Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Tuesday,  December 17, 2012

Basketball 2012-2013

Interesting developments in the world of college basketball with the departure of the Catholic Schools from The Big East Conference.  Not sure if they will retain the name as a new basketball emphasized conference with at least 2 to 4 teams expected to be added soon. But regardless of the name this league will have,  I have some thoughts I would like to share concerning this recent development.

First I have to say what took them so long? The writing was on the wall way back when Boston College did the dumbest move in years and departed for a southern based league which is what the ACC really is.  We all know that football money can build new labs quicker than basketball money. But for basketball purposes Boston College looks silly even being in the ACC. In fact I doubt being in the ACC helps them at all recruiting wise. If they stayed in the Big East the Basketball Team sure would have been better. But again football generates great revenue. But is the ACC a real football power conference? Ummm!

Second and most important.  I honestly feel the Catholic seven would have had Notre Dame if they had moved on this quicker. In fact I wonder if ND would consider joining these teams to make up a truly super league. Yes,  I feel this will be a great league because of the teams, and more importantly the wonderful basketball tradition each brings to the table. Georgetown, St. Johns, Seton Hall, Depaul,  Providence, Marquette, and Villanova all have outstanding tradition and potential tremendous fan bases.  In fact all represent great media markets as well and even have rivalry partners as DePaul and Marquette will be.  This league will be a power conference regardless of what some haters will say. In fact top to bottom on any given year they could compete against any conference in America!

As far as additional teams? I really wish for Butler, Xavier, and Memphis! And if I can get a great Christmas present it would be Notre Dame joining the league as well!  As a last resort Temple would also bo a great addition but they have alot invested in football so the logical choice would be.....St. Joe's who would bring additional history and tradition.  I do not like the league, I  LOVE THE LEAGUE!   Caution please do not have 16 teams because to gain great visibility league teams need an opportunity to play great out of conference schedules as well as develop wonderful local rivalries.

Lastly on this subject I hope to see the new league, regardless of what it is called,  have its conference tournament at Madison Square Garden. For the remaining teams in the weakened Big East to try to do a local conference tournament without St. Johns, SHU, and others would be suicidal so the possibility of the teams playing at MSG should be great!

Finally on this subject I personally doubt if the Big East will even be in existence basketball wise within 2 years. Or at the most it will be a mid major basketball league with a stronger, not strong, football presence.

Hoop Group Event at West Orange HS

Spent all day Sunday at West Orange HS watching 6 HS games. Talk about torture this sure was close.  First game had to be a courtesy game for the usage of the gym. In a slow unnecessary game Plainfield beat West Orange HS zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz! But Plainfield will always get props from me based on destroying Teaneck last year. I still owe hot dogs to a few Plainfield fans.

Next game was Bloomfield.......oops I mean Hudson Catholic vs a scrappy St. Peters Prep from Jersey City. Now there is hardly any chance for St. Peters to be anything above JV in Jersey City with St. Anthony's and Hudson Catholic also located there. But what a nice club they have and very well coached. Nice size and decent players who will win their share of games this season. They just played a team with better and more experienced talent.

Many people often come to me asking why I am somewhat hard on Hudson Catholic and The Coach. I really am not but it just seems like a movie star is the coach with all the background folks all dressed alike for the act and him wearing Armani sweaters etc.  Not important but whats that all about?  lol!   Honestly the guy does a good job and has done a lot for his players over the years.

Watched Reggie Cameron closely and keeping it real as I always do I have to say he choose the right school. A school that runs a system where he will excell. I still say he has too much meat in the fridge and remains not hungry. He watches the game often and fails to participate despite having great skills and ability. Basketball remains a game of confidence where the strong survive. After HS he has to step it up to get where he rightfully should be.

You either love or hate Kavon Stewart of Hudson Catholic. Nice player who might drive the wrong coach crazy. But at Robert Morris he could be an impact recruit for the lowly NEC school. In Pittsburgh  they will always be JV to the two larger schools currently in the Big East and A10. Thinking about the A10 school if I remember right they are a Catholic University. Ummmmmm!

Hudson Catholic won easy but had all starters on court with a minute and a half remaining in game and up 23 points. Why?  I guess the Hudson Catholic Coach was concerned about St. Peters hitting a 23 point shot!  By the way St. Peters Prep Guard Travis Wyche will have a great career at St. Peters College of the MAAC!

Before the next game I saw the same cast of characters who have hovered around the game for years betting on college games,and making side deals regarding kids going to certain schools. The games were so boring that I spent time air hustling to get information. You have to hear some of the things. "Thats one of my kids,  call me and lets discuss making it happen"  or "I sent him there but I will be making his college decision."   AAU guys making deals on who will play for them this summer, guys smoozing with parents to get an edge, low level want to be agents trying to get a foot in the door, and no one watching the games hoping to discover a player they knew nothing about previously. Sad!

Coaches I saw were from Monmouth, Fordham, Cincinnati, Pitt, West Virginia, St. Johns, and even Temple who was represented by their head coach Fran Dunphrey (sp) who was in the building watching his recruit Josh Brown the super guard fro St. Anthony's. Interesting how many of those coaches just laughed and had fun like they were doing guys out night as opposed to even watching the games.

Nice to see Kyree Irving in attendance looking like he is 20 years old. Wait, he is about 20 years old lol. He was so down to earth it was refreshing.  Also saw the same cast of characters with press credentials walking around getting in the way. Interesting that I have yet to see a story or even a blog they have done. Of course the legendary Tom Konchalski was in attendance and actually watching the games unlike many other so called scouting services.

It was now time for the Roselle Catholic vs Pope John game. And again no sign of Jermaine Lawrence who is reported to be out with a hand injury. I guess he was home in NYC watching TV. Would have been nice to see him at the game sitting on bench supporting his team. Guess he had other plans! You have to be a great player for coaches not to recognize that selfishness.  Heck,  if you have game you could do time for murder and some D1 school will take you no questions asked. One day soon I will see him play an actual game. But for now it would have been nice just watching him cheer for and encouraging his teammates.

Roselle catholic won the game but it was sure interesting. Tyler Roberson is a Syracuse Player if I ever saw one. He is really good and worthy of all his accolades.  Tall, lanky, and extremely skilled. Runs the court and competes every play. Future NBA player!   Malaki Richardson the transfer from Trenton Catholic could be just as good.  He is a tremendous player and only a sophomore. The sky is the limit for him and I predict greatness worthy of the McDonald game if he works hard.

Interesting that both teams with such great players had mix match warm-ups and no team sneakers. Whats happening is the sneaker money now off the table? These guys were dressed like they were getting ready for a game at The Riverdale Y.

I have to point out that Pope John Soph Mustafa Diagne will also be special in a year or so. He was voted best basketball body of the day. 6 ft 9 and built like a rock!

During the game one Assistant from a NJ HS power was sitting back talking loud about Parents texting him. He said they do not know him and he could whip their.....!  You never know who is listening.

Bryce Aiken, freshmen guard on Pope John is a future star. If he gets stronger and grows 4 inches he could be a high major in he same mode of the NYC and NJ  greats he has watched.

St. Anthony's beat a talented Neptune team that will compete for the states. Its interesting how Bob Hurley gets kids to play hard, play D, and compete! I love hearing HS coaches say their kids do not play good D.  Well whose fault is that? Use the Hurley model that dictates defense or a place on the bench regardless of who you are and your offensive skill level. It's not as if St. Anthony's kids are head and shoulder better than kids on other teams. It's just the fact they work harder on both ends of the court and have been taught how to play the game better. It also helps when they know their Coach is not kissing anyones ......!

Karl Towns walked into the gym and he is actually a legit 7 Ft,  strong and agile. I love the fact his Parents are right there with him every step of the way. Dad knows the deal because he was a baller himself. But funny joke from someone in the stands was Dads leather jacket had the Kentucky logo all over the inside lining lol. I guess Karl purchased the Kentucky Ski Cap he had on while he was there visiting.  Love seeing kids commit to schools and wind up with tons of gear that they must have ordered on the computer lol.

Soon after Kentucky Coach Calipari walks in with Assistant Orlando Antiqua who I remember from his days at St. Raymond's HS in The Bronx.  Honestly they arrived like Movie Stars! No Kentucky gear, no fancy bright warmups, just nice tailored clothing and tans. Most likely they came on a private jet. They sat away from the other side away from the other coaches as Rick Patino does when recruiting and actually watched Karl play his game against Teaneck.  They obviously understand how to do it while the other coaches  in attendance were BSing around having fun.

St. Josephs avenged last years Teaneck win with an overtime  victory that was very exciting. In the game karl did not hit one outside shot but was very tough inside and looked much stronger and tougher.  For Teaneck they will always be competitive except for the game against Plainfield last season where they were totally embarrassed to the point I thought there was going to be some movement of some kind within the program. Would nice to see The Hernandez kid play a bit more team ball but thats not what they ask. Right now he would be a great get for a NEC or MAAC level school.  Learn to play better team ball and he could be a A10 player. It would be nice to see them play some tough match-up zone, full court press with traps, and even a half court 131 of some type. You can have an off night offensively but defense must be consistent and  played each and every game. No D? No Play!  Shakir Lindsey is also a very very very special player and I sure hope it all comes together for him.

Watched the first quarter of the last game featuring St. Benedict's vs a Prep School from Massachusetts with a huge team. The prep team looked tremendous on the sidelines.  But horrible when the game started. proves you cannot judge a book by its cover.  By the way both of these teams also looked like they were playing at The Riverdale Y with the mix match warm-ups, different sneakers, etc. Just a terrible look and one I hate to see.

Seems to me that NJ has the best HS basketball talent in the tri-state area. maybe its because of the recruiting that is allowed in NJ that brings so many of the better players across the George washington Bridge and through the Lincoln and Holland Tunnels.  But regardless of the reason, it is not even close any longer!

My NJ Top 9

St. Anthony's
St. Benedict's
Roselle Catholic
The Patrick School
Pope John
Gil St. Bernard
St. Josephs
Hudson Catholic


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