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The Daily Times' boys basketball blog

Friday, December 7, 2012

Chester tops first AAAA poll, Carroll third in AAA

The preseason accolades for the defending PIAA Class AAAA champion Chester Clippers keep rolling in. This time, it's a No. 1 spot in the Harrisburg Patriot-News state poll. As always, the Philly area is well-represented on the list and Penn Wood gets in the honorable mention section.

Here's the first poll.

1. Chester (1) 32-0 1
2. Lower Merion (1) 29-4 2
3. St. Joseph’s Prep (12) 21-6 9
4. Cathedral Prep (10) 21-6 5
5. Harrisburg (3) 21-7 8
6. McCaskey (3) 22-8 NR
7. Williamsport (4) 18-9 NR
8. New Castle (7) 27-1 NR
9. Abington (1) 20-8 NR
10. Roman Catholic (12) 17-10 4
Honorable mention: Coatesville (1) 25-7, Easton (11) 22-8, Gateway (7) 21-7, Hampton (7) 25-5, Liberty (11) 14-9, Norristown (1) 20-9, Penn Wood (1) 16-9, State College (6) 18-5.

In the AAA poll, Archbishop Carroll checks in at No. 3. 

1. Neumann-Goretti* (12) 28-3 1
2. Imhotep Charter# (12) 22-8 NR
3. Archbishop Carroll (12) 20-8 6
4. Chartiers Valley (7) 20-3 NR
5. Allentown C.C. (11) 16-10 NR
6. Abington Heights (2) 24-6 9
7. Mars (7) 18-8 NR
8. Hickory (10) 16-10 NR
9. Berks Catholic (3) 28-3 10
10. Archbishop Wood (12) 14-9 NR
Honorable mention: Beaver (7) 19-8, Donegal (3) 20-4, General McLane (10) 26-1, Keystone Oaks (7) 20-3, Meadville (10) 16-7, Montour (7) 24-5, Philadelphia Electrical (12) 16-11, Susquehanna Twp (3) 9-15.


Boys Super 7 No. 1

For those of you who don’t know, I like to publish the logic that goes on behind the Super 7. That way, you don’t think I’m quite as dumb as you originally thought, or maybe you can just realize why I ranked each team where it’s ranked. This is also posted at, where I'll be keeping this season's stats. This blog will still be around for extra coverage, though. Anyway, here we go.
1. Chester (0-0)
I mean, what did you really expect? If there’s a weakness on this team, I’d love to know what it is. Reigning Daily Times Player of the Year Rondae Jefferson is the best player in the state, and he’ll get a lot of help from his friends in Darius RobinsonRichard Granberry and Friends’ Central transfer Conrad Chambers. The Clippers are the best team in the state and there’s a very good chance that they make it three straight PIAA Class AAAA titles.
2. Penn Wood (0-0)
A perennial power that will make sure Chester doesn’t take the Del Val crown without a fight. Losing Delco’s leading scorer in All-Delco Malcolm Richardson, who moved on to East Stroudsburg University, is a big blow, but guards Jerry Price and Tyree Bynum give coach Clyde Jones plenty of options to work with.
3. Archbishop Carroll (0-0)
Coach Paul Romanczuk couldn’t help grin from ear to ear when talking about how much size his team will have. It’s the biggest team in his tenure as the Patriots’ boss, and Ernest Aflakpui is the biggest of them all. The 6-10, 225-pound sophomore will allow Carroll to work some new things in to the offense, which still runs through All-Delco point guard Yosef Yacob. Don’t overlook 6-6 forward Derrick Jones, either. He’ll do some nice things for the Patriots.
4. Penncrest (0-0) Lower Merion is the favorite to win the Central League and maybe even make the state title game again, but the Lions are the consensus No. 2 team in the league. Point guard Eddie Baxter was singled out by coach Mike Doyle as one to watch, and Doyle seemed positively giddy when discussing the potential of 6-6 forward Kalvin Simpson. The Aces are really good, but can Penncrest be the team that knocks them off their perch?
5. The Haverford School (1-0)
With a 6-4 point guard in Shawn Alston, a 6-5 shooting guard in Sean Lloyd and a 6-6 small forward in Eric Anderson, the Fords are enormous. And while Lloyd, a transfer from Franklin Learning Center, is ineligible for Inter-Ac games this year because of his transfer, Haverford School still figures to be just fine once league play rolls around. There’s depth and athleticism for days, and football All-Delco Chris Morgan figures to return soon after suffering a hand injury in the final game of the year against Episcopal Academy.
6. Ridley (0-0) 
Jon McGill and Kenny Bartow are the lone returning guys with experience for the Green Raiders and coach Mike Snyder, but they should still be a solid team.
7. Upper Darby (0-0)
If all goes according to plan, Kuity Slanger will again be a threat from beyond the arc for the Royals. Beni Toure offers versatility, and Quadir Rice could blossom in the middle.


Season Preview: A look around the county

Here’s the girls basketball season preview from Matt Smith.
Kristie Costantino, left, and All-Delco Sarah Curran, right, are a big reason why Archbishop Carroll has an eye on bringing home its second consecutive PIAA Class AAAA championship. 
Archbishop Carroll All-Delco Sarah Curran, Cardinal O’Hara two-time All-Delco Shanice Johnson, Notre Dame three-time All-Delco Megan McGurk, Springfield’s Alex Poplawski and Episcopal Academy center and 2011-12 Daily Times Player of the Year Megan Quinn are among the players to watch this year.

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Season Preview: A look around the county

Here's a complete list of the boys basketball season preview stories.

From left to right, Daily Times Player of the Year Rondae Jefferson, Darius Robinson and Richard Granberry will be counted upon to help Chester bring home its ninth state championship. 

A look at Archbishop Carroll's Ernest Aflakpui, a 6-10 Ghana native, leads off the look at the rest of the county schools.

Chester's Rondae Jefferson and Darius Robinson, The Haverford School's Shawn Alston, Archbishop Carroll's Yosef Yacob and Interboro's Christian Irons are just five of the bevy of talented players to watch for this year.

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Monday, September 24, 2012


(Courtesy Reading Eagle)

Eric Brennan doesn’t know Finnish. He doesn’t own a Finnish-to-English dictionary, either. Sunday, Brennan’s making a trip across the Atlantic Ocean to begin his professional career … in Finland.

Brennan, a Chester native who played at West Catholic High, signed a one-year contract with a team in Finland’s first division – Tapiolan Honka, located in the nation’s second-largest city, Espoo.

“I might need a little help with some of the signs in the windows and things like that,” said Brennan, a 6-7 forward. “But I hear everyone over there speaks English – or at least broken English. I hope I can get by.”

Brennan finished his college career with per-game averages of 14 points and 9.3 rebounds last spring at Kutztown University, where he played the last two seasons. He played two years at Lock Haven University before transferring. Brennan, who grew up on East 18th Street in Chester, said playing three hours away from home while at Lock Haven constitutes “my longest roadtrip.”

“I’ve never been further away from home for as long as I was than when I was at Lock Haven,” Brennan said, “so being an ocean away, I expect culture shock and homesickness to settle in. But I think I’ll get through it. Basketball is going to be my life.”

Brennan will join Tapiolan Honka, of Finland’s first-division Korisliiga. He signed a one-year deal to play in the league, which features a 25-game regular season that concludes April 30 with postseason pairings to follow.

He said it’s always been a dream to play basketball professionally and now he’ll get his chance.

“This is my career. This is what I’ve always wanted,” Brennan said.

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Friday, September 21, 2012


Yeadon native Zac Tillman, a 6-9, 290-pound power forward, committed earlier this week to Monmouth University, according to City of Basketball Love.

Tillman, a senior at the Shipley School, will be able to make good on his verbal when the signing period opens Nov. 14.

Tillman is expected to give Monmouth bulk down low, even though he's made a commitment to shedding some unwanted weight. COBL does a good job recapping his verbal, and beyond. Give it a read.


Thursday, September 13, 2012


Here’s how the story goes … or, at least how Yosef Yacob tells it.
Yacob took a seat at the barbershop earlier this week, beside Rondae Jefferson. The All-Delco seniors – Yacob at Archbishop Carroll, Jefferson at Chester – struck up a conversation while they were getting a trim.
Yacob told Jefferson he had made his choice and would commit verbally to Binghamton. That’s when, Yacob said, Jefferson spilled the beans.
“He told me he was going to pick Arizona,” said Yacob, a Chester native. “I was all smiles. I said, ‘That’s great.’ He was smiling, too.”
That’s because Jefferson knew he had made his decision, too.
Jefferson narrowed his choices, from an innumerable stack of letters to seven schools. Thursday, in his home, he met with Arizona coach Sean Miller, to whom Jefferson gave his verbal commitment to join the Wildcats for the 2013-14 season.
Jefferson has been out west a few times this summer, visiting the training ground for USA basketball in Colorado Springs, Colo., and playing in the Under Armour Elite 24 event in Venice Beach, Calif.
So he’s at least comfortable with the surroundings, which justified his visit to the Tucson, Ariz., campus earlier this month.
Jefferson picked Arizona ahead of Florida, Memphis, Rutgers, Syracuse, Temple and Texas.
“I just feel like, when I get there, it’ll be my team,” Jefferson said. “I’m going to be the big piece on a team that’s going to win the ‘chip.”

Jefferson’s star shined brightest last season, his talents coinciding with one of the most historic seasons in Chester High program history.

Jefferson averaged 12.1 points, 9.2 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 2.7 blocks per game for Chester (32-0), which finished the season having claimed consecutive PIAA Class AAAA championships and with a top-five ranking nationally according to three publications.

The Daily Times’ Player of the Year, Jefferson also was PIAA Player of the Year, after having directed the Clippers to their first perfect season in school history. They picked up their eighth state title – the most among Pennsylvania schools – established a school-record with a 58-game (and counting) winning streak, as well as winning the District One and Del Val League crowns.

That’s largely thanks to Jefferson, the lanky, multi-talented point guard stuck in a forward’s body.

So at the end of last season, and the start of the summer recruiting stretch, Jefferson reduced his list of suitors to seven. He didn’t want any excess phone calls. That left seven schools as his potential college destinations.

An argument could have been made that Temple was the most-suitable spot, being that his brother – Chester All-Delco Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson – has had three strong seasons there. Same could be said for Rutgers, with coach Mike Rice demonstrating such a dogged recruiting bid Jefferson for the last three years. Or even Memphis, with one of Jefferson’s friends, three-time American Christian All-Delco Tyreke Evans, having spent one season there.
Instead, it was Arizona. It’s where Jefferson said he felt at home.

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