Boston High School: St. Andrew's (R.I.)

St. Andrew's Colson commits to Notre Dame

October, 7, 2013
10/07/13
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St. Andrew's (R.I.) senior power forward Bonzie Colson Jr. verbally committed to Notre Dame this morning at an all-school meeting, per ESPN recruiting analyst Adam Finkelstein.

The 6-foot-5 Colson, a New Bedford resident, is a four-star recruit and the No. 25 overall power forward in the 2014 class according to ESPNU. He chose the Fighting Irish over a slew of offers, including Pitt, Miami, UConn, Florida State, Georgetown, Minnesota, Temple and Rhode Island (where his father, Bonzie Sr., starred in the late 1980's).

“It was just the right fit for me on and off the court,” Colson told Finkelstein. “They have a history of having had great undersized four-men and they know how to use them throughout the game.”

Finkelstein has more on Colson's commitment, and how he fits at Notre Dame, on the RecruitingNation blog HERE (Insider only).

New England Gatorade POY winners

March, 21, 2013
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Rockland senior Tyler Gibson was named this year's Gatorade Player of the Year for the state of Massachusetts. Here are the winners from the five other New England states:

RHODE ISLAND: BONZIE COLSON, ST. ANDREW'S
The 6-foot-6, 225-pound junior forward averaged 16.8 points, 9.8 rebounds, 3.5 blocks and 1.2 assists per game this past season, leading the Saints (24-9) to the New England Prep School Athletic Council (NEPSAC) Class AA tournament championship game. A First Team All-NEPSAC Class AA selection, Colson averaged 14.7 points and 15.0 rebounds per game in the NEPSAC Class AA tournament as the eighth-seeded Saints reached the final, where they lost to Cushing Academy by one point on a 40-foot buzzer-beater.

Colson has maintained a B average in the classroom. A member of the St. Andrew’s School chorus, he has volunteered locally as a youth basketball coach and referee.

“Selfless, efficient, composed, simple -— that describes Bonzie Colson,” said Jesse Bopp, head coach of Vermont Academy. “He is at the core of their success. He scores around the basket, rebounds, makes free throws and guards. He is as efficient of a player as we played against all year.”

Colson will begin his senior year of high school this fall.

CONNECTICUT: KURT STEIDL, RIDGEFIELD

The 6-foot-6, 185-pound senior shooting guard averaged 24.9 points, 9.5 rebounds, four assists, and four steals while shooting 82 percent from the free throw line this past season, leading the Tigers (18-6) to the Class LL quarterfinals. A 2013 Connecticut High School Coaches Association All-Star selection, Steidl scored 31 points and pulled down 16 rebounds in a 63-57 win over New Britain in the second round of the state tournament.

Steidl has maintained a 3.68 GPA in the classroom. A devoted parishioner in his church community, he has volunteered locally assisting the elderly and on behalf of the Boys and Girls Club of Ridgefield.

“Kurt Steidl was absolutely one of the best kids we faced this year,” said Tom Hunt, head coach at Woodland Regional High. “He averaged a double-double per game while playing in a very tough conference. Every time I saw him, he was terrific.”

Steidl has signed a National Letter of Intent to play basketball on an athletic scholarship at the University of Vermont this fall.

NEW HAMPSHIRE: ERIC GENDRON, MERRIMACK
The 6-foot-3, 170-pound junior guard averaged 19.7 points, eight rebounds, four assists, three steals and two blocks this past season, leading the Tomahawks (13-6) to the Division I state tournament. New Hampshire’s Mr. Basketball in 2013, Gendron scored 14 points to help hand eventual Division I state champion Trinity High its only loss of the season in a 60-56 regular-season win.

Gendron has maintained a 3.86 GPA in the classroom. He has volunteered locally on behalf of the Leo Club and as a basketball coach with the Merrimack Youth Association.

“Eric Gendron has been such a huge part of all the success we had this season,” said Merrimack High head coach Tim Goodridge. “He has become a true leader on and off the court and he also happens to be one of the nicest kids I have ever coached.”

Gendron will begin his senior year of high school this fall.

MAINE: GARET BEAL, JONESPORT-BEALS
The 6-foot-5, 210-pound senior wing averaged 33.8 points, 10.9 rebounds, 5.5 assists, 2.5 steals and 1.5 blocks per game this past season, leading the Royals (18-1) to a berth in the Class D state tournament. The state’s returning Gatorade Boys Basketball Player of the Year, Beal shot 60 percent from the field, 48 percent from 3-point range and 79 percent from the free throw line. Also awarded Mr. Basketball as named by the Maine Association of Basketball Coaches, he carried Jonesport-Beals to the 2012 Class D state championship as a junior, averaging 22.3 points, 8.7 rebounds, 3.8 steals, 3.6 assists and 1.6 blocks.

Beal has maintained an A-minus average in the classroom and serves as a member of his school’s student council. In addition to donating his time on behalf of the National Honor Society, he has volunteered as a positive mentor to elementary school students and as part of both community fundraisers and cleanup efforts.

“As an opposing coach, our game plan always focused on how to handle Garet before and after he received the ball,” said Glenn Billings, head coach of rival Deer Isle-Stonington High. “Garet has the ability to pull up and hit the open jumper if you play off him, drive by you if you play up tight and pass to a open player if you double him. He sees the floor and reads the defender as well as any one we have played against, and his willingness to use all of his teammates is what has made him so tough to defend. He is also an excellent defender, taking away the other team’s best offensive threat in many games. I believe he is one of the best high school basketball players we have seen in our state.”

Beal has signed a National Letter of Intent to play basketball on scholarship at the University of Maine this fall.

VERMONT: MATT ST. AMOUR, MISSIQUOI VALLEY UNION
The 6-foot-3, 180-pound senior guard averaged 30.7 points, 11.9 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 3.4 steals per game this past season, leading the Thunderbirds (13-9) to the Division I quarterfinals. The state’s returning Gatorade Boys Basketball Player of the Year, St. Amour was also named the Burlington Free Press and Vermont Basketball Coaches Association Player of the Year as a junior. He finished his prep career with 2,064 points, third in state history.

St. Amour has maintained a 4.13 GPA in the classroom. Also a soccer standout, he has volunteered locally on behalf of youth sports programs, blood-donation drives and the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.

“St. Amour plays within himself and really understands the game,” said Peter Quinn, head coach at Vergennes High. “He’s a tremendous shooter who knows how to put the ball in the basket.”

St. Amour remains undecided upon a collegiate destination.

NEPSAC: Crowns for Brewster, Cushing, Exeter

March, 4, 2013
3/04/13
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BEVERLY, Mass. -— It was a day firsts, of clutch performances by star players, and of tears induced by heartbreaking losses and emotional victories. NEPSAC championship Sunday at Endicott College was everything to be expected—and much, much more.

Champions were crowned in the AAA, AA and A classes Sunday afternoon at Endicott, with no shortage of action:

Cushing wins on a buzzer-beater: St. Andrew’s seemed to have completed the upset, but Jalen Adams simply couldn’t let that happen.

Heaving up a jumpshot from just over halfcourt with no time left on the regulation clock, Adams banked the shot in from off the glass, giving Cushing the 61-60 victory. It was just another on the list of feats that the sophomore guard has accomplished already over the course of his young career.

“But I’ve never hit a buzzer-beater before,” he said with an ear-to-ear grin. “When I shot it, I honestly didn’t think it was going to go in.”

It wouldn’t be the first time Adams, who was awarded Most Valuable Player, hit a halfcourt shot, though. In practice Cushing practices a drill where they take shots from different spots on the floor—one of those spots, of course, is from the halfcourt line.

“Jalen Adams has hit more halfcourt shots just goofing around in a team game, than anyone I’ve ever seen,” Cushing coach Barry Connors said. “Was it a wing and a prayer? No question. But hey, I’ll tell you what, he made the shot.”

St. Andrew’s trailed 33-28 at halftime, but came out on an absolute tear in the second half—beginning the half on an 8-0 run that gave them their first lead of the game with fourteen minutes to go. Cushing’s forward Andrew Chrabascz, a Butler signee, picked up his fourth foul with still ten minutes to go in the game. Connors put Chrabascz back in a few minutes later, and with his help, Cushing managed to diminish their deficit.

“I can save Andrew, or you go with what you’ve got, you go with who got you there," Connors said. "The interesting thing about Andrew is: yeah he had four fouls. On the fourth one, he made a bonehead play, but Andrew’s very, very smart. If anybody can play with four fouls, it’s Andrew Chrabascz."

Down eleven points with three minutes left in the game, the Penguins rode Adams and Chrabascz to the win. Adams hit a tough jumper to bring the game within six with under two minutes to go. Adams fed Chrabascz with six seconds left in the game, and Chrabascz finished a tough lay-up inside to bring Cushing to within 60-58. Cushing fouled immediately, and following a missed free throw by Bonzie Colson (16 points, 8 rebounds), Adams took the ball to halfcourt and won the game.

“If I was going to lose this game, I was going to lose with my five best guys on the floor,” Connors said.

Historic first for Exeter: For the first time in school history, Phillips Exeter captured the Class A crown, knocking off Choate Rosemary Hall 58-47 in the opening game of the day. Exeter’s remarkable 25-1 season has been a long journey, one that started last June when the players on the predominantly-postgrad squad met for the first time on the front steps of Exeter’s gym. A group of players who, for the most part had never met before, quickly realized that they all had a lot in common.

“We had guys who had just met for the first time -- we talked about our individual goals, and we realized we were all at Exeter for our own personal agendas," Exeter coach Jay Tilton said. "Because why else would you come here as a postgrad if you didn’t have them?”

Thanks in part to strong leadership by captains Harry Rafferty (Wesleyan College) and Chris Braley (Stony Brook), a culture of change was started at Exeter—a culture that quickly became contagious to the rest of the team. Good friends off the court, Rafferty and Braley, who along with Duncan Robinson played AAU together for Middlesex Magic, brought Exeter a mixed blend of leadership by toughness, and leadership by example.

Braley, a soft-spoken workhorse known for his incredible work ethic, set an example for the rest of the team of how to compose themselves, while Rafferty, a scrappy ‘in your face’ type of point guard, was the quarterback.

“Chris demands so much respect because of his work ethic and his integrity, he’s not a real emotional guy or anything like that...He just does it," Tilton said. "With Harry, he’s the guy who’s going to run the show from day one. He’s the most caring kid, and the best communicator I’ve ever coached.

Tilton added, with a laugh, "He’s about the only one out there who’s not afraid of Braley.”

Six-foot-7 forward Robinson, the tournament MVP, put on what may have been the most impressive individual performance of the tournament, finishing with 24 points and 11 rebounds and playing as close to a perfect game as one possibly can -— knocking down five 3-pointers and shooting 9-for-9 from the field. Robinson’s show was the cherry on top of an unprecedented season by Exeter, who earlier in the day met on the front steps of their gym to discuss their goals one last time before departing for the championship game.

“We just kind of knew we had already reached that. That’s why I’m so proud of this group of kids. This group will hold a special place in Exeter history,” Tilton said.

Tilton admitted it is also a team that will hold a special place in his own memory, too. The teary-eyed veteran coach embraced each one of his players after the game, including his star forward.

“He said he loved me, and I said it right back, he’s done so much for all of us, myself included,” Robinson said, “To do that for him -- I know he wanted it very, very badly. He’s the hardest-working coach I’ve ever played for. He loves his players and cares about each and every one of us. It was only right that we did it for him.”

Exeter’s tremendous defensive effort held a very good shooting Choate team to just 4-15 from behind the three-point line. Future Wisconsin guard Jordan Hill was the catalyst; with long arms, a hard-nosed defensive mentality, and quick feet, Hill constantly harassed Choate guards Colin Richey (10 points) and Pete Weston (15 points).

“It starts with Jordan,” Tilton pointed out, “every second of the game he has a high motor, he doesn’t take unnecessary chances. To play that hard on the ball—he starts it, and we have great commitment off the ball helping him. It’s something we’ve been committed to from day one.”

Brewster takes AAA title in a thriller: Martez Harrison was one of the top scorers in the nation last year, averaging 35 points per game at University Academy Charter in Missouri. On Sunday in the Class AAA championship game though, he showed his complete ability to play the point guard position—leading Brewster to a thrilling 77-75 victory.

“Martez is the kid on our team who definitely has the biggest heart, he’s a true leader," Brewster coach Jason Smith said. "The growth and improvement from a point guard’s perspective from September until now has been phenomenal. He’s not really in the limelight, but we don’t win without him controlling the tempo, making good decisions, and making the right plays.”

Harrison, who finished with 14 points, shared the spotlight with future West Virginia forward Elijah Macon -- who was fresh off a heroic performance against Northfield Mount Hermon on Friday night. Finishing with 15 points and 12 rebounds in the finals, Macon, Brewster’s sixth-man, took home tournament MVP.

“[At the] beginning of the year...Elijah knew we were having a difficult time with whether we should play all three of the bigs together," Smith said.n "Or who was going to come off the bench. Elijah was the one who volunteered, he’s very mature for an 18 year old kid.”

Macon and N.C. State-bound forward Kyle Washington each picked up their fourth foul about midway through the second half, but Smith said the foul trouble did little to hinder his team in terms of gameplanning and substitutions.

“We were going to play Elijah his normal rotation of four and a half minutes," Smith said. "It just worked out well, Kyle picked up his fourth foul initially, and the substitution pattern worked out perfectly. Four fouls never really even came into play, it was just subbing in four minute intervals when needed.”

Gabe Levin and Marquise Moore each had 20 points for St. Thomas More, who was the top seed in the tournament thanks to very strong guard play and great preparation from long-time coach Jere Quinn.

“Anytime that you can beat a Jere Quinn coached-teams in the finals, it’s something that you have to work very hard for,” Smith said. “His teams are always very well-prepared, they don’t beat themselves, they don’t make mistakes. We could have caved in when we were down, but we persevered, we got stops when we needed to and we found a way.”

BABC to host Prep School Classic

January, 15, 2013
1/15/13
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The Boston Amateur Basketball Club (BABC) will host the 2013 Prep School Classic this coming Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 19 and 20, at the Kroc Center in Dorchester.

The event will consist of seven games featuring fourteen top area prep school programs. Each game will showcase future college stars and commits, all competing in the heart of the Boston community.

“BABC is excited to once again host the Prep Classic,” said Jay Demings, BABC’s Director of Operations, in a press release. “We feel we have compiled the best regional prep school teams and believe that the advanced level of play will make for another memorable event.”

This is the 4th annual Prep Classic hosted by the BABC and the event marks the second time it will be held in the City of Boston.

The up-to-date game schedule is as follows:

Saturday, January 19
2 p.m. - Vermont Academy vs. Redemption Christian Academy (N.Y.)
3:20 p.m. - St. Andrew’s (R.I.) vs. Tilton (N.H.)
4:40 p.m. - New Hampton (N.H.) vs. Notre Dame Prep
6:00 p.m. - Beaver Country Day vs. Worcester Academy

Sunday, January 20
2 p.m. - Kimball Union (N.H.) vs. Marianapolis Prep (Conn.)
3:20 p.m. - Brimmer & May vs. Northfield Mt. Hermon
4:40 p.m. - Rivers vs. Pingree

As an addition to the event, BABC will also host two make-up games from the weather-delayed BABC Holiday High School Classic. On Monday, January 21, Brighton will face University (Conn.) at noon followed by Capital Prep (Conn.) against Cambridge 2 p.m. Both games this day will take place at New Mission High School, 655 Metropolitan Ave., in Hyde Park.

National Prep School Invitational primer

January, 25, 2012
1/25/12
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Media Director Pat Stevens forwards along a press release on what to expect from the annual National Prep School Invitational, February 2 through 5 at Rhode Island College.



PROVIDENCE, R.I. --- Thirty of the country’s top prep school basketball teams, up to 100 college coaches on hand to evaluate prospects, and several NBA scouts will gather for the 14th annual National Prep School Invitational.

Held at Rhode Island College from Thursday, February 2 through Sunday, February 5, the nation’s elite exposure event during the school year will once again have its top games broadcasted on COX Sports.

With an upwards of 50 players impressively already committed to colleges, the event’s main goal is to provide a springboard for many more to join that group.

The featured young talent competing ranges all the way from the traditional powers of the New England Prep School Athletic Conference to as far as the Canarias Basketball Academy of the Canary Islands.

Highlighting the field is last year’s National Prep Championship Tournament winner St. Thomas More (CT) and NEPSAC champion Maine Central Institute (ME). Previous titleholders Brewster Academy (NH), Bridgton Academy (ME), Notre Dame Prep (MA) and Tilton School (NH) return as well.

Considered the strongest All-American candidates for their success throughout their high school and prep school careers are South Kent’s Ricardo Ledo (Providence) and Tilton’s Nerlens Noel (Undecided) along with Brewster Academy duo Mitch McGary (Michigan) and TJ Warren (North Carolina State). Notre Dame Prep recently welcomed Steven Adams (Pittsburgh) for the second semester, a talented center from New Zealand who made waves this past summer with his play at the Adidas Nations global event. Some of college basketball's top contenders are also showing high interest in a number of underclassmen on the rise - Tilton's Wayne Selden and Goodluck Okonoboh, New Hampton's Noah Vonleh and Jared Terrell, and Vermont Academy's DaQuan McNeil, Dominic Woodson and Jamel Artis.

St. Andrew’s (RI) star All-American guard Michael Carter-Williams (now at Syracuse) took home back-to-back NPSI MVP awards in 2011 and 2010. The 2009 MVP went to Lawrence Academy’s Shabazz Napier, who has since gone on to win a NCAA National Championship at the University of Connecticut.

Currently, 28 active NBA Players have participated in the NPSI. Those once awarded the NPSI MVP for their performances in the event include Michael Beasley (Notre Dame Prep ‘07/Kansas State/Minnesota Timberwolves), Lazar Hayward (Notre Dame Prep ’06/Marquette/Oklahoma City Thunder), Shawne Williams (Laurinburg Institute ‘05/Memphis/New Jersey Nets) and Dorell Wright (South Kent ‘04/1st Round Draft Choice out of prep school).

For more information, visit NPSIhoops.com and NationalPrepInvitational.com.

Tickets are $10 per day or passes for the entire event can also be purchased at the door.

MEDIA REQUESTS please contact Pat Stevens at pat@npsihoops.com


2012 NPSI SCHEDULE

Thursday, February 2
10 - Lee Academy (ME) vs. Robinson (NJ)
11:30 - St. Thomas More (CT) vs. CJEOTO Academy (NJ)
1:15 - Brewster Academy (NH) vs. St. John’s Northwest Military Academy (WI)
2:45 – NIA Prep (NJ) vs. Canarias Basketball Academy (Spain)
4:15 - Notre Dame Prep (MA) vs. Wilbraham & Monson (MA)
5:45 - La Jolla Prep (CA) vs. South Kent (CT)
7:15 - Phelps (PA) vs. Cushing Academy (MA)
9 – Mont Clare (PA) vs. New Hope Academy (MD)

Friday, February 3
9 –CJEOTO Academy (NJ) vs. Lee Academy (ME)
10:30 - Robinson (NJ) vs. La Jolla Prep (CA)
12 - SJNWMA (WI) vs. New Hampton (NH)
1:30 – Canarias Basketball Academy (Spain) vs. Notre Dame Prep (MA)
3 - South Kent (CT) vs. NIA Prep (NJ)
4:30 - Mont Clare (PA) vs. St. Thomas More (CT)
6 - Worcester Academy (MA) vs. Phelps (PA)
7:30 - Vermont Academy (VT) vs. Winchendon (MA)
9 - New Hope Academy (MD) vs. Bridgton Academy (ME)

Saturday, February 4
9 – Marianapolis (CT) vs. SJNWMA (WI)
10:30 – Winchendon (MA) vs. Mont Clare (PA)
12 – Cushing Academy (MA) vs. New Hope Academy (MD)
1:30 – REDA (Canada) vs. Vermont Academy (VT)
3 – Bridgton Academy (ME) vs. Northfield Mount Hermon (MA)
4:30 - La Jolla Prep (CA) vs. Notre Dame Prep (MA)
6 – New Hampton (NH) vs. Canarias Basketball Academy (Spain)
7:30 - Maine Central Institute (ME) vs. Next Level Prep (Canada)

Sunday, February 5
9 - Canarias Basketball Academy (Spain) vs. Bridgton Academy (ME)
10:30 - Wilbraham & Monson (MA) vs. Winchendon (MA)
12 – Next Level Prep (Canada) vs. St. Thomas More (CT)
1:30 - Tilton (NH) vs. REDA (Canada)
3 - Northfield Mount Hermon (MA) vs. Lawrence Academy (MA)
4:30 - St. Andrew's (RI) vs. Maine Central Institute (ME)
6 - New Hope Academy (MD) vs. Worcester Academy (MA)

2012 NPSI COLLEGE COMMITTED PLAYERS
Semaj Christon (G - Brewster Academy - Xavier)
Mitch McGary (F - Brewster Academy - Michigan)
Jalen Reynolds (F - Brewster Academy - Xavier)
Aaron Thomas (G - Brewster Academy - Florida State)
TJ Warren (F - Brewster Academy - NC State)
Jarryn Skeete (G - Bridgton Academy - Buffalo)
Alex Furness (G - Cushing - Bentley)
Tyler McFarland (G - Cushing - Bentley)
Darrell Bowie (F - La Jolla Prep - Northern Illinois)
Strahinja Gavrilovic (G - La Jolla Prep - Southern California)
Darnell Harris (F - La Jolla Prep - Cleveland State)
Jarion Henry (G - La Jolla Prep - Oklahoma)
Travion Leonard (C - Lee Academy - Fordham)
Jean Yves Toupane (F - Lee Academy - Saint Bonaventure)
Barry Webster (F - Lee Academy - Maine)
Jared Brandon (F - Maine Central Institute - Cal State Fullerton)
James Farr (F - Maine Central Institute - Xavier)
Tobe Okafor (C - Maine Central Institute - Loyola Marymount)
Barrington Alston (F - New Hampton - Towson)
Zach Auguste (F - New Hampton - Notre Dame)
Olivier Hanlan (G - New Hampton - Boston College)
Ramon Johnson (F - NIA Prep - Coastal Carolina)
Tommy Carpenter (F - Northfield Mount Hermon - Dartmouth)
Evan Cummins (F - Northfield Mount Hermon - Harvard)
Ethan O'Day (F - Northfield Mount Hermon - Vermont)
Steven Adams (C - Notre Dame Prep - Pittsburgh)
Myles Davis (G - Notre Dame Prep - Xavier)
Adonis Filer (G - Notre Dame Prep - Clemson)
Shawn Valentine (G - Phelps - Rider)
Richard Audu (G - REDA - Siena)
Naz Long (G - REDA - Iowa State)
Jarrod Davis (F - Robinson School - Maryland Eastern Shore)
Laimonas Chatkevicius (C - South Kent - Kansas State)
Ricardo Ledo (G - South Kent - Providence)
Chris Ortiz (F - South Kent - Kent State)
Cedric Kukamensah (F - St. Andrew's - Brown)
Josh Hall (F - St. John's Northwest Military Academy - Cal Poly)
Andy Martin (C - St. John's Northwest Military Academy - Montana)
Curtis Jones (G - St. Thomas More - Manhattan)
Barrington Stevens (G - St. Thomas More - South Alabama)
Dominique Bull (G - Tilton - Missouri)
Kevin Crescenzi (G - Tilton - Dartmouth)
Georges Niang (F - Tilton - Iowa State)
Tevin Falzon (F - Winchendon - Sacred Heart)
Akosa Maduegbunam (G - Winchendon - Penn State)
Nick Victor (G - Winchendon - Yale)


New England Roundup: Rhode Island

January, 25, 2012
1/25/12
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Buried amidst the rubble in Central Falls, which long ago filed for bankruptcy and has been under the direction of a state-appointed receiver, has been the fate of the coaches of the city’s lone high school.

Rhode IslandTo be precise, they’ve given new meaning to the words “volunteer coaches.”

Because of a budget freeze and ongoing contract negotiations between the city and the union representing teachers, Warriors coaches have been guiding their teams sans compensation.

That was true in the fall; it’s carried over to the winter sports season; and barring any change in developments the status will remain quo come the spring.

Ironically, Warrior teams have enjoyed an inordinate amount of success.

Coach Mo Jackson led CF to the Division IV Super Bowl in December.

Coach Rich Sousa took his girls’ volleyball team to the Division II semifinals.

Coach Carl Africo guided the boys’ soccer team to the Division I quarterfinals.

The other falls sports for which coaches weren’t paid are boys’ and girls’ cross country, girls’ soccer and unified volleyball.

CF’s winter sports include boys’ and girls’ basketball, wrestling, boys’ and girls’ track and unified basketball.

The spring sports slate includes only baseball and softball.

The 63-year-old Jackson, who’s the dean of Warrior coaches, didn’t learn about the lack of funding until midway through the football season.

“I was a little upset,” Jackson was quoted in The Times of Pawtucket. “But I wasn’t going to abandon the kids halfway through the season.

“I don’t know if I had known before the season started if I would have coached. After being here 20 years, I’d like the opportunity to make that decision. But you don’t get into (coaching high school sports) to make a lot of money.”

North Kingstown, to a certain extent, is in a similar position as Central Falls – although the South County town is far from bankruptcy.

However, it has a projected $1.6 million deficit for fiscal year 2013.

As a result, Superintendent Phil Auger is working on proposals that could include cuts that would impact Skipper high school teams.

(Read full post)

Local McDonald's All-American Nominees

January, 18, 2012
1/18/12
1:13
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Nominees for the McDonald's All-American Game were announced this morning. The Final Teams announcement for the prestigious high school basketball all-star game will be announced on Feb. 9 at 5 p.m., on ESPNU.

The boys and girls games will take place on March 28 at the United Center in Chicago, with the girls game at 7 p.m. and broadcast on ESPNU. The boys game will take place immediately after, at 9:30, and will be on ESPN.

One interesting omission to note is Andover senior guard Nicole Boudreau, a Boston College signee who is the state's defending Gatorade Player of the Year and ESPN Boston Miss Basketball. Boudreau has also been ranked in the ESPNU 100 for the Class of 2012.

Below are the nominees from the New England states:

MASSACHUSETTS
Lexi Sells, Bishop Feehan
Jake Layman, King Philip
Ricardo Ledo, Notre Dame Prep
Kaleb Tarczewski, St. Mark's
Nik Stauskas, St. Mark's

CONNECTICUT
Kris Dunn, New London
Ben Freeland, Suffied Academy
Timajh Parker-Rivera, St. Joseph
Erik Sanders, Suffield Academy
Mike Tobey, Hotchkiss
Bria Holmes, Hillhouse

NEW HAMPSHIRE
Zach Auguste, New Hampton
Mitch McGary, Brewster Academy
T.J. Warren, Brewster Academy
Georges Niang, Tilton

RHODE ISLAND
Amber Holgate, St. Andrew's
Thomas Garrick, St. Andrew's
Cedric Kuakumensah, St. Andrew's
Kalusha Ndoubme Ngollo, St. Andrew's
Tyler Sabino, St. Andrew's
Austin Van Bemmelin, North Providence
Rob Hazard, North Providence

MAINE
Darrick Wood, Bridgton Academy

VERMONT
Chad Copeland, Twinfield Union
Jaskin Melendez, Mount St. Joseph
Avery Whitcomb, Twinfield Union
Sara Illingworth, Hartford
Alexandra Jones, Poultney

Worcester's Kuakumensah commits to Brown

October, 3, 2011
10/03/11
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According to the Barrington (R.I.) Times, St. Andrew's power forward Cedric Kuakumensah gave Brown University a verbal commitment on Sunday.

The 6-foot-8 Worcester native -- who transferred to the Barrington, R.I. campus after his junior year at Worcester North High, and re-classified to the Class of 2012 -- chose the Bears over Holy Cross and Penn.

"It's a proud day for us and for Cedric," St. Andrew's head coach Mike Hart told the paper. "For one of our kids to go to Brown shows they're finally starting to get it. It's not all about basketball. It's about getting an education."

Kuakumensah is the first recruit for Brown in the 2012 class. His current evaluation on Scouts Inc. reads as follows:



Strengths:
A good interior defender with a strong body, Kuakamensah has filled his frame out nicely within the last year. He is active at both ends of the floor, has a good nose for the ball, is a consistent shot blocking presence, and consistent rebounding presence on both ends. He has some emerging offensive skills both playing with his back to the basket and facing up, runs the court pretty well, makes the majority of his free-throws, and can finish plays with both hands.

Weaknesses:
While Kuakamensah shows flashes of skill and potential offensively, he is far from a finished product and still inconsistent by most accounts. He can disappear for stretches at a time offensively and lacks a true weapon or go-to move. As his body continues to develop he needs to ensure that his additional mass doesn't come at the expense of his mobility and quickness. With more game experience he will continue to develop his basketball I.Q. and overall feel for the game.

Bottom Line:
A sturdily built four-man, Kuakamensah makes his biggest impact at the defensive end right now but shows flashes of the offensive talent to eventually catch-up.


Interest for Auguste, Kuakumensah heating up

August, 9, 2011
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ESPN basketball recruiting analyst Adam Finkelstein checks in today on his recruiting blog with two of Central Mass.'s finest athletes, New Hampton (N.H.) forward Zach Auguste and St. Andrew's (R.I.) big man Cedric Kuakumensah.

Auguste, a Marlborough native, has been drawing interest all summer long with the Mass Rivals AAU club, having picked up four new scholarship offers this past week from the Big East, SEC and ACC. But that's just the start.

From Finkelstein (Insider):


The 6-foot-9 forward's most recent offers are Florida, West Virginia, Clemson and Marquette. However, when I asked him which schools those four joined he rattled off a few more but then had to pull out his cell phone where he keeps the complete list which now includes Florida, West Virginia, Clemson, Marquette, Georgia Tech, Minnesota, Missouri, DePaul, Providence, Notre Dame, Wake Forest, UMass, Oregon State, Penn State, Auburn, Washington State, Virginia, and Virginia Tech.

But those are just the offers Auguste holds. He has interest from a variety of other powerhouse programs including UConn, whose campus he visited unofficially earlier this summer, and Pittsburgh, who has offered him an official visit.

An undeniable talent thanks to his length, athleticism and skill set, Auguste's productivity went to new levels in the second half of July, when his Mass Rivals squad made their West Coast swing to Las Vegas and Los Angeles.

Now his biggest challenge is keeping up with his phone as it has been ringing off the hook for the last week.

"I'm hoping to pick a top five or seven by the end of the month," Auguste said, adding that he isn't planning on taking any unofficial visits this month.

The skilled forward gave few clues as to which direction he was leaning, other than to say he was starting to think about official visits, and hoped to take a trip to Florida among other places.

"I'm looking for somewhere that I can have an impact as a freshman," he said, "have a good relationship with the coaches, and play for a good program that can win."


Finkelstein is also reporting that interest for Kuakumensah, a teammate of Auguste's with the Rivals, is picking up steam. The 6-foot-8 Worcester native -- who transferred into the Barrington, R.I. campus from Worcester North High last year, and re-classified to the Class of 2012 -- took an unofficial visit to Vermont this past weekend. He has seen interest as high as the Atlantic-10, and is hoping to visit UPenn later this month.

For more recruiting updates on New England's top high school basketball talent, be sure to check out Finkelstein's ESPN blog (Insider) as well as his New England Recruiting Report.
The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with ESPN RISE, today announced Pat Connaughton of St. John's Preparatory School as its 2010-11 Gatorade Massachusetts Boys Basketball Player of the Year. Connaughton is the first Gatorade Massachusetts Boys Basketball Player of the Year to be chosen from St. John's Preparatory School.

The 6-foot-5, 205-pound senior guard led the Eagles to a 24-1 record and a berth in the Division 1 state championship game, scheduled for March 19. Entering the state final, Connaughton is averaging 22.0 points, 16.6 rebounds and 7.9 assists per game. A member of the 2010 Boston Herald Dream Team and the Boston Globe Super Team, he is a three-time Catholic Conference All-Star and a two-time league MVP.

Connaughton has maintained a 3.53 weighted GPA in the classroom. A standout pitcher for the St. John’s Prep baseball team and an accomplished Latin scholar, he has volunteered locally as a youth basketball coach and elementary school tutor and has donated his time at a day care center.

“Pat’s a very physical player, very strong,” said Michael Crotty, Connaughton’s AAU coach with the Middlesex Magic. “He can get to the hoop, slash and finish above the rim. He’s as good a 6-foot-5 rebounder as you will see in the country. When you need a big one, he gets it.”

Connaughton has signed a National Letter of Intent to play basketball on scholarship at the University of Notre Dame this fall. He also intends to play baseball.

Connaughton joins recent Gatorade Massachusetts Boys Basketball Players of the Year Nate Lubick (2008-09 & 2009-10, St. Mark's School) and Stevie Mejia (2007-08, Lawrence Academy), among the state’s list of former award winners.

Below are the winners from the five other New England states:

CONNECTICUT: ANDRE DRUMMOND, ST. THOMAS MORE

The 6-foot-10, 240-pound senior power forward and center led the Chancellors to a 30-7 record and the National Preparatory School Championship this past season, earning postseason MVP honors in the process. Drummond averaged 15 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and four blocks while shooting 64 percent from the floor. He scored 19 points in the title-clinching win over Notre Dame Prep.

Drummond has maintained a B average in the classroom at St. Thomas More. A campus tour guide and residence assistant at his school, he has volunteered locally on behalf of food and clothing drives for the homeless and as part of a fundraising campaign to benefit cancer research.

Drummond intends to complete a year of post-graduate study, beginning this fall.

Drummond joins recent Gatorade Connecticut Boys Basketball Players of the Year Brandon Sherrod (2009-10, Stratford), Greg DeSantis (2008-09, Notre Dame Catholic), and Allan Chaney (2007-08, New London), among the state’s list of former award winners.

RHODE ISLAND: MICHAEL CARTER-WILLIAMS, ST. ANDREW'S

The 6-foot-5, 175-pound senior guard averaged 23.9 points, 8.3 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 2.0 steals this past season, leading the Saints (25-9) to the New England Prep School Athletic Council Class B semifinals. The returning Gatorade Rhode Island Boys Basketball Player of the Year, Carter-Williams is the first Rhode Island player selected to play in the McDonald’s All-American Game. A two-time NEPSAC First Team All-Conference honoree, he concluded his prep basketball career with 2,260 points.

Carter-Williams has maintained a 3.06 GPA in the classroom. The lead in his school’s stage production of “Aladdin,” he has volunteered locally as a youth football and basketball coach and as a peer tutor.

Carter-Williams has signed a National Letter of Intent to play basketball on scholarship at Syracuse University this fall.

Carter-Williams joins recent Gatorade Rhode Island Boys Basketball Players of the Year Jay Jeannotte (2008-09, Narragansett) and Ashton Watkins (2007-08, Classical), among the state’s list of former award winners.

NEW HAMPSHIRE: CONNOR GREEN, BISHOP GUERTIN

The 6-foot-4, 230-pound senior forward has led the Cardinals to a 19-2 record and a berth in the Division I state final against Trinity High, scheduled for March 19. Green is averaging 20.6 points, 9.3 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game while shooting 77 percent from the free throw line. A 2011 New Hampshire Mr. Basketball finalist, he has recorded a double-double in 20 of Bishop Guertin’s 21 games this season.

Green has maintained a 3.30 GPA in the classroom. He has volunteered locally as a peer tutor and on behalf of multiple community service initiatives in association with his church youth group.

“Connor Green has developed into a complete player,” said Bishop Guertin High Head Coach Jim Migneault. “Each game he is just as focused on grabbing rebounds as he is about scoring points. He has matured so much as a player this season.”

Green intends to complete a year of post-graduate study, beginning this fall.

Green joins recent Gatorade New Hampshire Boys Basketball Players of the Year Melvin Ejim (2009-10, Brewster), Alex Oriakhi (2008-09, Tilton), and Emmanuel Negedu (2007-08, Brewster), among the state’s list of former award winners.

MAINE: TYLER MCFARLAND, CAMDEN HILLS REGIONAL

The 6-foot-6, 220-pound senior forward led the Windjammers to a 23-0 record and the Class B state championship this past season. McFarland recorded 24 points and 11 rebounds in the 68-59, state title-clinching victory against Cape Elizabeth High, capturing All-Tournament Most Valuable Player honors in the process. The state’s Mr. Basketball award-winner and a Maine McDonald’s Senior All-Star Game selection, he averaged 24.1 points, 11.4 rebounds, 2.8 steals, 2.0 assists and 1.8 blocks per game. McFarland shot 55 percent from the field and 77 percent from the free-throw line. The three-time Class B Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Player of the Year, he also led Camden Hills to the 2009 Class B state title as a sophomore.

McFarland has maintained an A-minus average in the classroom and serves as a member of Camden Hills High’s student and captains’ councils. The recipient of the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership and Maine Principals Association’s awards for outstanding citizenship, he has also donated his time as part of his school’s peer-mentoring program and as a youth basketball instructor.

“The thing that distinguishes Tyler McFarland is his intense desire to not only be the best player he can be, but how much he enjoys helping his teammates become the best players they can be,” said Camden Hills High Head Coach Jeff Hart. “He will do whatever it takes for his team to win. If we need him to score 40, then he’ll score 45. If we need 20 rebounds, he’ll go get 25. He wants to be a role model for all the young people not only in our community, but wherever he ends up going to college. Tyler is the most impressive young man who I have ever met in 29 years of coaching here at Camden Hills High.”

McFarland remains undecided upon a collegiate destination.

McFarland joins recent Gatorade Maine Boys Basketball Players of the Year Stefano Mancini (2009-10, Falmouth), Thomas Knight (2008-09, Dirigo), and Ryan Martin (2007-08, Maranacook Community), among the state’s list of former award winners.

VERMONT: BEN FERRIS, ESSEX

The 6-foot-3 senior guard averaged 23.4 points, 10.2 rebounds and 6.5 assists this past season, leading the Hornets to the Division I state tournament. A member of the All-State team as a junior, Ferris was named to the Vermont Basketball Coaches Association Dream Dozen in 2011. He is also a two-time First Team All-Metro selection.

Ferris has maintained an A average in the classroom. He has volunteered locally as a mentor for elementary school children.

Ferris will attend Tufts University this fall, where he will play basketball.

Ferris joins recent Gatorade Vermont Boys Basketball Players of the Year Joe O'Shea (2009-10, Burlington), Clancy Rugg (2008-09, Burlington), and Matt Joslin (2007-08, North Country Union), among the state’s list of former award winners.

Two locals selected to Jordan Brand Classic

February, 15, 2011
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Jordan Brand has released the rosters for the All-American Game for April's 10th Annual Jordan Brand Classic, to be held at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte; and once again, Notre Dame Prep's Khem Birch and St. Andrew's Michael Carter-Williams have found themselves on a short list.

Both Birch and Carter-Williams, who were selected to the McDonald's All-American Game last Thursday, will suit up for the East squad in the All-American game. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN2 at 8 p.m., and serves as the nightcap of a tripleheader that includes an International Game and Regional Game earlier in the day. The rosters for the two other games have not been announced yet.

This will mark the first time in the history of the game that players originally from two different Eastern Canadian provinces will suit up for the game. Findlay Prep point guard Myck Kabongo, a Toronto native, will oppose the Montreal-bred Birch on the West roster.

Below are the complete rosters for the All-American Game:

EAST

Khem Birch, Notre Dame Prep
Michael Carter-Williams, St. Andrew's (R.I.)
Rakeem Christmas, Academy of New Church (Penn.)
Mike Gbinije, Benedictine (Va.)
Michael Gilchrist, St. Patrick (N.J.)
P.J. Hairston, Hargrave Miltary (Va.)
James McAdoo, Norfolk Christian (Va.)
Quincy Miller, Westchester Country Day (N.C.)
Austin Rivers, Winter Park (Fla.)
Shannon Scott, Milton (Ga.)
Marquis Teague, Pike (Ind.)

WEST

Bradley Beal, Chaminade Prep (Mo.)
Jabari Brown, Oakland (Calif.)
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Greenville (Ga.)
Anthony Davis, Perspectives (Ill.)
Myck Kabongo, Findlay Prep (Nev.)
Johnny O'Bryant, East Side (Miss.)
Sir'Dominic Pointer, Quality Education (N.C.)
Otto Porter, Scott County Central (Mo.)
Adonis Thomas, Melrose (Tenn.)
Kyle Witjer, Jesuit (Ore.)
Tony Wroten Jr., Garfield (Wash.)

Two firsts for local McDonald's All-Americans

February, 10, 2011
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The news of his selection to the prestigious McDonald's All-American Game just two hours old, Notre Dame Prep's Khem Birch couldn't help but look at the texts and Facebook messages pouring in, and grin.

"I'm so excited for me and all the people that have helped me along the way -- my city too," said the Montreal native tonight by cell phone. "I'm the first one from there to get picked. Everyone up there's real happy for me. They've all watched me grow up, and now look at where I am."

Spokesmen from the McDonald's All-American game confirmed tonight that Birch is indeed the first Quebec native to be selected to the game, which will take place March 30 at the United Center in Chicago. Birch first came to the United States two summers ago when he enrolled at Winchendon School for the 2009-10 academic year, then transferred down the road to the Fitchburg, Mass.-based Notre Dame Prep last May. Birch, the No. 1 center in the Class of 2011 in ESPNU's latest rankings, signed a letter of intent with Pitt this past November.

Meanwhile, St. Andrew's Michael Carter-Williams, the other New Englander selected to the game, is the first player in the history of the event from a Rhode Island high school (Carter-Williams hails from Hamilton, Mass.).

"It feels like such a great honor, I'm real happy about it," Carter-Williams said this evening. "But I have to give credit to my teammates and my coaches. Without them, I wouldn’t be in this game at all. Just to represent St. Andrew's school, the state of Rhode Island as well as Massachusetts, I'm so happy about it."

The 6-foot-7 Carter-Williams, who signed with Syracuse last November and is the No. 5 shooting guard in 2011, will play on the East squad. The 6-foot-9 Birch will play on the West squad.

Here is what our colleagues at Scouts Inc. had to say about the picks:

Michael Carter-Williams
Stats: 20.0 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 6.3 apg
Paul Biancardi's breakdown: Carter-Williams is a long, thin athletic scoring guard who is always in attack mode. He is also excellent at creating space for his jumper or creative with the dribble to get to the rim, especially with the clock winding down.
Dave Telep's take: In his final summer on the AAU circuit, Carter-Williams captained a youthful group of BABC All-Stars. His first game at the Peach Jam was a 44-point eruption and was the catalyst for his candidacy as an All-American. ESPN's Mike LaPlante noted that he made 30 of 35 free throws on his first day at the Peach Jam.

Khem Birch
Stats: 18.0 ppg, 13.0 rpg, 6.0 bpg
Biancardi's breakdown: He is a terrific, young athlete and tremendous shot-blocker. Defensively, Birch can cover a lot of ground and is one of the few prospects who can influence the game without leaving the paint.
Telep's take: The 2010 LeBron James Academy was the setting, and Derrick Favors comparisons were ringing out from the crowd. Months later, Birch would switch from the class of 2012 back into the 2011 class. He played beat the buzzer, then inked with Pittsburgh giving Jamie Dixon his highest-rated recruit ever as Panthers head coach.

Hoophall: Findlay too much for St. Andrew's

January, 16, 2011
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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- St. Andrew’s School (Barrington, R.I.) kept the game within reach until the fourth quarter, but Findlay Prep (Nev.) pulled away in the fourth quarter, winning 76-57.

“They came out and hit their first four shots, and that was it,” said St. Andrew’s coach Michael Hart of his team never getting the lead in the contest.

“And I think the 30-second clock hurt us today,” added Hart, whose team plays with a 35-second shot clock when they play two halves, but this match was played in eight minute quarters. “The game was fast, and when it’s fast, it favors the runners and jumpers.”

That is not to say the Saints were not running and jumping.

“It doesn’t matter if guys are short or tall,” said Prep coach Michael Peck. “When you’ve got guys that make shots, you’re going to be in games.”

One of those guys who made shots was St. Andrew’s senior guard Aboubacar Casse. He scored 10 points and had six rebounds.

“Uba [Casse] shoots the ball very well,” said St. Andrew’s senior Michael Carter-Williams. “He shoots well, especially from the corner.”

Casse worked hard to ensure that the Prep team wouldn’t walk away with a win.

“I felt that they were just like me,” said Casse, who mixed it up with various Finlday players while playing tough defense, getting three personal fouls on the afternoon. “We have the same talent, the same athleticism, but they played together [well].”

Findlay Prep senior Nick Johnson agrees that the Pilots play well as a team, but it’s not magic; they are an intricate part of each others’ lives.

“It’s a lot of work,” said Johnson. “We started months and months ago. We basically live together, it’s like a family.”

Even when guys who are not touted as much as some of the D-1 bound players such as Johnson and Myck Kabongo (9 points) and game MVP sophomore Nigel Williams-Goss (19 points, nine rebounds), the teams rallies behind them.

“It’s definitely a big thing when Amir [Garrett, 6 points] gets a dunk,” added Johnson.” We’re very supportive of each other.”

Syracuse-bound senior Michael Carter-Williams scored 24 points for St. Andrew’s and was 3-4 from the line. He was pleased with the play of his point guard Miles Brilhante, who scored 10 points, going 3-3 from the free throw line.

“Miles is a big part of our team,” Carter-Williams said. “He controls the ball, he doesn’t turn the ball over that much, tries to find the open man and it’s great having him on the court. It helps me out a lot. It makes my job a lot easier.”

Prep coach Peck was not looking to make anything easy for Carter-Williams, who shot 36 percent from the field, as the 6-5 guard earned every look at the basket.

“We talk about getting under a guy’s chin,” said Peck. “A guy with that length can separate, get the three off...you’ve got to stay up under his chin. Guy’s communicating, ‘Behind him,' ‘I’m on your left,’ ‘You’ve got a screen coming right’.

“We kind of bum-rushed him a little bit.”

“Findlay threw their best defender on him,” added Hart, no longer donning his candy cane striped coat, now sporting a low key black St. Andrew’s jacket. “And he made a lot of nice shots. He still kept his teammates involved and he didn’t take too many shots, which is an underrated part of his game.”

Player Perspective: Michael Carter-Williams

December, 12, 2010
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Few players in the last year have elevated their reputation as a deadly shooter as much as St. Andrew's Michael Carter-Williams, the No. 32 overall player in the Class of 2011 on ESPN's latest rankings. While wire-thin, the Hamilton, Mass. native has proven his worth beyond first glance, with his versatile scoring arsenal. And last month, it all came full-circle when he signed a National Letter of Intent to play for Syracuse University next fall. Carter-Williams sat down with ESPNBoston following a Thursday night practice on the Barrington, R.I. campus to discuss his game, his unique pedigree, and his swan song season in Rhode Island.

Q: What kind of goals have you set for yourself this high school season?
A:
"Probably just to show leadership to my teammates. I'm a senior, and there's only three seniors on the team. And being a senior captain, I think it's important for the future of the program to show good leadership, so when they become leaders they know how to do it the right way. And, just to try to win a championship, and be a part of a good team my last year, really."

Q: You've got some new faces around here, what's encouraged you most about this new group?
A:
"What's most encouraging is they're all just good kids. They're fun to be around with, they're not jerks, they're just good kids. They want to be taught."

Q: How far is Syracuse going this year?
A:
"They're going to win it all (laughs)."

Q: National Letter of Intent Day is obviously a big day for alot of kids. How did it feel to finally put your signature on this commitment and make it official?
A:
"It felt great just knowing the process is completely over now. It's just preparing to go up there [now], preparing my body in the gym and in school, to go up there. It's a relief for me and my family and my coaches. I was just proud of the decision."

Q: What about from an emotional standpoint?
A:
"Like I said, it was just a sign of relief. I was really happy about it. It's something you see kids do on T.V. all the time, people who are in the NBA now signing when they were in high school. So it was a good experience for me."

Q: You've got some interesting lineage. First, the paternal side. Your biological father, Earl Williams, was an assistant at Cambridge under Lance Dottin. Your stepfather, Zach Zegarowski, was an assistant under Jack O'Brien at Charlestown, including during their run earlier this decade of five state titles in six seasons. Those are two of the most well-known coaches in the Boston area, were you able to go to practices and hang out with the team?
A:
"Yeah, definitely. When I was with my dad, I got to see alot of Cambridge practices, and when I was with my mom I got to see alot of the Charlestown practices. It was just a great experience for me to see both teams, both the kids from Charlestown and the kids from Cambridge. You see two different styles of coaching. That's probably what made me who I am today, see how to work hard, most kids they want to be good but they just don't know how to work hard."

Q: Specifically, what lessons did you take away from those sessions?
A:
"Basketball's a tough game. You've got to be mentally tough. Also, just to never give up, no matter what happens. And to play as a family, whatever it is you're doing."

Q: Your mother, Amanda Zegarowski, is the head girls' basketball coach at Ipswich High. It's obviously a totally different game, more focused on the fundamentals and generally a slower game. What have you taken away from those games?
A:
"Just probably, watching my mom coach, patience. She has so much patience, and she pushes them just as much as she pushes me. She's probably my hardest critic, because she keeps on me about everything, my schoolwork, stuff like that. Watching her coach, and her kids play, I learned alot of discipline, too."

Q: The way people describe you, how do you feel about that? Are you comfortable with that?
A:
"Yeah, first mostly when they start off an article they say I'm skinny and I'm lean. I mean, yeah I get sick of hearing it sometimes, but you know this is just the way I am. I just think most people don't realize that when I play, I am a skinny kid but I'm also strong. I mean, I really just take it as motivation, to built myself up. Yeah, I try to look at it the best way as possible."

Q: What would you say was the biggest obstacle you had to overcome in your game to get to where you are now?
A:
"Just staying confident in myself. Last year, and the year before, when things weren't going so well, my shot wasn't falling, or I was making mistakes, I just kinda gave up on myself and my teammates. This year, I've learned that I can't do that, and I've just grown as a person and as a player I've learned to stay confident no matter what."

Q: What's your favorite thing to do on the court?
A:
"My favorite thing to do on the court is probably to get my teammates an open layup. Just to get the team going. I know myself, I can create for myself, but unlike most people that are good at basketball they can create for themselves but aren't as good at setting up their teammates. So when I can do that, that's when I'm most happy."

Q: Is there a particular move you like to use to get that teammate open?
A:
"Probably a hesitation move, that's one of my favorites."

Q: Take us through game day.
A:
"I mostly try to stay focused, listen to music, laugh a little bit just to get my nerves out with my teammates, joke around here and there. But, when it's game time, I'm serious, really. Get a good meal in."

Q: For some people who keep it light, as you described, they feel it slows the game down.
A:
"Yeah, I just feel like I'm not tense. I can relax, and just play my game."

Q: What's on your iPod?
A:
"Hmm, right now I'm listening to a variety of music. Meek Millz from Philly...I also listen to Jay-Z, Kanye West and Eminem. And J. Cole, too."

Q: What's motivating you the most this season?
A:
"Just I know that every day is my last, really. I can't go back in time, every day at practice I've got to cherish it because I don't have a next year. I don't come back to high school next year, I'm going to college, so I'm just going hard in every drill like it's my last, because it is my last. And I'm going to appreciate practicing every day with Coach Hart."

Hoophall Schedule Unveiled

October, 20, 2010
10/20/10
4:54
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The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced the schedule today for its 10th Annual Hoophall Classic, to be held at Springfield College's Blake Arena from January 14-17, 2011 (Martin Luther King Day weekend).

Annually chock-full of the nation's premier high school talent, past Hoophall alumni include Kevin Durant, O.J. Mayo, Jerryd Bayless, DeMarcus Cousins, Derrick Favors, Xavier Henry and Lance Stephenson. 2010's Classic featured high-major talents Kyrie Irving, Jared Sullinger, Tobias Harris, Cory Joseph, Brandon Knight and Austin Rivers.

Forty-seven teams from 17 different states as far away as California and Nevada are represented in this upcoming classic, among them nearly two dozen ESPNU100 talents including Michael Gilchrist, Quincy Miller, Myck Kabongo, LeBryan Nash, Andre Drummond, Shabazz Muhammad and DaJuan Coleman.

Locally, there will be several key games to look for, particularly on Monday morning when Notre Dame-bound Pat Connaughton leads St. John's Prep against Perspectives, the Chicago-based charter school that features Kentucky commit Anthony Davis.

The schedule is currently as follows:

GIRLS

Friday, Jan. 14
Springfield Central vs. East Longmeadow, 3
Sabis International vs. Frontier Regional, 4:30
Murry Bergtraum (N.Y.) vs. Mater Dei (Calif.), 6

BOYS

Friday, Jan. 14
Belchertown vs. Hoosac Valley, 7:30
Sabis vs. Taconic, 9

Saturday, Jan. 15
West Springfield vs. East Hartford (Conn.), 11 a.m.
Hillhouse (Conn.) vs. New London (Conn.), 12:30
Mount Vernon (N.Y.) vs. Taft (Calif.), 2
St. Anthony (N.J.) vs. DeMatha Catholic (Md.), 4
Morgan Park (Ill.) vs. Seattle Garfield (Wash.), 5:45
Oak Hill (Va.) vs. Milton (Ga.), 8
Chicopee vs. Columbia (Ala.), 9:30

Sunday, Jan. 16
St. Mark's vs. Life Center Academy (N.J.), 11 a.m.
St. Thomas More (Conn.) vs. Hargrave Military (Va.), 12:30
St. Andrew's (R.I.) v. Findlay Prep (Nev.), 2
Jamesville-DeWitt (N.Y.) vs. Webster Groves (Mo.), 4:30
Springfield Central vs. Newton North, 6
Sabis International vs. New Mission, 7:30
Skills Challenge, 9

Monday, Jan. 17
St. John's Prep vs. Perspectives (Ill.), 9 a.m.
Christ the King (N.Y.) vs. Westchester Country Day (N.C.), 11 a.m.
St. Patrick (N.J.) vs. Bishop Gorman (Nev.), 1
Dallas Lincoln (Texas) vs. Findlay Prep (Nev.), 3
Academy of the New Church (Pa.) vs. Boys and Girls (N.Y.), 5
East Longmeadow vs. Northampton, 7

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