Friday, March 2, 2012

Friday, March 2, 2012

College and Highschool Basketball

I love it! I love the competitiveness of amateur basketball. Although I have recently rediscovered The New York Knicks based on Jeremy Lin, it could never replace the excitement of College and HS basketball when the games and the atmosphere is right.

Such is the case  of the recent two Rutgers vs Seton Hall basketball games which provided the atmosphere and game quality people in he Tri-State area has hungered for. Those games were exciting with a capital "E."  Years ago I was attracted to the game by the great teams at St. Johns who recruited local hungry players from NY and NJ to field outstanding teams selling out Madison Square Garden on a regular basis.  I also loved watching Rutgers at Madison Square Garden and even dreamed of being a Scarlet Knight after seeing RU rock the Garden.

College basketball actually stole me from the Knicks where I was a super fan starting out as a HS kid with a G.O.  card that gave HS students super discounts to attend games. I still remember sitting way up by myself with my ice cream cup, peanuts or popcorn, soda, and if my money was right a hot dog. The entire package would cost me a grand total of $10.00, including the game ticket because those G.O.  cards were wonderful.  Great memories!

Hopefully college basketball is back locally and close to where it was with the start of The Big East when St. Johns and Georgetown was a harder ticket to get than one for the Knicks. Of course the NCAA tournament was always a big deal especially with the great UCLA teams of John Wooden and the great program at North Carolina under Dean Smith. But ESPN brought it all home and in my eyes helped make Cable TV what it is today.

We are very close to NCAA time and everyone is wondering who will be chosen. Of the area Big East teams we know the only one with a chance is Seton Hall unless Rutgers and St. Johns wins the BE Tournament.  Iona and LIU have a chance as does Manhattan if they win the MAC, which is possible.

Breaking College Basketball News

Much has been said the last two days about the state of College Basketball. If you did not read my last  blog please do so because it really has some stuff in there, especially if you read between the lines, that will make you wonder about college sports.

HS Basketball

I love the game of basketball,  especially HS basketball. Last night I had an opportunity to attend a game at Gil St. Bernard's where the home team took on St. Patrick's in the NJ State Tournament. Before talking about the game I have to say how beautiful the school and campus is. It was just like a small college campus and the gym was packed with parents and students having  a great time. With tuition at around $33,000 a year (including lunch lol)  it looked as it was supposed to look.  My understanding is the number 1 JHS kid in NJ will be attending Gill in the fall, and after seeing that place I am stunned more kids are not, especially if they have a decent financial aid program (smile).

After walking at least a half a mile to an actual field-house that was state of the art, I sat down on the side  behind the bench of St. Patricks.  The place was packed and the fans were so into it that two St. Patricks Dads almost came to blows when one felt the other was not cheering for the team and his son but hating on everyone but his son. It was kind of scary but if you have never had a child play a completive sport on the HS level it would be hard to understand that this happens often as we parents tend to be protective of our children  Someone made a nasty comment to me about what happened and I laughed because they had no idea they were commenting to The Worst Dad in The History of NJ Basketball  which I was for many years, something to this day I regret.

The game itself was close going into the 4th quarter. St. Pats was missing 3 very important players who could have made a huge difference. I traveled all the way to this game to see Gil St. Bernard's for myself and to experience what just might be the last game St. Patricks ever plays. The game was won by Gil St. Bernard's, who showed what happens when a group of players play team basketball, which they had to do to win the game because their star player Jared Sina did not look like the highly rated player he is capable of being.

I have always loved the way Jared Sina played. The cockiness, the hard nosed play, the confidence, and more.  But on this evening he had one of those games especially in the first half. He was far from bad, he was far from average, he was just good and not GOOD as in Big East, ACC, good. Now I have seen him play better, and kids have off games which is OK especially when your teammates step up as they did and your team wins the game. But from what I saw I sure hope he plays better from this point on.

Random thoughts from the game:

Gil St. Bernard's looked like a great program and a great place to attend school. If a kid gets an opportunity to attend school there they should run and not walk.

Gil's Coach Sina seemed like an outstanding coach and person. Great fit for the school and program.

If St. Patrick's closes, and I hope they do not, a few of the St. Pat players sure should consider Gil St. Bernard's

St. Benedict's Coach was at the game! Are you kidding me! I guess he just came as a fan lol.
But he is a very good coach.

I loved the support St. Patrick's received with alumni and others from Elizabeth showing up in huge numbers to support the team.

If St. Patricks stays open they will be a great team next season!

St. Patrick's at full strength will be top 2 or 3 next year

I understand even if St. Pats closes down there is a plan to keep it open as a private or charter school with the Mayor of Elizabeth playing a huge role in what happens.

I saw coaches from St. Johns, Penn State, and St. Joseph's in attendance.

It is a shame that some folks who St. Pats really helped have turned their backs on the school. Thank God Kyrie Irving was brought up right and understands giving back,

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