Trenton Catholic vs The George School: I Saw Sumthin’

Trenton Catholic Academy lost a tough game tonight. After being down double figures, they surged to take a seven point lead in the 4th quarter only to watch it dissipate as the George School won a fiercely contested battle. First year Head Coach, Mark Bass, has won a few big games this year. Trenton Catholic defeated The Patrick School and Olympus Prep in back to back games last week. Once they closed the gap and took the lead it appeared another scalp was about to be taken.

But it was not to be… Trenton Catholic Academy lost. Ben Luber’s team showed some real intestinal fortitude.

Coach Bass is one of my very best friends. I met him as incoming St. Joseph’s University freshman in August 1992. I can count on two hands the number of days we have NOT spoken since his freshman year in college. I watched damn near every game he played on Hawk Hill. Then I watched damn near every game in which he served as an assistant coach over a 20 year span. He watched my daughter grow up. I was at his wedding. His Mom is my Ol’ Head. His wife is my sister. His sons are my nephews. Mark Bass is my brother.

Mark Bass and his Trenton Catholic team LOST a basketball game. I write this knowing he will read it, knowing his wife will read it… Shit… His oldest son might read it…

Trenton Catholic lost a game against the George School. Black Cager Sports is reporting that simple straightforward fact. Tomorrow, Black Cager Sports will do a live remote sports talk show from the Bass home. His son’s will be happy to see the “Professor.” I will be happy to see them.

Call me crazy, but I actually think this how the interaction between AAU/Grassroots/high school basketball coaches/directors and media outlets are suppose occur.

I never received the memo explaining that sharing final scores and boxscores were personal attacks. I must’ve been absent from the office that day.

I’m pretty sure some of the guys coaching/directing HS/AAU programs stop speaking to the weatherman when he reports frigid temperature and icy rain. The weatherman doesn’t know he’s only supposed to report 80 degrees and sunny… every fuckin’ day.

I’m truly elated that there are guys like Mark Bass and the George School coach Ben Luber involved in the game. They understand that it rains sometimes.

As for the game itself… Trenton Catholic’s Deuce Jones ‘24 and George School’s Onyekacki Nzeh ’23 scored 32 and 34 points respectively. The manner in which they accumulated the points was far more impressive than the actual totals themselves. These young men demonstrated why they are at or very near the top of their respective recruiting classes.

Onyekacki Nzeh, George School PF/C

Nzeh is a high energy four with great length (7-foot-plus wingspan) and solid all around skill set. His ball-handling and perimeter shooting have improved immensely over the past year. Coach Luber and his staff have done an outstanding job preparing Nzeh for the next level. He has always exhibited tremendous defensive ability, utilizing his huge wingspan and quickness. Nzeh, literally, came to the game of basketball as a world class athlete.

As a 14 year old, he ran a 400 meter race in 51.93 seconds in the AAU Mid Season Invitational Championship. Remember… He is 6’9” tall… Huh… Fuck you gonna do with that?

To say that he is very fast in the open floor is a huge understatement… More importantly he demonstrates a desire and will to outwork his opponent, hustling down the floor on every possession. In addition to being an elite level run jump athlete, Nzeh shows improving lateral speed. He projects as a big that will be very effective guarding both on the perimeter and in the post. With increased experience, he will be able to legitimately stay in front of guards out on the perimeter, which is highly unusaual for a 6-9 forward.

He appears to have great focus and energy on the defensive end and causes havoc for offensive schemes with his great length. Nzeh is a high level rebounder who goes hard for every ball and utilizes his big hands and long arms to secure rebounds in and out of his area at the HS level. Offensive game has shown significant improvement over the past year. He’s comfortable creating shots on the block and has an effective jump hook shot. He also shows the ability to attack the basket and surprisingly good ball handling ability.

He has developed a smooth and repeatable shooting stroke. He made some clutch free throws to secure the win for the George School. He also made several 3-point shots when his team desperately needed offensive production showing that his game is not solely predicated on getting to the rim as is the case with some 4s. Right now, with full 17U schedule with the NY Rens and his senior season at the George School remaining, Nzeh projects as a high major energy four providing immediate defense and rebounding while he continues to polish his offensive skills.

Any serious discussion of the top high school players in the mid-Atlantic region, must include Onyekacki Nzeh and Deuce Jones… Period.

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