Thursday, February 28, 2008

Tamir Jackson- Just Enjoying High School

Tamir "Pop" Jackson is one of the best players on St. Benedict's (NJ), and that's really saying something. Jackson is 6'2 junior guard with a nice stroke from downtown, and he is one of the key members of the national powerhouse Gray Bees. "Pop" had a shaky performance against in-state rival St. Patrick's on Friday the 8th at the Prime Time Shootout, but he rebounded big-time and had a tremendous game the next day against Our Savior New American (NY), grabbing MVP honors. After his outstanding performance, Tamir took some time to talk with me.

NB: You guys had a big game out there. You played really well at both ends of the court. You . . . played very well [yourself]. What went into that game? Was it a lot of preparation? You guys had a late game last night, how were you able to stay focused for the game today?
TJ: Our coach [Danny Hurley] just told us to work hard, take the game lightly, and respect the game of basketball, and that’s what we did.

NB: You personally, you hit a lot of threes. How were you able to play so well against a team like Our Savior New American?
TJ: Yesterday, I had an off night, so I myself . . . this morning, before the game that I’m going to come out here and play better.

NB: You guys had a big win last night against a big rival, St. Pat’s. How were you able to come off that emotional high, and at the same time stay focused for this game, and play at the same level you played at yesterday?
TJ: I guess because . . . we’ve played a lot of tough teams already, so we [are] used to coming out and playing another game right after.

NB: You guys are able to be ranked nationally for the second year [because] . . . you don’t have the [post-grads] on the team. What’s that like, being able to really compete for a national championship?
TJ: It’s a great experience, because everybody wants to say they [are] the number one high school in the country going into [the] AAU season, so you can talk trash to your friends.

NB: Is that part of the reason you became a Gray Bee, [to] be one of the best teams in the nation? [Was] that . . . part of your decision factor, because there’s a lot of big time New Jersey schools, like [St.] Anthony’s and [St.] Patrick’s?
TJ: Yeah, and to learn from Coach [Danny] Hurley and the players that came before me.

NB: Have you started thinking about colleges, or where you want to go? . . . Do you have any top choices?
TJ: Not right now.

NB: [Are you] just enjoying high school?
TJ: Yeah.

NB: Is there anything that you want to accomplish personally this season, for yourself?
TJ: Just to play [well], just to look good out on the court with other good players.

NB: What do you like the most about playing high school basketball?
TJ: It’s fun, it’s [a] lot of competitiveness, everybody works hard so they can say their team is better than [another] team, and just playing with the guys I play with now.

It's eveident that Tamir is focused on the here and now, which is a great trait for any athlete. When you look too far down the road, the presnt gets left behind, and "Pop" seems to be making sure that won't happen to him. Jackson's mindframe is going to be key when he does get further down the road, as he is certainly a DI caliber player, and he will have to keep his head on straight. Who doesn't love it when a kid is just enjoying high school and playing basketball, and not worrying about everything that comes with being a star?

Note- photo is from

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Tyreke Evans- Senior Sensation

When asked to pick out the best player on American Christian (PA) at the Prime Time Shootout, the choice is easy: Lamont Jones. Yet, when asked to select the bast player on the Eagles overall, the choice might be even easer: guard Tyreke Evans. The 6'6 senior is considered one of the best players in the nation, and he is a McDonald's All-American. Tyreke's lackluster performance was due to a bad ankle, which even caused him to sit out the team's Sunday game against South Kent (CT). Evans is generally regarded as the top uncommitted and unsigned senior in the nation. After his squad knocked off Rancocas Valley (NJ), a game in which he was held to a single digit point total, I was able to take a few minutes and talk with Evans.

NB: So you guys . . . had a tough game today. The first half, they were really sticking with you guys. You switched to . . . point guard in the second half. How was that able to help out the team?
TE: It helped out a lot. [I] just did a good job of getting my teammates involved. My shot wasn’t falling, so I just distributed the rock, [to] make other players better.

NB: Coach [Tony Bergeron] mentioned that your ankle was hurting. Do you know when you’ll be back, and how did you hurt that?
TE: I hurt it in practice two days ago [2/7]. I’m not really supposed to be playing right now, but I told him I didn’t want to lose any more games. I’d rather . . . lose when I’m on the floor, so I just risked it and played.

NB: Are there any goals you have [for] the rest of your senior season, with this being your last year of high school?
TE: Not really, just let the high school season go well, and hopefully at the end, I’ll make my decision [about college].

NB: What about personally and team-wise? Maybe a championship? What do you want to accomplish with the team here?
TE: Definitely, I want to win the national, the prep championship. That’s our goal, for Coach and me. He said he wants one, he’s never had one, he’s depending on me to get one, and I’m going to try to get him one.

NB: How did you choose to come to American Christian? . . . What made American Christian an appealing school for you to come to? What was the deciding factor for you to come here?
TE: It was close to home, I just stayed at home.

Evans did not display much at the Prime Time Shootout, which almost certainly had something to do with his ankle injury. He did demonstrate a nasty crossover that, on two good ankles, is probably quite helpful in geting him to the hoop, to say the least. Evans has been a major name in recruiting since his sophomore year, when he was widely considered the best player in the class of 2008. Tyreke's stock has dropped some since then, but whatever schools he lands at will be getting a high-quality guard with great playmaking ability, and a tough kid willing to play through pain.

Note- photo is from

Monday, February 25, 2008

Jason "Jay" Williams- New Jersey, to North Carolina, to Illinois, and All the Way Back

There are an absurd amount of athletes named Jason Williams, with the first names ranging in spelling from Jason, to Jaison, to Jayson. Yet, there is only one who decided to go by Jay Williams, and he may be the most well known of them all. Jay Williams was a top-notch high school basketball player at St. Joseph's (NJ), an All-American at Duke University, and was made the second overall pick in the 2002 NBA Draft by the Chicago Bulls. Jay's basketball career has taken him from New Jersey (high school), to North Carolina (college), to Illinois (pro). The former NCAA National Player of the Year has come back to New Jersey, and went to the Prime Time Shootout, as the event ambassador. Williams' life in basketball has taken him on a figure-eight, as after the NBA, he returned to Duke for a while, and now is back where it all began, in New Jersey. Jason took some time to speak with me while at the Prime Time Shootout.

NB: What’s it like coming back? You used to play here . . . in New Jersey, [and now you’ve] come back and [are] the ambassador for the [Prime Time Shootout].
JW: It’s always in honor to come back to the event that kind of made me who I am. [With] me coming from St. Joseph’s [in] Metuchen, New Jersey, we played against a lot of smaller schools, so on a national scale, it wasn’t as big as it is now, but I got a chance to play against some of the elite competition from other areas, besides AAU, and that was huge for me because [those] couple games kind of put me on the map with pro scouts and also college scouts as well.

NB: How would you compare doing things like this, such as being an ambassador, and announcing, some of the other things you do now, compared to playing basketball?
JW: Well, I’m not announcing anymore. I actually have my own sports agency, and [I’m] doing some things with 24 Hour Fitness. I love it because I [still] get a chance to stay around the game. This is the one thing about the game is that there’s always going to be politics involved, any way you decide to go about it, and for me, most of my life, I was the guy who was dealt the politics, and now I’m the guy who's able to deliver the politics, which is different. So, I love being a part of what I’m doing now, and helping guys understand their value, . . . and be part of helping them make a difference in their lives.

NB: What’s it like being on the other side? You said . . . now you’re the one giving the politics.
JW: It’s different. It’s different, in the fact that sometimes . . . you try to mentor kids going through the same situations you went through, but you know nothing is really going to prepare them unless they go through it for themselves. So I [have] kind of started to understand how my parents felt with me for a long time, trying to tell me what to do and what not to do. . . . Its been an amazing experience to get a chance to mold and help somebody discover who they are, and follow their footsteps through the process is really lucky.

NB: Going back to 2001 when you guys won the national championship [at Duke], what was that like in comparison with some other moments for you? What would you compare that to, winning the NCAA Championship?
JW: I think the only thing to compare that to is to me, getting my degree in three years. Those are the two most memorable moments from college for me. I know a lot of guys say they want to win a national championship, but nobody really has an idea about how much it takes, effort, and sweat, it takes to get there, and how the stars have to be aligned for it to actually happen. We beat every team in the tournament that year by 10 [or more]. [We] had some really big games with some big teams, I mean you talk about . . . the championship game, it’s myself, Mike Dunleavy, Carlos Boozer, Chris Duhon, [and] Shane Battier [for Duke] versus Richard Jefferson, Gilbert Arenas, Loren Woods, Michael Wright, and Jason Gardener [for Arizona], so you got nine [future] pros on the floor. That’s unbelievable, that’s a heck of a game, so [it’s a] very memorable experience.

NB: When you think back on those memories, what stands out the most, other than the national championship, as the best part of playing college or high school basketball, or in the NBA?
JW: For me it was, I think two. I had a triple-double vs. Jason Kidd, where I had 27, 25, and 21, which is amazing. I was the first guy to do that in Chicago since Michael Jordan. The second one is just getting a chance to play against Maryland, we were down 10 with 50 seconds [left], and I don’t know what the heck happened, God just came down and touched me on the forehead, and I ended up scoring eight points in 50 seconds and we win the game. It was truly a miraculous comeback.

NB: So is it true that you hate that chant, “Overrated”?
JW: Oh, I love that chant. I love that chant because it makes me play better.

NB: When that book [Five-Point Play] was written about you guys, what was that like?
JW: It’s crazy. A lot of people always tell me I should write my own book about my comeback and my journeys through adversity, and I tell them I don’t know, but to be able to go in the history books one day and see your name written among some of the top greatest players of all-time in college basketball, it says a lot about my parents, who pushed me to not only be that I could at basketball-wise, but also academically, and be able to graduate school in three years, and still be a two-time national player of the year and win a national championship is a huge honor.

NB: How do you feel looking at . . . Andrew Bynum who came out of your high school, and now he’s really successful in the NBA, playing with Kobe [Bryant]?
JW: I’m happy for him. The thing about it is nobody understands how lucky you are to play this game, until something happens, and more importantly, the life expectancy of your ability to play this game could be one year, or it could be 15. So, to see Andrew come from where he came from and then see him blossom and grow, and become an intricate part of [the Los Angeles Lakers] and their foundation says a lot about him, the will not to quit, and to keep fighting, and I wish him the best.

NB: Do you have any interest in ever going into coaching, or are you just liking what you’re doing now?
JW: No, having my own sports agency keeps me busy enough. To be able to relate to these kids and handle their everyday situations, I don’t know if I really want to get into coaching. Maybe when I’m 35 or 40, but I’m 26 right now and I enjoy what I’m doing.

When one thinks back on Jay Williams' days at Duke, it's hard not to remember just how fantastic he truly was. Williams was a spectacular basketball player, and is one that will never be forgotten due to the history books. For those of you that do not know, Five Point Play is a book about Duke's 2001 NCAA National Championship, and it is mentioned a number of times in the book, that Williams hates the chant "Overrated" that is sometimes directed towards the Blue Devils, as well as other teams. It is clear that Williams has the skills to be a successful sports agent. Anyone who can endure all that Williams has been through, and remain strong, is a person destined to succeed. He has gone to a hard road from New Jersey, to North Carolina, to Illinois, and all the way back to where he started, but now that he is back in New Jersey, Jay Williams knows what he wants, and he is well on his way to getting there.

Note- photo is from

Greg Monroe- The Best Player in the South . . . and the Nation?

Greg Monroe of Helen Cox (LA) is regarded as one of the top high school basketball players in the nation, if not the best. Monroe's Cougars faced off with the Dolphins of Whitney Young (IL) to start off night games on February 9th at Sovereign Bank Arena for the Prime Time Shootout. In a game filled with stars, including Monroe's teammates Calvin Thompson and Taj Givens, as well as Ahmad Starks, Bryan Hall, and Marcus Jordan, the son of Michael Jordan, it was Monroe who shined the brightest. The 6'10 senior center displayed a wonderful inside-outside game that only one other player at the event came close to competing with, Kevin Jones of Mt. Vernon (NY). Prior to his team's big game, I spoke with the best player in the South.

NB: You guys got a big game tonight, a showdown with Whitney [Young]. What’s it like going up to that game [with an] out-of-state team [in a] big atmosphere?
GM: Well, it’s just really about . . . just getting a big jump early, and asserting ourselves in games like this. You can’t really fall behind in games like this, because it’s . . . hard to catch back up, so it’s really just trying to jump out early.

NB: What’s it going to be like playing against Michael Jordan’s son [Marcus]? Does that add an extra element to the game, or you’re not even thinking about it?
GM: Well I don’t think [so]. By them being out-of-state, we really don’t have much of a scouting report on him, so everything is probably going to be honest, just playing honest D, and help-side like we normally do. So, that’s it.

NB: You’ve committed to Georgetown. What went into that decision to go there?
GM: Just . . . the coach really, just Coach [John] Thompson [III], being comfortable with Coach Thompson. He’s down-to-earth, [it’s] real easy to talk to him, a guy [with whom I’ve] formed a good relationship.

NB: What’s it going to be like next year . . . filling Roy Hibbert’s shoes once he’s gone?
GM: Well I really don’t . . . think of it that way, as filling Roy Hibbert’s shoes. We probably wouldn’t be playing the same position, so I never think that at all.

NB: What’s it like with all the pressure you’ve been getting throughout your senior season, your junior season, and building up to finally signing with Georgetown? What was that like for you dealing with all that?
GM: Well, . . . it just is a process that I went through, took my time with it, took the good with the bad with the process, just took all the time I needed to make the right decision for me.

The Cougars got the win, and Monroe was the best player on the court. In fact, the big man may have been the best player at the event. Greg showed off a nice stroke, as well a solid game on the low-post. There has been some thought that Monroe does not put forth consistent effort, but this was not the case at the Prime Time Shootout, as he was absolutely dominant. Monroe might have trouble filling Hibbert's shoes, but that's because they could be a bit small for him. Greg Monroe is poised for stardom, as he has a complete, top-notch game, that just might make him the best player in the nation.

Note- photo is from

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Tony Bergeron- A Championship is Within Reach

Tony Bergeron is the head coach of one of the premiere prep school teams in the nation. Bergeron is the man in charge of the American Christian (PA) Eagles. The coach has built a powerhouse up in Pennsylvania, as the team boasts numerous top-notch players, including Tyreke Evans, Lamont Jones, Jeremiah Kelly, and Martez Walker. Soon after his team knocked off Rancocas Valley in the Prime Time Shootout, I caught up with Coach Bergeron for a few minutes.

NB: [The] first half was a really hard-fought battle, Rancocas Valley was really sticking with you guys. How did you manage to come back in the second half and really take control of the game?
TB: Well, we had as much as a 12-point lead in the first half, and it was interesting, they did a great job of slowing the game down, they spread us out, we didn’t make some shots. When Jeremiah Kelly got in early foul trouble it took us out of the flow, and they were just a great, well-coached team. I expected a battle from them.

NB: Tyreke [Evans] didn’t score a lot of points today. Lamont played a great game. How were you guys able to continue to score without Tyreke dropping so many points?
TB: Well, ‘Reke, I probably shouldn’t have played him. His ankle was really tender today. He wanted to give it a chance, so we did. When he figured out his shot wasn’t going to work and they were going to put three, four guys on him if he drove, we put him at the point [in the] second half and let him distribute a little bit and get “MoMo”, [Lamont Jones], started. We really have a lot of scoring options.

NB: How does that help the team, having so many options with scoring? Does it help team chemistry with guys not getting jealous, . . . especially with a guy like Tyreke on the team?
TB: There’s no jealousy. People want ‘Reke to score, they get frustrated when he doesn’t shoot. He’s such a great team player. . . Our kids all root for each other, it’s a real good family.

NB: You guys are having a good season thus far, you had a good season last year. What [are] your goals the rest of the season this year?
TB: The boys want to win the national championship at Fordham, in the Bronx, in March, so I’ll roll with them.

NB: What’s your outlook for that?
TB: I want to get there, get us there, and everyone’s got a chance.

Coach Bergeron wants to get his guys to the championship games, and as he said, everyone has a chance once there. American Christian will have a wonderful chance, as the team is stocked with talent, and it will be the final high school games of Tyreke Evans' career, so he should be quite motivated. Whether or not the team makes it to Fordham, and regardless of if they come away with a title or not, this ACA team is primed for success. The Eagles re-load every year and are competitive each and every season, as they should be next year, led by Lamont Jones and Oscar Griffin. Coach Tony Bergeron has this ACA program in a great spot right now.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Andre Byrdsong- Look Out For Him Down the Road

Andre Byrdsong, a 6'0 guard on the Red Devils of Rancocas Valley (NJ) is a player that way under the radar when it comes to recruting. The senior was not highly recruited, yet his game says that shouldnt be so. Byrdsong was easily the best player on the Red Devils, and played almost as well as the MVP for American Christian (PA), his team's opponent, Lamont Jones. Byrdong was fearless in getting to the rack and is his offensive game was fantastic. Andre and I spoke for a few minutes after the game.

NB: You guys had a . . . really, really good first half. You guys were sticking in the game. Things started to slip away in the third quarter when Lamont Jones caught fire, but you played really well today. How’d you maintain focus and keep playing throughout?
AB: By my team just giving me confidence. . . . I’m the senior on this team, I’m a four-year starter, and I got to be the leader on the team and try to put the team on my back most parts of the game.

NB: Coming into this game with such a high-quality opponent as American Christian, was there a lot of intensity? Were you guys really prepared for this game?
AB: We prepared ourselves to try to stop Tyreke [Evans], the leading scoring on their team, and make somebody else beat us, and somebody else did, and that’s what happened. That’s how we lost.

NB: You guys definitely stopped Tyreke. Once you had that, was there anyway you [guys] were trying to switch over to Lamont [Jones], trying to stop him because he caught fire?
AB: No, because we were practicing to try to stop Tyreke all week long, and it was a long process, so it was hard to [switch over] in a timeout break or something because then if we go ahead and worry about that one guy, then Tyreke gets hot, then that’s definitely a problem.

NB: From the beginning of the game to the end of the game, you did not seem intimidated at all against American Christian, driving to the hoop, taking threes. How was it for you going up against this level of competition?
AB: I play AAU with these type of guys all the time during the off-[season], up north [New] Jersey with them guys, St. Anthony’s guys, St. Pat’s guys. . . . So these [are] the type of games that I always play in during the summer.

NB: So you’re a senior, have you decided on a college yet or are you still weighing your options?
AB: I’m weighing my options now. I’m trying to get into Augusta St. down in Georgia, but I got to wait and see how everything goes.

NB: Are there any other schools you’re considering if that doesn’t work out?
AB: If that doesn’t work out, I’m going to go to a JuCo around closer to our area, Gloucester or BCC.

I talked with Andre today and he informed me that he won’t be able to attend Augusta St. due to academic reasons. Instead, he will either go to Gloucester County College (NJ) or Globe Institute (NY). After JuCo he will re-consider heading down to Augusta St. or will make his way to a different academic institution if the opportunity presents itself. Once Byrdsong is done at JuCo, he could be a key transfer to a mid-major or a top-notch DII school. On a side note, Byrdsong is in the state all-star game which he says will take place on March 24. Coaches should take some time at some point if they are in the area, to check out Byrdsong, becasue his is a fine talent.

Lamont Jones- Star Sharpshooter

Lamont Jones of the American Christian (PA) Eagles was one of the most impressive players at the 2008 Prime Time Shootout. The 6'0 junior guard displayed an amzing shot from downtown, and was the Eagles' MVP in their games on both Saturday the 9th and Sunday the 10th. "MoMo" as he is called, is a point guard with the ability to shoot lights-out, and that's not something you see everyday, especially at the high school level. After Jones' outstanding performance on the 9th against Rancocas Valley (NJ), he took a few minutes to talk with me.

NB: Lamont, you had a great game out there today, [including] six threes in the third quarter. What went into that?
LJ: Coach told me . . . I was wasn’t being a aggressive enough, and I just came out [for the second half] and I just stroked it.

NB: You guys in the first half were in a real battle there. Rancocas [Valley] was really sticking with you guys. When you started playing well in the third quarter, you guys seemed to really take control of the game. Did the team feed off your energy? Is that what really kept you guys going?
LJ: Most definitely.

NB: After the game, you won the MVP award. What was it like standing up there with Jason Williams?
LJ: Oh man, it was great, it was great, it was great, it was great.

NB: So you guys had good game put there, you guys are a good team. [Are there] any goals you have for the rest of the season this year, both personally and team-wise?
LJ: Personally, just get better defensively, and team-wise, to win a national championship.

NB: So, you’re just a junior, but I’m sure you’ve started thinking abut colleges. Are there any schools that are at the top of your list?
LJ: Well, right now, I’m recently committed to Louisville.

NB: What went into that decision to pick Louisville?
LJ: Coach Pitino, he’s a great coach. Edgar Sosa, he’s like my brother. Everybody, they all supported me.

To let everyone know, I talked with Lamont earlier today and he let me know that he has de-committed from Louisville. His recruitment is now completely re-opened at this point. The junior is a top-notch talent, and schools with available scholarships for the class of 2009 should definitely take a look at Jones. "MoMo" is the type of player who can be a great help to a program.

Note- photo is from

Monday, February 18, 2008

Kevin Jones- Call Him What You Want, but He's a Basketball Player . . . Period.

Kevin Jones is a senior forward for Mt. Vernon (NY), and he is also one of the top players in the state of New York. Jones is a 6'7 forward with a sweet all-around game. Being one of just three seniors on his squad, Jones is a player who does whatever it takes to pick up a win. After his team just barely knocked off Roman Catholic on February 9th, Kevin took some time to speak with me.

NB: You guys had a big win out there today [in] a really close, hard-fought battle. Going down the stretch, it was a real close game, how’d you guys pull through in the end and get the victory?
KJ: Well, we knew we were coming in for a great game today. Our coach told us everybody had to play [well]. Everybody made a lot of contributions today, and I’m proud of the way everybody played, [we] came in and played hard, and we’re going to the playoffs now, so that’s definitely a great win going into the playoffs.

NB: You had 16 points in the first quarter [then] kind of tailed off a bit in the second quarter. In the second half, you really picked your game up. How’d you maintain focus for the second half after that rough second quarter?
KJ: Well, . . . [my] teammates started stepping up and scoring, so I fell back and let them do some of the scoring and [such], but . . . in the second half, . . . whenever we need a basket I always try to give whatever my team needs, so that’s what I tried to do in the second half.

NB: So it’s easier playing when guys like Sherrod Wright are stepping up?
KJ: Yeah, definitely. He makes my job a lot easier. When they double me [I can] just kick it out to him, and he drives to the basket and hits the shot. . . Jabarie [Hinds], everybody played great. Everybody made a lot of contributions, so it was a good win.

NB: Going into the early signing period, you were one of the top uncommitted players in the country. [At] your press conference, you chose West Virginia. What went into that decision for you to go play in the Big East for Bob Huggins?
KJ: Well, . . . I went up there for a visit and I just liked everything about it. I liked the direction that the program was going in. I like Coach Huggins. . . . He has a reputation [for] players at my position, they call us tweeners, . . . for getting them better, so I’m just looking forward to getting better, [and] playing in the Big East competition every night.

NB: You mentioned the word tweeners. What do you feel when someone calls you a tweener? . . . Different people associate that different ways.
KJ: It doesn’t matter to me if somebody me a tweener. I just call myself a basketball player. I go out there and play basketball. Whatever coach needs me to do, I go out there and do it. So, I just call myself a basketball player.

NB: With this being your senior season, what do you want to accomplish this year personally and team-wise to finish off the year?
KJ: Well definitely, I want to make it through [the] playoffs, go out an win everything my senior year. I’m just looking forward to . . . finishing my senior year off with a championship. If I do that, every other thing will fall in place. So, that’s what I’m looking forward to doing.

NB: [Do you have] any goals for college yet, or [are you] just trying to finish up high school, enjoying your senior year?
KJ: I’m just finishing up high school. I’m going to take all that when it comes.

The fact that Jones is not worried about what others call him or his position is an impressive attribute. Many players, especially amatuers, let those around them influence what they think and how they act. Kevin does not fall into that mold, which makes him a special player. As he said, you can call him a tweener, but he's just a basketball player, and by the way, he's a great player.
Note- photo is from

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Lance Goulbourne- A Real Student-Athlete

The Raiders of Hun (NJ) knocked off the St. Augustine Hermits (NJ) in an in-state showdown on Saturday at the Prime Time Shootout. A key part of the Raiders' victory was 6'8 senior Lance Goulbourne. The do-it-all forward will be playing ball in the SEC next year at Vanderbilt. He most likely won't be able to be a major contributor as a frshman on an up-and-coming, loaded Commodores squad, but down the road, Lance has the abilities to turn into a top-notch SEC ballplayer. I spoke with Goulbourne after his team's win on Saturday.

NB: So that was a big win for you guys. The first quarter the game was really close, [then] you guys started to pull away in the second quarter. How’d you take control of that game?
LG: I think we just started to calm down a little bit. [The] first quarter we were just a little bit cold, we weren’t ready to play, and we had to come back and prove ourselves and show that we can play with everybody. We just had to calm down and get ready to play, that’s all, we came out a little slow.

NB: You came out in the second quarter. It looked like you came back with your wrist wrapped up. What happened there?
LG: I didn’t even realize, the ref pointed out that I had a gash right here. As you see, it’s still bleeding, but I didn’t even know it. He saw the blood on my jersey and I just had to come out and get it taped up.

NB: [Are you] alright now?
LG: Yeah, I’m good.

NB: So you’ve committed to Vanderbilt. . . . What went into that decision [to play] in the SEC. How’d you pick Vanderbilt?
LG: Well, they were the first high-major school to offer me a scholarship, and I just felt comfortable with them since my sophomore year. [On] my official visit, that’s just the place I felt the most at home [of all the schools I went to], and the city, I come from New York City [so it would be an easy transition], and I felt real comfortable with the coaches. My family was happy with the decision. It’s a great academic institution, and I was just happy with the choice.

NB: Have you decided what you are going to major in yet?
LG: Business most likely. I haven’t decided what aspect yet, but that’s what I want to do.

NB: So, this is your senior season. Anything you want to accomplish the rest of the way this year?
LG: Yeah, I just want to repeat everything we did last postseason, win the state championship, and our league championship.

There are three things that stand out to me from that interview: Lance is concerned with education, loves to win, and plays through injury. Those are three traits that every athlete should have, but not all do. Goulbourne has a nice all-around game that should help him develop into a solid college player. In Lance, the Vanderbilt Commodores are not only getting one of the best seniors in New Jersey, but a player to continue building the basketball program on. All said, Goulbourne has the tools to be a successful student-athlete, both in the classroom and on the court.

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Sam Givens- An All-Around Ballplayer

Sam Givens is a senior forward for the Academy of New Church (PA) Lions, and the Drexel Dragon-to-be has a versatile game. At 6'6, Givens can play down low, yet he has a good enough handle to bring the ball up the court like a guard. His younger brother, Shannon, is also a member of the ANC Lions, and their father, Kevin, is the team's head coach. Sam spoke with me after the team beat the Chargers of Timber Creek to kickoff the games on Saturday at the Prime Time Shootout.

NB: You guys had a pretty good game out there. At the beginning . . . it was a close game, Timber Creek was in the lead. How’d guys come through and end up with the win?
SG: We came out a little sluggish because it’s early in the morning, so everybody was a little tired. One we got warmed up and got into the game, we knew we were going to pound it inside an take it over, because they [are] smaller than us. So we were going to give it to Larry [Loughery] and me all game, and then let us dictate the game.

NB: It seemed like you and your brother, Shannon, had a very good rapport, . . . you guys were finding each other [and] communicating well. Is that just from playing [together] for so long, or does it take special effort to get along so well with your brother?
SG: No, we’ve played with each other for a very long time. Every league he played in, I played in. It’s just like a brother connection sort of.

NB: You guys have the distinction of being the only team to beat St. Benedict’s thus far. They beat St. Patrick’s last night [and are] top five in the country, so you guys are clearly a good team. What went into that victory over St. Benedict’s a few weeks ago?
SG: We came out hard. I think they . . . underestimated [a little] what we had, and when we came out on fire, they were a little shocked at what we could do, and we just kept attacking them, and we just kept pushing and pushing it, and then we came out with the victory.

NB: Do you guys . . . feed on being the underdog, on being the team that no one expected to win that game?
SG: Sort of, but we knew in our hearts that we were a good team, so we just played hard and work hard everyday at practice and we [are] just going to keep going.

NB: Do you have any goals for the rest of the season, with it being your senior season, your final year in high school?
SG: Oh yeah, we got to win our league championship and we got to win the state championship, so that’s what we [are] looking forward to.

NB: How’d you pick Drexel over all the schools that were looking at you? What went into that choice?
SG: They have [James] “Bruiser” Flint, he’s a real good coach, and I like the school and I like the players, so I thought it was a good fit for me.

Givens should be a good fit playing for the Dragons in the CAA. Sam has a well-rounded game, that will be a great help to Drexel, a team that is struggling this year, after a solid season in 2006-07. As Sam mentioned, he wants to win a league and state championship in his final high school season, and he may be able to win another league championship or two at Drexel. If Givens continuing to grow and hone his skills, he could turn into a phenomenal player.

Note- photo is from

Greg Echenique- National Team Player Wants a High School National Title

Greg Echenique is the starting center for one of the best high school teams in America, the St. Benedict's (NJ) Gray Bees. The 6'9 junior is an imposing presence, with a good frame and a terrific skill set. The big man has nice post moves, and has been learning from on of the premiere bigs in the nation, St. Benedict's senior Samardo Samuels. Echenique, who is from Venezuela, talked with me after the team's victory over the rival Celtics from St. Patrick's in the nightcap on Friday evening.

NB: You guys had a big game start to finish. This was a huge game for you guys. It looked like in the end [that] St. Patrick’s was coming back. How’d you guys maintain focus and pull out the victory at the end?
GE: Well, we really worked out hard during the pre-season. You got to go out there and practice, and it all comes down to this. That’s why we practice, that’s why we work hard, and I think we deserve it. I don’t think any team works as hard as we did, and now we have four games left, and we are trying to win everything so we can come back to being number one, and win a national championship.

NB: Coming to St. Benedict’s, is that your goal every year, to be the national champion, be number one in the country?
GE: Last year was [our first year competing for a national championship] because now we have two teams, we have the prep team and the high school [team], but my freshman year, we only had the prep team, so our goal was to win the prep tournament. So now we are trying to get the national championship.

NB: You’re still a junior, but I’m sure you’ve started thinking about colleges. Are there any schools that are at the top of your list? Any schools that have been sending you mail that you’re really thinking about pretty heavily?
GE: I’m still open-minded. I’m going to make my list as soon as I’m done with this season. Right now I have a lot of choices, but I think everybody is pretty even, so I’m just trying to wait until this season is done, and make my decision.

NB: Are there any goals that you have for your senior year . . . next year?
GE: Nothing, I just work hard and try to get us better [as best] as I can, and I also play for my national team, so playing here also helps me to help my country. That’s all I want basically.

Echenique is not only interested in helping his high school squad win a national championship, he also wants to help out his country. Any player who is good enough to play for a national team while just a junior in high school must be a phenomenal talent. Greg Echenique certainly fits that mold, as he is a high school star and a member of the Venezuelan national team. Colleges should definitely be interested in the big man, as he has a fantastic game that should become even better with more tutelage. It will be interesting to see where Echenique ends up playing his college ball. One thing is for sure though, that school will be getting a great basketball player.

Note- photo is from

Omar Smith- It's Not Over Until the Buzzer Sounds

Omar Smith one of six seniors on the Piscataway (NJ) Chiefs. The 6'1 guard was the team's MVP after their tough loss on Friday night to Oak Hill (VA). Despite scoring just seven points, Smith stood out to those who made the decison on the award recipients. After the game, Omar talked to me about his team's performance against the Warriors.

NB: You guys had a tough game out there. The first half, you were really stick with them. What happened in the second half?
OS: They were the better team today. They got out on transition and that’s what really killed us.

NB: Oak Hill is a national powerhouse. Heading up to this game, what was [the team’s] mindset?
OS: We just took it as a regular game, as any old other game that we would play. We just never made any special changes or anything. . . . We just took it as a regular game.

NB: Was the intensity level higher at the beginning of the game?
OS: We were pumped. We were ready to play. The intensity was through the roof. We were just ready.

NB: As the game progressed and Oak Hill started to pull away . . . how’d you guys stay in the game and keep working?
OS: Well we never put our heads down. We knew we had to keep playing hard, that’s all. The game wasn’t over, the game’s never over, just keep playing hard. Play for 32 minutes.

NB: What was it like winning MVP against Oak Hill at the Primetime Shootout [on this] national stage? What was that moment [like] for you, when they announced your name?
OS: It was a good moment. It’s big, it’s big. . . . It would have been better if would have came out with the W.

Smith clearly has a true ballplayer's mentality. He wants to succeed perosnally, and wants his team to win game. As well, the senior knows that a game is never over until the buzzer sounds. That's something you have got to love.

Note- photo is from

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Steve Smith- The Head Warrior

The Oak Hill (VA) Warriors are the definiton of a powerhouse. The team is always near the top of the rankings in whatever national poll you happen to look at. The school has produced numerous NCAA and NBA talents, including Carmelo Anthony (Syracuse, Denver Nuggets), Ty Lawson (North Carolina), Eric Devendorf (Syracuse), and Josh Smith (Atlanta Hawks). A big part of the Oak Hill program is head coach Steve Smith. Coach Smith spoke with me after his team's victory over Piscataway on Friday night.

NB: You guys had a pretty big win today. The first half they were really sticking with you guys. What did you do in the second half to really pull away and put the game away?
SS: Well, we tried to speed the game up a little bit. We went to a half-court trap, and I think they took some shots by some guys who don’t normally take them, and they took them a little quicker than usual. I . . . got us in transition. I think the third quarter was [about] 24-7, so we had a big quarter.

NB: Coming into the game, how were you guys able to look at the game like any of the rest of the games? You’re playing against a lot of powerhouses, [such as the game] tomorrow St. Patrick’s. This is not a weak team, but it’s a public school. What [did you do] to keep your players focused?
SS: Well, we wanted to have a good game . . . mainly for tomorrow night. I don’t like to be sloppy the night before a big game, so we emphasized playing well tonight, playing together on offense, sharing the ball, and getting after it on defense. For the most part, I thought we did that. Hopefully we’ll be ready to play against St. Pat’s tomorrow.

NB: What’s your outlook for the game tomorrow? What do you guys think you need to do to defend Dexter Strickland and a lot of those guys they got on that team?
SS: We’re going to have to stay in front of [Strickland] because he’s very good at driving and slashing the ball. We need to rebound with them because they play very physical and Quintrell Thomas is a great player too, so this is a tough match-up for us. We’re going to mix it up defensively and play some zone. We didn’t play much zone tonight, except when we half-court trapped. They’re too good to half-court trap, they’re too well coached. So, we’ll just mix it up and play some zone and some man, and hopefully Brandon Jennings will get his shots on offense.

NB: What are you guys looking to do the rest of the season?
SS: Hopefully win the rest of them. We got nine games left. . . . We got some good competition, some great games, and hopefully we can close it out in style.

NB: For next year, you guys are losing Brandon Jennings. . . . How’s that going to impact the team?
SS: It’ll have an impact on us, but six of our top seven are back. We’ve been starting two sophomores, two juniors, and the first two subs in have been juniors, but Danny Jennings we’ll lose, he’s a senior, and Brandon. . . . The rest of them are back, so we’re hopeful we’ll have a big team, a great year next year as well.

They didn't beat St. Patrick's, but they still may be able to win from here on out. Though the squad does have an un-Oak Hill-like four losses to date, they are still having an impressive year with a young squad. Steve Smith is a fantastic coach, and he'll keep his guys ready to play. There is no doubt in my mind that with Steve Smith at the helm, Oak Hill will remain a national powerhouse for years to come.

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Keith "Tiny" Gallon- Winning Comes First

Keith "Tiny" Gallon is almost always the biggest guy on the court, at approximately 6'9 and 295 pounds. Despite his large frame, "Tiny" is regarded as a top-notch player, evidenced by the fact that he was ranked 16th on the list of the top 25 players at the Primetime Shootout, in the event's official program. In fact, Gallon was ranked as the fifth highest ranked junior on the list. The junior forward on the Oak Hill (VA) Warriors talked with me on Friday night after his team demolished Piscataway.

NB: Coming into the game playing against a local public school from around here, with the fans being into the game, what was your focus?
KG: To win, basically. Just to win. Just to go out there and have a good game.

NB: Was there anything specific [that] you guys were trying to do to stay focused and keep your mind on the task at hand during the game as you guys starting running away with it?
KG: Basically, just go out there and play our game. Go out there and just have a good game, keep playing.

NB: During the first half, Piscataway was really sticking with you guys. What changed in the second half that [caused] you guys to run away with the game?
KG: Coach [Steve] Smith told us to go out there, and bust our tails, just go out there and keep playing.

NB: What are you excited for most about college basketball in two years?
KG: Being on TV, and playing in front of my mom and my family.

NB: What are you guys looking to do the rest of the season?
KG: Just keep winning, and hopefully be 35-3 by the end of the season.

Well, the team won't be finishing with three losses, after being defeated by the Celtics of St. Patrick's on Saturday, but that doesn't mean they won't do some damage of the rest of the way. The Warriors' roster is loaded with talent from grades 12 through 10, and they are primed to maintain their repuatation as one of the best teams in the nation. Gallon's win-first menatality could allow him to be one of the team's main leaders next season, in his senior year. Keith is a superb talent, and if he drops a few pounds, he could turn into a spectacular player.

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Bob Hurley- A Great Coach Leading a Great Team

The name Bob Hurley goes hand-in-hand with New Jersey high school basketball. The head coach of the St. Anthony Friars is a living legend in the hoops world. Coach Hurley's team is near the top of the state ranknigs every year, and has competed for national titles a number of times as well. This year, the Friars are undefeated and considered by many as the top high school team in America. Coach Hurley was kind enough to take some time and talk with me after his team's dominant win over John Carroll (MD) on Friday night.

NB: Start to finish, you guys were in control of that game. What went into that?
BH: I think we jumped them defensively early. We were very concerned about their size, and I think our quickness bothered their size early. We got out and got some run-outs for lay-ups . . . got a chance to get people shots. Mike Rosario, who had a great game, really waited on his first couple shots. He really wasn’t out looking to shoot the first shot of the game. We got some other people off, and then I think Mike wound up having a fabulous game . . . I couldn’t have been happier with the way we played in the first half.

NB: How were you able to compensate [for playing without] Dominic Cheek?
BH: I’m blessed, I start Alberto Eastwick, who’s going to Fordham, so I have a kid coming off the bench who’s a Division I player. . . . We have a stat sheet called the “effort sheet” and he won the effort sheet today. And he tied actually with Jamee Jackson, who was [making] only his second start today. He started [at] center because AJ Rogers is coming off the flu. . . . I think our first seven played very well today. And it’s good for us for the future, because knowing that we’re missing Dominic and 6’8” Madut Bol, [who was] out with the flu also.

NB: You have a lot of guys with the flu. Do you know when [they will be] back?
BH: I think Dominic and Madut will both play next Tuesday against Our Savior New American. We have Elizabeth on Sunday. I don’t think they’ll be back. I don’t think they’ll be physically ready for that.

NB: You mentioned [that] you got a guy going to Fordham. You got Tyshawn Taylor going to Marquette, Rosario heading to Rutgers. What’s it like having so many DI players on the team?
BH: Well, I’m going to enjoy it for this entire run, because next year . . . I’m back to the pack. I’ll have the same concerns high school coaches normally have, trying to figure out who’s in the starting lineup. We’re blessed right now, we have a group of seniors, that since sophomore year have developed tremendously. On a great team, kids are accepting sharing the ball, and a kid like Travon Woodall who’s going to Pitt, welcomes coming off the bench a couple of minutes into the game . . . He’s one of our six starters, but we start the game with him sitting. So, chemistry has been great. They play hard. It’s been a pleasure to work with the kids.

NB: You mentioned that you guys are a great team. You guys are widely considered the best team in the country right now. Do you feel any added pressure, or is it just going about business as usual?
BH: We talk about the bandwagon of life, and a lot of people have jumped on the St. Anthony’s bandwagon, but our goals are not to please the people who have jumped on the bandwagon. Our goal is to reach the goal we set, which is [to] win a state championship. So if we lose three times between now and the end of the season and everybody forgets about us, but we win a state championship, we’ll be very happy, because that’s what we are going to try to do right now. For . . . our school, it has particular meaning because if we win a state championship, we’ll set a national record with 25. We’re tied now for the national record with 24.

NB: What’s it like for you, you know, with your son [Danny Hurley] also in the state of New Jersey running [the program at] St. Benedict’s?
BH: We’re very proud of him. He’s done a great job building the program there. . . . He’s got it now where it’s nationally known in only a short period of time. . . . I think he’s enjoying being a high school coach.

NB: You guys have to replace a lot of guys for next season, like you mentioned, [you have a] big senior class this year, [with] a few juniors on the team. Are there any guys you got your eyes on to replace some of them?
BH: We’re very happy with the way Jamee Jackson has been playing. It gives us good hope for next year. Devone McCloud was a little guard who played quite a bit in the second half. I think . . . he’ll be able to help us next year, and obviously, Dominic . . . we are going to lean on him extensively next year to be a very big, you know, part of the way we play both offensively and defensively. This happens in high school, everybody else is gone. We need the returning varsity kids, and our freshman and jayvee to find a couple of kids that can build up some depth, but we have no illusions about where we’ll be next year. . . . We’re going to enjoy this whole experience, and then next year we’ll have a dangerous team, but we won’t have as many weapons.

NB: How are you able to get so many top-notch players to come to this school?
BH: Well, we’ve always had a reputation for developing guards, and I don’t mind playing a bunch of them. . . . I don’t know actually, why things [have happened this way], because I’m not the easiest guy to play for. I’m very demanding, and I’m on the kids nonstop. While they’re in high school . . . they don’t necessarily understand it. I think by the time they get to college they enjoy it, but that isn’t what would necessarily make somebody want to come to the school to see how hard I work with them. That may not be as appealing as something else, but we’ve always managed to have good teams because we . . . know what we’re doing too.

NB: What was it like having a book written about you guys, The Miracle of St. Anthony? . . . Was that enjoyable?
BH: It’s very much like what’s going on now. They’re doing a documentary on this particular team, so we’ve had a whole year of someone following [us] around. . . . It’s interesting. . . . I think the documentary is harder because I have a microphone on me basically six days a week, and there’s hours of trying to be the same person, yet maybe be a bit a little more politically correct in my delivery. Whereas when the book was written, I had a very difficult group of kids to work with, and my frustration level at times was through the roof.

Coach Hurley may be demanding, as he siad he was, but his style is certainly working. Maybe some other high school coahces will want to follow Coach Hurley's lead and become a bit tougher to play for. Regardless, Bob Hurley is one of the top high school basketball coaches in the nation. He has been producing Divison I talent like it's a piece of cake, and it certainly is not. Coach Hurley said that he is blessed to have such a loaded roster, and he may very well be right, but Bob Hurley is one heck of a basketball coach, and we are blessed to have had him invloved with high school hoops for such a long time.

Note- photo is from

Monday, February 11, 2008

Interview Posting Update

Hello, it's Alex Schwartz. I just wanted to inform you all that I interviewed a number of players and coaches at the Primetime Shootout from February 8th through the 10th, and I will be putting them up one-by-one in the coming weeks. I spoke with players such as Greg Monroe, Brandon Jennings, Samardo Samuels, Tyreke Evans, and Lance Stephenson, as well as coaches such as Bob Hurley and Steve Smith. I also talked with Jay Williams, former standout at Duke University, and I will put that on the site also. Please check back for the next two weeks or so to read these interviews. Thanks!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Live Blog- Bordentown vs. Abington Friends

The Bordentown (NJ) Scotties and the Abington Friends (PA) Kangaroos are facing off in the final game of this year's Primetime Shootout. Bordentown's roster is filled with juniors and seniors, as only two of the team's 12 players are not in either the class of 2008 or 2009. Abington Friends is led by 6'5" senior swingman Bryan Cohen. This should be a good game. I'll be updating you on the action as the game moves along.

9:54pm- The Scotties are ahead 10-3 after about four minutes of play.

9:58pm- It's now 10-6 with 90 seconds to go.

10:00pm- Bordentown just called timeout. There is 52.8 left, and the score is still 10-6.

10:02pm- Neither team could convert in the closing seconds of the quarter, so it remains 10-6 in favor of the Scotties after eight minutes of play.

10:07pm- This is a very low scoring game, as only four points have been scored in the second quarter, despite being over two minutes in. Bordentown has a 12-8 lead.

10:13pm- There is just under 3:00 left in the second quarter, and the Scotties have a 17-11 lead. No one has really stood out from either team.

10:15pm- Bryan Cohen went 1/2 at the line just now, cutting Bordentown's lead down to five, 17-12. There is just over two minutes to play in the second quarter.

10:17pm- Senior forward Zac Bohanon has come up with a number of offensive rebounds for the Scotties, but he is struggling to score after getting the board.

10:18pm- The Scotties just had a bucket, pushing their lead out to 11. That will be the lead entering the half, with the Scotties leading 23-12. Abington Friends is having a lot of trouble of trouble putting the ball in the hoop.

10:25pm- Brandin Youngblood, a senior swingman on Bordentown, leads all scorers with a quiet 11 points through the first half of play.

10:29pm- Bryan Cohen just picked up his third personal foul, and it's only 50 seconds into the second half. Things are not looking good for the Kangaroos, though senior forward Mike Walther did just have a bucket to cut the lead to 10.

10:31- Bryan Cohen just had a nice play, receiving a pass dribbling, and hitting a runner. Cohen got gis fourth personal foul at the other end, though. There is still over 11 minutes to play, and Cohen has no fouls to give.

10:37pm- Bordentown has doubled Abington Friends' score, leading 36-18, with about 2:30 left in the third quarter. The Scotties just knocked down a three, cutting the lead to 15.

10:41pm- Two free throws from the Kangaroos has cut the lead down to 13, 38-25, with under one minute to go.

10:44pm- Senior swingman Jon Kohler, who had seven points in the first half, knocked down a buzzer-beating three-ball, giving the Scotties a nice 17-point cushion to work with in the last quarter of play. They lead by a score of 43-26.

10:48pm- Cohen grabbed a loose ball after a missed shot by the Scotties, and he passed it up to freshman guard Joe Gripper, who was unable to convert on the fast break layup.

10:50pm- Kohler hit two free throws to stretch Bordentown's lead out to 19. The Scotties are up 47-28 with about 5:30 left in the game.

10:53pm- Bryan Cohen just had the ball knocked away from him along the baseline. He has been quiet all night, as this Bordentown defense has completely shut down the Kangaroos. Cohen just came out of the game, most likely for good, at theer is just over four minutes to go.

10:54pm- Gripper just scored on a fast break for Abington Friends. He has great hops and quickness. The freshman is only 5'10", but he has shown great potential tonight.

10:57pm- Anthony Samuels,a junior forward for the Kangaroos, hit two at the line.

10:59pm- Another freshman on Abington Friends, 5'11" Jabril Trawick, has also played well tonight. He needs to add some bulk to his frame, but the guard has had a few nice plays this evening.

11:01pm- Trawick just hit a deuce, got fouled, and turned it into a three-point play. Bordentown's lead is down to only nine.

11:02pm- Trawick is back at the line shooting two, he missed the first, but did connect on his second attempt.

11:03pm- The Scotties are up eight, 49-41, with exactly 1:00 to play. Abington Friends has come on strong down the stretch.

11:04pm- Kohler went 1/2 at the line with 58.7 to go.

11:06pm- Bordentown hit two free throws, then Abington Friends nailed a three to cut the lead to seven.

11:09pm- Josh Leopold, a senior forward, hit a jumper at the buzzer for the Kangaroos to end the game.

11:10pm- Jabril Trawick won MVP for Abington Friends with 14 points. Jon Kohler got the award for Bordentown. He had 25 points. He shot 20/25 at the free throw line. That's an impressive 80%.

9:14am- Just to let you know, I talked to Jon Kohler after his great perfomance in Bordentowtn's 55-48 win. I will get that up sometime soon.

Live Blog- Plainfield vs. Ridge

Plainfield (NJ) and Ridge (NJ) are playing in the second to last game of the 2008 Primetime Shootout. The Cardinals from Plainfield have two superb underclassmen, sophomore guard Isaiah Epps and freshman guard Tyrone Johnson, along with a high-quality junior, guard Anthony Baskerville. Ridge has a deep team, yet there is no true star player on the squad. I will tell you about the game as it progresses.

8:31pm- Plainfield is up 7-2 with 2:34 to go in the first quarter, after Baskerville went 1/2 at the stripe.

8:33pm- Epps hit a three to put his team up 10-4.

8:35pm- Tyrone Johnson knocked down a three at the buzzer to give Plainfield an 11-point cushion entering the second quarter. The Cardinals lead 15-4.

8:41pm- No points have been scored through three minutes of the second quarter.

8:42pm- Ridege just knocked down a trey to open up the scoring in the quarter. The basket was from sophomore swingman Andrew Madlinger.

8:43pm- Baskerville hit one of two at the line. Madlinger then drained another three-ball. Baskerville answered with a three of his own. The Cardinals are on top 19-10 with 3:31 left to play in the first half.

8:47pm- Mike Price, a Plainfield sophomore guard, just showed an ability to take contact as he drove, got bumped while in the air, and still finished. That was nice play from the six-footer.

8:51pm- Madlinger hit a deuce for Ridge. They are down 25-12.

8:52pm- Baskerville knocked down a three with about 10 seconds to play in the half, pushing Plainfield's lead up to 16. The half will end with that being the score differential. Plainfield is ahead 28-12.

9:04pm- Tyrone Johnson had a nice move to get to the hole for a finger roll. He is a good talent.

9:05pm- Plainfield is ahead 31-15 after about two minutes of play in the second half.

9:07pm- Madlinger drained another trey. He can really stroke it from beyond the arc.

9:12pm- With just over 2:00 left in the third quarter, Plainfield is up by 19, by a score of 41-22.

9:16pm- The Cardinals are ahead 43-24 after three quarters.

9:24pm- Ridge has cut the lead down to 15, but the game is out of reach. Plainfield leads 47-32 with 4:30 remaining in the game.

9:28pm- Tyrone Johnson knocked down a three. He has a very well-rounded offensive game, especially for a freshman. Johnson can shoot if from behind the arc and has the ability to get to the hoop off the dribble.

9:30pm- Khalid Muhammad, a junior forward, scored two straight baskets for Plainfield.

9:32pm- Andrew Madlinger hit another trey for Ridge. His longe-range shot is quite impressive.

9:35pm- Plainfield will walk away from this one with a 61-45 victory. They dominated this game from start to finish.

9:36pm- The MVP of the game from Ridge was Andrew Madlinger, who had 17 points and hit four threes. Plainfield's MVP was Anthony Baskerville, who had 14 points.

9:49pm- After the game, I talked with Anthony Baskerville and Andrew Madlinger. Again, I'll get the interviews up when I have the time.

9:57pm- For your information, Tyrone Johnson had 16 points for the Cardinals, and Isaiah Epps dropped 10 of his own. Madlinger was the only player on Ridge to score in double figures.

Live Blog- American Christian vs. South Kent

This game between American Christian (PA) and South Kent (CT) features two of the top prep schools in the nation. The Eagles of ACA are led by senior guard Tyreke Evans, while the Cardinals of South Kent have a deep roster with a lot of height, that includes 7-foot senior forward Assane Sene, 6'9" junior forward Jin Soo Kim, and 6'2" sophomore guard Dion Waiters. This should be a great matchup.

6:36pm- ACA has taken a 5-2 lead after about three minutes of play.

6:37pm- The Eagles played yesterday, and they beat Rancocas Valley. Lamont Jones, a junior guard had a great game. Tyreke Evans has a bad ankle, and didn't play up to par yesterday.

6:38pm- Senior guard Isaiah Thomas drained a three to tie the game at five. Jeremiah Kelly, a post-grad guard, hit a three at the other end to put ACA back on top.

6:41pm- Lamont Jones is at the line with his team down 9-8. Jones hit the second of two free throws. It's tied up at nine with 2:09 left in the first quarter of play.

6:43pm- Isaiah Thomas knocked down another three, putting the Cardinals up 12-9.

6:45pm- The first quarter just ended with South Kent leading 12-9. Isaiah Thomas, who is headed to Washington next year, showed a great touch from outside.

6:49pm- Lamont Jones knocked down two free throws. ACA is down 17-11. Jones hit a three his next time down the court. It seems that Tyreke Evans isn't playing, by the way. His ankle is probably hurting him.

6:53pm- Assane Sene missed a jump-shot, but was able to grab the rebound. That set-up a basket by Jin Soo Kim. Devyn Erwin, an ACA junior forward had a deuce at the other end, and then Maurice Creek, a senior guard, scored for South Kent, and they now lead 23-18 with just under three minutes left in the half.

6:56pm- Jin Soo Kim blocked a shot by Oscar Griffin, an ACA junior wing. ACA got the ball, though, and then Jin Soo Kim came up with the loose ball. Griffin then scored when ACA got the ball back. Isaiah Thomas then hit another trey.

6:57pm- The Cardianls are out in front by a score of 26-20.

7:00pm- Sophomore forward George Harper was 1/2 at the line. Kelly then hit a deuce for ACA. Jin Soo Kim had a bucket at the buzzer to send the Eagles into the locker room with a 30-24 lead.

7:11pm- Lamont Jones and Isaiah Thoams both had a great first half. I'll let you know how the play in the final 16 minutes.

7:12pm- Jervan Jackson, a post-grad forward on South Kent, hit the first of two at the line. Assane Sene picked up the loose ball after the second shot and got fouled tryingt to put it back up. Sene also hit the first of two at the stripe. At the other end, Jeremiah Kelly drained a three-ball.

7:14pm- Averson Matthews, a 6'10" post-grad center on ACA, grabbed an offensive board and scored a basket.

7:15pm- Dion Waiters had a nice play, coming from the baseline for a beautiful dunk.

7:17pm- Josh Spivey, an ACA senior guard, had an offensive board and then a deuce.

7:18pm- Isaiah Thomas knocked down yet another trey, this time right near the corner. He is playing an amazing game for the Cardinals, and they have a six-point cushion, 39-33, with just under 4:00 to go in the third quarter.

7:19pm- Assane Sene has great height at 7-foot, he is mobile, seems to have a solid basketball IQ, and is good on the glass, but if the big man wants to be successful in college, he is going to need to put on some weight. Sene will be playing in the ACC next year, at the University of Virginia.

7:25pm- George Harper had a tip-in for ACA. Jervan Jackson came back with a bucket for South Kent at the other end. The Cardinals lead 44-36 with under a minute left in the third.

7:27pm- Lamont Jones was just 1/2 at the stripe, so the Cardinals' lead is down to seven.

7:28pm- Jeremiah Kelly came up short on a buzzer-beater from the three-point line. Thus, ACA has a seven-point defecit to make up in the fourth quarter, as they are down 44-37.

7:31pm- Kelly hit one of two at the stripe, and South Kent's lead is down to five. He was then long on a three from the corner American Christian's next time down the court.

7:33pm- Isaiah Thomas ran the fast break and hit an uncotested finger roll, pushing the Cardinals' lead back out to seven.

7:34pm- Oscar Griffin drove to the rack, came in towards Jin Soo Kim, went up-and-under and almost hit it, but he did draw a foul.

7:35pm- South Kent is ahead by si, 46-40, with 5:39 left in regulation.

7:37pm- Josh Spivey drove to rim, got up and dropped it off to Averson Matthews, who finished with a layup. The Eagles have cut the lead down to four.

7:39pm- Senior forward, Kieran Ramsey, hit two at the charity stripe for South Kent, and the lead is back to six.

7:40pm- Lamont Jones drained a three. His outside shot is absolutely rediculous. He has great range and is consistent from beyond the arc. He will wreak havoc in college two years from now with that jump-shot. It's seemingly unguardable. By the way, Jones is committed to Louisvile.

7:43pm- Jones ran by Thomas on the fast break for a layup, cutting South Kent's lead down to four. The Eagles have played great without their superstar, Tyreke Evans. Lamont Jones has stepped up his game for the second straight day due to Evans' injury.

7:48pm- Lamont Jones hit one of two from the line, and South Kent is now up by just three with a little over one minute to go.

7:49pm- After a missed free throw on the front end of a one-and-one by South Kent, ACA forced a jump ball and got posession. The Eagles tied the game up with a three-pointer.

7:52pm- ACA has the ball out-of-bounds with 21.7 to play.

7:53pm- Lamont Jones waited too long to get to the hoop, so he was forced to take a long jumper that came up short. This game is headed to overtime, with the score 51-51, after a great fourth quarter by American Christian.

7:55pm- American Christian has scored a quick seven points to take a 58-51 lead.

7:56pm- Sene grabbed a big rebound for the Cardinals, but their three-ball at the other end came up short. Josh Spivey is at the line for a one-and-one after being fouled by Maurice Creek. Spivey missed the front end. Sene got fouled going for the rebound, and he will be at the stripe for two shots. Let's see how the big man shoots from the line. His first shot got nothing but net. Sene's second shot was also good.

7:58pm- Oscar Griffin scored for ACA on a fast break, pushing the back up to seven.

7:59pm- Isaiah Thomas is at the line for three after being fouled by Harper. He hit all three. That is why you don't foul a jump-shooter.

8:00pm- Jones is at the line for ACA after Creek fouled him in the backcourt. The junior made both shots. The lead is six.

8:01pm- Thomas hit yet another three to cut the American Christian lead down to three.

8:02pm- Jin Soo Kim got his fourth personal foul, sending Jones to the charity stripe. He hit the second of two. Isaiah Thomas then hit ANOTHER three-pointer. ACA is up by just one point with 54.5 seconds to play, and Jonesis at the line.

8:03pm- Jones hit the first of two, but was able to pick up the loose ball after he missed the second. Jones is back at the line with 45.5 to go.

8:05pm- After Jones hit the first, the players kept trading spots, holding up the second shot for quite a bit of time. Jones did knock down the second shot eventually, though! I don't think I've ever seen that happen before.

8:06pm- Thomas missed a three from the corner, and then Kelly was fouled with 30.1 left. He hit both shots at the line.

8:07pm- American Christian comes away with a 68-62 win after two missed shots from South Kent. That was a big come-from-behind victory for the Eagles, playing without Tyreke Evans.

8:09pm- Isaiah Thomas won MVP for the Cardinals, with 31 points, nine of which were in OT. Lamont Jones was the MVP for ACA. He had seven in the fourth quarter and eight in overtime. He won MVP in both of ACA's games this weekend.

8:27pm- Isaiah Thomas was nice enough to talk to me after the tough loss, and I'll fill you in on our talk when I have a chance. I have a lot of interviews to post.

Live Blog- Trenton Catholic vs. Bishop Loghlin

We have another NY/NJ battle on our hands. Trenton Catholic (NJ) is playing against Bishop Loughlin (NY), right after another Trenton team (Trenton Catholic) got knocked off by another squad from New York (Christ the King). Earleir today, Linden (NJ) beat St. Raymond's (NY), so the states are tied up on this Saturday at Sovereign Bank Arena. This matchup between the Iron Mikes of Trenton Catholic and the Lions of Bishop Loughlin will break the tie. TCA's roster includes three great sophomores, forward Markese Tucker, as well as guards Frantz Massenat and Dondre Whitmore. Bishop Loughlin boasts two other top-notch sophomores, guard Doron Lamb and forward Jayvaughn Pinkston, along with senior forward Kevin Phillip, who will be at Drexel next year. I'll let you how the game is playing out.

5:18pm- Bishop Loughlin has jumped out to a 17-7 lead, and the first quarter has just come to a close.

5:23pm- With 6:15 left in the second quarter, the Lions lead 19-9, after a bucket from Dondre Whitmore.

5:36pm- Freshman guard Khalid Lewis El had a nice drive to the hoop, but his shot was a bit strong off the glass. Junior big man Lafayette Smith was there to put the ball in the hoop, cutting the lead down to nine, 21-12.

5:28pm- Smith took a long pass from Massenat, went up for the jam and got fouled. He was 0/2 at the line, but Lewis grabbed the ball after the miss, but was unable to score. Loughlin got the ball back, and quickly turned it over.

5:30pm- Whitmore threw an errant pass that got stolen. Doron Lamb was able to score at the other end for the Lions. He is playing very well.

5:31pm- Smith is at the line again for the Iron Mikes, and he again went 0/2.

5:32pm- Another bucket from Lamb has stretched the Lions' lead out to 17, 29-12.

5:33pm- Markese Tucker just made three big plays. He had a bicket, then got a defensive board at the other end. Then, back on offense, he grabbed an offensive board and put it back in the basket. Tucker has also knocked down a mid-range jumoer from the baseline tonight. He is helping to keep his team in the game.

5:35pm- Bishop Loughlin will be taking a 29-16 lead into halftime.

5:45pm- Senior guard James Johnson was short on a jumper, grabbed his on board, and put the ball in the hoop, opening the scoring in the second half, and stretching the Lions' lead out even further.

5:46pm- Smith had a bucket at the other end to answer Johnson. TCA trails 31-18 with 6:47 left in the third quarter.

5:47pm- James Johnson drained an 18-foot jump-shot from the baseline. Pinkston followed that with another jumper for the Lions, who now lead 35-18 with just over 5:30 to go in the third.

5:49pm- Doron Lamb just went 1/2 at the line. He is absolutely fantastic. He has got to be one of the best sophomores in the nation.

5:51pm- Markese Tucker has a complete game. The sophomore can bang down low in the post, and is also able to shoot mid-range jumpers. He is a very versatile player, and at 6'4", is a vital member of the Iron Mikes.

5:52pm- Khalid Lewis El hada great move just now. He did a crossover, then spun towards the hoop and went up for the shoot. He had to adjust his shot in the air, and the ball rolled around the rim and out. It was a fantastic play, though. The next time TCA got the ball, junior guard Reggie Coleman drained a trey.

5:54pm- There is 2:58 to go in the third quarter, and the Lions are on top 40-23.

5:55pm- Tucker had a bucket, then ran back down the floor to try to stop the fast break, but Lamb's layup went just over his outstretched arm. Lamb then scored twice more after two quick Trenton Catholic turnovers. The Lions' full-court press is working very well.

5:56pm- Trenton Catholic has called timeout. They are down 46-25 with 2:15 remaining in the third quarter. Tucker scored a basket coming out of the timeout. Whitmore then had a bucket next time TCA got the ball.

5:58pm- Kevin Philip is at the stripe for Bishop Loughlin. The senior knocked down both shot, and the Lions' lead is 21, 50-29.

5:59pm- Tucker picked up a loose ball, spun around, and passed to Whitmore. He then dribbled down and dished it to junior forward Daquan Basnight, who scored the bucket. It was a nice play by the Iron Mikes, and there was great ball movement.

6:00pm- Basnight is at the line for two shots. There is 18.4 remaining in the third quarter. Daquan hit both free throws.

6:01pm- Lamb took a pass down low, and was absolutely wide open for a layup as the horn sounded. Bishop Loughlin is leading 52-33 with eight minutes to go.

6:06pm- Jayvaughn Pinkston grabbed an offensive board and put it up and in. Khalid Lewis El responded with a three-ball. Senior guard Michael Lloyd then scored for the Lions.

6:08pm- Senior guard Devon Elliot had a nice bucket just now. He went up and had to change his shot in the air, did so, and put it in the hoop. Pinkston then scored, which was followed by a three-ball for TCA from Reggie Coleman.

6:10pm- Markese Tucker is grabbing boards left and right. He just came up with an offensive rebound and got fouled putting it back up. He hot both free throws. Next time down the court, Tucker had a deuce.

6:12pm- Bishop Loughlin has a commanding 72-42 lead with about 2:00 left in the game.

6:13pm- TCA guard Lorenzo Santos went 1/2 at the line. WOW! At the other end, Markese Tucker had two blocks, and he swatted the ball out-of-bounds on the second.

6:14pm- Lewis El is playing very good pressure defense. Right now, the Lions are up 72-46 after a three-ball from Lewis-El. There is about 30 seconds left.

6:16pm- Coleman hit two shots at the line for TCA.

6:17pm- Bishop Loughlin dribbled the ball around to run the clock out. The Lions come away with a 72-48 win.

6:18pm- Markese Tucker won MVP for the Iron Mikes, and Daron Lamb was the honoree for the Lions, with 28 points.

6:32pm- Doron Lamb, Jayvaughn Pinkston, and Kevin Phillip were all nice enough to talk with me after their big win. I'll get you all caught up on what we discussed when I have a chance.

Live Blog- Trenton Central vs. Christ the King

Trenton Central (NJ) and Christ the King (NY) are facing off in another NY/NJ showdown. The Tornadoes of TCHS are one of the top public school teams in New Jersey, and are led by senior center Lorenzo Freeman. The Royals of Christ the King are a high-quality group, featuring senior guard Ryan Pearson, sophomore center Roland Brown, and senior guard Erving Walker. The game is already at halftime. I'll catch you up on what has been happening.

4:06pm- Christ the King is up 32-12 heading into the break.

4:15pm- For those of you that don't know, Erving Walker is a really special player. He is just 5'8", but is a phenomenal point guard, not letting his size hold him back. Walker will be a Florida Gator next season, so it's clear that he has immense talent.

4:22pm- The Royals have a commanding 23-point lead, after a trey from Pearson. It's 42-19 with around 4:00 left in the third.

4:23pm- Senior guard Alzavier Upshur just made a nice play and finished it with a bucket.

4:25pm- TCHS refuses to give up, and they are startingto make some plays. The lead has been cut down to 17, 42-25.

4:26pm- Erving Walker just made two nice passes to a teammate on the low post but neither time would the close-up shot fall. The Royals did get two points off free throws, though, as the recipient of the second pass, Pearson, was fouled.

4:28pm- Senior forward Darelle Robinson brought on a huge cheer from the crowd, as he skied and emphatically jammed the ball through the hoop on a fast break.

4:30pm- Christ the King is ahead 44-27 with 29.9 left in the third quarter. Ryan Pearson is stepping to the line after being fouled on the low post. He hit both shots from the stripe. The senior has displayed a versatile game, as he is a guard, but is able to bang down low with the bigs, as he is 6'5".

4:32pm- Sean Johnson, a junior guard for the Royals, was called for a technical foul. The Tornadoes got a point at the line, then Darren Elam, a junior guard, drained a trey, cutting the lead down to 15.

4:35pm- Christ the King was up 15 entering the fourth quarter, as they missed a long buzzer-beater at the end of the third.

4:37pm- The Royals are dominating in te hopening minutes of the fourth quarter. They have pushed the lead back to 22, as Lorenzo Freeman just hit a deuce for the Tornadoes. Senior guards Eving Walker and Anthony Martin are playing very well for Christ the King.

4:40pm- Pearson just converted on an alley-oop, slamming it home.

4:44pm- Darren Elam had a nice block at one end, and Lorenzo Freeman had a bucket at the other. The Tornadoes are down by 18 with just over 1:00 to go.

4:45pm- Elam had a bucket, and then Christ the King answered with a trey. The Royals are up 19 with 31.5 remaining.

4:47pm- Sophomore forward Dominykas Milka is 6'8", but looks even bigger. He is big, and just had a block on D for the Royals and then an offensive board at the other end.

4:48pm- Christ the King is the winner by a score of 64-47.

4:49pm- The MVP award for the Tornadoes was given to Darren Elam, as he dropped 17. The honor for Christ the King was given to Erving Walker. He scored 13 points.

5:13pm- I talked with Lorenzo Freeman of TCHS, as well as Erving Walker and Ryan Pearson of Christ the King after the game. I'll get those up on the site sometime soon.

Live Blog- Montrose Christian vs. Paterson Catholic

Paterson Catholic (NJ) is sometimes overshadowed due to the numerous national powers in New Jersey, but the Cougars are a great team in their own right. Their roster includes star sophomores Fuquan Edwin, a swingman, Trevor Clemmings, a big man, and Jayon James, a swingman, as well as senior swingman Jordan Theodore. The Mustangs of Montrose Christian have a great lineup from top to bottom, but it's foward Isaiah Armwood, forward Terrell Vinson, and guard Tristan Spurlock, all of whom are juniors, that get most of the attention. This should bea teriffic contest between two top-notch teams.

2:10pm- Sophomore swingman Shaquille Thomas has put Paterson Catholic ahead by a deuce with a nice move down-low and he drew contact for a foul, but couldn't connect on the and-one.

2:11pm- Paterson Catholic is up 6-2 after about two minutes of play.

2:13pm- Two staright three-balls from Montrose has put them up 8-6. The second trey was by Vinson. Paterson Catholic answered with a deuce, to tie the game at eight.

2:15pm- Fuquan Edwin missed a long jumper and didn't follow his shot. If he had, he probably could have come up with the loose ball, as it slipped by the players in the low post and went back towads him. Edwin has to follow that shot.

2:18pm- Paterson Catholic senior guard Wayne Mack got to the hole on a fast break, hit the shot, got fouled, and turned it into a three-point play.

2:19pm- Wayne Mack drained a three with just a few seconds left in the quarter, and Montrose missed a LONG buzzer-beater. The Cougars are up nine, 19-10, entering the second quarter.

2:22pm- Theodore made a beautiful pass on the run to Thomas, but he traveled with the ball.

2:23pm- Terrell Vinson has just scored the first points of the quarter.

2:24pm- Vinson just hit another shot. The Cougars' lead is down to five.

2:25pm- Jayon James and Vinson just traded buckets, so the lead stays at five with 4:45 left in te hhalf. Vinson is on fire right now, as he has all of the Mustangs' points this quarter.

2:26pm- A nice play from Jordan Theodore has pushed the Paterson Catholic lead back out to seven.

2:31pm- Junior guard Dominic Milburn missed a jumper from around half-court at the buzzer, so Montrose will be down 11 when the game resumes after the break. PAterson Catholic leads 30-19 after one half of play.

2:41pm- Vinson and Theodore were the most impressive guys in the first half. I'll be sure to let you know how they play in the second half.

2:44pm- Spurlock had a tip-in off a missed shot for a bucket. Spurlock's basket was the first of the second half.

2:45pm- Armwood was called for a technical foul. Theodore is taking the shots of the Cougars. He hit both of them, and the lead is back to 11.

2:46pm- Micah Fraction, a freshman guard for the Mustangs, drove to the outside of Wayne Mack, and banked the ball off the glass for a bucket. Superb play from the freshman.

2:47pm- Jayon James made a nice pass to Shaquille Thomas, and he knocked down a mid-range jumper.

2:48pm- On back-to-back plays, both teams were called for charges. Montrose Christian has five team fouls, and Paterson Catholic has three.

2:49pm- There was just another charge called on the Mustangs. Three of the last four posessions have ended in an offensive foul.

2:51pm- The Cougars have called timeout with 2:52 to go in the third quarter. They are leading 37-24.

2:56pm- Ian Chiles, a 7-foot senior center on Paterson Catholic, has a great physique. He has a great body type for a big man. He is tall, and he isn't too skinny or too heavy like many high schools bigs are.

2:57pm- The third quarter has just come to a close, and Paterson Catholic has full control of this game, up by 15, 43-28.

3:02pm- Vinson knocked down a mid-range jump-shot. He has played well today, but the team just isn't clicking.

3:03pm- Jayon James is a superb player. He is big and tall, has a good build, and he is able to dribble and pass quite well. His handle is solid, and he has some nice moves.

3:06pm- The Cougars lead 49-30 with about 4:20 to play.

3:07pm- Jordan Theodore has great quickness, and he will taking it with him to Seton Hall next year.

3:08pm- The Mustangs are having a really rough night. They are trailing by 22 and there is just 3:39 left in the game. Montrose has managed just 30 points through 28+ minutes.

3:10pm- Armwood and Spurlock have been pretty much silent from start to finish, and Terrell Vinson has been forced to do it all himself. The Mustangs need more than just one player to have a good game in order to get the W.

3:11pm- Theodore just drained two free throws, and his Cougars are leading 54-30.

3:13pm- James just had a deuce for the Cougars. They are manhandling the Mustangs.

3:16pm- Paterson Catholic gets the win with a final scoer of 57-34. They dominated the Mustangs for all but the first few minutes of the game.

3:17pm- Jordan Theodore was the game's lone MVP.

3:58pm- After the game, I talked with Jayon James and Jordan Theodore of Paterson Catholic, as well as Isaiah Armwood of Montrose Christian. Check back in the near future to see a write-up of the interview.

Primetime Shootout Live Blog- Linden vs. St. Raymond's

In the second contest here on Sunday at the Primetime Shootout, the Ravens of St. Raymond's (NY) and the Tigers of Linden (NJ) are squaring off in a cross-state battle. The Tigers are led by senior guard Desmond Wade, and the Ravens' roster includes senior guard Darryl Bryant. By the way, in case you were wondering, St. Joseph's (NJ) lost to Notre Dame (NJ) in the first game today, and I spoke with Notre Dame's MVP, senior guard Julian Diaz. Here is what is going on in the game happening right now:

12:13pm- With just under over minutes having already been played, St. Ray's is up 10-9.

12:16pm- Junior guard Omari Lawrence of St. Ray's was unable to finsih at the hoop, but he made a great play to get there. He has a nice handle.

12:17pm- Linden senior guard Jerelle Louis drained a three to put his team up three, 14-11.

12:20pm- Lawrence jammed one home on a pass from Bryant with about 10 seconds to go. Linden then responded with a bucket of its own. The first quarter has ended, with the Tigers ahead of the Ravens 18-14.

12:27pm- Senior center Charlton Wilson of Linden is a big guy. He is built similarly to "Tiny" Gallon, but is about six inches shorter, and maybe 35 or 45 pounds lighter. Wilson is much more mobile on both ends of the floor than Gallon, but it's the six inches that gives Gallon the advantage and makes him a much more well-known player. The two aren't playing agaisnt each other, though I do think that would be fun to watch, seeing how they matchup.

12:31pm- The Tigers are leading 26-18 after a bucket from Desmond Wade. There is just under 2:30 left in the half.

12:32pm- Junior forward Kevin Parrom of the Ravens answered with a traditional three-play. At the other end, Parrom fouled Charlton Wilson, who will step to the line for two shots. Wilson made both shots, and the lead is seven.

12:36pm- Junior forward David Bruce had a tip-in off a missed shot right before the buzzer sounded, giving his Linden squad an eight-point cushion at the end of the half. The score is 32-24.

12:45pm- No one really stood out to me as head-and-shoulders above the rest in the first, though there were a few guys who seemed to be great tealents, inlcuding Desmond Wade of Linden and Darryl Bryant of St. Raymond's.

12:49pm- David Bruce had a nice basket down low, and Desmond Wade got the assist off a nice dish, finding the open man. Bruce turned it into a three-point play.

12:52pm- Bruce hit on one of two free throws just now.

12:53pm- Kevin Parrom grabbed an offensive rebound and got fouled by Charlton Wilson. He hit both shots at the line.

12:54pm- Darryl Bryant drained a three-ball to cut the lead to seven, 38-31.

12:55pm- Tyreak Johnson, a junior guard on S. Ray's, has sliced the lead down to five with a nice layup.

12:56pm- Desmond Wade just assisted Charlton Wilson, and the lead is back up to seven.

12:57pm- A trey was just hit by Darryl Bryant, and the Linden lead has been pushed down to only four.

12:58pm- Delroy Daley, a senior forward on St. Ray's, just knocked down a deuce. Linden is up by that same amount, two. The Tigers lead 40-38 with 2:42 to play in the third.

12:59pm- Sophomore forward Quadeer Lewis setup David Bruce for a bucket, but he missed down low. Bruce was able to tip it back in, though. That was nice court vision from the sophomore.

1:02pm- Tyreak Johnson just hit back-to-back layups on fast breaks to put St. Ray's ahead 44-42. There is 39.8 remaining in the third quarter.

1:05pm- Linden couldn't convert at the buzzer, so the Ravens will take a two-point lead into the last quarter of play.

1:07pm- Wilson plucked a board out of the air, and used his elbows to clear away the defenders trying to re-gain posession. Charlton is playing a solid game for the Tigers. He did almost throw the ball away on offense just now, but a teammate was able to pick up the deflected pass.

1:12pm- Wade was short on a three. He has a nice stroke, but he may be kicking his legs out in front of him a bit much, possibly to compensate for height. He is just 5-'9".

1:13pm- Wade hit a deuce, then Lawrence did the same, as the teams traded buckets. St. Ray's is up 49-45 with 4:54 to play.

1:14pm- Two free throws from Jerelle Louis cut the Ravens' lead down to two.

1:15pm- St. Ray's has called timeout with 4:33 left in regulation.

1:16pm- Parrom stole a pass in the back-court, got fouled, and missed both shots at the stripe.

1:17pm- St. Ray's is full-court pressing, and it is working. First they forced they forced a bad pass that PArrom grabbed, and didn't let Linden get out of the back-court, causing a ten-second violation.

1:18pm- Louis had a three-point play, then Lawrence answered with a basket to re-gain the lead for the Ravens. Bruce answered with a deuce. Lawrence then scored, drew a foul, and connected on the free throw, putting the Ravens up two.

1:21pm- David Bruce had a bucket, and drained the free throw for a traditional three-point play. The Tigers are ahead 55-54 with 2:03 remaining.

1:24pm- Senior guard Justin Alston missed a three for St. Ray's, then Linden was able to break the press. Desmond Wade was fouled, and hit both shots at the charity stripe, stretching the lead out to three.

1:25pm- Lawrence had a nice steal, then a beautiful no-look pass to Parrom, who put the ball in the hoop. Linden is up one with 65 seconds to play.

1:26pm- Parrom had a sensational block down low, but Linden got the ball abck after it went out-of-bounds. Desmond Wade then drained a shot, pushing the lead back out to three.

1:27pm- Darryl Bryant is at the stripe for a one-and-one. He hit the first. His second shot is also good.

1:28pm- A nice pass from Louis to freshman guard Elijah Hodge broke the St. Ray's pressure. Desmond Wade was fouled with the ball, and he proceeded to knock down both shots. Linden leads 61-58 with the clock showing 19.8.

1:30pm- St. Ray's called a timeout as soon the ball crossed half-court. There is now 14.6 to go.

1:32pm- Parrom was unable to find an open man to in-bound the ball to, and was forced to call timeout. That was some heads-up thinking by the junior, though.

1:34pm- Darryl Bryant hit a contested three to tie the game. Linden wasn't able to hit 85-foot buzzer-beater. This game is going to overtime. The period will be four-minutes long. St. Ray's had 10+ fouls, and Linden has seven.

1:36pm- Omari Lawrence came up with a big bucket to start the scoring. Linden then missed two shots at the other end, but forced a jump-ball, to re-gain posession after a St. Ray's rebound.

1:37pm- Desmond Wade with a bucket, and he is fouled by Darryl Bryant. Wade makes it a three point-play, and Linden leads by one.

1:38pm- Quadeer Lewis blocked Lawrence, who then fouled Desmond Wade. The Houston-bound senior hit the first of two at the stripe. Linden is up by a deuce.

1:40pm- Parrom missed the front end of a one-and-one, and Linden grabbed the board. The Tigers were called for traveling at the other end, giving the ball back to St. Ray's.

1:41pm- Parrom, who was down low, couldn't hang on to a pass from Johnson, and the Ravens turned the ball over. Elijah Hodge was fouled running the fast break, and he made the second of two shots with under two minutes to go.

1:42pm- David Bruce fouled Omari Lawrence as he was going up for a shot after grabbing an offensive board. Lawrence missed his first shot. Lawrence's second is good.

1:43pm- St. Ray's is down 66-64 with 1:21 left in overtime.

1:44pm- Tyreak Johnson fouled David Bruce, who made two free throws, strething the lead to four. That was Tyreak's fourth foul.

1:45pm- Parrom is at the charity stripe after being fouled. His forst shot was good, but his second wouldn't fall.

1:46pm- Desmond Wade was fouled with 56.9 remaining. Wade has connected on both shots, and the lead is five.

1:47pm- Bruce got fouled after getting a defensive rebound off a missed three. He sank both shots at the line. At the other end, Bruce grabbed another board on a missed shot by Darryl Bryant.

1:48pm- Bruce is at the line after being fouled. There is 37.4 left to play. He hit both shots, and the lead is nine.

1:49pm- Johnson and Parrom both missed close-ups and Bruce is back at the line after being fouled. He made the second of two, and Linden leads by 10.

1:50pm- Senior guard Julio Gomez drained a trey for St. Ray's, but it was too little too late. Bruce closed out the contest with a bucket.

1:51pm- Darryl Bryant had 25 points and was MVP for the Ravens. David Bruce was the MVP for Linden with 29 points.

2:03pm- I caught up with David Bruce after the team's big win. I'll be posting the interview when I have a chance.