Jones Resigns from Girard College & Surfaces at Chichester HS

Chichester, Pennsylvania – May 25, 2017 – Chichester High School has named Clyde Jones Head Boys Basketball coach. Jones resigned as Head Coach of Girard College on May 8, 2017.

In his only year leading the Girard College program, Jones led the program to an appearance in the State Championship game. This was Jones’ third appearance in the State Finals. He led Penn Wood to two State Championship appearances, winning one.

One of the most respected scholastic coaches in the region, Jones returns to the Del Val league where he vied for supremacy with Larry Yarbray’s Chester program for many years.

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Black Cager Sports looks forward to covering Jones return to Delaware County basketball.

 

Teaneck’s Pierre Sow Commits to Hampton University!

Pierre Sow (pictured below) is an unassuming, quiet and highly intelligent young man. A strong student, Sow has very good grades and an outstanding SAT score. He also happens to stand about 7’0″ tall and is fast becoming a very good basketball player. A key member of the 2 time State Champion Teaneck (NJ) High School Highwaymen basketball program, Sow has worked his way to a Division 1 scholarship. On the morning of April 7, 2017 he committed to play for Coach Edward Joyner, Jr and the Hampton University Pirates. IMG_1876

Sow just began playing organized basketball a couple of years ago and has really progressed while playing for Teaneck’s fine coach Jerome Smart. However, Division 1 colleges in New Jersey paid little attention to Sow. They missed out on kid with a chance to be a good college player. Sow’s former HS Assistant Coach, Roland Whitley firmly believed in Sow’s ability to compete at the Division 1 level.

“The kid has all the tools… He’s long, he has good timing and he’s very agile. He lacked strength and experience. But, I knew he was a Division 1 player”, said Whitley. “More than anything else, I just needed more people to see him play. So I asked Black Cager Scouting Service to come and check him out two years ago. Delgreco Wilson (below left) came up and agreed that Pierre was a D1 prospect.”

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Wilson noted, “I saw a kid that was raw with a huge upside. The immediate goal was get him in the gym against other good big guys in the off season. I reached out to several Philadelphia area AAU/Grassroots programs. Only Philly Pride invited Pierre to come work out. He didn’t end up playing with them for the summer because the travel was too much, but he made it to several workouts and made some important contacts.”

Philly Pride directors Nette Bennett and Amauro Austin are proud Hampton University alums. Austin reached out to Hampton and strongly encouraged them to offer Sow a scholarship. He had been considering prep school.

“Those guys at Black Cager Scouting really helped me through this thing,” said Whitley. “I played at North Carolina State under Jim Valvano but things are much different these days. I really leaned on them to help me guide the family. We are extremely happy with Hampton University.”

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According to Wilson, “academically, Pierre is the type of kid that usually ends up in the Ivy or Patriot League. Hampton is a perfect fit for him because he has the intellectual tools to really take advantage of Hampton’s academic programs. The University President, Dr. William R. Harvey (above right) made Sow’s mother (above center) feel welcome and assured them that he would take care of their son. There is no substitute for the intimacy and familiarity one finds on HBCU campuses. Jaekwon Carlye is a Philly Pride kid completing his freshman year at Hampton and he loves it there. I know Pierre made the right choice.”

 

 

Ryan vs. Reading: Up, Up and Away!

It’s levels to this shit…

I just watched a wonderful PIAA “Final Four” contest between Archbishop Ryan, out of Philadelphia, and Reading High School.

Mannnn listen… Reading is thirsty!

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Reading has a long proud tradition of competing for PIAA State Championships and coming up short… Many of the people wearing the red shirts, hoodies, jackets and hats with Big R emblems watched Stu Jackson (pictured above) lead Reading High to a State Championship game in 1973. Even more, watched Donyell Marshall (pictured below) emerge as an All-American in 1991.

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But neither won it all… No State Championships!

Reading has won more than 2,000 basketball games. They have more victories than any other high school in Pennsylvania. Chester High is next with around 1,850.

The Knights also own a record 19 District 3 championships; they won their first in 1929 and added three more in the past decade.

Long dominant at the local level, Reading has 20 Berks championships despite not joining the league until 1979. The Knights won the league title in each of its first six seasons and has claimed two-thirds of the trophies ever since, going 62-12 in league playoff games.

Reading ain’t new to this…

The Knights played their first basketball game in 1901, less than a 10 years after Dr. James Naismith hung peach baskets in the Springfield, Massachusetts YMCA.

PIAA State Championship are long desired and highly valued in Reading… State’s is the pinnacle in Reading… Young Philly ballers still strive for Catholic and Public League Championships… The State’s are an afterthought…

Philly is new to this…

Ryan, along with the rest of the Philadelphia Catholic League, joined the PIAA for the 2008-2009 season.

Reading is 0 for 116 in PA State Championships… Ryan is 0 for 9…

Many Philly fans were amazed that 90% of 6,000 or so in Liacouris Center were hardcore Reading supporters. Quite a few openly wondered where were the 9,000+ that crammed into the Palestra a few weeks ago?

“What the fuck?”

“Why doesn’t Philly support teams chasing State Titles like Reading?”

State Championship just don’t matter that much to Philly hoop heads. Thus, Philadelphians have no way of understanding the heavy load Lonnie Walker is carrying… He is shouldering the hopes and dreams of all 98,653 Reading residents… After 116 years of playing basketball, they have real shot at winning their first State Championship.

Conversely, Philly is spoiled! Imhotep, Neumann-Goretti, Constitution, Girard College and Archbishop Wood are ALL playing for State Championships… Philly is gonna probably win at least half of the 6 State Titles on the Boys side… It’s what we do…

Reading has NEVER won one…

The team and the town came to the Liacouras Center with HIGH EXPECTATIONS!

Ryan has a very good squad… They have 2 D1 players, a rock solid D2 player and a few really good youngsters. They were ready to do battle early…

Izaiah Brockington came out demonstrated why NJIT gave him a scholarship to play basketball. Early on, first quarter and a half, he was the best player on the court. He was aggressive and highly focused. Reading had no answer as Ryan jumped out to a big early lead on the back of Brockington. He went left… He went right… He went over them… He went under them… He was unstoppable… Ryan had a double figure lead in the first half.

Then it happened…

Faster than a speeding bullet. More powerful than a locomotive. Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound…

Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird… It’s a plane…

It’s Superman!

Yes, it’s Superman, strange visitor from another planet who came to earth with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men. Superman, who can change the course of mighty rivers, bend steel in his bare hands. And who, disguised as Clark Kent, mild-mannered reporter for a great metropolitan newspaper, fights a never ending battle for truth, justice and the American way… And now another exciting episode…

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Photo Credit: Derek Campbell

I didn’t see a phone booth… I don’t know where it happened, but one of the Reading players transformed into FUCKIN’ Superman! Real Shit! In the blink of an eye…

Lonnie Walker became the biggest player on the court…
Lonnie Walker became the fastest player on the court…
Lonnie Walker became the most skilled player on the court…
Lonnie Walker became the most explosive player on the court…
Lonnie Walker became the best shooter on the court…
Lonnie Walker became the best defender on the court…

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Photo Credit: Derek Campbell

The 5,500 or so Reading fans willed him into action… On the break, he jumped so high and dunked so hard it looked like one of JJ’s paintings on Good Times… He seemed to defy gravitational pull… He jumped and soared and floated and eventually came down when he felt like returning to earth… Only after depositing the ball with tremendous force through the rim…

He pulled up from 25 feet… Splash!!

He spun, pump faked and dropped a sweet ol’ skool finger roll… Ryan decided they were tired of him scoring so they would foul hard when he attacked the rim…

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Photo Credit: Derek Campbell

…And ONE!!

Just in case Ryan thought they were going to make some halftime adjustments, he jumped on their asses to start the second half… Look… Up in the sky…

Like I said, Ryan has a good Catholic League team. Brockington and Matiss Kulackovskis are solid D1 recruits… Fred Taylor is a high level D2 rim protector…

If someone could have given them a big ASS bag of Kryptonite they might have had a chance…

After final buzzer sounded, Clark Kent sprinted to kiss his beloved grandmother seated at the end of the court… He personally thanked each and every cheerleader… The electronic and print media tried to grab his attention, but he made them wait as he rushed to join the procession and respectfully shake hands with his vanquished opponents…

Class Act!

I hope Superman ends Reading’s State Championship drought this weekend!

One hundred and sixteen years is a loooooong time…

When the Philly teams win, they’ll get nice pats on the back… When Reading wins, they become folk heroes for generations to come… But first, a parade!

It’s levels to this shit!!

 

Collin Gillespie: Catholic League Champion

They both wear number 1…

Quade Green has the bigger rep. He’s a Team USA Gold Medalist… He’s a McDonald’s All-American… He will play in the Jordan Brand game… He killed Nike’s EYBL last summer… He will travel to the land of “One and Dones” when he joins the vaunted Kentucky Wildcat program in the fall.

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Collin Gillespie, on the other hand, was a nice Catholic League guard… Last year, he tended to defer to another nice Catholic League guard, Tommy Funk. Funk ended up at West Point, where he was named to the Patriot League All-Rookie team. Nice stuff… But… Light years away from the land of “One and Dones.” Unlike Quade who shined on the brightest summer stage at the Peach Jam, Collin plied his trade on the equivalent of the AAU “Chitlin’ Circuit”. As a member of Nike Team Final’s “B Team” he played in Spooky Nook, King of Prussia and Neptune, NJ. As late as December, Collin was sitting on scholarship offers from Basketball powers Albany and Maine.

Then over a period of about 8 days, he received offers from Rider, Drexel, Delaware and Hofstra. All of sudden, he was becoming “sexy”… The word was getting out…

He was the darling of mid-majors… His performances were becoming impossible to overlook… 25 in a win over suburban power Abington… 27 in blowout over Scranton Prep… 27 in a tough loss to Father Judge… 29 in win over 2-time defending Catholic League and State Champion Roman Catholic… All this while playing the role of a traditional pass-first point guard.

If you paid close attention to the crowds at these games, there was always a well-dressed guy lurking on the fringes of the crowd. He tried to blend in, but it was tough. He was always surrounded by friends and passionate Philly hoop heads peppering him with question after question… Ashley Howard, Villanova Assistant Coach, was stalking Collin Gillespie.

Unlike so many other college coaches, Ashley Howard trusted his own eyes. Like his mentor, the legendary Claude Gross, Ashley determined on his own that Collin Gillespie could really fucking play basketball. He never had to ask: “Who else is recruiting him?” He watched him closely game after game after game… He concluded that Gillespie could play at Villanova. Based on that determination alone he brought his boss, National Coach of the Year, Jay Wright out to see what he had been witnessing for weeks.

They sat together during the first matchup between the two number 1s… They were not disappointed. Mr. Green put up 30 points in a valiant effort. The night, however, belonged to Mr. Gillespie! He poured in 42 points while playing a flawless floor game to lead Wood, a football and girl’s basketball school, to the top of the Catholic League standings.

Those who were there, knew what they witnessed. It was now undeniable… Gillespie is a bad muthafucka! Heard it in the gym… Heard it in the parking lot… Heard it over the phone on the ride home… But… in the rematch, you had to like Green’s chance to redeem himself and the Neumann-Goretti juggernaut.

Well… they played tonight before an overflowing crowd of 9,000 plus. The Catholic League Championship was on the line. All the familiar faces were in the building… St. Joseph’s greats like Brian Warrick and Rashid Bey. Temple alums Lynn Greer and Levan Alston sat courtside. Representatives from every media outlet in the region clicked away on MacBook Pros. College coaches from near and far glad-handed their way through the thick crowd. In the end, everyone agreed, Quade Green is a magnificent high school player. But… After the game, they were all saying the same thing…

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Collin Gillespie is a “Bad Muthafucka”! Heard it in the gym… Heard it in the parking lot… Heard it over the phone on the ride home…