Neptune Leads Nova To Win Over La Salle in First Game at the Helm

PHILADELPHIA, PA: The College Basketball Season got underway today. Which game to watch live? Tough call for me… Donta Scott and Hakim Hart opened up their fourth season at Maryland under new Head Coach Kevin Willard. The Terps faced Niagara at home. Hysier Miller and Zach Hicks began their sophomore campaign at Temple. The Owls faced a tough Wagner squad led by Donald Copeland in his first year at the helm. Seth Lundy and Andrew Funk laced ’em up for Penn State against Winthrop.

Villanova Head Coach, Kyle Neptune

I decided to head to Villanova. I wanted to see if Fran Dunphy’s Xs & Os could overcome a distinct disadvantage in the Jimmies and Joes. Dunphy began his coaching career 50 years ago at the United States Military Academy (1971–72). Bear in mind, Dunphy is the all-time winningest coach in Big 5 history. After a three year hiatus, he’s back to coach his alma mater and lead his third Big 5 program.

Nova’s head coach, Kyle Neptune was 16-16 last year in his lone season at Fordham in the Atlantic 10 Conference before being tapped to succeed the greatest coach in Big 5 history. This matchup against the Explorers was Neptune’s inaugural Big 5 game.

Does the Big 5 matter? Was I alone in considering that aspect of the game? Did anyone else give even the slightest f*#k that this was a Big 5 contest?

La Salle Head Coach, Fran Dunphy and guard, Josh Nickelberry

Serious question… Just curious.

With 580 career wins, it seemed reasonable to give the X & O advantage to Dunphy. Neptune, however, had a rather distinct Jimmy & Joe advantage. Eric Dixon and Caleb Daniel are top notch veteran Big East performers. During his senior year in high school, Dixon was named by USA Today as Pennsylvania State Player of the Year. He was listed at No. 74 by espn.com in its Top 100 Prospects of 2019. Last season, Dixon started every one of Villanova’s 38 games during the run to another Wildcat Final Four. He averaged 9.1 points and 6.4 rebounds in 25.2 minutes per outing. A very efficient offensive player, he shot .498 from the field goal and .486 from behind the 3-point line. Last year he was awarded Most Improved Player by the Philadelphia Big Five.

This year he’s making an early case for best player in the Big 5.

Kyle Neptune and Villanova forward, Eric Dixon

He’s just one of the Neptune’s Jimmies…

And… There are several Joes.

Last year, Caleb Daniels averaged 10.2 points per game and helped Nova win the BIG EAST Tournament title and make it to another Final Four. Daniels was named to the All-NCAA South Regional Team and Second Team All-Philadelphia Big Five.

Brandon Slater started all 38 games last season. He scored 8.5 points and grabbed 3.7 rebounds for the Wildcats on their run to the Final Four.

Highly touted freshman Mark Armstrong was the 2022 Hudson County Interscholastic Player of the Year. He set a St. Peter’s Prep record with 1,776 career points. Armstrong was listed at No. 61 in ESPN’s Top 100 in the Class of 2022.

Keep in mind that Villanova has two (2) NBA Joes in street clothes at the moment. Senior guard, Justin Moore was named Second Team all-BIG EAST and First Team All-Philadelphia Big Five last season. He was the second leading scorer for the Wildcats, contributing 14.8 points per game and grabbing 4.8 rebounds per game. Moore tore his right achilles tendon suffered in the final minute of Villanova’s 50-44 victory over Houston in the NCAA South Regional Final. He is currently rehabbing the injury.

Freshman Cam Whitmore was the 2022 Gatorade Maryland Boys Basketball Player of the Year and a McDonald’s All-American. He was a two-time Baltimore Catholic League Player of the Year who also played in the 2022 Jordan Brand Classic. Whitmore was ranked No. 21 in the ESPN Top 100 of the Class of 2022.

Now… Keep in mind Whitmore and Moore were unavailable. Maybe… just maybe… Dunphy could scheme his way to an upset in a sold out Finneran Pavillion.

After all, it is a Big 5 game. Anything can happen… right?

Naaaaaah…

The Jimmies and Joes overcame the Xs & Os…

Indeed, there were moments when Eric Dixon looked like he was playing against Quakertown. He finished with 20 points on 8-17 shooting, including 2-4 from behind the 3 point line. Dixon also contributed 4 assists and 3 blocks. Grabbing only 2 rebounds, he’ll need to improve considerably on the boards going forward.

Daniels was magnificent. He finished with 24 points, while shooting an efficient 8-11 from the field and 6-7 from behind the 3 point line. Daniels also pulled down a game high 10 rebounds.

Villanova guard, Caleb Daniels

Dixon and Daniels bussed dey ass…

For the Explorers, Josh Nickelberry scored 22 points while shooting 7-12 from the field and 5-9 from 3. He also pulled down 6 rebounds and 2 assists.

Khalil Brantley probed and penetrated throughout the contest. He managed to score a tough 11 points on 5-12 shooting from the field. He grabbed 4 rebounds and dished 2 assists.

Jhamir Brickus played a listless 34 minutes and did not score a point. Indeed, he only took 3 shots and 2 of them were 3 point attempts. La Salle will struggle to compete against quality opponents if Brickus is not contributing significantly at the offensive end.

Nonetheless, Dunphy kept it within reach… the Explorers were only down 11 with 2:37 remaining.

But it was not to be… Not tonight… The young coach with the Jimmies & Joes got the win. The winningest coach in Big 5 history learned something about his team… Gotta somehow get some of those Jimmies & Joes…

For the first time in the history of the Wildcat program, the Head Men’s Basketball coach is a Black man. Deserves mentioning, didn’t really factor in the game so I placed it here.

#RespeckNova

BCS Television Announces Elite Mid-Atlantic High School Basketball Broadcast Schedule

PHILADELPHIA – Black Cager Sports (BCS) Television today announced it will broadcast at least 20 premier scholastic basketball games during the 2022-23 season. BCS Television has agreed to broadcast games featuring several of the top high school programs in the Mid-Atlantic Region, the premier recruiting base for high major college programs.


Beginning in December, in accordance with the start of the high school basketball season in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland, BCS Television’s Video-On-Demand (VOD) package will add Salesianum (DE), Constitution, Westtown, George School, Muhlenberg, Reading and Trenton Catholic boy’s basketball games to its elite schedule of Philadelphia Catholic League matchups.

“We are proud to expand upon our long-standing relationships with several Philadelphia Catholic League programs and further bolster our position as the premier place to watch ‘bigBOYbasketball’ in the Mid-Atlantic region,” said BCS Television Chief Executive Officer and Executive Producer, Delgreco Wilson. “Neumann-Goretti, Roman Catholic, Archbishop Wood, Archbishop Ryan and West Catholic are nationally respected programs. Players like Robert Wright III, Khaafiq Myers, Xzayvier Brown, Anthony Finkley, Jalil Bethea, Thomas Sorber and Zion Stanford have attracted college coaches from the Big 10, Big 12, ACC, Big East, American and Atlantic 10 Conferences. The Philadelphia Catholic League remains one of the most storied scholastic basketball leagues in the nation.”

“BCS Television is pleased to provide extensive coverage of elite high school basketball during the 2022-23 season and throughout the whole year,” said Wilson. “From sports talk shows, livestreams and video-on-demand, we’re focused on opening new doors for high school basketball players and coaches to share their stories and to shine a light on our unique regional cultural experience. BCS Television is the ultimate destination for free, quality ‘bigBOYbasketball’ content.” 

For more information about BCS TV visit BLACKCAGERTV.COM or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram.

About BCS TV

‍BCS TV is a leading sports media provider that embraces and represents the voice of high school, grassroots and college basketball in the Mid-Atlantic region. Every day of the year, we use our platform to capture captures the rich history and continud excellence of basketball in Philadelphia, New Jersey and Maryland. The network also provides a platform for emerging creatives in sports media production, branding, and broadcasting.  We offer our viewers the best in live sports, sports talk shows and video-on-demand. Launched in 2013,  BCS TV is headquartered in Camden, with offices in Baltimore and New York.

My Homie Zimgid and the Best College Players from the Greater Philadelphia Region

My homie from Mars, Zimgid Zrvxow, came to visit tonight. Turns out, they are starting a professional basketball league on Mars. Zimgid’s assignment was to come to the USA to scout for the best players. Last week, he was on the West Coast hanging with Rico Hines. Rico put him onto Evan Mobley and Jalen Suggs.

Tonight, we had a few beers and blew a few trees while talking hoops. Maaaaan, y’all gotta try some of that Martian “LOUD”! Shit is ridiculous!!

Zimgid asked me: “Which kids from this area are playing the best in college basketball right now?” I started talking about ESPN and Rivals HS rankings… He stopped me… “FUCK that, that shit don’t matter… I wanna know who is playing the best in college basketball right now.”

“Ok… But, he was a McDonald’s All…” he cut me off again…

“I don’t care about none of that shit from HS… I don’t care about grassroots or shoe company circuit performances… Who is BALLIN in college right now?”

Apparently, the Martian Basketball League (MBL) will pay rookies 30 million uutiizs per year… Seems like that’s a lot of tax free Martian money…

I had to think long and hard and after a while I gave him the following list…

Stay tuned… When fans are allowed, you may see a 13 ft., 437 lb figure with three legs and 7 eyes carrying a clip board at Big East, Big 10 and A10 games. Don’t be alarmed… That’s just my man Zimgid.

You might wanna go out to the parking lot and get on the space ship with him… I’m telling you, that Martian LOUD is something special.

Philadelphia Black Basketball HOF: Why?

If NOT us? Who?

As I entered my forties, I really began to treasure my relationships with my older friends. At the top the list was my relationship with Claude Gross, Sr. We shared a love of the great game of basketball, we both appreciated the role that Philadelphia played in bringing the game to international prominence and we both never shut up.

Now…I’m opinionated and outspoken. But, I can’t begin to hold a candle to the legendary loquaciousness of Claude Gross.

More than just about anything else, he loved to talk hoops. His favorite topics were how good he was as a player and a coach. He was a living, breathing embodiment of the cartoon character Commander McBragg. Except, you always knew that Commander McBragg was embellishing his accomplishments.

Claude Gross never told me a single lie.

“I beat Wilt in High School, he wasn’t ready for me…”
“We won the YMCA/AAU national championship in Jim Crow North Carolina in 1953…”
“I played professional basketball under an assumed name while I was in high school…”
“I averaged more than 40 in the industrial league…”
“Me and Tee Parham were like 800 – 0…”

Claude Gross discusses Philly players of his era

Upon initially meeting Claude and hearing all of this, one would naturally wonder if he was exaggerating… NEVER!

As his gait got slower, and his energy levels decreased, I realized that I would not have my friend forever.

Claude and his contemporaries were GIANTS in the game. As noted above, his was the only Public League team to defeat Wilt Chamberlain and Overbrook HS. He played with John Chaney in high school. He mentored Ray “Chink” Scott, Earl Monroe, Mo Howard, Andre McCarter, Gene Banks, Lionel Simmons, Nate Blackwell, Geoffrey Arnold, Donnie Carr, Bobby Johnson, BJ Johnson, Donnie Carr, Rashid Bey and hundreds of other young men the came through the Sonny Hill Community Involvement League.

Claude passed on so much knowledge about the history of the game. He was an endless font and an incredible inspiration.

Claude Gross, front row 2nd from right

It just wasn’t fair that the accomplishments of his generation weren’t memorialized.

I never really knew about the magnificent careers of Tarzan Cooper, Zach Clayton and Frank Washington until Claude explained in great detail what they had accomplished. With words, he could place you in a cramped church gym and you could actually “see” Tee Parham scoring 40, 50, 60 or even 90 points with ease.

After bouncing around the idea with Claude, Tee Parham, Dave Riddick and Ray Scott, I decided to establish the Philadelphia Black Basketball Hall of Fame. This was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

I enlisted Mo Howard and Geoffrey Arnold and we were off and running. We literally had nothing but spirit, energy and commitment.

Somehow, someway we wanted to be able to recognize the GREAT Philadelphia players, coaches, journalists and contributors that would never be otherwise recognized.

If NOT us? Who?

There is no Philadelphia Basketball Hall of Fame. These guys were banned from competition in the Big 5 solely because they were Black. Who? Who was gonna recognize and memorialize their enormous contributions?

With a nice little contribution from Lionel Simmons, we were off and running. No glitz, no glamour… Just 100 hopheads gathered in a small North Philadelphia community center with plenty of food and top shelf liquor loving and respecting one another.

ESPN’s Undefeated, the Philadelphia Tribune and the Philadelphia Inquirer provided extensive regional and national media coverage of the inaugural class. Temple and La Salle Universities were very supportive. Philadelphia Youth Basketball and Mike Horsey gave generous donations.

Nate Blackwell, Black Basketball HOF Induction Speech

The highlight… The headliner… The GRAND MASTER of the evening was my dear friend Claude Gross. He was a little weak, he wasn’t moving very well… But his mind was as sharp as ever! There were at least 20 South Philly guys in the house and they were drinking, carousing and fully supporting their leader.

Just a few weeks after his induction, Claude passed away. I can’t describe how good it felt knowing we were able to induct him into the Black Basketball Hall of Fame while he was able to fully participate and enjoy the ceremony.

Tee Parham

I have come to treasure every interaction and conversation I have with guys like Tee Parham, Ray Scott and Sonny Hill. They have given the game of basketball and the city of Philadelphia so much. We were able to present the late, great Dave Riddick with his award acknowledging his induction before he passed away. These moments are invaluable. To be able to honor the legends from yesteryear as well as my contemporaries like Nate Blackwell, Mike Anderson and Lionel Simmons meant so much to me. To see and feel the extent to which they appreciated the honor was incredible.

Roland Houston, Horace Owens PBBHOF member, Dave Riddick PBBHOF member and Geoff Arnold

I am extremely proud to have played a significant role in establishing a means of properly enshrining them and ensuring their legacies are shared with future generations.

The Philadelphia Black Basketball Hall of Fame, under the leadership of Mo Howard and Al Taylor has grown and taken on a much needed role of advocating for and providing assistance for members of the Philadelphia basketball community in need.

Again… If NOT us? Who?

I love the Philadelphia Black Basketball Hall of Fame.

The Philadelphia Black Basketball Hall of Fame matters!