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The Daily Times' boys basketball blog

Saturday, December 31, 2011


Erikk Wright is as straight-ahead as they come.

An unassuming, quiet, mild-mannered kid, Wright has a mean streak only when a basketball is in his hands. The 6-3 senior forward for Chester doesn't ever speak out of turn, but when asked Saturday about the Clippers' next opponent - New York City's Christ the King, 7:45 p.m. Sunday, at Widener - Wright opened up.

Wright (pictured, left) said playing Christ the King, which opened the season ranked nationally, is "a big one for us" and it could be their "biggest one yet." That says a lot of the Royals (4-2), who represent only a blip on a Chester scheduling radar that has identified national talents up and down the East Coast.

"We play every game like it's the same, really," Wright said Saturday, by telephone. "I mean, it's a big one for us. But we have to come out with our head straight."

Will that be difficult to do?

"No," Wright said succinctly.

And why not?

"We've played some of their kids before," Wright said. "Maybe not in high school, but in AAU. High school is a little different, but they're still the same kids trying to beat Chester. Everybody wants to beat Chester. Everybody wants to beat the championship team, so we play every game like it's our last game."

Wright, one of two Clippers (7-0) averaging double figures (the other is Rondae Jefferson), said he's getting recruiting interest from Division I programs Robert Morris and Coppin State, as well as Division III teams Widener and Neumann. But no offers just yet, he said.

"Even the Division IIs that have seen me said I'm a Division I (recruit)," said Wright, a third-team all-state selection in 2011 who has the scores to qualify academically next season. "It's a lot of things up in the air, but I'm not worrying about that right."

First things first, of course. Like that Christ the King game.

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Friday, December 30, 2011


Here's a look at Delco's top 10 leading scorers, through Wednesday's games.

(Through Wednesday)

Name, School ... Avg (Point, Games)

1. Chuck Dorsey, Academy Park ... 20.2 ppg (121 p, 6 g)
2. Malcolm Richardson (right), Penn Wood...19.0 ppg (95p,5g)
3. Shawn Church, Ridley ... 18.8 ppg (169 p, 9 g)
4. Alec Stavetski, Arch. Carroll ... 15.0 ppg (75 p, 5 g)
5. Rob Pittman, Chichester ... 14.5 ppg (116 p, 8 g)
6. Ryan Furst, Marple Newtown ... 14.4 ppg (130 p, 9 g)
7. Matt Fox, Springfield ... 13.8 ppg (110 p, 8 g)
8. George Walker, Glen Mills ... 13.7 ppg (82 p, 6 g)
9. John Fender, Strath Haven ... 13.4 ppg (94 p, 7 g)
10. Tyree Bynum, Penn Wood ... 12.6 ppg (63 p, 5 g)
CLOSE CALLS: Ryan Kelly (Garnet Valley) and Mike McKale (Springfield) each average 12.3 ppg and Pat McGee (Marple Newtown) averages 12.0 ppg.

Some things to consider here:
**It's a three-horse race. Beyond Dorsey, Richardson and Church (pictured), there's a great disparity in the players' averages.
**Penn Wood has two representatives in the top 10, in Richardson and Bynum.
***Glen Mills' Raheem Harvey does not qualify because he hasn't played in two-thirds of his team's games. The 6-8 center, who missed four games, is averaging 26.5 ppg through two games, however.

One final note: The location and time of Chester's game New Year's Day against Christ the King (N.Y.) have changed. The game, between teams that opened the season ranked in nearly every national poll, tips off at 7:45 p.m. at Widener.

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Thursday, December 29, 2011


Providing this blog post is my colleague, Matt DeGeorge, who covered St. Joseph (Metuchen, N.J.) vs. Penn Wood Wednesday at the Jameer Nelson Classic:

St. Joseph’s (N.J.) got quite a scare from Penn Wood Wednesday night in the Jameer/Pete Nelson Holiday Classic at Widener University, eking out a 58-57 win.

But for Temple signee Quenton DeCosey, it was an introduction to the Philadelphia basketball season that the 6-5 guard/forward cherished.

DeCosey, a native of Metuchen, N.J., who said he had only played in the Philadelphia area “once or twice” in AAU ball, enjoyed the atmosphere.

“I wanted to try to show Philly what it’s going to be like next year,” he said. “It’s a great atmosphere, it was really exciting.”

DeCosey’s game got off to a slow start, as he picked up two fouls in the game’s first 90 seconds and sat for the rest of the first half, a somewhat surprising hiatus given that the Falcons only use around six players in their regular rotation. He finished with 13 points thanks to a strong second half in which he was a calming influence on the Falcons in withstanding the Patriots' late charge.

In the third quarter, when Penn Wood cut the lead to five, it was a spinning, off-balance jumper by DeCosey that briefly stemmed the tide of the Patriots’ run. He had three baskets in the final six minutes of the game, including a three that stretched the lead to nine with 2:01 to play.

And on the Falcons’ final possesson, it was DeCosey’s hands in which head coach Dave Turco placed the ball, allowing him to create his own shot and draw a foul from Quardiar Sewell. He made one of two from the line, enough for the win.

“I just tried to come out in the second half and be aggressive,” DeCosey said. “I wasn’t able to help my teammates in the first half, so I was just trying to get good shots.”

“Q’s a gamer,” Turco said. “He knows that for us to win, he has to do the little things. He’s getting better at trusting his teammates and getting them the ball in the right positions, and he knows not to force it.”

(Photos: By The Star-Ledger)

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Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Here's one thing Jameer Nelson knows about Chester High basketball: This year's team is more talented than his state-title team in 2000.

Here's another thing Nelson knows: Nelson - the Orlando Magic's starting point guard, an NBA all-star, a consensus Player of the Year at Saint Joseph's, a 2000 PIAA Class AAAA state champ at Chester - would NOT include his name among Chester's five-best all-time players.

"I can't put myself in it," said Nelson, who spoke to me in advance of the three-day holiday tournament bearing his and his father's name, the Jameer Nelson/Pete Nelson Classic. "I'm behind those guys from when I played at Chester. There were a lot of great players at Chester, before me and after me."

So who would Nelson include? Some of the names may surprise you.

"My all-time starting five? Wow," Nelson said. "I'd go with Zain Shaw, Eric Evans, Ray Carroll, Granny Lash and Rondae Jefferson (pictured, right)."

Zain Shaw, a 1991 grad and the program's all-time leading scorer, had 1,993 points and won a state title as a sophomore. ... Eric "Pooh" Evans, a 1994 state champ and the brother of NBA star Tyreke Evans, shared the same backcourt as Ray Carroll. Speaking of him ... Ray Carroll, a 1995 grad, an all-American and a 1994 state champ, had 1,401 points. ... Granny Lash, twice a state runner-up, averaged 21 points as a junior but is not among the school's 1,000-point scorers. ... Rondae Jefferson, a state champ last year as a sophomore, is regarded nationally as one of the top recruits from the Class of 2013.

"Rondae's definitely up there all-time," Nelson said. "They probably have more talent (this year and last year) than we had. I still like my team in 2000. There were some tough teams before and after, so it's tough to compare, to say who would win. All I know is if you've played at Chester, you've got to be a good player."

Nelsom omitted guys like Emerson Baynard (10th-leading scorer, a first-team all-American), Nasir Robinson (stud at Pitt, 2nd-leading scorer, 2008 state champ), and Horace Walker (9th-leading scorer who had an NBA career).

But hey, everyone's got their opinions. Who would make the cut for you?

Here's more from my interview with Jameer Nelson.

(Daily Times staff photo / ERIC HARTLINE)

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Monday, December 26, 2011


I made calls Dec. 24 to a number of area coaches, trying to get to the bottom of holiday tournaments. Not that I don't understand what they're all about, but more or less asking why coaches involve their teams in them.

I think Monsignor Bonner's Tom Meakim put it best: "Heck, we're trying to win a (tournament) championship."

The holiday tournament season is upon us with Bonner opening Monday and most other teams christening their slates Tuesday or Wednesday. Here's a glimpse of my column on holiday tournaments, which will appear in Tuesday's Daily Times:

It’s not the 97-mile drive that jolts Tom Meakim. Nor is it the prospect of maintaining order among 13 young adults … in a night’s stay at a hotel … out of state.

Actually, as Meakim will tell you, it’s that ham-dinner/cookie-dessert hangover that causes him vexations.

“I’ll tell you what — that’s on my mind, but it’s not as bad as you’d think,” Meakim, Monsignor Bonner’s boys basketball coach, said with a warm chuckle. “You get your guys out there running, doing a shootaround and they’re usually OK.

“The last thing you want is for them to be lethargic because they had too much to eat the day before. But this is a happy time of the year, and I’m happy for them.”

Playing basketball in the days immediately following Christmas, as Meakim’s Monsignor Bonner team did Monday, is daunting for any coach. From gifts to girlfriends, and pastries with fillings of jelly that lead to overly full bellies, the kids have everything but a bouncing ball on their minds.

For the rest of the column, pick up Tuesday's Daily Times.

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Saturday, December 24, 2011


One of my holiday routines is making my way into Center City to see the Macy's Holiday Light Show (pictured). Hopefully, you've had plenty of opportunities to do everything you like around this time of the year. And, if you haven't, now is the time.

Happy holidays. Enjoy good food, good company and good people.

DelcoHoops might take a break -- if only for a day or two -- but be sure to check back...because the basketball season picks right back up Dec. 26 with the christening of a few holiday tournaments. (And hey, I might even throw a post on here tomorrow, just for good measure.) Cheers!



Archbishop Carroll product Juan'ya Green is doing some pretty remarkable things at Niagara (4-8, 0-2). Take a look:

**19.1 points per game. That's what Green, the 2010-11 Daily Times Player of the Year, averages on a nightly basis -- good for 30th nationally and second among freshman.
**37.1 minutes per game. Part of the reason Green has been so effective is because he's staying in games. In 12 games for the Purple Eagles, he's yet to foul out. He ranks ninth nationally in playing time.

After reading those stats, you might wonder why Green -- a 6-3, 195-pound combo guard -- is at Niagara, in the MAAC. As a sophomore at Carroll, Green sprained his ankle and missed a couple games. As insignificant as that sounds, he fell off a lot of teams' recruiting radars because of it.

Either way, Green is making teams wish they had stuck around in Carroll's gym and recruited him. He's tearing it up at Niagara, and he got a well-deserved write-up from this week. Check it out.


You may have noticed Matt Chandik and Matt DeGeorge covering boys basketball games in the last few nights. (That's because I needed to use some vacation time around the holiday, or run the risk of losing it.)

Hey, they both did great jobs. So if you didn't read DeGeorge's write-up in Friday's paper on Upper Darby topping Garnet Valley, or Chandik's account in Saturday's paper on Interboro squeaking past Penncrest, here's your chance.

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Friday, December 23, 2011


Haverford High coach Keith Heinerichs has assembled a five-game tournament labeled the Coaches vs. Cancer Shootout, for Dec. 30, with all ticket proceeds going toward the charity.

Here's the schedule:

Sun Valley vs. Perk Valley, 12:30
Ridley vs. Boys Latin, 2
Church Farm vs. Philadelphia Electric, 3:45
Harriton vs. Octorara, 6
Haverford vs. Vaux Roberts, 8

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Thursday, December 22, 2011


Strath Haven All-Delco Calvin Newell, a sophomore, has transferred from Oklahoma. The 2009 Haven graduate, a 6-0 shooting guard, is headed to Central Florida, according to

Newell left the Sooners (9-1) earlier this month, after five games. Newell had worked into a sixth-man capacity at Oklahoma, becoming its second-leading scorer with 13 points per game despite playing fewer than 20 minutes per appearance.

“Calvin is a combo guard who can come in and provide us with some immediate scoring,” Central Florida coach Donnie Jones said in a press release. “He is a tough player and a terrific defender. Calvin fits in with our up-tempo style of play and we are excited about him joining our basketball family.”

It had been reported in the last two years that Newell, a reserve, was unsatisfied with his playing time. As another reason for the transfer, the Tulsa World reported that Newell had lost his mother and grandmother in the last year and was more interested in playing closer to home.

Newell led Strath Haven - and Delaware County, for that matter - with 29.4 points per game in 2009, when the Panthers reached the second round of the PIAA Class AAA playoffs.

Read more about Newell's transfer here.

(Photo courtesy

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Multiple sources are reporting that West Virginia University's Aaric Murray, a two-time All-Delco at Glen Mills, was arrested Thursday morning in Philadelphia on possession of narcotics.

The Sporting News was among the first to report it. Adam Zagoria, a Big East basketball reporter based out of New York, is reporting that Murray was charged with marijuana possession.

The 6-10 center was charged with possession of marijuana, according to Adam Zagoria, a New York-based Big East basketball reporter. According to a report, a Philadelphia Police spokesperson said Murray was arrested at 9:50 a.m. on the 1700 block of South 20th St. and was being held on bail as of Thursday afternoon.

Murray, 22, spent two seasons at La Salle, where it had been reported he clashed with Explorers coach John Giannini. Murray transferred to West Virginia after last season. He's sitting out this year per NCAA rules.

An all-state selection in his time at Glen Mills, Murray averaged 17 points, 12 rebounds and three blocked shots per game as a senior.

Check back throughout the day, and pick up Friday's Daily Times for more on this story.

UPDATED: 5:22 P.M. -- West Virginia coach Bob Huggins releases a statement regarding Aaric Murray's arrest: “I’ve been alerted about the situation and the matter will be handled internally,” West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said in a statement.

Calls to Pete Forjohn, the Glen Mills athletic director, and Craig Mellinger, who coached Murray at Glen Mills, were not returned.

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Everyone at Ridley knows what Friday is.

It's more than the end of the Green Raiders' school week. It's more than their fourth Central League game. It's bragging rights.

Ridley (3-3, 1-2) travels to Haverford (3-2, 1-2) Friday night for a meeting with a familiar face. Former Ridley coach Keith Heinerichs (pictured), a Haverford resident, left the Green Raiders following last season to take the top spot with the Fords.

“I’m thinking this is going to be a big game," said Shawn Church, Ridley's high-scoring power forward. "(Heinerichs) teaches here still. I’ll be in his (U.S. history) class next semester."

Heinerichs coached Church and Dan Staiber, Ridley's only returning starters from last season, for three seasons. In 11 seasons at Ridley, Heinerichs posted a 183-104 record (.638 win percentage), guided the Raiders to four District One Class AAAA playoff berths in his final five seasons and matched the program's deepest run in 2007-08, when they reached the PIAA quarterfinals.

“That should be a little extra element to it," said Mike Snyder, Ridley's first-year coach who was a longtime assistant for Heinerichs. "Keith coached Dan and Shawn for three years. Should be fun. We text. We keep in touch. We try not to share too much. I’m sure he’s feeling how I’d be feeling -- a little odd, you know?"

Heinerichs will have more than Ridley to worry about. After posting 10 winning records in 11 seasons at Ridley, Heinerichs took on the Fords, who had posted four winning seasons in their past 14 years.

"I think it'll be awkward," Heinerichs said of the game. "I don't know what divorce feels like, but I imagine this will be a lot like that. It's like moving on with your life, but you're still around people you care about.

"I see Dan and Shawn and Derrick (Dawson) every day. I wrote Matt Zang a recommendation two weeks ago. This game is going to be a lot of fun."

If Haverford is going to bring home a win for Heinerichs, count on Kevin Gladstone - who scored 19 points Tuesday after missing the first five games of the year due to injury - and Pat Morgan, who's averaging 10 points per game.

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Strath Haven coach Tom Dougherty didn't take too kindly to a reported assertion that his team's exit from a local holiday tournament caused it to fold up shop for the year.

In an article that appeared in Tuesday's editions of the Bucks County Courier Times, Strath Haven is implicated as a reason for Bensalem backing out of hosting its annual holiday tournament. According to Dougherty, he told Bensalem coach John Mullin during the summer basketball season that the Panthers would not be participating.

"I told him a couple times during the summer season," Dougherty said Tuesday at Ridley, where Strath Haven dropped a Central League game. "I made it very clear that we weren't going to be a part of it this year. (Mullin) wasn't even sure the place would be ready by then."

Bensalem, which had played its games at Neil Armstrong Middle School, built a $15 million facility on its campus. Because of woes with the clocks and lighting, it was unknown whether the facility would be good-to-go for its season opener or the Dick Dougherty Tournament in the days following Christmas. So Strath Haven and Nazareth Area bowed out.

In no way did Mullin take a jab at either Strath Haven or Nazareth Area, but he did list both schools as primary reasons for the Owls throwing in the towel on their yearly tournament.

"We're going to be in the Downingtown West tournament this year," Dougherty said. "We won the (Bensalem) tournament two years ago by beating them, and we beat them last year. So we're just trying to spread it out."

You can read more about the Bensalem gym and its abandoned holiday tournament here.

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011


After reading that headline, I know what you're thinking: "Who cares about Delaware County's leading scorers? We're only five games into the season!"

But I'll tell you who cares: The people who call me, email me and ask me at games...that's who.

So here are the county's leading scorers, through more than two weeks of the regular season:
1. Shawn Church, Ridley ... 21.0 ppg (126 points, 6 games)
2. Malcolm Richardson, Penn Wood ... 19.8 ppg (79 points, 4 games)
3. Chuck Dorsey, Academy Park ... 19.0 ppg (95 points, 5 games)
4. Rob Pittman, Chichester ... 17.0 ppg (85 points, 5 games)
5. Ryan Furst, Marple Newtown ... 15.5 ppg (93 points, 6 games)
CLOSE BEHIND: Penn Wood's Tyree Bynum, Strath Haven's John Fender, and Marple Newtown's Pat McGee, all of whom average 14.0 ppg.

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Sunday, December 18, 2011


Prior to this season, Glen Mills coach Tony Bacon told me he thought he'd have only one player back from last year's squad. Hey, that's the way it is at The Mills. But through three games, Xavier Couthen had been that kind of player, averaging 15 points.

But it looks like Couthen's got company.

The Battlin' Bulls brought out a familiar face Saturday, in a nonleague loss to Ridley. Senior Raheem Harvey coupled 31 points with 18 rebounds in his 2011-12 debut.

You may remember Harvey, a 6-foot-7 center, from a story that appeared in the Daily Times a few days prior to the season. Harvey sustained serious brain injuries during a car accident more than two years ago. He missed most of what should have been his junior year at Glen Mills, recovered and played his senior year last winter and, as it turns out, is back for another go-around with the Bulls -- most likely because of all the class he missed two years ago.

"We were just waiting for him to get cleared (medically)," Bacon said Saturday, following the Bulls' 66-56 loss to Ridley, in which Harvey had some company. Shawn Church, one of Delaware County's top scorers, had 27 points for the Green Raiders.


Two other things from Saturday worth keeping an eye on:

***Chester took down Math, Civics and Sciences in a pairing of PIAA champions from last season. The Clippers, the Class AAAA winners, got seven points and 15 rebounds from Rondae Jefferson, 11 points and 13 boards from Erikk Wright and 13 points from Darius Robinson. They effectively shut down the Elephants, the Class A titlists, and elite scorer Jeremiah Worthem. The junior combo guard/forward, who has offers from Drexel, Rice, Saint Joseph's and La Salle, dropped in a game-best 14 points.

***Charles Dorsey could be a handful in the Del Val League. For now, he's scoring the heck out of the ball for Academy Park in nonleague play. The senior boosted his per-game average to 22.4 points with a 29-point showing Saturday in a 64-55 win over Strath Haven. Keep an eye on Dorsey this season.

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Saturday, December 17, 2011


When I arrived at Marple Newtown High School Friday night, I figured I was in for a decent basketball game between two teams expected to figure into the mix for the Central League playoff picture.

Turns out there was even more going on along Media Line Road.

Sure, Marple Newtown knocked off Springfield, 54-38. But the real story was Marple Newtown's gym, a newly renovated arena that may have vaulted into the short list of my top-five places to see a game in Delaware County. (More on that below.)

Here are a few reasons why: Marple Newtown does it right, with its chorus singing the national anthem, its marching band (yes, the marching band) playing tunes between quarters and during timeouts, the west end of the gym bouncing with student fans and a packed atmosphere.

Oh, and Marple Newtown coach Jerry Doemling's got a great team on his hands. Pat McGee scored 18 points, Ryan Furst had 17 points, nine rebounds and three assists, and Andrew Brandt had eight points and eight rebounds.

Furst said it best about Marple's new digs: "It's easy to play well in a place like this."


Now, that being said, here are a few of my other favorite places to take in a boys basketball game in Delaware County (in no particular order):

**Clip Joint, Chester High. It doesn't get any better. Being that Chester routinely fields the area's top team, you're in store for solid play, no question. But don't forget about some of the most animated fans ... and the cheerleaders doing the Chester Train. The place is a history lesson, too, and the 1,000-point scorers list is a veritable who's-who in Delco hoops. Timeless.
**Marple Newtown. For the reasons listed above, it's absolutely the place to be. I especially liked the band playing during timeouts. Total college feel.
**Harrison Gymnasium, Glen Mills. Just because the student body is obligated to go doesn't mean it's obligated to be into the game. But the students cheer, and chant, and sing, and stomp ... all game long. And the P.A. guy often plays "Apache" by The Sugar Hill Gang. Absolute throwback.
**Penn Wood. That bandbox of a gym is the epitome of high school hoops. You walk in on a brisk winter night, you walk out a sweaty mess. That's because what goes on in the cozy confines along Essex Avenue is good, fun basketball in the tightest of quarters.
**Penncrest. If only for the look of the place, it rates among the best, with an above-the-court track that provides a top-tier sightline. The always-involved student section makes this a special place, too.

(Times photo / ERIC HARTLINE)

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Thursday, December 15, 2011


So here's the deal.

Nominations for this year's All-Star Labor Classic are being accepted now, and I'd like your help in deciding who I should nominate to represent Delaware County.

The All-Star Labor Classic is an annual showcase game that benefits United Cerebral Palsy. It features seniors only, for a City vs. Suburbs stars format, Sunday, April 1, 2012, at either La Salle University (pending NCAA approval) or Upper Dublin High School. (A decision regarding location will be made next week.)

So here's where I need your help: I need to know who I should nominate for the game. As a reporter, I get to nominate a few players for placement on the final ballot, which gets voted upon by media members in the area. (Final decisions won't be made or announced until the end of the season.)

Either email me (, Tweet me (@ChrisVito) or post here on Delco Hoops who you think should be included.

While making a case for a player, keep in mind the following: He must be a senior and must have demonstrated a willingness to represent the school positively as well as help his teammates in a similar fashion.

So let's here it. Who ya got?


Tuesday, December 13, 2011


On the first play of the game, D.J. Irving planted himself on Maalik Wayns' hip. On the second play of the game, Irving knocked down a 3-pointer. Not a bad start, huh? Irving's talents were on display at Wells Fargo Center, where BU lost to Villanova, 68-43, Tuesday.

A two-time All-Delco at Archbishop Carroll, Irving was in town for the second of three trips this season. (The Terriers lost at Saint Joseph's University last month and visit La Salle at the end of this month.) Still, his family and friends were in South Philly to see the Chester native play.

(Check out my column on Irving proving his critics wrong, in Wednesday's Daily Times)

Even Archbishop Carroll coach Paul Romanczuk brought eight players to the game, a ritual he has with his upperclassmen, to see Irving in action. Among the eight? Juniors Yosef Yacob and Isaiah Warren, who like Irving are Chester natives.

Irving finished with 11 points on 4-for-9 shooting, with three rebounds and three steals. He elicited some positive feedback from coaches on both sides:

Said Joe Jones, BU's coach: “D.J. has had a great year. With this team and these players, he's got to score. Got to. He's also got to defend and be our first line of defense. We need him to be an all-around player, not just a guy that sets it up. He's got to score it, he's got to defend it. He's got a lot of responsibility.”

Said Villanova's Jay Wright: “I think D.J. Irving is a great player. I think he's going to have a great career.”

Here's what Irving had to say, including who he'd pick if he was fielding a Delco all-star team:

Q: Were you surprised to see this game played at Wells Fargo Center?
A: “Pretty much, because Wells Fargo is usually for the big teams that come in and they need a lot of people to see the game. The atmosphere, I thought there would be a lot more people. But I thought it was a good game. I just wish we could have kept it a little closer, you know?”

Q: How much of a shock was it to go from a three-point halftime lead to a 25-point loss?
A: “I honestly don't even know what happened. It just went to them real fast. It's something we've got to work on.”

Q: Was it your idea to go out and cover Maalik at the start?
A: “I figured Coach Jones was going to put me on him anyway, so I was all for it. I've seen him a lot of times from summer leagues and all that.”

Q: How has your new role (from true point guard to scoring point guard) with Boston University made you a better player?
A: “It's made me more aggressive, and made me focus more on my shot.”

Q: With Juan'ya (Green, the 2011 Daily Times Player of the Year from Archbishop Carroll) playing so well at Niagara, have you reached out to him at all?
A: “When they played Missouri on ESPN3, that was the only game I got to watch. But I look at all of his box scores and I text him after most every game.”

Q: Was there an older player who taught you about that, keeping tabs on guys?
A: “Not really. I think I learned that from my mom (Jacqueline) and my dad (Desmond). Being in touch with people and staying humble was what they taught me.”

Q: You like what you see in Delco basketball this year? If you had to put together a team, who would you take?
A: Of course the Chester guys – Rondae (Jefferson) and Darius Robinson. He's up and coming. I was telling people that all summer that he's going to be great. I'd take Malcolm Richardson, from Penn Wood. I know him real well and he's great. And, of course, I'll go with my Carroll guys – Yosef (Yacob) and Isaiah (Warren). That's a pretty good team, don't you think?”

(Photos courtesy Boston University athletics)

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Saturday, December 10, 2011


Twice, Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson was at the scoring end of a tip-in Saturday. Both buckets ended Villanova spurts. Both buckets bolstered Temple's advantage over the Wildcats in the Owls' 78-67 Big 5 win.

'Big' doesn't do Hollis-Jefferson justice. The Chester All-Delco has played bigger than his 6-6 frame for Temple (6-2 overall, 2-0 Big 5), which is missing 6-10 center Micheal Eric due to injury.

"Since Rahlir has been here, he's played the four man (position)," said Temple's Ramone Moore, who had 32 points. "...On any type of big man, he does a good job."

“He had two great tip-ins and they were critical tip-ins at the right time for us," said Temple coach Fran Dunphy of Hollis-Jefferson. "If there's a finer human being than Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson, I haven't met him anyway. Any time you can see that kind of performance by him, it adds to his way. He's a tremendous guy and he could care less about himself. It's all about the team and it's delightful to watch him succeed.

After scoring 11 points (on 5-for-8 shooting) with 14 rebounds and three assists, Hollis-Jefferson spent some time catching up with me on a variety of topics ... including his alma mater, Chester High:

Q: Ramone talked about your team needing you to play bigger than you are. Is that OK with you?
A: I play with my heart, so my heart makes up for my size. When I play, I'm not 6-6. I'm bigger than that.

Q: Everyone always called you Rah-long back in Chester, right?
A: Oh, wow. I haven't heard that in a while. I still hear it when I go home, but … wow. It don't really mean anything to me anymore because I have a lot of big guys around me now.

Q: Where do you see this team a month from now?
A: If we keep working hard, I see us going far. That's about it, really.

Q: You played for a state champion (in 2007-08), what some people call the best Chester team ever. Some people said that about last year's (state championship) team. Where does this year's team rank with those two?
A: I mean, last year's Chester team was good. Now they have almost all of their players back. They're more mature, so they should be able to handle things much better than they did last year. They should be able to do some damage this year.

Q: Is there anybody in the state that can beat them?
A: Anybody on any given night. That's how it is. We didn't feel like we could lose, so we came to play every night.

Q: How do you like how your brother (Rondae Jefferson, a Chester junior getting solid Division I looks) is progressing?
A: I like the way he's coming along. He's still got a lot more room to grow, and he's going to continue to do so. He's going to keep working hard at his craft.

Q: Have you tried to convince him to come to Temple?
A: No, I can't do that. Wherever he wants to go, I'll support him. That's how it is.

(Photos courtesy Associated Press/H RUMPH JR.)

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Last night christened the 2011-12 boys basketball season. There were buzzer-beaters, overtime thrillers, tournament openers and lopsided victories. If there's anything we learned from opening night, it was these five things:

***Penncrest can shoot the 3. The Lions - between Jim Allen, Ed Baxter and Alex Graham - had 10 of their 12 3-pointers. Penncrest needs to work on holding its leads, though. It posted a 23-3 edge after the first quarter and a 21-point advantage early in the second quarter, before holding on for dear life at the end.

***Springfield is poised for a run. The Cougars, who completely dismantled Interboro in their respective openers, placed 10 scorers in the statbook. Furthermore they open the year with 11 of 14 games at home, a nice advantage for Kevin McCormick's crew.

***Sun Valley doesn't need to rely on Billy Hudson. The Vanguards' leading scorer last winter, Hudson sat out their opener due to a pair of personal fouls in Sun Valley's Thanksgiving Day football game, a PIAA carryover rule. Nonetheless, the Vanguards opened the game shooting 15-for-20 after two quarters and 20-for-30 after three, before emptying the bench. Kevin Kelly's team has weapons in Drew Giampietro and Sean Nelson.

***Glen Mills' wild-card roster is just that. Because of the school shuffling court-adjudicated students in and out, Bulls coach Tony Bacon never knows what's in his cupboard. But Xavier Couthen, the lone holdover from last year, had a double-double, football star George Walker had a big game and Duishawn Mack's only bucket was the game-winner. Could be a nice season for the Bulls.

***Chester is Chester. Sounds simple enough, right? We knew the Clippers would be good, but...hanging a 79-spot on Coatesville in the opener? Whoa. Darius Robinson, a 3-point option off the bench last year, posted 19 points. His brother, Kareem, isn't much of a scorer, but he had six assists. Rondae Jefferson, Shanier Cottman and Erikk Wright led a balanced scoring attack, as well. Look out District One.

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Friday, December 9, 2011


Tonight is the opener for the 2011-12 boys basketball season.

24 Delco teams begin their campaigns.
Fewer than half of those will make their respective postseason tournaments.
Only 9 in District One Class AAAA will advance to states.
Only 1 can win the state crown.

It's interesting how so many teams get pared down so quickly... well, in a span of three months. But either way you look at it, it all begins tonight.

Which game are you headed to? Do you have an opening night routine? Share here, in the comments section.


Thursday, December 8, 2011


The season is here. Well, at least the season preview is.

Thursday's edition of the Daily Times holds the boys basketball season preview for the 2011-12 campaign, which officially begins Friday. If you didn't pick up a copy, here's a CliffsNotes version:

DEL VAL: At Chester, focus is on a sweet repeat ... Never in the storied history of Chester basketball, which features seven state titles and two-dozen 1,000-point scorers, have teams repeated as state champions. So this year, say the Clippers coach and a few players, that is their mission.

INTER-AC: Haverford School pins turnaround hopes on Xu ... There's a new coach, one big new player and a new vision at The Haverford School. Henry Fairfax, the program's all-time leading scorer, hopes to guide the Fords beyond a myriad of recent .500 seasons with the help of Chinese exchange student Tao Xu, a 6-foot-11 center. Oh, and the cast of players around Xu -- including senior guard Zach Thomas and freshman guard Sammy Foreman -- are pretty good, too.

CENTRAL LEAGUE: Lower Merion among many contenders in Central ... So I called each of the Central League's coaches and asked for their pick to win the title. Everyone said Lower Merion. But as Aces coach Gregg Downer told me, no one in his locker room has ever won a title, which opens the door for Ridley, Marple Newtown, Upper Darby, Haverford, Springfield ... and just about everyone else.

CATHOLIC LEAGUE + THE REST: Carroll looks to Yacob to maintain momentum ... Archbishop Carroll's winningest seasons have been the last four, within which the Patriots have had a pair of 1,000-point scorers, two trips to the Catholic League final, three state-playoff berths and a PIAA Class AAA title. Now, the keys to the team have been handed over to Yosef Yacob, the junior shooting guard and co-captain, to keep the team pointed in the right direction.

On the girls basketball side, beat writer Matt Smith did a great job highlighting the season with his previews. Take a look
Pearson, Creighton are Carroll's 1-2 punch ... Meghan Creighton and Rachel Pearson will continue their careers next season at Drexel. Before that takes form, though, they have some unfinished business at Archbishop Carroll.
Springfield will take its best shot ... Like the boys side, Lower Merion appears to be the heavy favorite. Among Delco's contenders, it could be Springfield's year.
Some big questions as new season approaches ... Is the Del Val League up for grabs? What's life like at Delco Christian, without all-time leading scorer Emily Homan?
Five players to watch

So there you have it. I think we've covered all the bases with the season preview. If I missed anything, be sure to leave a comment or send an email (

Only one day away until tipoff.

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Courtesy Mike Bullock, of the Harrisburg Patriot-News, here are the newspaper's preseason Pennsylvania polls for each classification:

1. Chester* (1) 31-1 1
2. Lower Merion (1) 19-10 NR
3. Roman Catholic (12) 17-9 NR
4. Gateway (7) 23-5 NR
5. Council Rock North (1) 27-3 5
6. St. Joseph’s Prep (12) 14-9 NR
7. Chartiers Valley (7) 20-7 NR
8. Shaler (7) 22-2 NR
9. Cedar Cliff (3) 23-6 NR
10. Scranton (2) 23-3 NR

1. Neumann-Goretti* (12) 27-4 1
2. New Castle (7) 18-7 NR
3. Philadelphia Electrical (12) 23-6 10
4. Berks Catholic (3) 0-0 NR
5. Blackhawk (7) 17-9 NR
6. Hampton (7) 15-8 NR
7. Boys’ Latin Charter (12) 19-8 NR
8. Montour (7) 23-8 3
9. Allentown Central Catholic (11) 17-10 NR
10. Sharon (10) 20-6 3

1. Imhotep Charter* (12) 31-3 1
2. Beaver Falls (7) 21-7 5
3. Communications Tech (12) 23-6 3
4. Greensburg Central Catholic (7) 27-4 4
5. Monessen (7) 26-3 6
6. Riverside (2) 23-6 8
7. Vaux (12) 18-8 2
8. Loyalsock (4) 18-8 NR
9. Pine Grove (11) 18-7 10
10. Bishop McCort (6) 19-8 NR

1. Constitution (12) 25-6 2
2. Math, Civics & Sciences* (12) 26-5 1
3. Lincoln Park (7) 21-8 3
4. Church Farm (1) 24-2 6
5. Faith Christian (1) 21-7 NR
6. North Catholic (7) 18-8 NR
7. Vincentian (7) 27-2 4
8. Rochester (7) 19-4 7
9. Delco Christian (1) 10-15 NR
10. Shade (5) 23-4 NR
*-reigning PIAA champion. Number in parentheses is PIAA district. �

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Wednesday, December 7, 2011


In case anyone thought Chester was flying under the national radar, umm...think again. Here's a look at a few national basketball polls, and where coach Larry Yarbray's team falls: No. 9 No. 12
MaxPreps Xcellent 25: No. 13
USA Today Super 25: No. 15
ESPN Fab 50: No. 17

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Neshaminy point guard Ryan Arcidiacono, a Villanova signee, will miss his senior season due to a back injury.

According to Kevin Cooney, high school basketball writer from the Bucks County Courier Times, Arcidiacono will undergo surgery in the next few weeks to fix a herniated disc in his back. The Redskins' phenom will finish his career with 1,498 points.

Arcidiacono, according to Cooney, will require 6-to-8 weeks of rehabilitation, followed by preparation for his career on the Main Line.

And with that, Neshaminy's name can be struck from the (short) list of teams in District One that can contend with Chester High, the reigning district and state champs in Class AAAA.

For Cooney's full story, click here.
(Photo courtesy

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Tuesday, December 6, 2011


In counting down the days until Friday, opening night of the boys basketball season, here's a By The Numbers preseason glance. Enjoy:

3 ... Penn Wood players on East Stroudsberg's roster next winter. Patriots senior Malcolm Richardson, who will carry the scoring load for Penn Wood, will have a full ride to the Division II school in 2012-13. The others at ESU are Duane Johnson and Will Brown.

6 ... Schools in Delco with new coaches. They are: Academy Park's Allen Brydges, Delco Christian's Don Davis, Haverford's Keith Heinerichs, Haverford School's Henry Fairfax, Radnor's Chris Monahan and Ridley's Mike Snyder.

7 ... Big-school state championships won by Chester. Still, the Clippers never have won back-to-back PIAA crowns. The reigning champs take a 26-game winning streak into Friday's opener.

11 ... Coaches in the Central League to pick Lower Merion as the favorite to win the league crown. The one who didn't? Lower Merion coach Gregg Downer, who opted against singling out any team in particular.

78 ... Student-athletes who tried out for Garnet Valley's basketball team, a program record according to Jags coach Joe Rapczynski.

109 ... Days until the PIAA Championships, at Penn State's Bryce Jordan Center.

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Monday, December 5, 2011


Welcome back, readers. We're three days removed from opening night of the boys basketball season, and here's what to look out for in 2011:

***Chester. It may not come as a surprise, but the reigning PIAA Class AAAA champions are good. How good? The Clippers might be rolling with a 13-man rotation, with each player getting quality minutes. Keep an eye on junior Rondae Jefferson (pictured) and senior Erikk Wright.

***Big man on campus. The Haverford School has a new coach and a new outlook on basketball, after yet-another .500 season. Oh, and the Fords have a 6-foot-11 junior transfer student from China. Tao Xu is coming off a back injury, but he should have the Fords back in contention in the Inter-Ac League.

***Captain Yosef. For the first time in five years, Archbishop Carroll is fielding a roster without D.J. Irving and Juan'ya Green, a pair of All-Delco guards. So the keys to the Patriots' season have been handed to Yosef Yacob, the junior captain.

***Cluttered Central League. Outside of Lower Merion, the heavy favorite in the Central, it appears to be a mixed-up league. Some coaches point to Ridley and Marple Newtown as favorites, others say Haverford and Upper Darby. It'll be a nice race to watch.

That's it for now.

Keep an eye out for Thursday's Daily Times, which will feature the basketball previews.

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