. It went to a kid many say has great grades, is a true good person and citizen, and can flat out play his butt off. I am referring to Daren Reed of Princeton Day School! This young man can do everything! Play defense, shoot, make Free Throws, pass, lead, dribble, create. jump, and work the concession stands at halftime before joining the band for the half-time show. He was so good I  could not stop watching him. In fact here is a prediction. This kid will play in the NBA! He is that solid and the colleges in the area need to really step it up. He does EVERYTHING WELL, not good, WELL!

Lets talk about the Senior game. Nice to see the entire Anderson family show up with UCLA gear on. I am sure the bookstore at UCLA was happy they visited based on everyone having something on with UCLA on it. Kyle Anderson,  who could be my best player of all-time, warmed up in his UCLA Basketball shirt. He seems happy and proud of his decision which is a great thing. Celebrate young Kyle because in September all clippings and rep start from scratch. But honestly this kids is and always will be the real deal in my eyes.

Let me point out something else about the great players such as Kyle Anderson. They play against the best and never ever run from basketball challenges. Last year I went to see Michael Gilchrist  play in a number of showcase games since he was the number 1 player in America. He did not show for  any of the games I attended. It was like he was hiding behind his rep and working hard to keep his rankings by not playing in games where ho might not look good due to a lack of team work etc. Well,  Young Kyle seems like he would play on the moon if invited even if he had to play against two headed men with 4 arms.  This kid has always competed from way back and played with the best against the best which is why he has developed so well.

Even with Kyle Anderson Philadelphia had a convincing win against NJ. NJ did have a nice team with Dallas Anglin playing like Seton Hall lost out on another Brevin Knight based on him being from Seton Hall Prep and not getting a sniff from SHU.  He wisely chose Hofstra University of the tough CAA and boy did they get a solid player who has improved leaps and bounds from a year ago. Chris Jones of Teaneck was also solid. I honestly feel he would be a wonderful player for a program such as Dayton, St. Joes, Temple, Delaware, Hofstra, etc.  if he gets a bit more of a swagger he could get noticed by even larger programs.

Melvin Johnson arrived late and announced he had committed to Miami. He went on to have a great 4th quarter. But I had to wonder why would any kid want to attend the University of Miami to play basketball? I understand its a great place to live, work, and be a student. But to play basketball? No one attends games, small arena, no one seems to care, etc. They seem to have the right guy coaching at Miami now. They have a guy who comes from George Mason, a team that went to the Final Four under him, yet rarely had a large crowd in that big arena on campus. He will understand playing ball in font of 2900 and your opponent is The University of North Carolina.  This kid would have been great locally at SHU or Rutgers if they had the space. Even SJU or Temple. Miami? Crazy and to me poor advising!

Ok now here is the scoop on the best player in the building the entire day. And this kid is also a great student from what I hear and an even better person. If there are 50 better players in America than him I sure would love to see them. I am talking about Amile Jefferson a skinny and tough 6 ft 8 impact player who is a smaller version of Kevin Durant but maybe just as good as Kevin was as a HS senior based on what I saw yesterday of him and what I saw when I watched Kevin in HS. Kid goes with either hand and finishes at the rim. Shoots from long range, handles like a two guard, competes hard,  passes to open man, and really defends. I understand he is a high level recruit but based on what I saw,  he should be easily top 25 or 30. By the way his school, according to many, also is one of those ritzy prep schools.

So the two best players I saw yesterday (Kyle Anderson is really the best but had an off game and even with that I would still average 10 a game at my age playing with him) were traditional Prep School Guys with grades and personality! I love it and I love the fact the HS Season is coming up soon.  It should be quite interesting.

Big East Split

I loved the joke one SHU Fan, who has often criticized me, put on the Pirate Crew Board a few weeks back. He said Rutgers has been accepted into the ACC with certain conditions. I and everyone else jumped to read what he had to say. He went on to say the conditions were a lump sum payment of $50,000,000 to the ACC to join and agreeing to play a JV schedule in basketball until the team gets better. Hilarious and as I told a SHU friend, I give credit where credit is due and that was funny as heck.

But really I think Rutgers remains a true sleeping giant in NCAA sports. It will only be a natter of time before Rutgers will be in a post season tournament in basketball and make one of the TRUE bowl games in football as opposed to such bowls as The White Castle Bowl, or The 7-11 Bowl. The football team at RU is one almost every kid in NJ considers when being recruited. It was not like that years ago. In basketball we can feel and see the momentum. I still say without some solid plans to improve and renovate the RAC, it will always be a serious up-hill battle. Kids want great facilities for the most part. The RU Football program has this but the  basketball team, though it has a great coaching staff, needs to support facility wise to keep up with the competition. This has to be a road block for them being admitted to the ACC.

I am sure Seton Hall is watching all of the developments while quietly working and making in-roads with a number of wonderful young players. In fact they seem to be in touch with every good player within a 500 mile radius.  Prudential center is quite Impressive and a kid still can have the best of many worlds. Nice and intimate college campus, huge basketball program playing in 20,000 seat arena, close to major cities, and maybe some of the best and most loyal fans in America.

Well, with Syracuse and Pitt headed out the door I see no reason why The BE does not peruse Xavier and Memphis. Both have great facilities and outstanding support. Memphis also has an up and coming football program. What is the wait?  In fact this should be done now and Syracuse and Pittsburg should be allowed to leave at the end of the season. It would be embarrassing to see one of them win the BE Tournament at MSG.

Basketball wise it would be a strong conference with the addition of Memphis and Xavier. Even add Temple as a 3rd team in anticipation of Rutgers joining the ACC.

No comments: