Wednesday, August 22, 2007

New Jersey Generals

There were three New Jersey boys basketball teams in the National Prep Poll Top 25 most of last season.

From the looks of it, the same three Jersey squads might be in the Top 10 (or 5) throughout this coming year.

I've been working through all the various news, notes and quotes I'm getting from coaches in preparation for this year's preseason basketball rankings. (Yes,
already.) What I'm finding is that there's no reason to expect much of a drop off from St. Patrick, St. Benedict's or St. Anthony.

St. Patrick graduated two of the best players in its rich hoops history in Corey Fisher (Villanova) and Jeff Robinson (Memphis). But 19-year coach Kevin Boyle (photo), who has led the Celtics to four overall state titles the last five years, tells me there's plenty of talent left over to be a Top 5 team again.
Junior G Dexter Strickland is rated the top junior point guard in the country by and senior post Quintrell Thomas (6-8) is also a major recruit. Not to mention the arrival of 13-year old freshman Michael Gilchrist, a young phenom who is profiled in this Philadelphia Inquirer story.

We ranked St. Anthony No. 1 to start the season two years ago. Well, the injury bug severely bit the Friars that year and they actually ended up outside of the national rankings.

But we're not ruling out putting St. Ants in that spot again to start 07-08.

Travon Woodall is one of five seniors who will play Division I basketball next year. Junior Dominic Cheek is the nation's second-best shooting guard in his class, according to

Then there's St. Anthony's, coach Bob Hurley. He has over 900 career wins, two Prep Poll titles and it sounds like there's a movie being made based on his biography
"The Miracle of St. Anthony."

Not too shaby.

As for St. Benedict's ... One year into partitioning their fifth-year players onto a separate prep school team last year, coach Danny Hurley (yes, son of Bob) led his team to a Top 10 finish in the National Prep Poll.

An aside about the younger Hurley. I'd probably have to say that Danny is my favorite Hurley. Even more than Bob or former Dukie Bobby.

Because for some reason Danny, a lifelong New Jersey boy, shares my forlorn love for the World Series Champion-turned lovable losers Kansas City Royals. How about that?

On the court, the Gray Bees lost Corey Stokes to Villanova but return talented big men Samardo Samuels and Greg Echenique.

NOTE: Kevin Boyle photo is courtesy of The Hoop Group.

No comments: