Friday, June 30, 2006

North All-Stars Rout South

The North All-Stars routed the South, 31-16, in Thursday's North-South All-Star Game at Rutgers. The Herald News checked in with Josh Richmond of St. Marys and Joe Muraglia of Queen of Peace, two locals on the winning team. The Ledger and Courier News focused on Donald Jones of Plainfield, the North's Offensive MVP.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Douby to Sacramento

Rutgers guard Quincy Douby was selected No. 19 in Wednesday's NBA Draft by the Sacramento Kings and The Record's Tara Sullivan was at his house for the story. The Asbury Park Press and Star-Ledger also had stories on Douby and the draft, while the San Francisco Chronicle tells the story from Sacramento's perspective.

The Ledger reports that seven Big East players were selected in the first round, including four from UConn and two from Villanova.

North-South All-Star Game Tonight

There are numerous features out in anticipation of tonight's North-South All-Star Game at Rutgers. The Herald News completes its 3-part series with a feature on Remo Fioranelli of Wayne Valley, a DE who will walk on at Rutgers next year. The Ledger features QB Andrew Mandeville, an undersized player who will head to Monmouth. The Courier News has a piece on two players from the South, Plainfield WR Donald Jones and Dunellen WR John Schleppenbach. The Burlington County Times, Asbury Park Press and New Jersey Herald also have features on the game. Joe Hofmann of the Daily Record has a notebook.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Figueroa Building Promising Future

The Herald News has three stories today on Thursday's North-South All-Star Game at Rutgers, including a feature on Passaic LB Felix Figueroa, who is making an unusual move next year. He will attend The Apprentice School in Newport News, Va., where he will learn to be a welder building submarines for the U.S. Navy while earning a salary. He will also compete for the school's football team.

Mark Czerwinski also has a feature examining whether All-Star games such as these are worth it, given the potential for injury. Queen of Peace OL John Palumbo was seriously injured in the Bergen All-Star Game a few weeks back and will have to redshirt his freshman year at Temple. Bergen Catholic coach Fred Stengel says he is opposed to these types of games.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Richmond Ready for North-South

St. Mary's standout Josh Richmond is ready to play any one of several offensive positions for the North in Thursday's North-South All-Star Game at Rutgers. Joe Hofmann of The Daily Record has a feature on North coach Bill Regan and his veer offense. The Hudson Reporter has a piece mentioning the three Hudson County players in the game, including Temple-bound RB Kee-Ayre Griffin.

Reebok Camp Next Features Paterson Stars

Two weeks before the Reebok ABCD Camp tips off at FDU in Hackensack, Reebok Camp Next featured five players with Paterson ties. They included Class of 2008 members Jio Fontan (St. Anthony), Wayne Mack (Paramus Catholic) and Jordan Theodore (Paterson Catholic) and 2010ers Jayon Jones and Shaquille Thomas, the nephew of Phoenix Suns star Tim Thomas.

Friday, June 23, 2006

All-State Baseball Announced

The Associated Press All-State baseball team was announced Thursday with junior SS Bryan Gambuzza of DePaul and senior OF Justin Bencsko of Pequannock earning second-team honors and junior P John Slootmaker of Lakeland being selected to the third team. Gambuzza was the Herald News Player of the Year and Slootmaker was named Pitcher of the Year (See below for more.) Bencsko, who helped lead the Golden Panthers to back-to-back Morris County titles, is headed to Villanova on scholarship.

In Bergen County, senior P Eric Katzman and junior Rob Segedin of Old Tappan were selected to the first team. Katzman is headed to the University of Michigan next year.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Rutgers College Player Summer League

Rosters and schedules for the Rutgers College Player Summer League are posted. DEVCO looks to be one of teams to beat with plenty of Paterson's finest, including former Paterson Catholic teammates Darryl Watkins and Marquis Webb. That team also features former Eastside and current Norfolk State standout Tony Murphy, former Passaic and current NJIT point guard Clayton Barker as well as Luis Martinez, who helped lead William Paterson to the Elite Eight of the NCAA D-3 tournament and Rutgers' Jaron Griffin.

William Paterson coach Jose Rebimbas also heads a strong BIGNELL PLANNING team that features G Jamar Nutter of Seton Hall, former Seton Hall G Donald Copeland, Rutgers F Ollie Bailey, Rutgers PG Courtney Nelson and G/F Kimmani Barrett, the 2005 Herald News Player of the Year who is headed to La Salle.

Games begin Sunday night at the Barn at Rutgers, with playoffs starting July 30 and running through Aug 3. Jerry Carino of the Courier News has another story on the league.

Herald News All-Area Baseball

The Herald News All-Area awards are out today and Lakeland junior pitcher John Slootmaker was named Pitcher of the Year while DePaul shortstop Bryan Gambuzza was selected Player of the Year. Slootmaker went 7-2 and helped lead the Lancers to their second straight Passaic County championship; he and fellow hurler Brad Smith are hoping for a threepeat in 2007. Gambuzza batted .552 with a Passaic-County best 58 hits, more than two a game, and helped the Spartans earn the No. 1 seed in the Passaic County Tournament.

St. Mary's was named Team of the Year after reaching the Non-Public Group B state championship game for the first time since 2003.

And Pequannock's Bill Arata was selected Coach of the Year for guiding the Golden Panthers to their second consecutive Morris County crown despite injuries to several key players, including Villanova-bound OF Justin Bencsko.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Reebok ABCD Invites Announced

It’s almost that time of year again, time for sneaker guru Sonny Vaccaro’s one-stop basketball recruiting shop known as the Reebok ABCD Camp at Fairleigh Dickinson. The Herald News breaks a list of New Jersey players invited to the prestigious camp between July 5-July 9. They include Paterson’s Travon Woodall, a 6-foot sophomore guard from St. Anthony whom the HN featured earlier this season.

Also invited were Corey Chandler of Newark East Side, a junior point guard who committed to Rutgers beginning in 2007; Corey Stokes, the St. Benedict’s junior swingman who recently committed to Villanova; Idris Hilliard, a junior from The Hun School in Princeton, and Ashton Gibbs, a sophomore from Seton Hall Prep.

That group will join O.J. Mayo and Kevin Love, the top two recruits in the Class of 2007, as well as Mayo’s North College Hill teammate Bill Walker, at FDU, where they will be examined and dissected by hundreds of college coaches and scouts from across this great land.

The 6-4, 190-pound Mayo has been associated with Reebok since 2003 when the shoe company invested tens of thousands of dollars in his AAU team, the D-I Greyhounds. But Mayo made national headlines in April when he played for the Nike-sponsored Miami Tropics in Houston, spurring some to speculate that the swoosh might have an inside track on signing the future NBA player to a multi-million dollar sneaker contract.
After all, LeBron James, to whom Mayo has most frequently been compared, jumped ship from adidas to Nike after announcing he would turn pro.

Still, Mayo has apparently left his options open and said he was looking forward to returning to ABCD for another season.
“It’s my last year coming so I’m looking forward to making a big impact and having some fun,” Mayo said during a phone interview.

Mayo also recently made national news when he was suspended from his North College Hill team for allegedly fighting. There had been speculation that he might transfer to another high school for his senior season. He visited with officials at Oak Hill Academy in Virginia, but Mayo said he would spend his last year at North College Hill in Cincinnati.
“I’ll be returning back to North College Hill,” he said.

Mayo is trying to win his third state championship at North College Hill.

Two other Paterson players, sophomore Jordan Theodore of Paterson Catholic and freshman Tamir Jackson of St. Benedict’s, were invited to this weekend’s Reebok Camp Next, also at FDU.

Friday, June 16, 2006

The Ismaulis Hernandez Story

Today's Herald News profiles Ismaulis Hernandez, who learned to play baseball with a rolled up sock in the streets of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic and has become an All-County pitcher for Eastside High School. Hernandez will play for the Northeast New Jersey All-Stars in Saturday's New Jersey Senior All-Star Game at Mercer County Park.

Also a reminder that the Herald News will run its ALL-AREA teams on Wednesday, complete with Pitcher and Player of the Year, Team of the Year, Coach of the Year and a list of All-Area selections. The Associated Press ALL-STATE team will then run on Friday.

Enjoy the weekend.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

All-Star Games Galore

June is the month for baseball and football All-Star Games, and boy does New Jersey have its share. Last Friday, Wallington's David Popek looked forward to the Bergen County All-Star Football Classic at Ramapo High School. But the game was called due to lightning and rain after a scoreless first half. The main story of the night was that Queen of Peace offensive lineman John Palumbo dislocated his left ankle and left fibula on a freak play in the second quarter. Luckily, Temple reaffirmed its commitment to Palumbo, who plans to redshirt and then play in 2007.

Two days later, New Jersey's seniors routed New York, 30-6 in the Governor's Bowl at West Point. Kennedy senior defensive back Star-Meek Jones played in the game, his last before heading off to Fort Scott Community College in Kansas. From there, Jones hopes to play for Rutgers in 2008.

Other upcoming All-Star Games include:
Robeson Classic, June 17, East Orange HS
Adam Taliaferro Bowl, June 29, Rowan U
Sunshine Classic, June 29, The College of NJ
North-South Game, June 29, Rutgers
Shore 44 Classic, July 14, Mid-South HS
Snapple Bowl, July 20, East Brunswick HS

On the baseball front, the New Jersey Senior All-Star Game is slated for June 17 at Mercer County Park in West Windsor.

Preps, preps and more preps

Everywhere you turns these days, it seems more and more high school athletes are choosing the prep school route. That extra year at school helps kids prepare academically, athletically, physically and emotionally for college.

Just recently Kennedy forward Rashad Bishop, the 2006 Herald News Player of the Year and a second-team Associated Press All-State selection, committed to St. Benedict's in Newark. Bishop lit up St. Benedict's for 34 points in a loss at the Tip-Off Classic at Seton Hall last December, and you can bet Bees coach Danny Hurley remembered that. Hurley's plan for next season is to have two teams, a prep team comprised of fifth-year players, and a regular high school team of four-year players. Both would play elite competition from around the nation. The high school team would not compete in the NJSIAA state tournament this season, Hurley said.

Bishop joins fellow Passaic standouts Justin Sofman and Jerrell and Terrell Williams in the prep ranks. Sofman will spend next year at St. Thomas More in Connecticut, while the Williams' twins are entering their second year at Northfield Mount Hermon. Former Passaic Tech standout Hashim "Big City" Bailey also prepped last year at The Patterson School in North Carolina before heading off to play for Memphis coach John Calipari.

Bishop, Sofman and the Williams twins could cross pathes this year at the National Prep Tip-Off Classic in Rhode Island in November.