Tuesday, December 23, 2014


Today starts the official 2014-2015 version of LFBallonhoops, a basketball blog covering HS and College Basketball in NJ, NY, and even on occasion Northeast Pennsylvania.  This blog is considered by many controversial and extremely opinionated. Truth be told those who believe that are absolutely correct and its something we pride ourselves on. 

This year we are fortunate to have secrete eyes on players, coaches, boosters, supporters and even parents from Pennsylvania to Connecticut. Please note we love telling it like it is and are more interested in the story behind the box score than just reporting who won or lost. This is a blog that will highlight the good, the bad, and even the ugly of HS and College Basketball. Please be aware of the hidden messages and hints as we talk about all thats happening we feel might be of interest to you. 

A huge part of this blog will always be talking about the skills and abilities of many players others give zero or no credit to. Players who just might be better players in college than they were in HS. Players like Ronald Roberts who had a great career at St. Joe's of Philly after St. Johns had him de-comit from his athletic scholarship. Is it only us or could SJU, SHU, and RU not have benefitted from the player he turned out to be.  

Before getting into the meat and potatoes of todays blog please note we are more and more surprised at the large number of foreign players now paying HS basketball in the United States especially the state of New Jersey! Who is paying the tab? Where do they live? How did they get here? Now we sure are not anti providing opportunities but just how serious and how much money is involved when we see so many international players being recruited so that a team can win a HS championship? Amazing  how the  best HS player in America for n2014-15  is actually from Australia and he signed with LSU. LSU? Ummmmmm! Very interesting that they beat out Kentucky and other heavy hitters in many different kind of ways.   

Speaking of Kentucky we need to say we certainly are John Calipari fans. You see he is only doing what the rules as they are written allow him to do. He is smart enough to know how to work the system. We are also fans of him as a person based on the many great deeds he has done for so many away from basketball. Even as the Head Coach at UMass he bussed in young non basketball playing children for special college days to learn about the college experience. This guy, though a true win at all costs guy, has done a lot of good things that many have no idea about!

This season we will talk more about the slick not caring coaches as well as street agents, basketball crooks, and get over artists. We will even give hints about who is cheating and who is getting what for families and friends without saying names. You just have to figure out, and it will not be hard, who is who in the posting.  AAU and Travel team influences? We have it covered and truth be told some who you might think are bad are actually outstanding and some you feel are great are really up to no good. 

So stay tuned and hopefully we can have something for you once or twice a week schedule and news permitting. 

Hoop Group Tipoff  

Before getting into the actual information regarding the games that were held at West Orange HS over the past weekend I have to again ask how or why do they charge $12 and $13 dollars for tickets to a HS  basketball event!  This HS basketball thing is now a huge business and folks are really getting very wealthy. Why be a Doctor or Attorney when you can do basketball stuff and get rich. 

Also interesting that Mike Rice has gotten a second chance getting an opportunity to be a Hoop Group Executive and thats a great thing. I wonder if he is cursing, and throwing balls at little kids as they workout with him.  Interesting how so many who dogged him were  hugging him at the event. Some folks are so phony! But Mike did not seem to have a care in the world and will most likely be back on the college scene very soon screaming and yelling at a place that will not care. 

One of the people who shares information with us was in attendance on Saturday and said the turnout was less than great. The one team that totally impressed him was Gil St. Bernard who actually played without their  best player. Our person feels Gil St. Bernard could be the second best HS Team in NJ. 

On Sunday

Same cast of characters but different year. $13 admission wow!  

Watched the Patrick School who had uniforms with St. Patrick's on the front. St Pats or The Patrick School was  huge with  a few African players. But than again Bergen Catholic has an Italian import Pier Oliva as well and he really is a nice player Watch for him to be a very good college player at St. Joseph's University in time. So many were saying he is overrated and soft, etc. Well,  what we saw was a guy extremely skilled with great basketball IQ.  He actually made every player on his team better by being on the court.  Seems to me Teaneck will not have an easy time winning the Bergen Jamboree. 

Interesting at the game the same Hounds and street agents out in force. Wow do they ever retire? Deals and more taking place with many D1 coaches in attendance getting earfuls from want to be coaches or basketball hustlers. 

Interesting how the African players  on St. Patricks were smiling and happy at opportunities they are getting while home grown kids take so much for granted They seems so happy to be a part of something so organized and good.  

Holland Mack ex Paramus Catholic and D1 College player at either LeHigh or Bucknell  is the current Paramus Catholic Coach. Nice kid but trying too hard to fit in with  guys who  could not care less about him or his program.  When he wins in the future they will embrace him inviting him into their circle. Good luck to him! 

Just watching I had to wonder  why would anyone attend some of these High Schools who are almost like store front schools with great teams? What about the HS experience? 

Bergen Catholic still only 2 or so players of color. Oh well!!! 

Nicholas Richards St Patrick's sophomore has great upside and will be a extremely high level recruit in the furure. Everyone will want that kid who is about 6 ft 8 or 6 ft 9 with toughness and skills!
Watched Newark Eastside ve St. Anthony's.  Newark Eastside is a pretty good HS academically believe it or  not. The team has tradition and the coaches are really doing a nice job. But whats up with the horrible uniforms and appearance taking the court like a rec. team at the local Y with 55 year old men with any old sweats on. Where were the team sneakers and warm-up shirts? Horrible look for some great kids who played so hard in a loss. Of course St. Anthony;s who had 16 players dressed, looked like the top level program they are.   St Anthony;s will always be a great program because they always will play hard and play defense not to mention they are well taught and even better coached.   One question I do have is does Bob Hurley ever sincerely smile at anyone?  Marquis McDuffie  heading to Wichita State. Special. player but on past St. Anthony teams would have been a great role guy but still D1 bound.   

Watched the 1st half of Roselle Catholic vs Blair Academy. Now everyone knows Blair is a ritzy residential boarding school that costs around $40,000 to attend. Their teams are always good and well coached This year they have two good players up front with one signing with Villanova and the other with Notre Dame. Now thats two big-time recruits! Unfortunately the opponent this day was Roselle Catholic led by national top 5 player Isaiah Briscoe and what a player he is. Well worth all the effort Kentucky put into recruiting him. Well worth all they did to get him!!!  This guy is really the next big thing from the Garden State! We would have loved seeing him play with the super Freshmen on his team but due to injury  the freshmen did not play but watching him walk you know he is gifted.   Roselle number 5 or 6  nationally but uniformed like they are number 10000. What's up with  that?  Chris Silver who signed with South Carolina is pretty good and makes me wonder how he was allowed to get away from local high D1 teams? 

NJ Top HS Teams (based on first few games 

1. Roselle Catholic
2. The Patrick School
3..Gil St. Bernard
4. St. Anthony's 
5. Pope John XXiii
6. Trenton Catholic
7. Hudson Catholic
8. Linden
9. Ewing
10 Patterson Eastside

College Information

The college season has been here for a few weeks and some things never change. Tried to get information on FDU from Rivals site and FDU is the only D1 team where the schedule and information is not posted. Did they drop basketball and not send me a notice? Are they now D2? Are they quietly closing down without letting us know? Well, thank God all the other programs have information showing. And yes we plan on attending an FDU game this season as well as many other college games in the area. 

St. Johns seems to be the best team in the area and all they have done to get players seems to be paying off. They are currently 11 and 0 and just might be NCAA bound with players from all over the country. Looking forward to some great battles this year as well as many more great HS players being persuaded to attend school there. Great start and again the hard work has paid off!  

Seton Hall University has a special thing going on. They have only lost two games and one was expected based on it being an away game in the Midwest in a packed arena. But here is where it gets tricky. How will they recover from the Georgia loss? I do feel they will be just fine and with so many young players the future is extremely bright. Now its about preparation and  mental toughness!

Rutgers really has a ways to go but I am sure they can get there with Eddie Jordan.  So much to put inn order from practice facilities to a better arena environment that will attract a certain type basketball recruit. St. Peters loss cannot happen in the future because those are the games a Big 10 team is supposed to win. St. Francis Pa.!  Not supposed to happen! Lots of work to be done here across the board.  Maybe they should not charge folks for tickets this season to start developing a great fan base.  

St. Peters is 4 and 7 and who knows what the  future will hold for them. Not much of a campus especially when kids visit places like Siena, Albany, Binghamton, Manhattan, Fordham, and more. Even FDU is huge in comparison. I still remember the great teams at the Jersey City Armory prior to them building a gym.  Waiting for the huge St. Peters vs FDU game! 

Monmouth is interesting at 5 and 5 and a coaching staff more athletically talented  than the current team led by HC King Rice. Heck of a name King Rice!  Well,  will the King lead them to the promised land? Time will tell but we all know that many hugh D1 Assistants from all over America are watching this program carefully because it could one day be a Gonzaga type program based on facilities, area attractions including beaches, and a potentially large fan base. Guys are drooling for this job! Hope it all comes together for them out in Long Branch! 

NJIT has turned it around as maybe the only independent program in America. The coach needs to get a medal  or at the least an interview for the next mid major opening. Playing in a 1200 seat gym and with kids taking real classes they are really over achieving and moving in he right direction. 

Binghamton made more of a situation than it needed to do years ago and just might never recover as a basketball program. The Coaches should never have been fired years ago!  Not sure if they even care but it was an on the rise program years ago. 

Fordham with a wonderful coaching staff has a hard job. Recruiting kids to Fordham Road and playing in a facility that they attempt to make seem like a version of the Philly Palestra or Cameron Indoor Stadium  but really just an older gym with some renovations. Yet they continue to get kids who want great basketball and great academics. Currently 3 and 6 with a very young team including many international players. But losing to The University of Massachusetts LOWELL? 

Iona really has a very good coaching staff and they seem to get it done year after year after year. Without a doubt this could be a premier program with a larger campus and premier facilities. Someone will eventually snatch the coach up for a higher level program. I would not be surprised if he interviewed for SJU if Steve Lavin ever left. 

Manhattan has a coach who I have watched since he played for  the Gaucho Junior Team many years ago. he always had that swagger. But what happened to the great hair style from years ago? OK thats another post! Manhattan is 4 and 7 and I would bet young Steve as he was called years ago has dreams or nightmares about life in South Florida. He just might be in Riverdale a few more years and that could be a blessing to him and Manhattan College

Please know we have not covered all the area teams and will be adding the others at a later date along with more information on FDU (smile).  The season is now in full swing as is the HS season with so many great games coming up. Lots of recruitment talk and observations from HS events and college games coming your way soon. Stay tuned!

Feel free to comment or contact us direct at LFBall@aol.com  

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