I have to start with the huge game between nationally ranked St. Johns and soon to be ranked Seton Hall if they can hold off Villanova on Saturday at the Prudential Center. A great win by Seton Hall in an atmosphere that seemed to be electric as I watched from the emergency room of my local hospital.
We all know the final score and who did what. What I thought was great is the outstanding game atmosphere. On TV it seemed like at least 15,000 people similar to what Seton Hall often drew back in the days of Ramos, Bryant, Morton, Salley, Green, Advent, and others (please excuse the spelling of some names) . I think it might have been right after the Mountain Arena bomb that did not work with SHU even losing to Columbia in a home game at the Hockey Arena.
Well, I always wanted to see SHU, SJU, and RU excel and have true natural rivalries that meant something other than just a win. SJU and SHU seem headed in the right direction but there still remains a question of how SJU will bounce back and what will SHU do if VU beats them badly at home? If they can win more than they lose both SHU and SJU are headed for a possible NCAA Birth or at least a NIT birth. Heading out to buy snacks for the huge game tomorrow.
Rutgers is still finding its way but is 8 and 6 despite losing to Big 10 foe Northwestern. Northwestern is the team they should always circle on the schedule as a must win along with a few others because we already know its about 4 or 5 teams they have almost zero chance of beating till the program improves in most areas. No need to again say all that I think they need. I will say the coaches they have are fine and with the correct support facility and program wise the improvement will come sooner than later. Hard to even compete with what those other schools are showing to potential players.
HS basketball was great on Monday evening in Paterson NJ. Hats off to the NJ Playaz Organization for putting on the Jingle Bells Jubilee and making all of the games competitive ones as opposed to matching schools who recruit from 10 states against local HSs who compete with players from the town. I think the Hoop Group, which is still a great organization, needs to change it up next season and get the great match ups with power teams going against power teams and good players matched with good players. $13 is a lot of money to see Roselle Catholic with 25 D1 players at the school (smile) matched up with Blair Academy who has a few good D3 players and two big future role players on the high D1 level. The Playaz tournament had some great talent and wonderful match ups. They even had decent concessions and gave out real meaningful trophy's
Loved watching Teaneck HS who I will see again Sunday in the New Years Jump-off at the same location, Paterson Charter School (the old Paterson Catholic) against East Orange who seems to have a pretty good team this year. I cannot wait till the well coached Teaneck Squad matures next season, though they could still win the Bergen Jamboree. Next year they could be a special bunch led by top 5 sophomore guard Deondre Washington and Top 5 freshmen guard Ja'Quaye James, who just happens to have a very famous hip hop Uncle. Life Center might just be the 2nd most talented team in NJ man for man. Well, maybe 3rd because The Paterson School is loaded also. Life Center is coached by Never Nervous Pervis, the ex Louisville Star and he has at least 4 high major players on the roster but the record despite beating a very young Teaneck in the consolation game, is nowhere near what it should be. Being an ex great player is not all thats needed to be a great coach. But in time this team could be rolling. How much time? I wonder!
Paterson Eastside gave all it could against a very talented and well coached Hudson Catholic who seems to be jelling early in the season. Paterson Eastside could still possibly win the North group 4 championship based on some very good talent. Unfortunately it seems people in the stands realize how talented the players are but the players and coaches seem to not know. Shakur Juiston is a beast who does not realize it. Every high major program between Connecticut and Virginia should watch him. If this kid goes to JUCO he could end up at Kentucky, UNLV, NC State, etc. Yes, that much natural ability but so unselfish it makes the average fan scream. This young man needs to stop being afraid to be a star! If it does not come out in HS it certainly will come out in college. You cannot go by his stats you have to watch him perform. Hudson Catholic has a few D1 players as well and seems to have quietly snuck up on everyone and if people blink this could be a future program on the same level nationally as St. Anthony's, Roselle Catholic, St. Benedict's, and the team that I feel just might be the best in NJ, The Paterson School.
Speaking of St. Antony's they play a huge game Friday evening against Roselle Catholic at Roselle Catholic. Game time is 6 PM and I hope to be there by 4ish to secure a ticket. Two things for sure are St. Anthony's will not back down and they will play defense! Roselle Catholic? They have the best player in the state and at least 6 or 7 others we will be watching on TV one day.
If you have any comments feel free to contact me on this page or at LFBall@aol.com