New York High School: High Schools

New Heights' Young joins FIU staff

June, 12, 2012
As he guided the highly successful New Heights AAU program the last couple of years, Athletic Director Kimani Young couldn't stop thinking about the college game.

He had previously served as the video coordinator/team manager for St. John's for one season before leaving following the death of his wife.

"I always had an eye on getting back to college for the last couple of years," Young said.

Young will make his return this upcoming season as he has accepted a job as an assistant at Florida International, joining new coach Richard Pitino. Young said he will no longer be the athletic director for New Heights, and a successor has not been named yet.

"It was tough to leave my family and friends and colleagues in New York City," Young said. "The natural progression for me and my coaching career was this move."

Young had joined St. John's for the 2008-09 season, but left the college ranks after his wife, Sharette Dixon, died of cardiac arrest at the age of 38 on March 23, 2009.

With three kids to raise -- two boys and a girl -- Young focused all his attention on his children. He returned as the athletic director of New Heights, helping guide the city's premier talent. Over the past few years, there had been talk of joining some local college staffs, but no official offers were ever made.

In 2009, he met Pitino at a team camp in Gainesville, and the two developed a relationship. When Pitino was hired to replace Isaiah Thomas at Florida International, he reached out to Young. He accepted the offer more than a week ago, but the official announcement was not made until Monday.

"I was excited and appreciative of the opportunity to join him and his staff at FIU," Young said. "I really admire his enthusiasm and drive to rebuild that program. That made this opportunity even more attractive."

Young, who had a stellar career playing at UTEP, will be heading to Florida in the next couple of weeks and will hit the road recruiting in July. In August, he will move his family to the area. He said it was a tough decision to uproot his family.

"I think it's the next big step for us," Young said. "Moving to South Beach isn't so bad. Once we get situated down there, I found the right school and the right situation for the kids, I think everything is going to be alright."

While his previous job with St. John's involved more administrative duties, Young will be tasked with trying to attract premier talent to help turn around Florida International. He wants to rely on the relationships he developed coaching AAU to help him on the recruiting trail.

"That's going to be a strength," Young said. "In terms of recruiting, just having those relationships and the facts that I have watched those guys since a young age. It's a great point of reference for their talent and for their abilities."

Baseball poll: June 11

June, 12, 2012
The baseball season is over. Grand Street Campus claimed the PSAL title, while Iona Prep won the CHSAA championship. Here's the final poll of the season.

Here's the poll:

1. Grand Street Campus (21-1/Last week: 1): Grand Street Campus vanquished George Washington to take home the Public Schools Athletic League title.

2. Poly Prep (20-4/Last week: 2): Poly Prep finishes the year ranked second, another fine season for the school.

3. Iona Prep (18-6/Last week: 4): Iona Prep defeated Fordham Prep to win the CHSAA title.

4. George Washington (19-3/Last week: 3): George Washington could not repeat as champions as it fell to Grand Street Campus in the final.

5. Fordham Prep (16-9/Last week: 5): Fordham Prep beat St. Joseph, but then lost to Iona Prep in the final.

6. St. Joseph by-the-Sea (17-6/Last week: 6): St. Joseph by-the-Sea lost to Fordham Prep, falling one game short of the CHSAA final.

7. Xaverian (19-3/Last week: 7): Xaverian was the favorite of the CHSAA tournament but instead had to watch as Iona Prep was crowned champions.

8. Tottenville (17-4/Last week: 8): Tottenville had a great year, but surely has to think it should have gone further in the PSAL tournament.

9. Cardozo (18-1/Last week: 9): Cardozo also had a fantastic season, but needed to make it further than the semifinals of the PSAL tournament.

10. St. Raymond (14-7/Last week: 10): St. Raymond had a strong season, although it couldn't keep up its hot play once the CHSAA tournament began.

Five selected in MLB Draft

June, 7, 2012
Five New York City high school baseball players will never forget this week as they were drafted during the three-day MLB Draft that concluded Wednesday.

Fordham Prep's Andrew Velazquez kicked it off with his seventh-round selection, and he was followed by George Washington teammates Nelson Rodriguez and Fernelys Sanchez, Long Island City's Josh Almonte and Grand Street Campus' Jose Cuas.

Velazquez, drafted 243rd, didn't believed he'd be first New York City high school player drafted, expecting either Rodriguez or Sanchez to earn the honor. Instead, he found out he went in the seventh while riding on the team bus to a playoff game.

The shortstop is committed to Virginia Tech, but Arizona has offered more than slot for him to join the organization, and he said he's leaning toward heading to pro ball. He will lead Fordham Prep in the CHSAA title series starting Friday.

"I'd like to get a head start," Velazquez said of going pro instead of college. "I just love the game of baseball and would like to start focusing on it. They made a pretty good offer and we were on the same page with them."

Sanchez, drafted by Atlanta in the 16th round with pick No. 509, also favors heading to the minors right away, according to his head coach Steve Mandl. He's a 6-3 outfielder with plenty of athleticism and speed.

Sanchez, who has committed to Central Arizona CC, missed most of the season with a broken leg but has returned for the playoffs. Braves scouting director Tony DeMacio raved about Sanchez to the team's website.

"He has a high ceiling," DeMacio told the website. "It will take some time, of course."

Rodriguez, who has been compared to former GW legend Manny Ramirez, will follow in the slugger's footsteps after being drafted in the 14th round with the 473rd pick. Rodriguez is a 6-2 catcher known more for his bat than his defense.

He stopped watching the draft after the 10th round Tuesday, finding out he had been drafted after his mom called. He's committed to Central Arizona CC and might commit this week to Virginia Tech, but is not sure whether he will go to the minors or to college, wanting to wait to see what Cleveland will be offering him.

"It means everything to get drafted," Rodriguez said. "That has been my goal since I was little. My dream came true."

The last New York City player to be drafted had to sweat it out. When Toronto selected Cuas, a shortstop, with pick No. 1,225 in the 40th round, there were only 13 picks remaining in the entire draft.

Cuas had figured Toronto would take him, as they had called in the 10th round to see if he would be willing to sign. When he said he wasn't sure, as he has a scholarship to play at Maryland, they told him they would take him with a later choice.

He called it nerve wrecking and a "dream come true". He's leaning toward heading to Maryland, putting off his professional career for at least three years.

"I still have to wait and see what type of offer they make," Cuas said. "I want to wait until the summer to see if the offer is enough to make it convenient to go play professional baseball or just wait and go to college."

Almonte, a right fielder, was selected in the 22nd round by the Blue Jays.

MLB Draft preview

June, 5, 2012
The Big Apple won't be leaving its mark on this year's MLB baseball draft.

When the three-day event starts Monday, there won't be many New York City players getting their names called, according to a scout familiar with the area. That has been the trend for New York City over the past couple of years.

"It's always one or two guys that have a chance and I think the tough part is they are a little bit unknown as to what they can do against good competition," the scout said. "I think it's still a great baseball area, it's just also an area with a lot of unknowns."

With the draft just days away, four players to keep an eye on from Monday to Wednesday are George Washington teammates Nelson Rodriguez and Fernelys Sanchez, and Grand Street Campus' pair of Jose Cuas and Kevin Martir.

Here's a breakdown from the scout about these top prospects and an overview of how they could fare when the draft begins.

Catcher Nelson Rodriguez, George Washington (Central Arizona CC)

"He's a solid player and it will be interesting to see what happens with him. He's a power-hitting catcher/first baseman who's got really good size and strength. He won the home run hitting competition prior to the Aflac All-American Classic. He'll probably be the guy you want to highlight in the NYC group. He's got an above-average arm. People want to find out how to optimize his bat in the lineup. Is it first base? Is it working on development behind the plate? That's the question with Nelson? You're getting bat over defense right now."

Outfielder Fernelys Sanchez, George Washington (Central Arizona CC)

"He's been hurt for a significant stretch (broken leg) so that's hindered where he'll go in the draft. You like the speed and the body and the athleticism. It may be the most physical athlete when you take a look at it all and he can really run. Not necessarily out of the box but on a 60-yard dash he can run, an elite level runner. He needed to prove this year he could hit and when you have the injury and he doesn't get a ton of at-bats in the spring, that kind of hurts seeing what level you're getting. The knock on him is the bat."

"It all depends on their signability. I think they are gearing toward junior college and they still have an option, it's just not LSU or Florida State or something like that. I think it comes down to the signability and what they are willing to turn down to go and pursue other options."

Shortstop Jose Cuas, Grand Street Campus (Maryland)

"It's his defense. He's a smooth fielder, projectable body. His arm is just enough, it's not average-plus, just average. He might end up as more of a second baseman unless he gets more strength. Fluid actions. All the ingredients. The bat is a little bit light and a little bit below average. It's not a guy that you're interested in because of hitting ability at this point."

Catcher Kevin Martir, Grand Street Campus (Maryland)

"You have a physical catcher with a strong, durable body and an average arm. Some power in his bat. Not enough tools to really jump pout and make you ready to sign out of high school but just overall solid and I think the big thing about him is he looks the part of a catcher and he's strong."

"Both of those guys probably have a better chance of going to school than being selected high and signing out of high school."

Bosco wins Bergen County title

May, 30, 2012

Dave Rubel / NJ Sports Media
The Don Bosco baseball team won its second straight Bergen County baseball title as it defeated Paramus, 9-0, Monday afternoon. It's the fifth title in seven years for Bosco.

The Ironmen, ranked No. 39 nationally in the Powerade FAB 50 poll, received a strong pitching effort from starter Tommy Burns as they improved to 23-3 on the year. Andrew Herrara hit a homer to ignite Bosco as they dominated Paramus.

Bosco now advances to the North Non-Public A tournament, where it will meet Pope John on Tuesday.

Baseball poll: May 28

May, 30, 2012
The playoffs have begun and it's time for teams to fight for their seasons. Poly Prep has claimed a title and others are looking to do the same. Here's the poll.

Here's the poll:

1. Grand Street Campus (17-1/Last week: 1): Grand Street Campus is into the quarterfinals after defeating Environmental Studies and Taft.

2. Xaverian (18-1/Last week: 2): Xaverian earned the top seed in the CHSAA tournament after it defeated St. Raymond Sunday.

3. Tottenville (17-3/Last week: 3): Tottenville breezed by RKA and Manhattan Center to advance to the quarterfinals.

4. Poly Prep (20-4/Last week: 4): Poly Prep is the ACIS champion after it defeating Fieldson in the title game last week.

5. Cardozo (18-0/Last week: 5): Cardozo is also in the quarterfinals after a pair of wins against Newtown and Murry Bergtraum.

6. George Washington (16-2/Last week: 7): Not that you would expect differently, but the defending PSAL champs are back in the quarterfinals.

7. Norman Thomas (16-2/Last week: 9): Norman Thomas will meet George Washington in the quarters after wins over LIC and James Madison.

8. St. Raymond (13-5/Last week: 10): St. Raymond is the No. 2 seed in the CHSAA tournament after falling to Xavieran in the battle for the top seed.

9. Moore Catholic (13-3/Last week: 6): Moore Catholic is the No. 3 seed in the CHSAA tournament after an impressive win against Fordham Prep.

10. St. Joseph by-the-Sea (12-3/Last week: 3): St. Joseph by-the-Sea takes on Monsignor Farrell in the CHSAA Tournament.

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."

Canarsie coach says he's been let go

May, 25, 2012
Who's the Canarsie football coach?

Well, it depends who you ask.

Mike Camardese, the coach for the last 28 years, received an unsatisfactory "U" rating from the school May 7, and thus was told by the United Federation of Teachers he is no longer the coach. He has filed an appeal through the union, but it will take six to eight months to resolve.

Canarsie Athletic Director Dale Wilson, meanwhile, said Thursday Camardese is still the head coach, although he is looking into "rectifying" the situation. Wilson was referring to Camardese not being present at the team's spring activities.

"He was not terminated," Wilson said. "I can't answer any questions about it because he has a case pending and he has filed a grievance."

Camardese, 56, insists he has been let go, saying the athletic director is using semantics to make it seem as if he's still the coach. He owns a career 196-100 record, including a 7-3 mark last season, and led the team to four Public Schools Athletic League title games.

"He told me himself. When he gave me the U-rating, I asked if I was no longer the coach and he told me I wasn't the coach anymore," Camardese. "They wanted me to stay on until they hired a new coach and transition with the boys, which makes no sense to me."

Camardese did not want to go into specifics about what contributed to his U-rating, but mentioned showing up early to games -- yes, early, not late -- and his coaches parking in wrong spots as things used against him in his grading. He said he was the only member of the coaching staff to receive the U-rating.

"They told me about the U-rating and I said 'tell me to my face I'm not a good football coach,'" Camardese said. "I was told they think I'm a great coach between the lines, it's the other stuff I couldn’t do, which was ridiculous. Last year, they tried to take away some of my coaches and parents fought against that. They wanted me out and the bureaucrats were able to do it."

Camardese, a retired physical education teacher, is appealing the rating, but the timetable of the appeals process would keep him out until the end of the season, if he can return at all. He questioned the timing of his dismissal, as it prevented him from having his appeals process before the season began.

He said his removal is part of a school-wide effort to get rid of anyone who had ties to the old Canarsie High School. Canarsie was phased into the Canarsie Educational Campus at the end of the 2010-11 school year, and the coach said the new administration has made it almost impossible to coach. He said the boys and girls basketball coaches both left under the new leadership, and all banners of former teams' accomplishments were removed.

"They cut down on practice times, we had to go to a park to practice instead of the school. They told me we couldn't come into the school before 10 a.m. on the day of a game, which is utterly ridiculous," Camardese said. "It was just ridiculous stuff."

While he may not ever coach Canaraise again, Camardese said this would not be the end of his coaching career.

"I'll be back somewhere," Camardese said. "I have a lot of things to accomplish."

Baseball poll: May 21

May, 21, 2012
As the playoffs beckon, we have the same two teams in the top two spots. Grand Street Campus is still No. 1, while Xaverian is holding down No. 2.

Here's the poll:

1. Grand Street Campus (15-1/Last week: 1): Grand Street Campus enters the Public Schools Athletic League Class A tournament as the team to beat.

2. Xaverian (14-1/Last week: 2): Xaverian rebounded from its loss against St. Francis Prep with two league wins and a non-conference victory over Tottenville.

3. Tottenville (15-3/Last week: 4): Had it not been for the forfeited victories, Tottenville would have finished this year undefeated in league play.

4. Poly Prep (19-4/Last week: 5): Poly Prep is in the ACIS final and recovered nicely from losing to Tottenville last weekend.

5. Cardozo (16-0/Last week: 6): Cardozo finished the year undefeated in league play and will try to keep it going into the playoffs.

6. Moore Catholic (12-2/Last week: 8): Moore Catholic moves up two spots after a pair of impressive wins over St. Joseph by-the-Sea.

7. George Washington (14-2/Last week: 7): George Washington lost its season finale to Norman Thomas, sending the Trojans into the playoffs on a sour note.

8. St. Joseph by-the-Sea (13-3/Last week: 3): St. Joseph by-the-Sea takes a slide after losing twice to Moore Catholic over the past week.

9. Norman Thomas (14-2/Last week: Unranked): Norman Thomas is back in the poll after beating George Washington to force a tie atop the division.

10. St. Raymond (12-4/Last week: 9): St. Raymond lost a tough one to Xavier, but is able to stay in the poll for at least another week.

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."

Baseball poll: May 14

May, 14, 2012
An odd week with Xaverian and St. Joseph by-the-Sea each losing their first league games of the year. Grand Street Campus still is on top. Here's the poll:

1. Grand Street Campus (13-1/Last week: 1): Grand Street Campus went 3-0 this week has two big games upcoming against James Madison.

2. Xaverian (14-1/Last week: 2): Xaverian fell to St. Francis Prep but its overall body of work has been impressive enough to stay second.

3. St. Joseph by-the-Sea (10-1/Last week: 3): Same thing with St. Joseph by-the-Sea, which fell to Monsignor Farrell this week.

4. Tottenville (13-3/Last week: 7): Tottenville moves up three spots after its impressive win against Poly Prep this weekend.

5. Poly Prep (16-4/Last week: 4): Poly Prep had it's 13-game winning streak snapped by Tottenville this weekend.

6. Cardozo (14-0/Last week: 5): Cardozo is in very good shape to finish the year undefeated in Queens A play.

7. George Washington (14-1/Last week: 6): George Washington is finishing the season strong and will be one of the top teams in the PSAL playoffs.

8. Moore Catholic (10-1/Last week: 10): Moore Catholic is looking like it can be a real threat come playoffs time.

9. St. Raymond (11-3/Last week: Unranked): St. Raymond had a big week, punctuated by its exciting win over Fordham Prep.

10. Fordham Prep (11-4/Last week: 8): Fordham Prep slips as it has lost some games, but it's still one of the most talented teams in New York City.

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.

Francis Lewis' Hamlet signs with Wagner

May, 11, 2012
As Wagner recruited Francis Lewis guard Jazmine Hamlet this spring, Hamlet noticed right away that there was a strong sense of family surrounding the program.

"Normally coaches during recruiting just talk to you, but they were talking to my mom and making sure everyone was comfortable," Hamlet said. "On my visit, they were great, they looked out for my interests. They just gave me that kind of vibe."

That vibe won over Hamlet as she signed her National Letter of Intent to play with the Seahawks last week. Hamlet averaged 10.3 points and 3.4 assists in league games for the Patriots this past season.

"It's very exciting, it's like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders," Hamlet said. "I don't have to think about it anymore. I can now just focus on graduating and going to Wagner."

Hamlet had originally thought of attending a junior college as she didn't have any Division I scholarships offers. That changed, though, when she attended the Boo Williams showcase in late April. After the event, Wagner started talking together and everything came together.

The Patriots liked how Hamlet was a team leader and can to split the defense, and appreciated how she saw the floor and was a true point guard at heart. After taking her official visit to Wagner, it sealed the deal for Hamlet and she signed her NLI last Friday. The 5-7 guard likes that she'll be able to play close to home.

"My family is here in Manhattan and it's like I get away from home but I'm still close to home," Hamlet said. "It's not like I'm going to be hours away. If I want to come home, it will only be like an hour and I'll be able to see my mom."

Francis Lewis coach Stephen Tsai described Hamlet as "fearless" and was happy for Hamlet and her family. He said Hamlet, who lead Francis Lewis to the Public Schools Athletic League Class AA semifinals, never gave up on the court and is tenacious at both ends.

Hamlet is the first recruit for new Wagner coach Lisa Cermignano.

"She is certainly a capable scorer with a very quick first step that allows her to get to the rim and she can hit the open shot,” Cermignano said in a press release on Wagner's website. “Jazmine’s specialty, though, is making those around her better. She drops passes on a dime.

She added: “But what she really does is she leaves her heart on the floor. She plays 150 percent all the time and literally has a presence on the floor that makes other players better. She’s a true point guard who has the ability to move over to the two because she can score. She controls the game, she controls the tempo, controls her teammates. She’s a floor general.”

Toal believes Simms can make it in NFL

May, 10, 2012
Don Bosco coach Greg Toal can't forget that strong arm of former quarterback Matt Simms.

"He had the strongest arm by far of any quarterback we've had," Toal said about Simms, who signed with the Jets over the weekend. "No one had the arm of Matt and he was so strong and just a great leader and a heck of a quarterback too. He has the best arm that I've ever seen."

While Simms will have to battle to make the Jets' roster, Toal is hoping that strong arm can help his former star secure a role for himself with a team. Simms is one of five quarterbacks on the Jets roster after he made the team following a tryout during the team's minicamp.

"Matt's worked very hard and has a good opportunity," Toal said. "Hopefully he gets a good shot and I think he's going to impress. I think he's got a lot of skills that can be used in the NFL game. Few guys have as strong an arm as his. He has the ability to be an NFL quarterback."

Simms, son of former Giants quarterback Phil Simms, started for three years at Bosco, leading the Ironmen to a State title in 2006. He played for Louisville, El Camino (Calif.) C.C. and Tennessee. He had his best season in 2010, completing 113-of-195 passes for 1,460 yards and eight touchdowns with the Volunteers.

The quarterback worked out with the Giants before the draft, and after going undrafted, earned an invite to the Jets' minicamp. He earned himself a contract at the camp, although that does not guarantee him a final roster spot with the team. The Jets will carry at least three quarterbacks, and it is not known yet if they will hold four spots.

"He's excited about this opportunity," Toal said. "I'm sure he's going to do the best he can so that he can do real well."

Toal said Simms obviously was well-coached entering high school and the team was able to revolve it's offense around his strong arm. Toal also knows Simms' brother, Chris, and said that Matt reminded him more of Phil in terms of physical build. If Simms can make the Jets' roster, he will join fellow Bosco alum and current Giants defensive end Justin Trattou in New York.

"I've always though if the right team invested in him, he could be a heck of a quarterback in the NFL," Toal said.