Diane Mosco Foundation Shootout

The Diane Mosco Foundation Shootout has emerged as one of the premiere early season Scholastic Basketball events on the eastern seaboard. John Mosco and Archbishop Wood have established this event in honor of his lovely dearly departed wife to provide scholarships to young girls attending Wood and provide much needed financial support for cancer research.

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Diane Mosco Foundation Scholarship Recipient

The Black Cager was able to catch the last three games of the day.

 

Methacton vs Roman Catholic

Methacton jumped out to a 12-2 early lead over the Cahillites. Relying on discipline and patience, Methacton ran their sets with precision until there was a breakdown in the Roman defense resulting in a back door layup or an open 3 point attempt. This strategy has served Methacton very well. Indeed, last year they deployed it with great effectiveness in Diane Mosco Foundation Shootout to upset Neumann-Goretti. While they game Roman all they could handle, the ending would be different this year.

Colgate commit Jeff Woodward (11 points) was able to compete on the low block early in the game. A cerebral, below the rim, old school, low post, back to the basket center, Woodward helped Methacton limit the effectiveness of the incredibly athletic and explosive sophomore Jalen Duren. They used a tried and true proven strategy… They put an ass on him whenever a shot went up… Without fail!

But then Woodward picked up his 2nd foul in the second quarter and was relegated to the bench for the remainder of the first half. Without Woodward’s sturdy 260 pound 6’10” standing between him and the basket, Duren immediately looked like an energetic 9 year old at the playground discovering the monkey bars for the first time.

His dunks are worth more than 2 points. They are true statements… They have a distinct, there’s nothing you can do about this shit element to them… The collapseable rims just give way, the ball comes straight down through the basket and bounces off the floor with tremendous impact not seen in typical high school contests.

By half time, Roman had taken advantage of Woodward prolonged absences and trimmed the lead to a mere 1 point. Playing without their leader, Lynn Greer, III, for a second straight contest, Roman turned to senior Nasir Lett and sophomore Justice Williams for floor leadership. Williams hit some tough mid range jump shots off the dribble on his way to 14 points and Lett made 3 huge 3 pointer to keep Roman within striking distance. Perhaps, the most unexpected offensive contribution came from freshman Xzayvier Brown who finished some tough contested layups in transition and made some HUGE free throws down the stretch.

Whenever Methacton stayed with their sets and moved the ball for at least 20-30 seconds, they got layups or wide open 3 point looks. The Roman Catholic defense would eventually break down. However, in the second half, Methacton was far less patient, they repeatedly took tough contested shots early in the possession.

Roman escaped with a tough, hard-earned 59-62 victory over Woodward, Erik Timko (17 points) and Methacton. Roman moves on to the City of Palms, one of the finest scholastic tournaments in the nation. They will certainly need the services of Lynn Greer III during the course of that event.

Methacton will be very tough out this year in the PIAA playoffs. They have emerged as one of the best high school programs in the region. Timko is fine guard who may catch the attention of some D1 college programs, he would definitely be a welcome addition to any PSAC roster. I am a fan Methacton basketball.

 

Malvern Prep vs Neumann-Goretti

Malvern Prep, for the past 4 years, has been led by their senior Bucknell commit Deuce Turner. Turner is an extremely confident offensive player with variety of tools in his arsenal. Early in his high school career, Turner was primarily a jump shooter with range. These days he is capable of finishing at the rim in transition. He has become adept at creating space using step backs, cross overs and in and out moves. In short, he a threat to score at all times from just about anywhere on the floor.

Neumann-Goretti is on a mission this year. Last year, Malvern Prep defeated Neumann-Goretti 70-69. Carl Arrigale and the Saints were determined to avenge that loss. Everyone in the gym knew that the key to a Saints victory would be keeping the lid on Deuce Turner. Senior forward, Jordan Hall (St. Joseph’s commit) started the game on Turner. Standing along the baseline, one could hear the 6’8” Hall letting Turner know it was going to be a long evening.

After a few minutes, junior Hysier Miller entered the game and assumed responsibility for shadowing Turner. After playing two seasons for Sean Colson at Martin L. King, Jr High School,  Miller is clearly enjoying the limelight that comes with the Catholic League stage. The Diane Mosco Foundation Shootout was sold out and the gym was overflowing with fans, photographers, videographers, scouts and college coaches.

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The Sold Out Crowd at Diane Mosco Foundation Shootout

Upon entering the game, Miller immediately introduced himself to Turner and the spectators. A chiseled 6’2” 185 lb. combo guard, he does a little bit of everything for the Saints. His primary job appears to be to put the clamps on the best opposing guard. Last week, he made life difficult for Jalen Worley as Neumann-Goretti took down nationally ranked Westtown in a wire-to-wire spanking.

Last night, Miller was determined to do his very best to keep Turner from getting comfortable. He was on his ass everywhere he went. He challenged every shot, made him work to get the ball and never let him get comfortable. On the offensive end, Miller asserted himself and displayed the skills that made him one of the top scoring guards in the Public League for the past two seasons.

His handle is very strong, especially when he uses it to create space to score. He lulls defenders to sleep and then explodes into crossovers and/or change of pace hesitation moves. He’s able to attack the rim and recover very quickly if he misses. He rebounded several of his own errant shots and finish through fouls.

He plays a cerebral game, rarely forcing the action and utilizing the formidable skill sets of his teammates. When playing the point guard position, Miller probes and penetrates the defenses and finds Hakim Byrd of Chris Evans for open looks.

I watched the game with Rider Assistants, Dino Presley and Geoffrey Arnold, it became apparent that they were enthralled with Miller’s performance. In the first half, they made the decision to offer Miller a basketball scholarship immediately after the game.

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Hysier Miller immediately after Rider offered a Basketball Scholarship

Miller finished with 20 points, 10 rebounds, 2 steals and a Division 1 basketball scholarship offer from the Rider Broncs. Not bad for a kid that enthusiastically accepts his role within the Neumann-Goretti program. He’s not the man… He’s not the leading scorer… He doesn’t start. His job is to do whatever it takes to win basketball games. This year, in most cases that will be to defend the best opposing guard, rebound and facilitate for Hall, Byrd, Evans and Bowling Green commit Cam Young.

Division 1 coaches appreciate and respect his willingness to attack those tasks with ferocity. Even though Miller doesn’t start for Neumann-Goretti, he never complains. Miller doesn’t bitch and moan. Miller does everything he can to help the Saints win basketball games. For that… He was rewarded with a offer to play Division 1 basketball.

There’s a lesson to be learned here…

 

Paul VI (Virginia) vs Archbishop Wood

Mighty Paul VI made the 3 hour trek to Warminster to face Archbishop Wood in the grand finale of the the Diane Mosco Foundation Shootout. That came with a HEAVY rep… Ranked 4th in the nation and featuring 5-star Duke commit, point guard Jeremy Roach (30 points) and 4-star wing Trevor Keels (30 points) holding offers from Virginia, Villanova and Duke. By any reasonable measure, Paul VI one of the most formidable high school teams in the nation.

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Paul VI (Virginia) Boys Basketball Team

However, Wood’s Rahsool Diggins, time after time in big game after big game shows up and shows out… In front of a FULLY PACKED house with Jay Wright (Villanova), Bruiser Flint (Indiana), Geoff Arnold (Rider), Dino Presley (Rider) and Graham Bousley (George Washington) on the baseline and Billy Lange (St. Joseph’s) seated midcourt Diggins came to play.

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Amauro Austin (Philly Pride), Geoff Arnold (Rider), Bruiser Flint (Indiana), Jay Wright (Villanova) and Michael Starling (Raw Sports, holding camera)

Yeah… Yeah… He displayed his usual leadership, calm demeanor, tight handle, NBA 3 point range, elite court vision and all that other traditional point guard shit we all know he has in his bag…

But last night, against the some of the nation’s best, Lil’ Sool displayed some elite athleticism! He came out of scrums with tough rebounds. He was pinning shots against the backboards. He had at least three blocked shots.

It’s as if he can hear the detractors… “I’m not sure if he’s athletic enough to play in the Big 10, ACC or SEC?”

Well… If Roach and Keels can play at Duke… Stinson can play at UNC, Kentucky, Arizona and Kansas… Plainly stated, there is no space between Diggins and those kids being recruited by Duke… Diggins is as good as or BETTER…

Locally, the matter seems to be pretty much settled… Diggins will have a strong two year reign as the BEST Philly point guard…

When superman was no longer able play after picking up his fifth foul, he literally handed his cape to his running mate Jaylen Stinson. If you looked closely, you could see Stinson undergo a transformation. His focus and drive intensified. He knew the burden was his carry. He knew this was his moment.

He play screamed… “I got this shit!”

He put the Viking program on his back and carried them as far as his 6’0’ 175 point frame would allow. Paul VI attempted to face guard him and prevent him from getting the ball. Stinson would not be denied. He would run and run using v-cuts until he was able to get the rock. Standing near half court he would rock back and forth surveying the defense… The ball going back and forth between his legs until he he decided upon a course of action…

It’s as if the on-ball first defender is not even there… Stinson blows by that guys at will… Where he is separating himself from the pack is his ability to deal with the help defenders…

Before they are able to close out Stinson will stop and rise up in one motion and knock down a pull-up jump shot from 10-15 feet with ease… If they are not closing out he will continue to about 6-8 feet and unleash a feathery soft floater that tingles the nets or go all the way to the rack.

His teammates recognized that if they were going to win this game, they were gonna have to ride on Stinson’s back. Diggins and Stinson continued to communicate with their own unique language of looks, nods and hand signals… Although he was no longer on the floor Diggins remained fully engaged… A true teammate and leader indeed.

The only thing that could slow Stinson down by this point was Stinson… And, that’s what happened. His body betrayed him. His calf cramped up and he collapsed in severe pain and midcourt… Uh-Ooooh…

After a few minutes of stretching and massive Gatorade intake Stinson was able to return to the floor, but his quickness and bursts of speed were no longer the same and he eventually joined Diggins on the sideline after fouling out as well.

Stinson passed the cape to Daeshon Shepard

Shepard had been struggling the first few games. His shots were not falling, he was committing an excessive amount of turnovers and he look indecisive and confused much of the time. But Wood needed him to step up and he delivered.

The über athletic Shepard unleashed an attack on the rim that was beyond impressive. With a 40+ inch vertical leap, he is able to almost look down in the basket when fully exerting himself. He utilized his athleticism almost every possession for the final 4-5 overtime periods. He put relentless pressure on the Paul VI defense. He made a HUGE three at the buzzer to take the game to a fourth overtime period.

Paul VI won the war of attrition. Finally, at the end of the 7th overtime they had more points on the board than Wood.

A GREAT game indeed… Rahsool Diggins is a BAD MUTHAFUCKA… Jaylen Stinson is a mid-major point guard for sure and piqued the interest of Coach Lange at St. Joseph’s… Shepard is definitely one of the most athletic and explosive players we have seen in recent years…

We are barely into to what will surely be a GREAT high school season.

Doughty is CLEARLY the Best? That’s a Big Fuckin’ Thumb on the Scale!

Inevitably, in any conversation worth having about basketball you end up making comparisons. What I find extremely interesting is size and weight of the “thumb” that is invariably put on the scale. It’s one of those things that’s always there but it rarely made explicit.

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In a recent social media “debate” with my good friend Charles Jones from Born Leader Family, he asserts that Samir Doughty (Auburn/R-Senior) is “easily best college guard [from] our area offensively & defensively.”

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Samir Doughty, Auburn/R-Senior

That’s a STRONG fuckin’ statement… Indeed, Jones refuses to consider alternative assessments. While I love the energy and analytical rigor he brings to the discussion, I am not ready to concede that his conclusion is accurate.

Jones did make me realize this topic warrants a more serious evaluation. We need to make some things VERY EXPLICIT so we won’t continue the long-standing Philadelphia tradition of talking right past one another.

Toward that end, I want to perform a comparative analysis of some current Philly guards playing NCAA Division 1 basketball. The Below chart is a listing some Philly guards and their “per game” statistics in Division 1 competition.

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We chose per game averages instead of career totals for a reason. While interesting and in some ways informative, total stats are really not useful in the present comparative analysis because of the extreme variation in the number of games played. Some have only played as few as 41 and 51 games while others have played in as many as 102 and 107. This wide variation renders a comparison of totals almost meaningless. The per game averages, however, shed some useful light.

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Ryan Daly, St. Joseph’s/R-Junior

An objective comparison of the actual NCAA Division 1 game performance is fairly straightforward. More points, rebounds, assists and steals per game is better than fewer. As far as scoring is concerned, Sam Sessoms is the most prolific scorer over the course of his career which is also the shortest at 43 games.

But… We all know the game is much more than simply scoring points. Other important factors have to be taken into consideration. Keep in mind the objective here is not to identify the “perfect” way of framing the argument and measuring performance. Rather. the goal is to identify “better” ways of framing the argument. We are trying to lay the foundation for future debates and discussions. Most importantly, we want to help the hundreds of new consumers of Black Cager content understand what is often left unsaid.

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Sam Sessoms, Binghamton/Sophomore

We take it seriously and do it a little differently at Black Cager Sports Media.

My man Jones leaves very little unsaid… It was a heated dialogue with him that prompted this essay.  He rather forcefully put forth the following assertion, “In meaningless basketball (knowing you gonna lose going into games makes it a lot easier to play. No real pressure). As a ranked team coming off a final 4 you getting teams best punch. Big differentiating factor when u expected to win at the highest level and your expected to lose at a Lower level.”

Fair points… Jones has pushed the argument forward on an analytical level. You cannot just look at D1 stats and compare across the board.

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Stevie Jordan, Rider/Senior

At it’s core, his essential point is that when comparing player performance across conferences to determine which is “better” you have to put the “thumb” on the scale…

SEC points > American East points
SEC rebounds > American East rebounds
SEC assists > American East assists
SEC steals > American East steals

Again, fair points…

After establishing this point, Jones can argue that Doughty with NCAA Division 1 performance stats significantly lower than those of Samuel Sessoms, Ryan Daly, Stevie Jordan (Rider) and several other Philly guards is the “BEST” player. In a very straightforward manner, Jones is arguing that 18.4 ppg in the America East is not equal to nor is it a reasonable predictor for scoring in the Big East, ACC, Big 12, PAC 12, Big 10 or SEC.

Basically… He making it very clear that it’s levels to this shit!

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Josh Sharkey, Samford/Senior

And… If you don’t put your “thumb” on the scale for the Big East/ACC/Big 12/PAC 12, Big 10/SEC player… The comparison is unfair to the high major players and more or less useless.

Jones is right..

With aforementioned data one can compare and contrast any two guards. If we limit ourselves to a “simple” compare-and-contrast analysis, in which the data is weighed equally, we make a HUGE assumption that needs to be made explicit.

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Tommy Funk, Army/Senior

We assume that all D1 games are equal. That is simply not the case. In this regard, I agree with Jones.

However, the far more interesting and difficult question becomes: Exactly, how heavy should the thumb be?

Let’s walk through two examples. For illustrative purposes, we can conceptualize and measure “impact” per game by simply add the average number of points, rebound, assists and steals per game. This will result is a score for each player we call the Division 1 game “impact” number.

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The results are different than our earlier comparison of scoring averages alone. If one compares the resulting impact numbers, Ryan Daley overtakes Sam Sessoms as the leader and Josh Sharkey (Samford) overtakes Tommy Funk (Army). Taking overall performance into account, Daly’s ability to rebound at a significantly higher rate than the others explains his jump in the rankings. Same thing with Sharkey’s ability to steal the ball. Stevie Jordan’s strong overall performance across categories throughout his career at Rider keeps him near the top of the list.

With this data one can compare and contrast any two guards in terms of their performance in NCAA Division 1 games. However, as noted earlier,  if we limit ourselves to such a “simple” compare-and-contrast analysis, in which you weigh the data equally, we make a HUGE assumption that needs to be made explicit.

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Quade Green, Washington/Junior

We assume that all D1 games are equal. I agree with Jones, that is simply not the case.As a result, the rankings of Doughty, Quade Green (Kentucky/Washington) and Collin Gillespie (Villanova) suffer.

This brings us back to the question at hand: Exactly, how heavy should the thumb be?

Here we make explicit exactly how much the “thumb” weighs in two different examples. Varying weights assigned to the “thumb” result in significant variations in the rankings. In the first example, we use following multipliers to account for the effect of playing in more competitive leagues/conferences:

We multiply the Impact score times 1 for Low Division 1 leagues.
We multiply the impact score times 1.25 for Mid-major Division 1 leagues.
We multiple the impact score times 1.50 for High-Major Division 1 leagues.

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Fresh Kimble, Louisville/Graduate Student

In this way we recognize that it is tougher to be a productive player in the A10 Conference than in the America East Conference. This way of accounting for “League Competitiveness” also recognizes that the SEC Conference is tougher than the A10.

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When the strength of the conferences is taken into account in this assessment, Doughty makes the biggest jump in the rankings. He goes from 8th to 3rd. Fatts Russell (Rhode Island) moves from 6th to 4th.

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Fatts Russell, Rhode Island/Junior

But, this still would be insufficient for some observers. Consider this argument Jones unflinchingly adheres to, “no matter what context you put it in [Doughty] is a better player as a role player and as a primary. More efficient, better defender, better athlete, and is a center piece of winning. I been said the context matters. Meaningful basketball is different. You put it into stats I told u… That [Doughty] is better. You talked about situations and I still told u why. And if you was starting a team and u took any of them players before him you’d prolly [sic] get fired.”

But how does one convincingly substantiate the position that Doughty “no matter what context you put it in [Doughty] is a better player”? You simply cannot discard performance in games.

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Dave Beatty, La Salle Junior

You have to assume that Doughty has a harder row to hoe…

Statistically, what you have to do is assigned double the weight to every high major point, rebound, assist and steal while holding low to mid-major stats steady. If your rubric assumes that “high major” leagues are twice as difficult as low and mid major leagues, Doughty becomes the clear cut “best” player. See the chart below with such revised Weighted Impact scores.

High major conference impact #s have multiplier of 2. All others have a multiplier of 1. Even when such disparate weight is applied, Daly remains second in the ranking. Passed only by Doughty. Quade Green and Collin Gillespie also surpass all of the low to mid major players on the list.

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I’ll be the first to admit that the Big East, ACC, Big 12, Big 10, PAC 12 and SEC conferences are tougher that the low to mid-major conferences. But I’m not willing to assign a weight to the high majors that is twice that assigned to the A10, Mountain West and American.

Jones is right… “It’s levels to this shit!”

However, the differences between the levels are not as large he would have us believe… Doughty may very well be the best Philly Guard in college basketball, but the discussion is definitely unsettled and ongoing.

Black Cager Sports Media thanks him for introducing some much needed nuance and subtlety into discussion usually driven by personal bias and animosity.

We will revisit this topic every few weeks or so.

 

The FINAL Conversation: A Talk With Rob Brown

Philadelphia is a basketball town… Yeah… We watch the Eagles, but we PLAY basketball!

Depending upon your age, your childhood was filled with visions of one of the following performing majestic feats on the court… Wilt, Dr. J, Barkely, Iverson or Embid/Simmons… At the collegiate level, Ernie Beck, Tom Gola, Guy Rogers, Cliff Anderson, Kenny Durett, Howard Porter, Mike Brooks, Tony Price, John Pinone, Steve Black, Mo Martin, Howard Evans, Ed Pinkney, Lionel Simmons, Mark Macon, Marvin O’Connor, Lynn Greer II and Jameer Nelson are just few of the names that continue to ring long after their playing days were over. But, perhaps, more than anything…

Philadelphia is a Scholastic Basketball town…

We still revere the Overbrook teams of the 1950’s featuring Wilt, Ray Scott’s West Philadelphia squad and the Northeast’s teams led by Rogers, Tee Parham and Sonny Hill. Overbrook’s teams of the 1960’s and early 1970’s featuring guys like Walt Hazzard and Andre McCarter continue to be mentioned whenever “greatness” is the topic. For many, the apex was reached with the Gene Banks led Speedboys of the mid-1970s. Their epic battles with the late great Lewis Loyd are still talked about like the games were played last week. Ricky Tucker, Steve Black and Tony Coster picked up the torch and carried the city into the 1980’s. Rico Washington and Pooh Richardson led Ben Franklin squads picked it up in the early 1980’s. Later that decade Bo Kimble, Hank Gathers, Doug Overton and Heat took Dobbins to the pinnacle. As we entered the 1990’s we entered the Gratz era as Coach Bill Ellerbee put together a string of Nationally dominant teams featuring Harry Moore, Aaron McKie, Rasheed Wallace and a host of other Division I players.

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The advent of the charter school movement led directly to a shift in the basketball power structure. Traditional neighborhood high school programs were decimated in just a few short years. The Catholics and and couple Charters filled the void. Carl Arrigale was hired at Neumann and proceeded to put together one of the all-time greatest runs in Philadelphia HS basketball history. Over at Borad and Vine, Roman Catholic has always been one of the better programs in the nation. It is indisputable, the proliferation of charter schools led directly to the demise of traditional neighborhood public high school programs. Catholic schools and eventually a few charter programs became more attractive to the most talented players.

By the mid 2000’s Dan Brinkley had built a powerhouse program at Prep Charter featuring eventual eventual pros like Rodney Green, Marcus Morris and Markeiff Morris. Public supremacy was eventually assumed by Andre Noble and the Imhotep Panther program. Imhotep has been on run that compares favorably to any in the history of Philadelphia scholastic basketball history. The class of 2019, led by 4 year starter Donta Scott, never lost a regular season public league game. They were ranked in the top 25 for their last 3 seasons and 4 of the starters, Scott, Dahmir Bishop, Jamil Riggins and Chereef Knox received Division 1 scholarships.

So.. here we are on the cusp of yet another wonderful high hoops season.

It’s worth noting that things will NEVER be as they have been in the past. As much as the rich history of high school hoops is important one could argue that high school basketball has never been less significant for players seeking to play at the collegiate level.

Shit is just different…

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One could easily envision situations where kids could play AAU/grassroots ball, NOT play high school basketball and be recruited at a very high level. The plain and simple fact is High School scholarships are earned in the summer with AAU/grassroots clubs. High School basketball is where college coaches go to follow up on decisions they made between April and July.

If AAU/grassroots basketball is where the action is then the EYBL is center stage. The overwhelming majority of Division 1 basketball prospects play on one of the three shoe company sponsored circuits. Nike (EYBL), Under Armour (UAA) and Adidas (Gauntlet) sponsor self-contained leagues with teams from across the country competing for “National” championships. While Under Armour and Adidas have plenty of talent and regularly produce high major D1 and NBA players, the EYBL is widely considered to be the ‘best” circuit.

There are very few summer basketball events that can generate the excitement associated with Nike’s Peach Jam. The culmination of the EYBL circuit features a level of stagecraft and showmanship unmatched by Under Armour and Adidas. While all three produce top players, many of the biggest names and brightest young basketball stars gravitate to the EYBL Moreover and most importantly, because it takes place during a live recruiting period, the Peach Jam has emerged the most highly anticipated and important event with regards to scouting talent and learning more about potential targets for top college programs. It is also a tremendous opportunity for underrated talents to make a name for themselves in front of college coaches and scouts.

Philadelphia’s representative on the EYBL circuit is Team Final. Chester’s Tyreke Evans NEVER played for the vaunted Chester High program. South Philly’s Dion Waiters NEVER played in Philadelphia’s Public or Catholic Leagues. Both played for Team Final. The list of NBA talent that has come through the Team Final program is extensive. Mike Kidd-Gilchrist, Malachi Richardson, Mikal Bridges, Donte DiVincenzo, Rakeem Christmas, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Cam Reddish all donned the sky blue and yellow on the EYBL.

That’s a whole LOTTA of NBA players from FUCKIN one program…

The Team Final success in this area begs a lot of questions and invites a criticism from many quarters. What follows are just a few of the questions/criticisms one frequently directed at the program:

1. If they produce so many NBA players, why haven’t they been more successful in the
Peach Jam? Some feel that the Team Final program is geared toward and exclusively
focused on developing 1 or 2 NBA players each year and fails to pay adequate attention
to the other 6-7 players on the team. How does Team Final balance the goals of
highlighting superstars prospects with winning and developing the other players on the roster?

2. Lynn Greer, III, Quade Green, AJ Hoggard and Ahmad Fair are all very talented Philly
guards that clearly wanted to play on the EYBL. These young men left the area to play in
Washington, DC and New York. Chance Westry and Jordan Longino are nationally
ranked prospect from the region that have recently announced that they will be playing on the EYBL out of New York. Why aren’t these kids playing with Team Final? Does Team Final have an obligation to accommodate the top area talent and keep them in the region during the summer months?

3. Given the widespread perception that the EYBL is the “best” circuit and the fact that Washington, DC and New York City have multiple EYBL clubs, should the greater Philadelphia region have multiple EYBL clubs? What is the Team Final position regarding the establishment of a second EYBL club in the region?

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These are just a few of the questions that will be posed to Team Final Founder and Director Rob Brown on the Wilson & Woods Show on Wednesday, November 27, 2019 at 4:00 pm on 610 ESPN Philadelphia AM. The show is also simulcast LIVE on the Wilson & Woods Facebook page.

Tune in! Do NOT miss this explosive interview!

 

 

Loch Haven Pulls Away From Chestnut Hill in 2nd Half

By Eric Dixon, Black Cager Sports Writer

Philadelphia, PA – November 17, 2019 – The Chestnut Hill Griffins hosted their home opener and put on an entertaining contest with the Bald Eagles of Loch Haven University Saturday afternoon that ended in a 78-61 win for the visitors. The final score did not indicate the competiveness of the game as the talent of both teams was on display in a game of runs where LHU happened to be the last team to get hot.

Loch Haven Head Coach Mike Nestor knew if he would have to get solid games from his “leadership group” of Christian Kelly, Matt Cerruti and Jesse McPherson if his team was going to leave the stately campus in Northwest Philadelphia with a win. He got that he needed as the three combined for 50 points with the 6-5 Kelly leading the triumvirate with 20.

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Matt Cerruti, Loch Haven (l) and Julius Phillips, Chestnut Hill (r)

The Griffins also placed three players in double figures led by Amir Warrick’s 13 markers. The 6-6 guard, who is adjusting to being a primary ball handler, was a perfect 5-5 from the charity stripe to help buoy his team through a rough patch from the field as they searched for consistent shot making for the bulk of the afternoon. They never really found it, finishing with a poultry 30% on made field goals.  Scottie Spann, Jr., the former Sankofa Academy standout, chipped in 11 while James Rider, a normally reliable shooter from Baltimore, added 10 points.

The game was played at a good pace and despite scoring droughts that spanned 7 minutes for Chestnut Hill and 4 minutes for Loch Haven, it was very engaging. In addition, both programs have reason to be optimistic going forward as both will welcome key additions next month that will bolster their talented teams. Loch Haven will bring back team leader Jihad Barnes, a 6-1 lead guard from Philadelphia. Chestnut Hill is looking forward to adding former Cheltenham Panthers Ahmad Bickley and Trevonn Pitts, their most productive player last year.

Both head coaches were prescient in pre-game interviews as they spelled out the challenges and positives they expected to see in this early season matchup. Coach  Jesse Balcer expressed concern regarding his teams ability to hold on to the ball. The Griffins proved him prophetic committing 24 turnovers on the day. Coach Nestor expected to lean on his team’s abundance of experience, having several key players in their 2nd and third years in the program.  The cohesion his upperclassmen laden team showed throughout the game was a key in their victory. The Bald Eagles also used that experience to calm themselves and work through early offensive struggles. LHU committed 9 first half turnovers, but only 3 in the second. The Griffins also made significant improvements in their ball handling as the afternoon wore on, committing an alarming 18 first half giveaways, but just 6 in the second.

“We struggled in the first half , but our defense carried us,” said Coach Nestor, adding “I knew we would start hitting shots,” expressing confidence in his team’ offensive abilities. A big reason for this confidence is Christian Kelly, who averaged 20 ppg and 7 rpg last season. Kelly didn’t just play on one side of the ball either, turning in an impressive defensive effort with 4 steals and 4 blocks to help stymie the Chestnut Hill at key junctures of the game.  Kelly, who boasts a 6-8 wingspan and 9-inch mitts, used his “active hands” to disrupt the Griffins most of the game.

Junior Jesse McPherson, formerly of Archbishop Carroll and Simon Gratz product Nasir Campbell, also a junior, provided Loch Haven with strong performances in the paint as well. The quiet McPherson, who prefers to lead by example, provided a inside scoring presence to complement the shooting of Cerruti and slashing of Kelly.  Coach Nestor is excited about the energy and physicality Campbell brings to his team, which struggled to rebound the ball last season.  Campbell threw down a thunderous slam while drawing a foul in the second half  that brought the lively, supportive crowd to their feet.

Chestnut Hill looks to the 6-2 Scottie Spann, Jr. to bring energy when he comes of the bench. “It’s my job to bring energy” said Spann, who is one of the “tough Philly kids” Balcer will rely on going forward. Another is Julius Phillips, an Archbishop Wood product who provided a solid floor game for the Griffins in this contest, finishing with 7 rebounds, 6 points and 4 assists.

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Julius Phillps, Chestnut Hill

“Trust the process, trust the coaches and trust each other,” said Phillips when asked what the team needs to grow and improve as the season continues. Another boost will be the addition of Bickley. “The lack of a true point guard really hurt us,” said Coach Balcer. “We weren’t able to get rolling.”

In the immediate future Loch Haven (2-0) will host the Wolves of Cheyney University and Chestnut Hill (0-4) will look to upend the Bloomsburg University Huskies in a road game.

 

The Historical Significance of Aaron McKie vs Ashley Howard

The rise of black Division 1 college basketball coaches has been very slow and fraught with peril, this is especially the case in Philadelphia. Almost 50 years ago, William J. Robinson was hired as the head coach at Illinois State University. With his appointment, Robinson became the the first black head coach in NCAA Division 1 basketball. Robinson’s breakthrough hiring came 64 years after the NCAA was founded at a meeting in New York City in 1906.

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Will Robinson and Doug Collins at Illinois State

For sixty-four years, a 100% white male quota was firmly entrenched…

Situated in the United States, with much of it’s athletic competition taking place in the Apartheid-like Jim Crow American South, the NCAA has been explicitly white supremacist and structurally racist throughout the overwhelming majority of its existence. Let’s be very clear with this terminology. Here, structural racism refers the normalization and legitimization of an array of dynamics – historical, cultural, institutional and interpersonal – that routinely advantage whites while producing cumulative and chronic adverse outcomes for people of color.

For well over half a century, Blacks were formally prevented from playing and coaching. White males benefited immensely from these practices. NCAA member institutions developed and implemented player recruitment and hiring dynamics that advantaged white males and produced adverse outcomes for Black players and coaches.

These facts are not disputed by any serious observer of the history of collegiate athletics and the NCAA.

The NCAA and the majority of its member institutions, for decades, just didn’t FUCK with Black people… Like most of white America…

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Duke Men’s Basketball Team 1966-67

The NCAA implemented a system of hierarchy and inequity, primarily characterized by white supremacy. The NCAA, college presidents and athletic directors gave preferential treatment, privilege and power to white people at the expense of Black, Latino, Asian, Pacific Islander, Native American, Arab and other racially oppressed people. The system was structurally racist.

Of course, one should keep in mind that this structural racism, from the moment of inception, diffused and infused in all aspects of American society, including our history, culture, politics, economics and our entire social fabric. Of course, collegiate sports would be no different. It would futile to argue otherwise.

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John Thompson and Patrick Ewing, Georgetown University

Once dismissed as a group by the college president’s and athletic director’s wrongheaded thinking based on skin color, Black college coaches have proven they possess the tenacity, smarts and talent needed to thrive at the Division 1 level. They have been National Champions (John Thompson, Georgetown 1984, Nolan Richardson, Arkansas 1994 and Tubby Smith, Kentucky 1998). They have won National Coach of the Year awards and several have been enshrined in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.

In some important ways, the gap has been closed. Philadelphia’s vaunted Big 5, however, continues to lag well behind.

Earlier today, Ashley Howard and Aaron McKie led La Salle and Temple into battle at Gola Arena. These young men are Philadelphia products through and through. Howard is the son of Philly schoolboy legend Maurice “Mo” Howard. He was introduced to the college coaching profession by James “Bruiser” Flint after medical issues ended his playing career following his sophomore season at Drexel University. McKie was raised by the late Philadelphia grassroots coaching/training legend John Hardnett. He went on to become a Big 5 legend while playing for the Hall of Fame Coach, John Chaney.

Given their impeccable credentials, its not surprising to find these two roaming Big 5 sidelines. They are Philly basketball lifers like Harry Litwack, Jimmy Lynam, Don Casey, Lefty Ervin, John Griffin, Phil Martelli and Fran Dunphy.

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Ashley Howard, La Salle Head Coach

What is surprising is the fact that on November 16, 2019 we witnessed just the fourth game featuring two Black coaches in the illustrious history of the Big 5. John Chaney and Temple defeated Penn and Quakers coached by Craig Littlepage on February 9, 1983 (61-53), February 8, 1984 (81-57) and December 8, 1984 (70-57). Until today, those three games represented the entire universe of Big 5 games featuring two Black coaches.

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Aaron McKie, Temple Head Coach

The Big 5 was founded in 1955, right after LaSalle won the NCAA Championship. Thus, it has been in existence for 63 full seasons. This represents the 64th year. Each team plays 4 Big 5 games a year, except for the few years following Rollie Massimino’s misguided dissolution of the round robin format. This means that each team has played roughly 252 Big 5 games. With five Big 5 programs, the total number of games played comes in around 1,260. One can subtract a few for the years immediately following the Massimino debacle. But for illustrative purposes, we’ll use the aforementioned numbers.
Before today, out of approximately 1,260 Big 5 games, exactly three (3) featured two Black head coaches. Significantly less than 1% of Big 5 Basketball games ever played had two teams led by Black coaches. The exact number is 0.24% of the games.

That made today’s game historically significant in many ways. One should not be surprised that Temple and La Salle are moving the ball down field in this area. These institutions have a strong track record of inclusion and diversity at the leadership level. Temple has had a Black Athletic Director, a Black football coach and three Black women’s basketball coaches. The current COO is Black. La Salle has a Black Athletic Director, a Black University Chief of Staff and they have had a Black women’s basketball coach.

It should be noted that Penn has also had a Black Athletic Director and two Black basketball head coaches. All you can ask for is an opportunity. Penn, La Salle and Temple get it!

It is truly refreshing to see high-major kids like Clifton Moore (La Salle) and Jake Forester (Temple) transferring to La Salle and Temple from Indiana after Howard and McKie were in place. The local high school recruiting has also picked up since these guys have been on the trail. Black parents have repeatedly indicated that seeing Black men in leadership positions on campus has impacted their decision-making. This makes perfect sense!

Why would you send your precious Black boy to an institution that has NEVER had a Black man in a leadership position throughout it’s existence? Why? So many institutions have demonstrated a commitment to fairness in the hiring process.

For example, Princeton has had 2 Black basketball coaches. Delaware has also had two. Georgetown has had three. Rutgers has had two. Pitt and St. John’s currently have Black coaches. Rider, Wagner and Monmouth also have Black coaches in place.

It matters… Go where Black men are respected and given an opportunity to lead! He may become the Head Coach or Athletic Director once his playing days are over.

The complete absence of Blacks in leadership positions throughout the history of an institution and in the current athletic department can ONLY be explained one way. The same way one would explain their complete absence in the NCAA from 1906 to 1970.

There’s some racist bullshit going on…

Bishop McDevitt HS Refuses to Provide Parents Copies of Transcipts

Black Cager Sports spoke with Maria McDermott, MCIU, Guidance Counselor and Carole Anne Dominello, Guidance Department on October 18, 2019 regarding Bishop McDevitt High School’s transcript policy. Both Ms. McDermott and Ms. Dominello stated that McDevitt does NOT provide unofficial or official copies of transcripts to parents and/or students.

Below, please find a copy of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). This is a federal law.

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As you can see, “Parents or eligible students have the right to inspect and review the student’s education records maintained by the school.”

Apparently, McDevitt administrators are relying upon the language in the next sentence to deny parents/students copies of their transcripts. The law states “Schools are not required to provide copies of records unless, for reasons such as great distance, it is impossible for parents or eligible students to review the records.”

For more than 20 years, Black Cager Sports has advocated for students and student-athletes. We have always encouraged parents and students to obtain and carefully review unofficial copies of their transcripts prior to forwarding them to the NCAA Clearinghouse, college admissions offices or college coaches. This is the first instance, where we have seen parents and students denied an unofficial copy of a student’s transcript.

McDevitt’s policy, while within the rule of law, places an undue burden on parents that have paid tuition to matriculate at the school. It makes no sense to deny a family planning for college a copy of a transcript.

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Parents high achieving students and student-athletes should be fully aware of this policy prior to enrolling at McDevitt. Black Cager Sports hopes that McDevitt will modify this policy and assist their parents efforts to plan and meet stringent college admission and NCAA requirements.

Until the policy is amended, Black Cager Sports encourages ALL parents of McDevitt students and student-athletes to make an appointment to inspect and review their child’s transcripts. Once the records are in front of you please take clear photographs of the transcripts and maintain the photos for your records.

If you are the parent of an 7th or 8th grade student or student-athlete and you would like the names of Catholic and Independent High Schools that are cooperative with parents planning for college, contact Black Cager Sports at blackcager@gmail.com.

If Bishop McDevitt amends this policy and starts sharing transcripts with parents and students Black Cager Sports will provide an update.

 

 

 

 

 

From the Mind of Rashime Middleton: HS Transfers

TALENTED TRANSFERS:

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Hysier Miller, Neumann-Goretti

HYSIER “Fabe” MILLER– 6’0 CG:
From  MLK to Neumann Goretti

The “gritty” South Philly guard has come back home to play for “Legendary” Catholic League Head Coach Carl Arrigale. “Fabe” has all the tools to get the job done….”Fabe” excels  in transition getting to the basket and drawing fouls. Very underrated passer, capable of hitting the long ball….sneaky hops too…. crafty ball handler “ankle breaker badge”…..mastered the stop ‘n’ go game that confuses defenders….Big time heart and a big time shot maker. I’m excited to see “Fabe” this season with Neumann Goretti.

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Ahmad Fair, School of the Future

AHMAD FAIR– 6’1 (SR) PG:
From Fels to School of The Future

“Mr. Excitement” is back like he never left, playing for 2nd year Head Coach Stan Jones at School of The Future.

Ahmad has stepped back on to the BBall scene with something to prove. The lightning quick guard keeps defenders on their toes with his unique ability to push the tempo. Ahmad has matured on the basketball court a great deal since I last seen him play. His hesitation off the bounce is extremely deceptive, creating space between him and his defenders  for his pull up. Ahmad is a dynamic passer, with the natural ability to find his teamates for open buckets which makes him exciting to watch. He may finish the season as one of the Top 5 PG’ s in the area JUST WAIT!!!!

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Mike Anderson, Girard College

MIKE ANDERSON– 5’10 (SOPH) PG:
From Roman to Girard College

MINUTES, MINUTES, MINUTES did not come easy for “Mighty Mouse” during his time at Roman Catholic. Now, at Girard College he will be the captain of the ship. Anderson’s game speaks volumes. Underrated as an athlete, Anderson is always in attack mode. Anderson can score from all 3 levels with a natural instinct for playmaking. Dynamic ball handling skills with good footwork when attacking off bounce. Hard to keep out of the lane, uses his body very well when drawing contact. Anderson score in bunches a plethora of ways which makes him a unique prospect. Now in the class of 2022, he’s arguable the best PG in the class.

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Che Evans, Neumann-Goretti

CHE EVANS– 6’7 (SR) WG:
From Dulaney(Md) to Neumann Goretti

The 6’7 San Diego State commit has brought his talents up I95 in hopes of winning a PCL Title. Che is a versatile athletic wing, who plays above the rim. Che is a high volume scorer who can get a bucket from all 3 levels. Solid ball handler who can make plays off the bounce. Che suffered a leg injury earlier this year that’s kept him off the court. Looking forward to seeing Che with the Saints this season.

MORE TALENTED TRANSFERS:

JEREMIAH BEMBRY- 6’5 (SOPH) CG:
From Pillow Academy(MS) to West Catholic

NAJI REID- 5’11 (SOPH) 2G
From Lincoln to Imhotep

DWAYNE SATCHELL- 6’8 (SR) C
From Valley Forge Military Academy to Gratz

CHRIS KIRKLAND- 6’7 (SOPH) WF
From Friends Select to Roman Catholic

MARCUS RANDOLPH- 6’3 (JR) 2G
From Willingboro(NJ) to Archbishop  Wood

THERMERE SIMMONS- 5’10 (JR) PG
From Imhotep to School of The Future

ISAIAH ENNIS- 6’5 (JR) PF
From Girard College to School of The Future

ALEEM LEE- 6’5 (SOPH) PF
From Monsignor Bonner to School of The Future

NADIR WOOD- 6’8 (SR) PF
From School of The Future to Math Civics and Science