Catholic League Champions, Roman Catholic has Big Balls!

Big Balls!

Matt Griffin has ‘em…
Lynn Greer has ‘em…
Seth Lundy has ‘em…
Hakim Hart has ‘em…
Allen Betrand has ‘em…
Lou Wild has ‘em…
John Kelly has ‘em…

That’s why they are Champions of Philadelphia’s Catholic League!

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Bonner-Prendie has one of the most imposing frontlines on the eastern seaboard. Senior, Ajiri Johnson is a long, lean supremely athletic 6’8’ power forward. Possessing excellent timing and patience on defense, he’s a shot -blocker extraordinaire who attacks the rim with force on offense.

Junior, Tariq Ingraham, also standing 6’8”, comes in at around 250 lbs. A problem around the basket, he possesses very soft hands and a nice touch around the basket.

Both will play Division 1 basketball. Ajiri for Kevin Baggett and newly crowned MAAC regular season champion Rider University Broncs. Ingraham will play for a D1 program to be determined at a later date.

Tonight… these two teamed with, Catholic League MVP, Isaiah Wong to lead Bonner-Prendie into battle against the Cahillites in the historic Palestra on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania.

Yes… District playoff and State playoff games remain for both teams. Indeed, both may be playing for several more weeks…

To those unfamiliar with Philadelphia scholastic basketball the following will not make much sense: The season, for both teams, ended tonight!

Even if Bonner-Prendie wins a State Championship, it will not erase the pain they endured tonight. They know this is true, Roman knows this is true, Philly hoop heads know this is true…

The only thing that can makeup for the loss tonight is a win on the Palestra floor 365 days from now…

During a press conference following a hard fought semi-final victory over Archbishop Carroll, Bonner-Prendie Head Coach Jack Concannon was asked “which means more the Catholic League or the State Championship?”

To which he responded, “If I’m gonna be honest, the Catholic League…”

If you’re from these parts, you knew that’s what he would say… If you’re from somewhere else it just doesn’t make sense…

Why would it mean more the be the best of a group of 14 Catholic schools than to be State Champion?

You really can’t explain it… It just does!

The intensity… The competitiveness… The rivalry… It’s unmatched…

Shit… Truth be told it reminds me of what the Big 5 used to be before Villanova relegated the rest of Philly’s D1 programs to JV status.

It was a beautiful ugly ass game… It was filled with lots of mistakes and extended periods of poorly conceived basketball… Frequent turnovers… Too many quick shots… Too many fouls…

Roman senior, John Kelly a tough, hard-nosed 6’4” right tackle masquerading as a power forward was saddled with 3 fouls before he could break a sweat. Before we reached the midway point of the first quarter, Kelly effectively became another member of Griffins coaching staff as he took a permanent seat on the bench.

Uh Oh!

You could feel the anxiety… How are they gonna box out Ingraham and Johnson? Who’s gonna wrestle Ingraham on the box?

There were other, seemingly serious, issues…

Seth Lundy, a supremely gifted 6’6” small forward with a beautiful shooting stroke did not touch the ball over the first 7 minutes of the game… He literally did NOT touch the ball… No… seriously… Lundy did NOT touch the ball…

Predicatably…

Bonner jumped out to 5-0 lead to start the game… They extended it to 11-3 with 2:30 left in the first quarter…

Roman looked overmatched… Bonner appeared to be too big and too athletic up front…

But…

Roman has BIG BALLS!

By the end of the first quarter, Roman was leading 12-11…

From there… We had a classic Catholic League slug fest, the teams repeatedly traded body blows, upper cuts and left hooks… Both teams have incredibly strong chins… They kept eating those blows and coming forward…

Everyone of the 9,000 or so jammed into the grand old arena knew the game would come down to the last possession…

And so… With the score tied 49-49 with just over a 1:20 to go… Roman Catholic had possession…

Ten times out of ten times, coaches call timeout in this situation and try to micromanage what they perceive as the most important possession.

Matt Griffin, however, has BIG BALLS!

He decided to leave the fate of the game in the hands of his 15 year old point guard. In terms of basketball skills, Lynn Greer is a prodigy. Young Mr. Greer is endowed with exceptional ball-handling and shooting abilities. There can be no denying his physical gifts… He very, very talented…

But… his basketball judgement is still evolving… He exhibits a willingness to take questionable shots at questionable times…

This propensity begged the question: What would he do in crunch time?

All tied up in the biggest game of his nascent coaching career, Matt Griffin left it all up to Greer…

If Roman was to win in regulation, Greer would have to make the play…

Not the gritty, tough, supremely confident Towson commit Allen Betrand… Not the Top 100 high major prospect Seth Lundy… Not the best long range shooter in the area, Hakim Hart…

Matt Griffin left the game in the hands of Lynn Greer, III…

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Lynn Greer III and Lynn Greer, Jr.

Greer dribbled across half court with about 1:20 left in the game… He passed the ball to Lou Wild who cradled the ball while time lapsed 1:10… 1:07… 1:03…

Eventually Tariq Ingraham lumbered out toward Wild… Wild quickly and easily maneuvered around Ingraham and passed to Betrand…

Recognizing the obvious mismatch, Betrand quickly gave the ball back to Wild…

Wild dribbled out a few more seconds… 0:54… 0:51… 0:47…

With 0:47 left on the clock Wild passed to Greer…

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Lynn Greer, III addresses the media following win

In the middle of the floor, 9,000 spectators focused on his every move… The Catholic League MVP staring him down… Greer grabbed the game by the throat…

Greer has BIG BALLS!

Confidently, he had the ball on a string… He danced around the middle of the court… In and out.. crossover… strong move toward the key with a belt high left hand pat…

He probed… He tested… He teased… He wanted to see how the defense would react…

He backed all the way up and began the process over again…

Behind the back… right to left… in and out… strong move down the right side…

He probed… He tested… He teased… He wanted to see how the defense would react…

0:28… 0:23… 0:19…

Now he’s dancing at midcourt… Wong intently staring him down… He dribbles toward the middle of the court and then back over toward the right…

0:13… 0:09… 0:06…

Finally… he attacks… he blows by Wong with a blazing first step… Before you can blink he’s in the lane… defense collapses…

He finds Hakim Hart with a perfect touch pass… The ball gently touches Hart’s hand for a millisecond and he gently lays the ball off the backboard…

Perfect play…

0:01.6 left on the clock…

Bonner makes an unsuccessful attempt to throw a full court pass, catch and shoot…

Game over…

For the 3rd time in 4 years, the Cahillites are Philadelphia Catholic League Champions…

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Catholic League Champions, Roman Catholic Cahillites

The season is over…

Still have a few District and State playoff games to get through, but we all know…

The season is over…

See you in 365 days… I’ll be under the basket…

 

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Open Gym: Cardinal O’Hara

Located in the heart of Delaware County, Cardinal O’Hara’s basketball fortunes rest on the shoulders of a true “Philly Point Guard.” Antwaun “Booty” Butler is a grizzled veteran of Philly Public League and PIAA playoff wars. He’s come away from more than his fair share of skirmishes with some BIG name scalps. For example, in addition to a 20 game winning streak, he’s led an undersized, undermanned Del Val program to playoff victories over a very good Mastery North program and nationally prominent Neumann-Goretti and Imhotep.

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Antwuan “Booty” Butler, Senior Point Guard

A complete player, before the first game this year, Butler has already amassed more than 1,000 varsity points. He gets buckets, but he’s not a scorer… He is a consummate “Philly Point Guard.” Elite Philly Point Guards have an ability to do something special every time they put the ball on the floor. HoopHeads have been spoiled over the past few years. There have been several guys that have upheld the tradition… Tony Carr (Roman Catholic/Penn State), Quade Green (Neumann-Goretti/Kentucky), Collin Gillespie (Archbishop Wood/Villanova) and Daron Russell (Imhotep/Rhode Island) have proudly represented the brand.

This year, Sam Sessoms, Jr. (Shipley/Binghamton commit) and Booty Butler are the guys.

With the revocation of Del Val’s Charter by the School District of Philadelphia, Butler was thrust into a quasi “free agent” status for his senior season. There was widespread speculation that he would join one of the established basketball powers… Would he end up at Martin L. King? Would he play at Constitution? Would he fill Gillespie’s shoes at Wood?

For those that know Butler, it’s not surprising that he’s at Cardinal O’Hara. After all, he played some his finest basketball and won some of his biggest games playing for Jason Harrigan at Del Val Charter. After Bulter’s sophomore season, Harrigan was named the Philadelphia Daily News Coach of Year. Perhaps, sensing the precarious nature of Del Val’s long-term future, Harrigan accepted the challenge of guiding the moribund Cardinal O’Hara program in the ultra-competitive Philadelphia Catholic League.

While he’s added some talent over the last year, Harrigan remains short-handed. But for this year, at least, O’Hara cannot be counted out…

They got Booty Butler!

Thick-bodied and tough, Butler embodies that tough Philly Point Guard mentality we have become accustomed to watching Carr, Green, Gillespie and Russell. He is probably the most physically imposing point guard in the Greater Philadelphia region. His speed makes him a threat to create a fast break in the blink of an eye. He plays a very efficient, no-frills version of the position. Butler, generally speaking, makes good decisions in transition. He pushed the ball relentlessly at every opportunity, seeming to gain strength when opponents begin to wane.

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Herman Suazo, Senior PF

While Butler will inevitably carry much of the load, he will have some assistance. O’Hara picked up some much needed size and athleticism when senior power forward Herman Suazo transferred from Wilkes Barre High School. Suazo stands 6’6″ and weighs 190 lbs. He’s going to help O’Hara on the boards and provide some quality low post defense.

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John Dinkins and Dajon Womack

Two other quality combo guards have made their way to O’Hara this year. Elijah Smith a strong 5’10” combo guard has transferred from Academy New Church and 6 foot wing John Dinkins has come over from Mt. Pleasant (DE).

Senior wing Garret Ripp will provide some energy and athleticism. He’s an excellent athlete, at 6’0″ he attacks the rim with outstanding leaping ability. After transferring in from West Catholic, Dajon Womack should be a significant contributor. He’s a solid “glue guy” that’s always around the ball. Womack is a very willing and capable on-ball defender, he rebounds well and he comes up with loose balls.

But…

At the end of the day… This team will go as far as Booty Butler can carry them…

He may have score much more than he’s been asked in the past, but Booty will probably be up to the task…

If anyone knows how to get the most out of Butler, it’s Harrigan…

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Jason Harrigan, Cardinal O’Hara Coach

He may not have as many weapons as some of the top programs, but he’s got Butler… On many nights this winter, that will be enough. Yo Booty… Welcome to the Philadelphia Catholic League!

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…

It’s All GOOD at Archbishop Wood! John Mosco Interview

As we are quickly approaching the start of another exciting scholastic basketball season in Philadelphia, people across the country are focusing on perennial powers Roman Catholic and Neumann-Goretti. Those two along with Archbishop Caroll have fielded nationally ranked boys basketball teams over the past few years. When you consider that Conwell-Egan also won a PIAA state championship last year, it becomes apparent that the Philadelphia Catholic League (PCL) is the most competitive high school basketball league in the state and arguably one of the premier leagues in the nation.  Schools like West Catholic Prep and Bonner are trying mightily to crack the upper echelon. Here I present an interview with John Mosco, Head Coach at Archbishop Wood.

Mosco has been a prominent figure in Philly schoolboy hoops for nearly 2 decades. He served an apprenticeship under Carl Arriagle in the legendary Neumann-Goretti program. Two years ago, Mosco was handed the reigns at Wood. Widely recognized as one of the “good guys” in the Philly hoops community, he has been working diligently to build a respectable program. His team plays hard and they play unselfishly. He has developed some of the best young players in the Philadelphia region. This could be the year Wood breaks through and challenges the Big 3 for PCL Catholic League supremacy.

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John Mosco, Head Coach, Archbishop Wood Boys Basketball

Black Cager: I think the Philadelphia Catholic League (PCL) is arguably the best scholastic High School basketball league in the country when you look at it top to bottom. I’m not talking about leagues that have 5th year guys or the New England Prep School League. I’m talking about pure high school basketball. What are your feelings about the ability of the PCL to compete on a national level?

John Mosco: I think night in, night out with quality of the coaches in the PCL, the way they prepare their teams, it’s the hardest league to play in. You see what teams like Roman, Neumann-Goretti and Carroll did last year on the national scene. Especially with Carroll losing Ernest to injury and they were still able to win big games at the City of Palms. Neumann-Goretti was supposed be in a down year and they won a State Championship and could have won a Catholic League Championship. Roman Catholic pretty much ran the table only having 2 losses, both in the league. They beat everyone outside the league. My first year here everybody thought I was crazy when we scheduled DeMatha and other high powered programs. But I want my players to have those experiences. They can play against the best players and tell their family members and friends they play against the best. Every night you have to bring it because you could lose just as easily as you could win.

Black Cager: I had the good fortune of attending one of your games last year. You were at Roman Catholic and we all know that’s a tough, tough place to play. The gym is not regulation size. Your boys came in there in front of a standing on each other crowd and managed to pull that game out. You have a very young team. What did that mean for the program? And, how will that help you get your guys to understand that you can compete and win against the very best teams in the city?

John Mosco: That game meant a lot to me. For two years, we were talking about having a signature win. We felt that that was our signature win. We were able to walk in there and win. Keep in mind they hadn’t lost there in seven (7) years. Juanya Green hit a buzzer beater to beat them, but I think that was at least 7 years ago. Since then, then haven’t lost in that building. I’ve been on the wrong end os some severe beating there at Neumann. I remember Donnie Carr crushing out team before the Neumann-Roman game was moved every year. To be able to compete against Roman and beat Roman was great accomplishment for our program. Roman is a program that we look up to with their accomplishments. They are the big dogs on the street. We’re trying to instill in our kids a belief that they can just go out and compete with anyone. It’s just high school basketball. The game is 32 minutes and if you play your hardest you are going to come out on top.

Black Cager: As I watched that game, one kid in particular really kind of stood out. I heard a few people standing next to me say, “you know he’s only a freshman.” Once that really settled in and I’m watching the game, I was amazed at the way the kid was able to compete, especially on the boards. Now when it’s all said and done he will be a Division 1 wing, but for you last year he was a force on the boards. Tell me a little bit about Tyree Pickron and some of your other young kids and what we can expect to see from them going forward.

Tyree Pickron

Tyree Pickron, Archbishop Wood Sophomore

John Mosco: Tyree is a special kid. He trusted me enough to come all the way out to Wood. He lives about 3 or 4 blocks from Roman Catholic and he takes a 55 minute commute by bus everyday. He really fit in here academically. That’s what I’m more proud of. You talk to the teachers and the administration and they love him because he does all the right things in the building. We preach that to him first and foremost. We told him listen your gonna play, but your gonna be out of position. We have a lot of guards and your gonna have to play the 4. He ended up being our second leading rebounder and started every game as a freshman. I gave him an opportunity to play and he really took advantage of it. In that game he had 14 points and 14 rebounds. He hit several big buckets as Roman was making a run to come back. He was really poised. He hit jump shot after jump shot. He has a lot to work on, but I think every sophomore in the country does. He’s in the gym. He takes the criticism. He listens to the seniors. He doesn’t try to do more than he has to. But, he also knows when its time for him to take over and he did it in that game. Overall, I think he needs to work on his ball-handling. I also think the jump from freshman to sophomore is huge because you go from being the low man on the scouting report to 1st or 2nd. He’s going to have to adjust to being guarded by the best defender. He might not have 20 points every night, but he has to keep grinding. I think he will.

Black Cager: I also happened to see you guys playing against Reading in the Villanova team camp this summer. During that game, I could see that he clearly relished the opportunity to match up with Lonnie Walker. How do you think Pickron matches up with the kids that tend to get more national recognition because of the name on the front of their jerseys? Kids that play for Roman and Neumann or kids that come out of places like Chester or Reading get a lot of publicity. People are expecting them, they are waiting to see them come along. With what you are building here Pickron and some of your other players are going to have to fight for recognition as elite level players. But, early on they appear that they will be just as good.

John Mosco: Yeah… they do… I think my guys have a chance to be recognized on the national stage. It’s all about getting better. If he helps get us to the Palestra, he’s gonna get al lot of that credit along with Tommy Funk (West Point commit) and Colin Gillespie. The further we go and if we are able to win the Catholic league Championship that will bring recognition to the school like our football program. By the time Tyree graduates from here I think he will have all of that recognition. He plays hard, he’s not worried about who he’s playing for in the summer. I think people are gonna be surprised when he goes to Hoop Group or some other camp and plays very well. We talk about that here. Summer is the time for players to shine as individuals. Summer League Championships don’t get you invited to state championships. Tyree needs to work on handling the ball. I want him to do that in the summer leagues. Tommy Funk needs to work on his jump shot, I want him to take more shots in the summer leagues.

Tommy Funk

Tommy Funk, Archbishop Wood Senior (Army Commit)

Black Cager: I think you are unique in your ability to integrate waht you do with what the AAU/Grassroots programs do in the summer. I’ve seen you at AAU practices and your very familiar with the AAU programs. Clearly, going forward for any HS program to be successful they have to adapt to what goes on in summer basketball. Philly has some really hyper-competitive summer basketball programs. How do you go about maintaining relationships, staying above the fray and not have the different programs hating on each other.

John Mosco: I think it’s about communication. You have to communicate with them. Give them your schedule… where you are going for team camp and they give you their schedule outlining where they will play during elite season. July is a busy month. I tell my kids I need them for one event… The Hoop Group team camp. If they can’t make it, I’m not going to hold it against them as long as I know they are playing at a tournament with Team Philly, Team Final or the Jersey Shore Warriors. It just provides a chance for a younger kid to play. What I don’t like is when the kids don;t communicate with both the program or the HS team and we don’t know each other’s schedule. In March I reach out to the AAU programs and get their schedules so I’ll know where guys are going. We lift two days a week and they have to go to that. They can go to AAU practice… It’s about getting better. You have to have an open door policy.

Black Cager: You know I’ve been involved in this thing for about 20 years and NCAA eligibility has always been a moving target. In 2016, it’s going to change again in a very big way. What are some of the steps that you guys are taking to make sure your kids are ok. I know your upper classmen are pretty bright kids and that’s not an issue. But what would you say to any 8th grader or any kid entering high school in terms of what they can do to make sure they are on the right track?

John Mosco: I think it starts before they get to HS. We talk to kids that registered at Wood for HS before they get here. We let them know what they have to do with their grades and progress reports to stay eligible and meet college expectations. I am very lucky here at Wood, we have a great counseling team and they are on top of everything. We have a strong football program and they understand what each kid has to do to be eligible to play Division 1 and Division 2 college sports. They are tracking their grades, they understand what a core course is, they understand the core GPA. We don’t have to explain it to them, they are explaining it to us. They are on top of the new formula. The head counselor is Ms. O’Grady. Her son played basketball here, was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds and played baseball at Rutgers. She understands what it means to be a student-athlete. It’s not just pushing kids through to get a 70. It’s pushing them to get a B or an A.

Black Cager: I think Wood, now that you mention it is really unique. The girls basketball team, if not the best, is one of the 2 or 3 best programs in the state of Pennsylvania. The football program, the baseball program and the golf program are all super-competitive. You are bring boys basketball along. I don’t see why you can’t be one of the best programs in the Catholic League which puts you among the very best in the state. Is that your expectation this year?

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John Mosco: Yeah… my expectation every year, even last last, is to win the PCL title. That’s our first goal, to win the PCL. I tell these kids there is not a better experience than playing in the PCL semifinals and final at the Palestra. There are 9,500 people cheering for you or against you. You see last year 3 PCL boys teams won state championship and the PCL also won a girls championship. Constitution, also from District 12 won the other boys championship. I think the state is not really fond of District 12 winning all these titles.

Black Cager: I think clearly the PIAA, is considering different ways to make Philly teams play each other before the Championship games. They are thinking about going back to the East vs West format.

John Mosco: I think the state should continue to place teams where they belong and let the best teams play for the title. Roman vs King and Neumann vs Carrol were the best teams in those classifications and they deserved to play for the championship.

Black Cager: I think the state views the boys tournament as a money maker. The Philly teams have only been playing for state championships for about a decade or so. Our schools do not travel as well as some of the schools that have been playing for state championships for 50-60 years.

John Mosco: That’s why the state loves Chester. I give them all the credit. When they play for the championship, the whole city comes out to support them. It’s tough because we are representing one city. If MLK goes or if Roman goes the city is not going to follow them and go to the game. Even if Wood goes, all of Warminster is not going to travel to the game. So it’s different for city teams. That’s why I put a lot more stock into winning the Catholic League.

Black Cager: In general, let’s talk about Philadelphia basketball at the amateur level. The sense I get it that we are struggling. It’s no secret that some of our very, very best players have had a hard time adjusting to college life. The expectations thrust upon are young people when they enter college life have proven to be challenging for some. You see a lot of transfers back home. You see kids quitting school. You see kids having to go to junior college. I can easily name 10-12 kids off the top of my heads that struggled with the transition. What are some of the things we can do to help the kids be more successful?

John Mosco: I don’t think it’s just Philly… I think it’s the way things are structured… With the live periods in place, the coaches don’t to watch these kids enough and they are taking chances on kids and that’s why there are over 600 transfers every year. Coaches don;t want to wait for a kid to kid better and the kids don’t want to wait. The kids think they should be able to just go to college and play right away. People want to drive a Cadillac, no one wants to drive a Honda. They are all going higher than they should go. They don’t go to the schools that really want them. I think the Philly schools see the Philly kids so much they tend to over-evaluate them. They see them so much they start to focus on their flaws more than coaches from out of state see their flaws. Kids are being talked to by their AAU coaches and their parents, they want to play right away. It’s not just in the city. Even up here I’m fighting with kids from the suburbs that are listening to AAU guys and parents. Everybody has the same problems, they are just in different locations. Everybody’s goal is to be a Division 1 player. Not listening to to right people hurts some kids. There are some guys out there that don’t have the kid’s best interest in mind.

Black Cager: I agree 100%.

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John Mosco: I tell my kids all the time. I go to work every day. I work for PECO. I don’t put food on my table with this basketball thing. When they get to the next level, the coaches are relying on 18-19 year old kids to put food on their table. It’s a business. If that kid doesn’t want to listen, or has a bad semester they are all over him. They may not be willing to work through the issues. As it progresses it gets worse because they are under so much pressure to win. If they are not winning, then they go get the transfers. Now you have the 5th year kid that’s a transfer and he’s much older and stronger than the freshmen. As a result, some coaches don’t even want to look at seniors coming out of high school. They want superstars. They don’t want kids that are gonna work to get better. I talked to a lot Division 2 schools and they don’t even want to recruit, they just wait for the Division 1 transfers. It’s tough, you’re either D1 or D3.

Black Cager: I really appreciate this interview. As a final question: What do you have to say to Chris McNesby, Carl Arrigale and Paul Romanczuk? Are you coming for them?

John Mosco: Carl is like my brother… we talk every day. He’s knows what I’m doing and I know what he’s doing? We been coming for those guys the last two years. It’s a hard thing to crack. Those are the premier programs in the PCL. In our league everybody knows who you are and they know what you are bringing night after night. Last year, every game was the NCAA championship for the teams they played against. But we got few surprises and we’ll be ready for them. I want thank you for taking the time to come and visit us.