New York High School: Boys Basketball

Hickman to walk on at Delaware State

May, 25, 2012
St. Raymond senior guard Myron Hickman will try to walk on at Delaware State in pursuit of his Division 1 dream. He made his decision two weeks ago after being accepted for admission to the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference school.

"Basically, I felt like it was the right move," Hickman said. "I feel like I have a good chance to compete for a spot on the team."

Hickman had been hoping to secure a Division I scholarship, even playing on the AAU circuit this spring, but that offer never came. He had interest from Clarion and some other Division II schools, but ultimately decided to try and fight his way onto a Division I roster. He said he's not concerned that walking on means he's not guaranteed a spot.

"I'm an NYC baller. I have confidence through the roof," Hickman said. "I'm going to go and take care of business and play the way I'm capable. Everything will fall into place."

Hickman was a key role player for St. Raymond's CHSAA Class AA Intersectional title team. He missed a month of the season with a bacterial infection, which be believes hurt him in terms of recruiting. He hit a buzzer-beat in a win over Boys & Girls in February.

"I'm definitely looking forward to it," Hickman said. "This is what you strive for, to play against the best competition and I fee like why not continue to go for it and make a good situation."

Hallows & Farrell upset about Class A move

May, 17, 2012
All Hallows and Monsignor Farrell are taking action after their boys basketball teams were recently demoted from Class AA to Class A, has learned.

All Hallows Principal Sean Sullivan plans to speak at the Catholic High School Athletic Association principals meeting June 13 to recommend a change to the league's system. Farrell Athletic Director Tony Garofalo said the school is putting together an appeal.

"I'm going to go in there full guns blazing," Sullivan said. "The league said nothing is set in stone and there are options. I'm going to try to convince them that this is the inmates are running the asylum mentality. We're getting punished for doing the right thing."

Sullivan, an assistant on the varsity baseball team, believes the principals should be the ones who dictate the divisions, instead of it being based on the coaches' rankings. He did not agree with the method when the league announced the format last year.

All coaches rank the teams in divisions, and then use those rankings to determine which teams should fall into which class. The chairmen of the divisions and the executive committee then implement coaches' recommendations.

While there is no set number for how many teams constitute each class, All Hallows fell six points behind Fordham Prep for the sixth and final Class AA spot, according to a source.

"They should let the principals vote," said Sullivan, who would like to see All Hallows play in the AA. "I'm not going to set my kids up for a massacre. If we couldn't compete, I'd be the first to say drop us down. It's a principal's decision. I know who is in my building and what kids are coming in. My coach gets the most out of the kids. The varsity competes."

The principal also sees this is a punishment, of sorts, for his school. He said it does not recruit like other schools, which results in fewer wins. All Hallows went 10-15 last year, making the Class AA quarterfinals, but has not won an lntersectional title since 1985.

"It comes down to the people interested in W's," Sullivan said. "That's not what school should be about. High school is about teaching. Any principal knows when his team is 0-19 it needs to move. We have a competitive program, but we're not visiting grammar schools looking for players. We have standards and I follow the rules."

Sullivan is also concerned about the ramifications of teams being moved up and down in the division based on the coaches' rankings. There were six teams that were moved up or down this year, with Iona, Nazareth, Salesian and Moore Catholic all moving up.

"By setting it up, will people not in the AA go out and actively recruit basketball players so they can move up?" Sullivan said. "Will the people in the AA now doubly recruit to stay there? It sets up a vicious cycle that is all about wins and that's not what high school education is about."

Farrell was voted the No. 3 team in Staten Island, but only the top two teams make the AA. Since there are only four teams in the CHSAA from Staten Island, those four teams rank on their own and are not allowed to rank themselves. Farrell went 10-15 last year.

Garofalo acknowledged that it's tough to have a perfect system for the Staten Island schools, but he and his coach, Mike Dunn, both feel Farrell can play in the AA.

"We're unhappy with where we were ranked and we'd like to let the league know that we'd like to play an AA schedule," Garofalo said. "If anything can be taken into consideration, we'd like it to be made, and if not, that's fine."

Archdiocese president Rich Tricario said All Hallows submitted a late vote that was nullified because it did not follow the instructions. Sullivan said his athletic director was in the hospital during that time and he should have been made aware as principal.

Tricario backed the system that was created to ensure more competitive games.

"It's not perfect but it's objective instead of subjective," Tricario said. "Most people felt it worked."

Seniors turn to AAU for one last shot

May, 16, 2012
Mairega Clarke is puzzled.

A talented forward for Holy Cross, he helped guide the Knights to the Catholic High Schools Athletic Association Class AA title game this winter. He thought he had played well enough to earn a Division I scholarship.

Yet, the Division I offers he thought would roll in never came. Some schools were interested, but none pulled the trigger. Thus, with a rapidly closing window of opportunity to remedy the situation, Clarke turned to AAU.

"I want to play to show coaches that I deserve that offer from then," said Clarke, who plays for Raising Champions.

While most seniors skip AAU because they have scholarships, for unsigned seniors like Clarke, playing in the spring and the summer is a final chance to impress college coaches and potentially earn that coveted scholarship.

"I think it's a great opportunity for them," New Heights Athletic Director Kimani Young said. "It's a last look. Maybe a school missed out on these guys. These guys can improve over their senior years. I think it helps."

Young said there's an advantage in playing as an unsigned senior as college coaches will be seeing players just months before they would head to campus. Instead of guessing how a player will develop during his senior year in high school, coaches basically see the player in April that will arrive on campus in August.

Young also added that seniors play with a chip on their shoulder.

"I just know that a kid playing in April in his senior year, he's hungry for that scholarship," Young said. "Kids that are playing now feel like this is their last opportunity to have access to that college scholarship."

For Clarke, he still has not received that offer he wanted, although Florida Atlantic is interested in bringing him in after a year of prep school. Other New York City players have had a little more success, although they're still waiting for their dream offers.

St. Raymond senior Myron Hickman played at the Providence Jam Fest in April with the Jersey Jayhawks to see if he could get a Division I offer, as he only had Division II schools extending. A few schools were interested after seeing him, but wanted him for 2013. He has a visit set up with a Division II school and may try to walk on at Delaware State.

Cardinal Hayes and New Heights teammates Jalen Jenkins and Naasir Williams both saw a rise in interest, but they still don't have that slam-dunk offer. Williams also had schools interested in him for 2013, but schools want to see how he plays this summer.

Jenkins has mid-major offers but wants to grab a Big East scholarship. He has interest from Providence and Cincinnati, as the Bearcats were interested after seeing him in Las Vegas.

Jenkins and Williams had both been planning to attend prep school but have backed off on those plans because of the interest they garnered from AAU. Williams said it's still up in the air, while Jenkins is more committed to the idea of walking on at a school.

"I figure playing shows that I'm able to play at the point where schools that high-major schools will look at me," Jenkins said. "Instead of just playing for the low Division I and the mid-major schools to look at you."

Team SCAN Program Director Terrence "Munch" Williams likes the opportunity seniors have through AAU, but worries that some will get too caught up in trying to get that dream offer instead of focusing on more realistic options.

"It sometimes strings kids along. A kid might be more of a Division II or Division III player and they don't want to jump into that situation," Williams said. "They keep hoping they’ll get that dream team. Everyone thinks they are Division I until the last minute. Sometimes you wait too long and it doesn't come."

Source: CHSAA divisions set for 2012-13

May, 11, 2012
The Iona Prep and Nazareth boys basketball teams will both move up a division after winning CHSAA State titles, according to a league source. Moore Catholic and Salesian will also move up, while All Hallows and Monsignor Farrell will be moving down a division.

For the second straight year, the Catholic High Schools Athletic Association's coaches ranked the 32 teams in the league and then created the divisions based on those rankings. The league created this system to help avoid mismatches and ensure competitive games.

According to the source, the divisions will be:

Brooklyn/Queens: Christ the King, Bishop Loughlin, Holy Cross, Molloy, Xaverian, St. Francis
New York: St. Raymond, Hayes, Mount, Stepinac, Iona Prep (moving up), Fordham Prep
State Island: St. Peter's, Moore Catholic (moving up)

Brooklyn/Queens: Bishop Ford, St. Edmund, Nazareth (moving up), McClancy, St. John's
New York: All Hallows (moving down), Xavier, Spellman, Regis, LaSalle, Salesian (moving up)
Staten Island: Farrell (moving down), St. Joseph by-the-Sea

Brooklyn/Queens: Cathedral
New York: St. Agnes, Sacred Heart, Blessed Sacrament, Scanlan

In the AA and the A, the teams play all division opponents twice and other divisions once. The Staten Island squads will play each other twice and the Archdiocese teams once.

AA teams in the Archdiocese will have 18 leagues games, Brooklyn/Queens teams will play 16 league games, and Staten Island squads will have eight. In the A, Archdiocese teams have 17 league games, Brooklyn/Queens will have 14 and Staten Island teams will again have eight.

Class B teams play each other twice for a total of eight league games.

Boys' Angus headed to a prep school

April, 28, 2012
Boys & Girls senior forward Joel Angus has decided to attend prep school next season for a postgraduate year. The senior decided two weeks ago and believes it will help him with recruiting and possibly allow him to play for an Ivy League school in 2013.

"It will help my physically and I can improve my SAT scores," Angus said. "If I can get my scores up it will be help me trying to get into the Ivy League."

Angus, who helped Boys & Girls win the State Federation Class AA tournament in his one and only year with the school, has an offer from Alcorn State and interest from New Hampshire. He averaged 8.6 points and 11.1 rebounds in league games last year.

The forward is attracted to Ivy League schools because he believes it's the best of both worlds, combining the academics and the sports. Yale has asked him for a transcript in the past and he has talked to Dartmouth.

He told earlier this year that he was learning toward prep school but wanted to see if he could secure some scholarship options. While Angus is surprised he did not get more offers, he's not looking at it as a negative.

"Everything happens for a reason," Angus said. "Next year might be good for me."

The senior said it's looking like he will be attending Putnam Science Academy (Conn.) and will visit the school on Monday. He's talked to Fisburne Military Academy (Va.) and also has some interest in Maine Central Institute.

While he hopes that his scores will improve, Angus also wants to work on his lateral quickness and his explosiveness in his prep year.

"I'm feeling good about this," Angus said. "This isn't something where I’m feeling bad about doing another year of high school. I'm going to do something good."
The first player new South Carolina basketball coach Frank Martin visited after being hired in March was Thomas Jefferson's Thaddeus Hall. One day after being hired as the Gamecocks' coach, after leaving Kansas State, Martin was down in Brooklyn to see the talented guard.

"He put on the full-court pressure," Hall said. "It felt good to know he visited me first."

The constant attention Martin showed Hall, dating back to his Kansas State days, ultimately paid off as the senior committed to South Carolina on Thursday. The 6-5 shooting guard also had offers from St. John's and Maryland, among other offers.

"It's a nice campus and I have family out there," Hall said. "It wasn't a hard choice."

Hall had always intrigued Martin, but Hall said that things cooled when Martin was nearing the end of his time with Kansas State. Hall started wondering why he wasn't hearing from Martin as much anymore, but once Martin landed his new job, he called Hall and explained it all to him. Hall likes Martin's fiery style of coaching.

"It wasn't very hard to choose him to be my coach," Hall said. "I need somebody who has a style that is going to push me on and off the court and I know that he does that. He's a coach that fits me personally."

The senior established himself this past season as one of the top prospects in New York, after failing to distinguish himself on underachieving Jefferson teams in the past few years. While he missed games early in the season because of academic issues and injuries, once he returned, he was he had arguably as much of an effect on his team as any other player.

Jefferson lost just two games all season with Hall in the lineup, falling to nationally ranked St. Anthony (N.J.) and Boys & Girls. Jefferson won the Brooklyn borough title as well as the Brooklyn borough tournament. Hall averaged 17.3 points and 6.7 rebounds in the regular season, and 25.3 points and 8.5 rebounds in the playoffs.

"He was hands down the best player in the city," Pollard said. "He took an 8-5 team with no experience and no returnees and led them. He took those guys to the city title game and took them within a minute of winning it all."

He added: "People didn't mention his name in the preseason top 10 and I think he took that personally. He went out there and just let his play do the talking."

Hall committed on Thursday because he said he wanted to end his recruitment so he could turn his attention to his academics, which is and has been an issue for Jefferson's star. Hall said he doesn't have that much to do to ensure he's eligible and said he will be fine. He'll be taking the SAT in the next few weeks.

"I'm going to bet on him," Pollard said about Hall and potential eligibility issues. "People said he can't win a championship and he was able to. He can win this one too."

ESPNNewYork All-New York City boys hoops team

April, 19, 2012
Our group of high school writers have collaborated to bring you’s All-New York City team for boys basketball. Here are our top boys players in the PSAL and CHSAA -- starting five, MVP, top rookie and coach of the year. It was a tough job and we feel we have put together an impressive list. Here are the winners:

Nazareth stays open, excited for future

April, 19, 2012
Todd Jamison labeled himself as cautiously optimistic when it came to the future of Nazareth. It was announced in February that the school would close at the end of the year, but the boys basketball coach knew the school wouldn't go down without a fight.

As the fundraising efforts increased, Jamison became more confident the doors would remain open in East Flatbush. Wednesday, at a press conference, Jamison's and many others hopes became a reality as the school announced it would stay open for the next four years, leaving the school buzzing with excitement about its future.

"We just refused to accept the fact that the Board of Trustees wanted to close the school," Jamison said. "I haven't heard of any school that is going to close and that was going to be re-opening against. I'm just speechless."

Amid financial problems and declining enrollment, Nazareth announced in February the school would close. The school started working toward trying to stay open and had to meet three goals by April 15: enroll 80 freshman for next year's class, raise at least $700,000 to help pay off the deficit, and create a plan for long-term sustainability.

Jamison, as well as athletic director Rochelle Murphy, both admitted to initially thinking the school would close and there was nothing that could be done. It went right down to the wire but the school found way to meet the requirements. Nazareth has a 98 percent graduation rate for its students and 96 percent go on to college.

"For us to be staying open is a tremendous sense of pride," Murphy said. "You meet people who say good luck and I hope you stay open, but it doesn't seem like they're giving you much of a chance. I wasn't even giving us much of a chance at the beginning. To have overcome all this and be successful carrying out our plan, it's tremendous."

Those connected to the school applauded the work of school principal Providencia Quiles, for her efforts in finding a way for the school to stay open. Jamison mentioned that having a few months to work with also helped as the school had time to try and save itself.

"It's a big relief," Nazareth girls basketball co-coach Ron Kelley said. "There is a God. I'm very happy. We're very happy with this principal. I think she works hard and we're very happy to be with this administration and we think everybody worked hard to save the school and we're very excited."

Nazareth is coming off a banner year for the school. The boys basketball team won the CHSAA Class B State tile and the girls team repeated as the CHSAA Class AA State champions. Both teams made it to the State Federation tournament, although neither won the title.

Heading into that tournament, it was thought that those would be the last times that Nazareth would try to win titles. Now, Nazareth heads into next season looking to defend its titles, thanks to the hard work of many that resulted in new life in East Flatbush.

"People were elated at the press conference, because you're talking about closing the school and now we're back open again," Jamison said. "You just had to be there. We did something people thought we could not do. We won the war. That's the only way I can put it."

Nazareth to stay open

April, 18, 2012
Nazareth Regional High School will announce at a 6 p.m. press conference on Wednesday night that the school is staying open, according to girls basketball coach Ron Kelley. The board of trustees had voted in February to close the school because of declining enrollment and financial problems at the East Flatbush school.

"They're making the announcement that they're keeping the school open for the next five years," Kelley said. "And we're working to keep it open for the next 25 years."

For Nazareth to stay open, it needed to accomplish three things by April 15: enroll at least 80 freshman for next year's class, raise $700,000 to help pay off debts, and provide a sustainable plan to keep the school operating in the future. School principal Providencia Quiles, who could not comment about whether the school was going to remain open, had worked very hard to meet those goals by having fundraisers and others types of events to help save the school.

Nazareth won CHSAA State titles in both girls and boys basketball this season. The boys team won the Class B State title while the girls were the Class AA State champion. The girls team entered the season ranked No. 1 in the nation by ESPNHS and had to deal with the death of head coach Apache Paschall, who died of heart failure in June.

"It's a big relief," Kelley said. "There is a God. I'm very happy. We're very happy with this principal. I think she works hard and we're very happy to be with this administration and we think everybody worked hard to save the school and we're very excited."
The invitation to coach in the Jordan Brand Classic surprised Joe Arbitello.

"I've only been coaching four years now," the Christ the King boys basketball coach said.

Arbitello, of course, accepted the invitation more than a month ago, and will now get his chance to guide the East team on Saturday at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, N.C. The Jordan Brand Classic is in its 11th year showcasing premier boys basketball talent in the country and will be televised on ESPN at 7 p.m.

"I feel like it's an honor, I'm excited to do it," Arbitello said. "I think it's going to be fun."

Arbitello has led the Middle Village school to its most successful period in school history in his four years. The Royals have won three Brooklyn/Queens titles, two CHSAA Class AA Intersectional titles and a State Federation Class AA championship. His team finished this past year ranked seventh in New York City by

The coach has already been talking with one of his assistants, Miller Grove (Ga.) coach Sharman White, getting pointers for the week, such as making the practices more competitive. Arbitello believes this experience will benefit him.

"I think it will definitely help me as a coach because I will be around great minds," Arbitello said. "I'll be able to pick up some things from my two assistant coaches."

While there are no New York City players in the event, Arbitello has met some of the guys on his team, including St. Anthony (N.J.) small forward Kyle Anderson, South Kent (Conn.) guard Ricardo Ledo and Miller Grove center Tony Parker.

"When you travel as much as we do and you're around great players, kids are kids, wherever they are from," Arbitello said. "I'm not sure they will be any different from the kids at CK as far as their approach to the game and what they are doing."

Arbitello leaves for Charlotte Wednesday and there are two practices before the game. Other events connected to the game include a Nascar Experience with Denny Hamlin, a NBA Life skills program, a community event, and an awards dinner. He returns back Sunday.

"I've said this before about being part of the Nike family, they do things that recognize when you are loyal to them and displaying their product," Arbitello said.

Wings' Jenkins headed to Fairfield

April, 9, 2012
The difference between a plane ride and a car trip played a pivotal role in leading Wings Academy senior guard Justin Jenkins to commit to Fairfield over Florida Atlantic.

"It came down to my mother being able to come see me play and being able to stay close to my home and my family," Jenkins said. "I'm also going to get a good education."

Jenkins chose the Stags on Monday after completing his unofficial visit to Florida Atlantic. He averaged 17.1 points and seven assists in league play as he led the Wings to the Public Schools Athletic League Class AA semifinals this past season.

"I feel like it's a good program," Jenkins said about the Stags, who made the MAAC title game this year. "They have a good recruiting class coming in,"

The 6-2 guard came to his conclusion after returning home from Florid and talking to his mother and one of his AAU coaches, Casey Williams, who he says is like a big brother to him. Jenkins liked how Fairfield always kept tabs on him.

"They were always at my games," Jenkins said. "I saw Fairfield people all season."

The senior was a late bloomer on the recruiting trail, not really emerging until his junior season. A broken leg his sophomore year kept him from playing with the varsity and he averaged 10 points and 2.4 assists in league games for Wings as a junior.

After the departure of several key seniors last year, Jenkins showcased his ability to play the point and be a leader this year, according to Wings Academy head coach Billy Turnage. The coach said Jenkins did a phenomenal job handling those responsibilities.

Turnage said Jenkins is the type of player who does several things very well, compared to one great skill, mentioning his ability to score from every point on the floor. He said Jenkins defensive and strength could improve, but believes the strength will come with being on a college campus.

"It's a great fit for him," Turnage said. "Education wise, he's going to get a high-class education and he has an opportunity to step forward and earn some minutes for the team right away."

Jenkins said making a decision was stressful, as there was so much importance on making the right one, and he's glad it's over. He's probably going to take summer classes at Fairfield.

He said the Stags expect him to work hard right away and develop as a point guard, emphasizing the ability to share the ball. Jenkins is hoping that he can bring that same leadership and steady guard play that he demonstrated this past season with Wings.

The guard will be joined at Fairfield by Cardinal Hayes senior center Amadou Sidibe, and Jenkins is excited to be heading there with another New York City player.

"I'm excited to play with him," Jenkins said. "I've played with him before so it's exciting to be able to play with someone you know at college, it makes it a little easier."

Calhoun shines in All-American game

April, 1, 2012
Christ the King shooting guard Omar Calhoun made history once again.

The Connecticut-bound guard scored a game-high 26 points, the most in the two-year history of the All-American Championship, as he led the East team to a 84-72 win over the West team on Sunday afternoon. Calhoun earned Player of the Game honors for his performance at Lakefront Arena in New Orleans.

"It was a great feeling to be Player of the Game amongst great players," Calhoun said in a text message.

The 6-3 guard, who became the all-time leading scorer at Christ the King this year, had a slow start, scoring just two points in the first quarter, but came alive in the second. He scored 15 points in that stanza, including shooting 9-of-9 from the free-throw line as he helped the East balloon its lead to 44-28 after 16 minutes of play. Calhoun attacked the lane and showed a nice mid-range jumper to accumulate his points.

Just like the first half, Calhoun started slow with just two points in the third quarter before bursting out in the fourth quarter. He scored on two layups, including a reverse layup, and had a dunk as he finished the game with 26 points in just 19:57 of court time. The senior missed just one free throw out of 11 attempts on the day.

The event, which also had a North vs. South game, featured 40 of the top seniors and juniors in the country.

"It was a fantastic experience to play in a game like that and visit New Orleans and see the sites," Calhoun said in a text message.

The shooting guard was the East team's primary point guard when he was on the court and handled the ball well during his action, including a nice behind-the-back assist in the third quarter that led to a monstrous dunk by one of his East teammates. He played alongside the nation's top recruit in Nerlen Noels, and Long Island's Chris Obepka of Our Savior New American School also represented the East team.

"It was all good," Calhoun texted about playing the point. "I'm a combo guard so I can do both if asked."

In addition to the basketball game, the shooting guard enjoyed being able to tour around Louisiana. He arrived to the Big Easy on Friday and is heading home Monday morning.

"(I enjoyed seeing) the French Quarter and Bourbon Street," Calhoun said in a text message. "Bracket Town (an NCAA event) was fun as well."

Calhoun was voted MVP of the Catholic High Schools Athletic Association this past season after leading the Royals to their fourth straight Brooklyn/Queens Division title. He also guided the team to two Brooklyn/Queens Tournament titles, two Intersectional titles, and a State Federation championship in his three years on the varsity squad.

He is the only current recruit headed to UConn next season and a source told that Calhoun is 99.9 percent headed to Storrs, despite the looming postseason ban for the Huskies. Calhoun wants to finish the school year out on a strong note and keep on improving before he gets to college.

"Just continue working hard and getting better every single day," Calhoun said in a text.

Syracuse standing out to Whitehead

April, 1, 2012
Lincoln sophomore guard Isaiah Whitehead is fond of orange.

One of the top sophomore prospects in the country and arguably the best underclassmen boys basketball player in New York City, Whitehead said on Saturday that Syracuse is the school he likes the most in this very early part of his recruitment.

"It's a very good school, both academically and for basketball," Whitehead said.

The guard is also being recruited by programs like Kentucky, Arizona, St. John's and Rutgers, adding that the local Scarlet Knights have him been after him the hardest. Rutgers was actually the first school Whitehead visited.

Whitehead called Syracuse a great team, mentioning how sophomore Dion Waiters came off the bench for the Orange this season as the team advanced to the Elite 8. The Carrier Dome has also left an impression on him.

"(I like) the arena and they have great fan support," Whitehead said.

The sophomore, who had a badly sprained left ankle at the end of the season, played in the Battle for the City Saturday at Baruch College and scored 13 points. He said his ankle is about 90 percent healed, adding that it affected him down the stretch of Lincoln's season as he struggled to make sharp movements.

He said that Lincoln is going to have motivation heading into next season coming off what most would consider a disappointing year for the Coney Island school. The Railsplitters lost in the borough and city semifinals despite having tremendous talent on the roster.

"We didn't understand who were the scorers were and who the passers were," Whitehead said. "Everybody looked to score too much. I think we played selfish at the end of the year, I think at the beginning of the year we played great together."

After not being able to play travel AAU ball since he was taking summer classes last year, Whitehead is going to play with the Juice All-Stars and Long Island Lightning on the AAU circuit this summer.

"It will bring more exposure but it will make me better for next year," Whitehead said. "All these players usually don't get to play against the great players I'm going to play against."

Bernardi still planning on going to SMU

March, 31, 2012
Xaverian senior guard Brian Bernardi still plans on attending SMU, in light of the recent firing of coach Matt Doherty. He currently has no intention of asking out from his signed National Letter of Intent, but said there is a possibility that could change.

"I'm still going to SMU right now," Bernardi told Saturday before participating in the Battle for the City. "I'm just waiting for the new coach and I'll talk it over with him and my parents but I'm still going to SMU right now."

SMU fired Doherty on March 13 following a 13-19 season, his sixth year at the school, and has yet to hire a new coach. Bernardi, a sharpshooter, wants to see who the new coach is and talk with him before making any final decision about his future.

"It was tough because I built a good relationship with him and he came to a lot of my games and he's seen a lot of them," Bernardi said of Doherty. "It's something you have to deal with and I have to see who the new coach is."

Bernardi said that Doherty called him when he was fired and they talked about the situation. The senior said he likes the school a lot and likes the direction of the program. SMU, currently in Conference USA, is slated to join the Big East in 2013.

He plans on going to Dallas on June 31 for a month of summer classes and he's been in contact with coach Jerry Hobbie, who was not fired from the staff.

"It's a little tough waiting but right now I'm just training and trying to get it out of my head," Bernardi said. "It's a waiting game right now."

Bernardi said he has been working out a lot as he prepares college, trying to become more athletic. He's also been working on his ball handling and continuing to improve his shot.

The sniper averaged 18.5 points this season for Xaverian, which finished the season 18-10. He was named first-team All-CHSAA by the league.
The Catholic High Schools Athletic Association's message was heard loud and clear.

After the league advised its players to not play in Saturday's Battle for the City, which had billed as a game between the best of the Public Schools Athletic League and the CHSAA, only five Catholic league players showed up for the event. At least 20 CHSAA players had been slated early in the week to play in the game.

Instead of a strictly CHSAA team, a team constructed of CHSAA and PSAL players was thrown together, and that team fell to the PSAL All-Stars, 110-91, on Saturday at Baruch College.

THE HISTORY: The CHSAA advised its players not to play for fear of the game being unsanctioned as well as rule that says underclassmen cannot play in All-Star games unless there is a tryout. The five players who showed up were all seniors.

Event organizer, Funsport Inc. CEO Rickey Rivers, said that he talked to the NCAA about the contest and was told it did not need to be sanctioned since there would be no college coaches attending. He also said there were no problems with seniors playing in the game since they're allowed two All-Star Games.

The CEO, who at one point asked if CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens President Ray Nash was there, also disputed that an underclassmen's eligibility would be in danger if they played.

"I called the NCAA compliance office when I put together this event and went though all the things, had my checklist in order, I knew exactly what was needed to pull of this event because I've done these things several times," Rivers said. "The things they used against me were not valid points, and that was the point I think I was a little disturbed about."

HOW THE GAME WAS WON: The PSAL team jumped out to an early edge, leading 56-42 at halftime, and cruised to a win.

Pathways Preps junior center Jordan Washington earned MVP honors for his 22-point effort while Boys & Girls forward Leroy "Truck" Fludd had 16. Satellite Academy senior guard Stanley Cepedes led the CHSAA/PSAL team with 21 points.

"It was a lot of fun," Washington said. "There were some top players in the country and I knew I had to come out here and play ball."

ONLY FIVE FROM THE CHSAA: The five players were the CHSAA were Xaverian guard Brian Bernardi, Mount St. Michael guard Malik Gill, and St. Raymond's trio of guard Myron Hickman, and forwards Daniel Dingle and Kerwin Okoro.

Hickman, a late addition, didn't agree with the CHSAA.

"Basically I felt like what they were doing was kind of wrong, telling some of the top kids in the CHSAA they can't play," Hickman said. "I wanted to help out Rickey and I've known him for a long time and that kind of played a factor as well, and I didn't want his event to turn out not to be a good one so I came."

THE OTHER GAMES AND EVENTS: The Blue team defeated the White team, 82-56, in the "Future Game" featuring top freshman and sophomores. Boys & Girls freshman Jamie Killings scored a game-high 30 points in a win.

Okoro won the 3-point shooting contest while Fludd took home the slam dunk crown.

MOVING FORWARD: Rivers envisions this event continuing and said he would make some tweaks if he were to do it differently, including not using the league names.

"I'm very happy for how it turned out. I expected there would be a little bit of turbulence despite everything that was said and going on around it," Rivers said. "At the end of the day, it was a fun event and what I expected it to be. Fun for the kids and celebrating New York City basketball, some of the best kids on display, that's what you want to see."