New York High School: Daniel Dingle

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."

CHSAA advising players not to play in battle

March, 30, 2012
The Catholic High Schools Athletic Association is advising its boys basketball players to not play in Funsport Inc.'s "Battle for the City" all-star game pitting the CHSAA's best against the top Public Schools Athletic League players this Saturday at Baruch College.

The league is wary of the ramifications the game might have on its athletes' eligibility in the future, as it says the game is unsanctioned. The event is also scheduled to include a freshman vs. sophomores contest, and Funsport Inc. CEO Rickey Rivers said the game will not harm the eligibility of the underclassmen.

"It's a non-sanctioned event and underclassmen can lose eligibility in high school," Archdiocese of New York President Rich Tricario said. "We're not involved with this and they're using our name, we never gave them permission. What happens if someone gets injured? If we sponsor something, we'll do it right. We can't sponsor something that isn't sanctioned."

The CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens league had a meeting Wednesday night and that's when the problems concerning the game came to light. Following the meeting, the entire CHSAA advised its respective schools to tell its players it would not recommend playing in the game.

Selected players like Holy Cross senior Mairega Clarke and Mount St. Michael senior Malik Gill said they are uncertain if they will play due to the league's recommendation.

Molloy sophomore CJ Davis will not play unless the game is sanctioned, according to Molloy head coach Jack Curran, while St. Raymond senior Daniel Dingle said he would honor his commitment to play.

The biggest concern of the league seems to be the eligibility issues of the underclassmen. League officials maintain that underclassmen are not allowed to participate in an all-star game unless there is a tryout, and it could cost them games next season. On Funsport Inc.'s website, the game lists the players as being selected for their achievements during the season.

"We don't want them to jeopardize their eligibility," Holy Cross coach and Brooklyn/Queens Chairman of Basketball Paul Gilvary said. "Only seniors are allowed to be chosen based on their performances in high school."

Rivers, who has organized the event, said he has not broken any rules or violated any bylaws. He added this the game would not affect seniors' eligibility for the NCAA as they are permitted two All-Star games to play in.

"Those who know the rules know there are no eligibility concerns for underclassmen, it's a control thing with them," Rivers said. "This doesn't put the underclassmen in jeopardy, there's no rule about participating in this game for NCAA or high school eligibility. The catholic league is trying to create things to make people think there is a rule."

The league has also taken umbrage with its name being used to promote the game.The Funsport Inc. website recently posted a statement to reflect that the CHSAA and PSAL have no affiliation with this game and should not be held responsible for it.

The Public Schools Athletic League, meanwhile, sees no issue. Boys & Girls head coach Ruth Lovelace, who is coaching the PSAL team, said her players will be involved in the game, although she planned to do some research in light of the CHSAA's advisory.

"This event is separate from the PSAL," New York City Department of Education spokeswoman Margie Feinberg said in an email. "It has no affiliation with either league. The event organizer made an error in the way it promoted the game saying it was between the two leagues as if the PSAL was part of the decision to hold the game. This is not an event the PSAL is sponsoring or is running. Since this is happening after the basketball season, the game would not violate PSAL or NCAA rules."

The game is scheduled to tip at 4 p.m. with "The Future Game" pitting the freshman vs. sophomores at 3 p.m. Admission is $5. The PSAL team is scheduled to feature Boys & Girls senior Leroy Fludd, Jefferson senior Thaddeus Hall and Lincoln sophomore Isaiah Whitehead, among others.

Hall vs. Fludd could determine top player

March, 14, 2012
As Leroy “Truck” Fludd and Thaddeus Hall battle for the Public Schools Athletic League Class AA title Saturday, the two stars will also be squaring off for individual supremacy.

Fludd, a forward for Boys & Girls, and Hall, a guard for Jefferson, have been the two best players in the PSAL, if not New York City. Talk to the Kangaroos, they’ll tell you Fludd is the best in the league. Ask the Orange Wave, and Hall is the guy on the top of their list.

Saturday, that debate should be settled. A win will likely be the validating stamp on the victor’s PSAL player of the year resume. The two teams meet at noon at Madison Square Garden.

‘We’re the top two players in the PSAL,” Fludd said. “Whoever wins, this game decides who gets Player of the Year.”

While both players are on teams full of stars, they are the two who have galvanized their teams the most. In the city-wide battle for top player, they’re in the mix with Christ the King’s Omar Calhoun and St. Raymond’s Daniel Dingle.

Fludd is a powerful forward who can control the paint. He averaged 21.1 points and 13.3 rebounds in league games, according to the PSAL. Hall is an outside threat who can knife the lane with ease, averaging 17.3 points and 6.1 rebounds. Hall said win or lose, he believes he’s the top player in New York City, even adding that he believes Wesley Myers has carried Boys High this year.

They both believe they have the upper edge against their opponent one-on-one. Hall said Fludd can’t guard him, saying he’s too slow to keep up. Fludd said Hall has never been able to guard him and added that Hall does not play defense.

Hall, a senior who missed games this due to academic ineligibility, has the edge as he is 2-0 against Fludd this season. He scored 30 points in the first win and then followed up with 34 in the Brooklyn borough final. Fludd scored a combined 35 points in those two losses.

“I think this game decides it,” Myers said. “I think Truck is focused and he knows what he has to do to get what he wants and we support him as a teammate and as brothers.”

Boys & Girls coach Ruth Lovelace believes her star does more on the court, as she said Fludd is able to defend all players and is a consistent rebounder. She also mentioned how Fludd has yet to miss a game.

Jefferson coach Bud Pollard said that Hall is the better player, especially away from the hoop. He mentioned the difference in the teams, as Jefferson is inexperienced compared to the two-time defending champions, and Hall has worked with less around him.

“A win puts a stamp on it and throughout the City,” Pollard said. “He’ll definitely be the Player of the Year (if he wins). Hopefully it works out for him and hopefully works out for the team. Individual success comes with team success.”

Both players aren’t shy about talking about their team’s chances on Saturday. Fludd guaranteed victory against Jefferson. Hall does not see his team losing this game.

Only one of them will be right. And only one will be feeling better about his player of the year chances after Saturday.

“I’m the star of my team, he’s the star of his team and they won the last two championships and we’re an up and coming team,” Hall said. “That’s how they are always going to do it in New York City.”

Okoro earns MVP honors in St. Ray's win

March, 11, 2012

For the past three years, Kewin Okoro watched the CHSAA Class AA Intersectional final live, wanting to give himself a glimpse of what victory looked like. He watched players like Durrand Scott and Omar Calhoun earn tournament MVP honors, and digested the scene from the celebration of the title.

"Just to witness how it was to be champions," Okoro said of those trips to watch the title game in person. "Just to see (Christ the King) run and cry, that's a feeling I wanted."

Sunday afternoon, Okoro experienced what he had only seen before in the eyes and emotions of others. The senior forward won MVP honors with a 21-point, 11-rebound effort to propel St. Raymond to a 66-58 win over Holy Cross at Fordham University. The Ravens won their first title since back-to-back crowns in 2003-04 and advance to the State Federation tournament.

"I put a lot of mental preparation into this game," said Okoro, who is headed to Iowa State. "I could barely sleep last night. I woke up in the morning and said I was going to have a big game, I was going to help carry my team and that was exactly I did. When I wasn't playing too well, they took it on themselves to put them on my back."

Okoro played varsity for four years with the Ravens, experiencing the ups and downs with the program. He stayed though the tough times, like his freshman and sophomore years when there was a mass exodus of players, and felt the disappointment of losing in the semifinals of this tournament the past two seasons.

Playing in the tournament final for the first time, Okoro shined on the biggest stage. From early on, it was clear that he was going to be the player to lead the Ravens (21-9) to their first title in eight years. St. Raymond held off a late rally by Holy Cross at the end by making its free throws to secure the victory.

"He was big," junior guard Shane Rector said. "He was one of our leaders and we knew he could step up when his name was called and we needed him.

Okoro established himself in the paint and scored seven points in the first quarter as he helped his team grab a lead. The smaller Holy Cross (24-5) team didn't have anyone who could truly keep Okoro from the paint and that's where he did his dirty work, scoring on layups and off of offensive rebounds.

In the fourth quarter, with his team leading 54-52 but reeling with just 3:23 left, Okoro grabbed the offensive rebound and was fouled, making both free throws to boost the lead back up to four and give his team breathing room. He also helped contain Cross' Will Davis in the second half, as Davis had 13 points in the first half but just eight in the second.

"It was great that the guy who has been with me four years, had his best game of the season in the biggest game of the year in his career," St. Raymond coach Oliver Antigua said. "He made every huge play."

As soon as the game ended, Okoro and teammate Daniel Dingle embraced near halfcourt, with Dingle falling on top of Okoro as he fell to the ground. Okoro said he was numb to the pain because of how happy he was.

Okoro would go on to pose for plenty of pictures with fans, show off his MVP plaque and soak in all of the moment. After three years of being a spectator, now, this was his moment.

"I feel like I'm on top of the world right now, this is the best way to end my high school career," Okoro said. " I'm sure my coaches in Iowa (State), coach (Fred) Hoiberg, will be happy because every coach wants a winning player and I just won."

Rapid Reax: St. Raymond 66, Holy Cross 58

March, 11, 2012

St. Raymond defeated Holy Cross, 66-58, at Fordham University on Sunday to win the CHSAA Class AA Intersectional title. The Ravens won for the first time since 2004.

The Ravens, after being the No. 4 seed in the Archdiocesan tournament, won the Archdiocesan title against Mount St. Michael and then won the Intersectional title on Sunday. They advance to the State Federation tournament in Albany in two weeks.

HOW THE GAME WAS WON: St. Raymond led for most of the way but Holy Cross always stayed within striking distance. The Ravensled 59-56 with 55.2 seconds left but Anthony Libroia missed a layup with about 35 seconds left and Shane Rector made his free throws to boost the lead to five.

On the inbound pass, Myron Hickman stole the ball and made a free throw to give his team a six-point lead with 26 seconds remaining. The Ravens were able to knock down their free throws in the final minute and secure the victory.

TURNING POINT: After Holy Cross tied the game at 48-48 in the fourth quarter, St. Raymond went on a 6-0 run that gave it some breathing room. Daniel Dingle, Larry Graves and Shane Rector each scored during the run. Holy Cross never tied the game after the Ravens were able to balloon the lead to six, despite cutting the lead to a basket later.

STAR OF THE GAME: Kerwin Okoro, who is headed to Iowa State, led his team with 21 points. He was a force inside the post and was grabbing plenty of rebounds. Okoro proved to be the most consistent offensive threat for the Ravens all game.

With his team up 54-52, he made both free throws after being fouled following an offensive rebound, a key play as Holy Cross had been making its run.

STATS: Okoro and Cross' Will Davis each had 21. Dingle had 11 and Rector scored 16 points for St. Raymond (21-9). Marquise Moore scored 13 points and Edward Roscigno had 12 for Holy Cross (24-5).

UP NEXT: St. Raymond advances to the New York State Federation tournament in Albany in two weeks. Holy Cross' season is over.

CHSAA boys Class AA quarterfinals recap

March, 4, 2012
The final four teams for the CHSAA Class AA Intersectional tournament are settled after the league hosted its quarterfinals on Sunday at Fordham University. Holy Cross, Cardinal Hayes and St. Raymond each won, while Mount St. Michael pulled the upset by defeating the two-time defending champion Christ the King. Here's the highlights from the day.

Mount 64, Christ the King 57: In the shocker of the day, the two-time defending league champion Christ the King was stunned by Mount St. Michael in the quarterfinals. Mount (21-7) took the lead for good in the second quarter and held off a late Royals' (19-8) rally.

"I know I'm a pretty lucky guy, there aren't too many guys in our league that have two city championships," Christ the King coach Joe Arbitello said. "At some point, it had to come to an end and there's a reason it hasn't been won three times in a row in 30 years because that's the type of league it is. It's a good league."

Guard Malik Gill led Mount's effort by dropping 30 points on the Royals, helping the team grab a 31-24 lead at the half and making clutch free throws down the stretch. CK played without the benched Isaiah Lewis, but Arbitello did not believe that made a difference in the outcome.

The Mountaineers advance to take on Holy Cross in the semifinals.

Holy Cross 74, Molloy 61: Guided by the goal of not wanting their season to end, Holy Cross avenged an 11-point halftime deficit to defeat Molloy in the quarterfinals.

"Halftime we came out and said this can't be the last game of our season," said senior Marquise Moore, who led all scorers with 23 points. "We played harder and with more energy and we knew if we did that we'd have a good chance to win the game."

Molloy (16-12) dominated the first half as it took a 30-19 lead but things fell apart after that. Holy Cross (23-4) owned the second half, going on a huge run in the third to take a 43-42 lead going into the fourth and then opened the game up.

The Knights lost last year in the semifinals to Rice and are aiming for their first title since 2008.

Cardinal Hayes 80, Bishop Loughlin 59: Cardinal Hayes took full advantage of its size advantage against Bishop Loughlin as its big men combination of Amadou Sidibe and Jalen Jenkins combined for 40 points. Sidbe led the way with 21 points and 20 rebounds.

"Coach told me this morning to come out and play hard," Sidibe said. "That's what I made sure I came out here to do."

Hayes (24-4) and Louglhin (13-14) were tied after the first quarter but Hayes opened up the game in the second and took a 36-25 lead into the half. The Lions never challenged the Cardinals during the second half of the contest.

The Cardinals will take on St. Raymond in the semifinals, a team that beat it last time out but a team Hayes is 2-1 against.

St. Raymond 70, All Hallows 54: Senior Daniel Dingle played like a one-man wrecking crew as he had 27 points and eight rebounds to power St. Raymond to the semifinals for the third straight year. The Ravens will be looking to advance to their first final in that stretch.

"The last time we played against them I finished with zero points and fouled out," Dingle said. "I came in with a vengeance and basically went out there and played hard."

The Ravens (19-9) led 11-10 after one and were up 32-27 at the half but broke the game open in the third and fourth quarter. His fellow post player, Kerwin Okoro, added 14 points and 13 rebounds for St. Raymond as it went 4-0 vs. All Hallows this year.
St. Raymond coach Oliver Antigua had a feeling that his two stud seniors, forwards Kerwin Okoro and Daniel Dingle, would show why they're two of New York City's best in the Class AA Archdiocesan title game on Saturday.

"I was having a conversation with someone last night and I said I had a good feeling about my two stars," Antigua said. "I said 'watch and see.'"

If you watched on Saturday, you saw Antigua's prediction come true. His two stars combined for 38 points and 21 rebounds as they powered St. Raymond to its first Archdiocesan crown since 2005 with a 60-58 win over Mount St. Michael in the Bronx on Saturday afternoon. Okoro had 21 points and 12 rebounds while Dingle had 17 points and nine rebounds.

"Both of us as captains and seniors wanted to leave with a bang and wanted to win," Dingle said. "We didn't want to put the pressure on anybody's hands who hadn't been here before. There are a lot of people that hadn't been in this place before. We've lost so we know what the feeling feels like in this place. Now we know what it's like to win."

FINALLY THE BRIDE: After losing in this game six straight times to the now-closed Rice, Antigua described his team as the "bridesmaid." The fourth-seeded Ravens (18-9) finally put an end to that streak by taking down third-seeded Mount (20-7).

"It was getting annoying and stressful," Okoro said of the continued losing. "You only get one shot at this every year. It's our last year so we wanted to make a good run. It's also good momentum heading into the playoffs right now. We're just where we want to be."

HOW THE GAME WAS WON: A frantic game saw St. Raymond leading for most of the way but Mount St. Michael was always able to keep it close.

A key aspect was the foul trouble of Omari Manhertz, Mount's bruising forward, as he picked up three fouls in the first half and had to play tentatively down the stretch with four fouls. Okoro and Dingle attacked the basket knowing Manhertz couldn't attack.

"The plan was to attack Manhertz," Dingle said.

Mount trailed 57-56 with 2:28 left and had three chances to take the lead or tie the game but failed each time. Ed Correa (11 points) missed a 3-pointer down one, Anthony Maestre (10 points) missed a jumper down two, and Malik Gill missed a jumper with his team trailing 58-56 with about 12 seconds left.

St. Raymond's Larry Graves calmly sunk both free throws after Gill's miss to put his team up 60-56 with 10.2 seconds left.

"That's senior leadership," Antigua said. "Going in there calm, he hadn't played really well, he's nursing a little injury. I went and gave him a kiss. I said that's a big two there."

STAR OF THE GAME: Okoro led all scorers with 21 points and also had 12 rebounds to pace the Ravens. In the fourth quarter, the forward guarded Gill down the stanza, making life tough on Mount's fast guard.

"I was finishing around the basket and getting offensive rebounds," Okoro said. "I was getting to the line a lot so my free throws were generating points of us and I was playing off everybody else. I was just playing my role."

QUOTE OF THE GAME: St. Raymond has now five straight games and is feeling confident entering the Intersectional tournament.

"It all started with (the win over) Lincoln, the confidence with the guards, the guards started knocking down shots and running the team," Dingle said. "So if they're good, we're good. If we grew together, we're going to win it all. Right now, it' just phase one we have to continue working."

UP NEXT: St. Raymond awaits the Xaverian vs. All Hallows winner in the quarterfinals while Mount also awaits the Christ the King vs. Stepinac winner in the quarters.

Game of the Week: Mount vs. St. Raymond

February, 24, 2012
WHO: No. 5 St. Raymond vs. No. 10 Mount St. Michael

WHERE: Mount St. Michael

WHEN: Saturday, 1:45 p.m.

WHY THIS GAME IS IMPORTANT: The Bronx rivals meet on Saturday for the Archdiocesan crown in what should be an entertaining game. The two teams split their games this season, with St. Raymond winning by two points at home and Mount winning by four at home.

St. Raymond is perhaps the surprise team in this final as it knocked off top-seeded Cardinal Hayes in the semifinals after being bested by the Cardinals twice this season. The Ravens have been an annual participant in this game but usually had to face Rice, who often beat them.

Mount is in the final as the No. 3 seed after defeating No. 2 St. Peter's in the semifinals. The Mountaineers are following up their CHSAA Class A Intersectional title with a strong showing in their move up to the AA. A win Sunday would be a great moment in the program's history.


Mount St. Michael senior guard Malik Gill
Mount St. Michael senior guard Anthony Maestre
Mount St. Michael senior forward Omari Manhertz
St. Raymond junior guard Shane Rector
St. Raymond senior forward Kerwin Okoro
St. Raymond senior forward Daniel Dingle


Mount St. Michael: Thomas Fraher
St. Raymond: Oliver Antigua


No. 10 Mount St. Michael (20-6)

Dec. 1: 75-42 win vs. Hempstead
Dec. 5: 61-29 win vs. James Monroe
Dec. 8: 83-42 win vs. Evander Childs
Dec. 10: 67-46 win at Baldwin
Dec. 13: 79-73 win vs. Harborfields
Dec. 17: 58-54 win vs. Bishop Loughlin
Dec. 20: 48-47 win at All Hallows
Dec. 27: 68-57 win vs. Concordia (Del.)
Dec. 28: 57-42 win at Long Island Lutheran
Dec. 29: 55-37 win vs. Bishop Timon
Jan. 3: 69-52 loss vs. Cardinal Hayes
Jan. 7: 75-50 win vs. Farrell
Jan. 10: 66-62 win vs. St. Raymond
Jan. 14: 64-59 loss vs. Holy Cross
Jan. 17: 61-58 win at Xaverian
Jan. 20: 61-50 win at Stepinac
Jan. 23: 68-44 win vs. Lehman
Jan. 27: 61-48 win at Fordham Prep
Jan. 31: 58-56 loss at St. Raymond
Feb. 2: 51-50 loss at St. Peter's
Feb. 7: 57-50 loss at Cardinal Hayes
Feb. 9: 53-46 win vs. All Hallows
Feb. 11: 61-35 win vs. Fordham Prep
Feb. 14: 58-50 win vs. Stepinac
Feb. 19: 63-47 win vs. Stepinac
Feb. 21: 66-47 win vs. St. Peter's

No. 5. St. Raymond (17-9)

Dec. 2: 75-52 win vs. All Hallows
Dec. 4: 67-45 win at St. Peter's
Dec. 9: 62-56 win vs. Stepinac
Dec. 11: 75-46 win vs. Farrell
Dec. 17: 73-70 win vs. Trinity (Ky.)
Dec. 19: 80-61 loss vs. Montverde (Calif.)
Dec. 20: 63-58 loss vs. Mater Dei (Calif.)
Dec. 27: 66-56 win vs. Middle Creek (N.C.)
Dec. 29: 60-56 win vs. Millbrook (N.C.)
Dec. 30: 75-63 win vs. Garner (N.C.)
Jan. 5: 61-53 win at Fordham Prep
Jan. 7: 68-61 win vs. Paul VI
Jan. 10: 66-62 loss at Mount St. Michael
Jan. 13: 69-64 loss vs. Cardinal Hayes
Jan. 17: 57-56 loss at Stepinac
Jan. 24: 64-49 win vs. Fordham Prep
Jan. 31: 58-56 win vs. Mount
Feb. 3: 84-74 loss vs. Christ the King
Feb. 7: 69-62 win at All Hallows
Feb. 10: 84-58 loss at Cardinal Hayes
Feb. 15: 55-51 win at Lincoln
Feb. 16: 78-77 win vs. Boys & Girls
Feb. 19: 67-50 win vs. All Hallows
Jan. 21: 81-73 win vs. Cardinal Hayes

Rapid Reaction: Hayes 84, St. Rays 58

February, 10, 2012
It took until the end of January for Cardinal Hayes to suffer its first loss against a team in New York City. Then, suddenly it lost two out of four and head coach Joe Lods expressed concerns about how tough his team really was.

On Friday, the No. 5 Cardinals showed how tough they can be as they easily handled St. Raymond, beating it 84-58 at home in the Bronx in front of a packed crowd. Coming up big was senior Fadil Yacoubou who lost his starting job this season, but had a huge game getting the start on senior night.

“Fadil got hurt in the numbers game for sure,” Lods said after the game. “But if there is one kid walking me to the car, Fadil is the kid. If it doesn't work out with him for basketball there is always boxing. He's a tough kid.”

Yacoubou was a big reason Hayes jumped out to a comfortable lead as he scored six quick points in the first four minutes of the game to givehis team a 13-8 lead it never lost.

“I was energized, I was hyped,” Yacoubou said. “I knew if I came fired up the team would feed off it and that's exactly what happened.”

BIG MEN, TOUGH DUO: Yacoubou sparked the team in the first quarter, but Hayes’ big men Amadou Sidibe and Jalen Jenkins took over in the second as they stretched the lead from three to 12 points heading into halftime. The duo combined for 10 points that quarter and was dominant under the rim, playing a big part in keeping St. Raymond to just eight points that quarter.

“I don't know if they are the best front court duo, but they are pretty damn good and they complement each other well,” Lods said. “Amadou is the bruiser who stays around the basket. Jenkins is more of a ball handler who attacks the rim. I almost wish I could go coach a prep school next year and take them with me so I can have them one more year. I love those kids.”

CAN’T LEAVE NAASIR OPEN: Hayes was up 12 points at halftime, but it really only started to dominate the game in the second half thanks to Naasir Williams. He started to find himself in big open spots and scored 12 of his 14 points in the second half, including 10 points in the third quarter.

“Nas is a good shooter,” Lods said. “If he's open and he's squared up, he shoots like 100 percent. He's a pretty under-recruited kid. When people go zone I get him off the bench as quick as I can. If he keeps hitting jump shots like this for the rest of the season people are going to have a hard time playing us.”

LOOK AT US NOW: Last season Cardinal Hayes was in the Class A division, but it got bumped up to the AA division and nobody knew how well it would handle it. Lods was in disbelief that in the past they wouldn’t even play a team like St. Raymond and this season his team is beating the Ravens by 26 points.

“I asked (St. Raymond’s head coach Oliver Antigua) when the last they had been in our gym and he said in 1990 as a player,” Lods said shaking his head in disbelief. “I was telling the kids before the game, look how far you've brought us.

“Last season on a Friday afternoon we were playing Regis, now on a Friday afternoon we are playing St. Rays and let's just say that we handled them.”

STATS: It was a team effort for Hayes as it had four players scoring in double-digits including Jenkins and Williams who each had 14 points. Amadou Sidibe and Fadil Yacoubou each finished with 12. For St. Raymond, Shane Rector and Daniel Dingle each had 14 and Nkeruwen Okoro had 10.

UP NEXT: Cardinal Hayes plays its last regular season game at Fordham Prep on Tuesday while St. Raymond’s plays Lincoln on Wednesday.

Rapid React: (5) CK 84, (8)St. Ray's 74

February, 3, 2012
It doesn't matter what’s happening around Omar Calhoun. It’s safe to say that nothing fazes the Christ the King senior shooting guard. The merciless road crowd ignites him. Everything else is background noise.

It didn’t matter Friday night that his future University of Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun, is now out indefinitely while he deals with a worsening back condition. At the same, it didn’t matter that every time he touched the ball, the St. Raymond’s crowd either booed or chanted "overrated."

Omar Calhoun relished the hostility, scoring 33 points while the Royals (14-6), ranked No. 5 by, beat No. 8 St. Raymond’s Friday, 84-74 in the Bronx.

HOW THE GAME WAS WON: The game started fast for both teams, which both relied on their stars early. The crowd started on Calhoun from the tipoff and the intensity in the gym only intensified on St. Raymond’s (13-8) Senior Night. Calhoun scored 20 in the first half while St. Raymond’s Daniel Dingle, headed to Temple, had 16 of his team-high 27 points at halftime.

But the Royals tightened their defense in the third quarter, consistently giving Dingle different looks with Adonis Delarosa, Jordan Fuchs and Marthely Senat. Dingle scored seven points in the third quarter but the Ravens’ offense struggled to score without him and hurt more when Dingle didn’t score in the fourth quarter until there was 45 seconds left to play.

X-FACTOR(S): Sophomore Adonis Delarosa had the best game of his young career scoring 12 points. He scored on a foul-line jumper with 5:47 left in the third quarter and followed with a layup soon after that started a 14-6 run for Christ the King, which opened a 61-51 headed into the fourth.

“I though he played great,” CK coach Joe Artibello said. “He’s really coming along. I think he’s going to help us.”

Delarosa scored a career-high 12 points. Fuchs scored 13 and Isaiah Lewis had 10.

CALHOUN FACTOR: After Calhoun’s performance, Artibello was sure that Calhoun should have answered any and all of his critics.

“If he’s not the best player in the city, then tell me who is,” Artibello said.

UP NEXT: The road doesn’t get any easier for Christ the King. The Royals host top-ranked Cardinal Hayes Saturday at 5 p.m. St. Raymond’s play All Hallows Tuesday at 4 p.m.

SNY Invitational preview

January, 26, 2012
WHO: SNY Invitational

FEATURING: No. 4 Thomas Jefferson, No. 8 St. Raymond, Cardozo and St. Anthony (NJ)

WHEN: Friday and Saturday

WHERE: The WRAC (LIU Brooklyn campus)

GAMES: Friday: St. Ray's/Dozo (6 p.m.); Jefferson/St. Anthony (8 p.m.); Saturday: Consolation (2 p.m.); Championship (4 p.m.)

WHY THESE GAMES ARE IMPORTANT: Four of the top teams in the Metropolitan area meet in a televised tournament. New York City powers St. Raymond's, Cardozo and Jefferson will compete as well as undefeated national power and reigning national champion, St. Anthony (N.J.).

Surprisingly, Jefferson enters as the top-ranked team of the New York City group, coming off one of the most impressive wins in New York City this year when it defeated Lincoln last time out. St. Raymond's just snapped a three-game losing streak and Cardozo, while still formidable, just lost its best player in Jermaine Lawrence as he transferred from the Queens power.

The three of them will try to see if they can beat St. Anthony, which is ranked No. 4 in the country by ESPNHS. St. Anthony has a 46-game win streak heading into these pair of games.


St. Anthony senior forward Kyle Anderson
St. Raymond senior guard Daniel Dingle
Thomas Jefferson senior guard Thaddeus Hall
Cardozo senior forward Ryan Yearwood


St. Anthony: Bob Hurley
St. Raymond: Oliver Antigua
Thomas Jefferson: Lawrence "Bud" Pollard
Cardozo: Ron Naclerio


No. 8 St. Raymond (10-7)
Dec. 2: 75-52 win vs. All Hallows
Dec. 4: 67-45 win at St. Peter's
Dec. 9: 62-56 win vs. Stepinac
Dec. 11: 75-46 win vs. Farrell
Dec. 17: 73-70 win vs. Trinity (Ky.)
Dec. 19: 80-61 loss vs. Montverde (Fla.)
Dec. 20: 63-58 loss vs. Mater Dei (Calif.)
Dec. 21: 76-57 loss vs. Salesian (Calif.)
Dec. 27: 66-56 win vs. Middle Creek (N.C.)
Dec. 29: 60-56 win vs. Millbrook (N.C.)
Dec. 30: 75-63 loss vs. Garner (N.C.)
Jan. 5: 61-53 win at Fordham Prep
Jan. 7: 68-61 win vs. Paul VI (Va.)
Jan. 10: 66-62 loss at Mount St. Michael
Jan. 13: 69-64 loss vs. Cardinal Hayes
Jan. 17: 57-56 loss at Stepinac
Jan. 24: 64-49 win vs. Fordham Prep

No. 4 Jefferson (14-5)
Nov. 26: 72-67 win vs. Campus Magnet
Dec. 1: 77-57 win vs. Grady
Dec. 3: 92-81 loss vs. Christ the King
Dec. 6: 65-55 win at Robeson
Dec. 7: Win vs. team from Australia
Dec. 8: 76-73 win at South Shore
Dec. 13: 75-71 loss vs. Lincoln
Dec. 15: 71-63 win vs. Transit Tech
Dec. 16: 63-62 win vs. Boyd Anderson (Fla.)
Dec. 17: 53-44 win vs. Sagemont (Fla.)
Dec. 18: 75-60 loss vs. Coral Srpings Christian (Fla.)
Dec. 19: 54-46 loss vs. Aquinas (Fla.)
Dec. 23: 78-56 win vs. Westinghouse
Jan. 3: 86-84 loss at Boys & Girls
Jan. 5: 78-64 win at Grady
Jan. 10: 56-55 win vs. Robeson
Jan 12: 64-60 win vs. South Shore
Jan. 17: 82-77 win at Lincoln
Jan. 19: 73-51 win at Transit Tech

Cardozo (13-4)
Dec. 1: 72-49 win vs. Beach Channel/Channel View
Dec. 6: 94-38 win at Thomas Edison
Dec. 8: 76-41 win at Flushing
Dec. 13: 69-65 loss at Campus Magnet
Dec. 15: 62-59 win vs. Bayside
Dec. 20: 68-58 win at Forest Hills
Dec. 22: 94-55 win vs. Martin Van Buren
Jan. 1: 80-72 loss vs. Constitution (Pa.)
Jan. 3: 72-46 win vs. Grady
Jan. 5: 66-61 win at Martin Van Buren
Jan. 7: 66-52 win vs. George Westinghouse
Jan. 10: 66-48 win at Beach Channel/Channel View
Jan. 12: 89-47 win at Thomas Edison
Jan. 14: 80-76 loss vs. New London (Conn.)
Jan. 16: 58-49 loss vs. Mt. Vernon
Jan. 17: 88-50 win vs. Flushing
Jan. 19: 78-56 win vs. Campus Magnet

St. Anthony (13-0)
Dec. 16: 80-16 win vs. Emily Fisher Charter
Dec. 18: 53-33 win vs. Trenton Catholic
Dec. 20: 78-21 win vs. Newark Central
Dec. 22: 91-38 win vs. Morris Knolls
Dec. 28: 68-25 win vs. New Mission (Mass.)
Dec. 29: 57-35 win vs. Roman Catholic (Pa.)
Jan. 1: 51-50 win vs. St. Benedict's Prep
Jan. 4: 68-26 win vs. Mainland
Jan. 7: 77-28 win vs. Roselle Catholic
Jan. 8: 62-32 win at East Brunswick
Jan. 14: 61-21 win vs. St. Peter's Prep
Jan. 16: 60-48 win vs. Miller Grove (Ga.)
Jan. 24: 68-28 win vs. East Orange Campus

St. Ray's Dingle to Temple

November, 8, 2011
As Daniel Dingle wrestled with his college decision, St. Raymond’s senior forward had trouble sleeping. He stayed awake at night, thinking about the different schools and what they had to offer. He even prayed for help, hoping to get some type of guidance to help him.

Finally, Monday night, the 6-6, 225-pound center realized that Temple is the right match for him. Not surprisingly, Dingle slept like a baby Monday.

“I was thinking about it Monday night and I had already made up my mind that this was the best fit so I got some sleep,” Dingle said of Temple. “I just felt like it was the right decision and I knew I could sleep with that. I just wanted to make sure that I was happy and so were my parents.”

Dingle, the No. 5 recruit in New York in the class of 2012, committed to the Owls on Tuesday, choosing them over Auburn and Seton Hall. The senior is a three-star recruit according to ESPNU and will play on the wing.

Temple had been recruiting Dingle intensely, especially during the summer. The Owls had a member of their coaching staff at each one of his AAU games, which caught Dingle’s attention. He said it showed him that Temple really wanted to bring him on board. He went on an official visit there during the weekend of Oct. 20.

The coaching staff also won over Dingle, as he noted that the staff has drive and ambition to make their players better. Dingle also liked the diversity of the campus. He is the third recruit to commit to Temple for next season.

“Just speaking to my family and brother, we were breaking down the pros and cons,” Dingle said of the process. “At first, I said distance doesn’t matter but now that I got a place that is just as good a fit or a better fit and is close to home, that put the icing on the cake. On top of that, my parents can come and watch.”

Dingle’s high school and AAU coach both think that he will fit in well at Temple, especially with its offensive style of play. St. Raymond’s coach Oliver Antigua said that Dingle’s biggest assets are his skill set and his high basketball IQ and he sees Dingle having an effect on Temple in the future. Dingle helped lead St. Raymond the CHSAA Class “AA” Intersectional semifinals last season.

His brother, Dana Dingle, the coach of the AAU team L.I. Lightning-Dingle, said that Temple allows its wings to play off their reads and it’s a structured offense that will benefit Daniel because it allows him to go through different options on the courts and find the open man. Dingle said he likes being a facilitator on offense.

“That’s the thing, it lets him play to his strengths,” Dana Dingle said. “He’s not the biggest guy but he can post up smaller guys. He’ll be able to use all his skills rather than be defined to the block.”

With his commitment out of the way, Dingle can now focus his attention on leading St. Raymond, which will be one of the top teams in New York City. He also can sleep free and easy.

“It’s a relief and also exciting to commit,” Dingle said. “I was very unsure and it took me a long time. My family is very excited and they will get to see me play. Philly isn’t home but it is close enough so I will get my support cast there and they will be at most of my home games.”

St. Ray's Okoro to Iowa State

June, 20, 2011
Iowa State hasn’t had much recent success on the hardwood, but Nkereuwem "Kerwin" Okoro isn’t concerned with that. The rising senior basketball player at St. Raymond who verbally committed on Sunday night to play for the Cyclones in 2012-13 sees a bright future ahead for the Big 12 squad.

"They have all these recruits coming in who are going to be playing next year and it looks real good for the next couple of years," Okoro said. "If we just continue to be humble and work hard, I think good things are on the way. If we all believe in the coach, we’re going to do good things."

Okoro, a three-star recruit, is the seventh-best player in New York and the third-ranked player from one of New York City’s basketball leagues according to ESPNU. The shooting guard, ranked 34th at his position nationally, chose Iowa State over Big East squads Pittsburgh and Seton Hall.

"The recruiting process wasn’t stressful but it feels good to know where I’m going," Okoro said. "It gives me more time and freedom to focus on other stuff, like my academics, and get ready for my senior year."

While Iowa State has struggled on the court recently, Okoro likes the direction the team is heading under coach Fred Hoiberg. The Cyclones finished 16-16 last year and are bringing in a pair of three-star recruits for next season, as well as a trio of transfers, including Royce White from Minnesota and Chris Allen from Michigan State.

The shooting guard also said that Iowa State recruit Tavon Sledge, who is headed to the school next season from Half Hollow Hills West in Long Island, helped bring him from his Bronx home to the Midwest. Okoro said he and Sledge have texted back and forth and Sledge wanted Okoro to join him at Iowa State.

"We’ve known each for a while as we played in New York," Okoro said. "It’s good to have somebody from the same state who is there with me that I can relate to and I can share things with."

Iowa State had aggressively recruited Okoro and he took an unofficial visit to the school in January. He loved the environment and the different pace of life from New York City, as he said it’s much more calm in Iowa. Okoro also liked the facilities and spoke highly of the coaching staff and the fans.

Okoro, who earned first-team All-CHSAA honors and averaged 13.6 points last season, also took an unofficial visit to Seton hall and had played at Pittsburgh during a tournament, but they didn’t match what Iowa State had to offer.

"I just had a great feel for the place since my visit," Okoro said. "It was little factors like talking to the current players and the incoming players. It kept gravitating me toward my decision. I talked with my family, my coaches and made the decision where I want to go."

With Okoro’s future set, he can now turn his attention from being a recruit to becoming a recruiter. St. Raymond rising senior Daniel Dingle, one of the city’s top recruits, is uncommitted and has an offer from Iowa State. Okoro is pushing to see if the two could possibly be teammates beyond just next year.

Said Okoro: "I’ve been on him."

Basketball recruiting notebook

May, 13, 2011
The offers are rolling in and the commitments keep coming. It’s been a busy week in terms of New York City high school basketball commitments and we at took the time to catch up with some of the top uncommitted recruits from the city to see who’s inquiring and who’s offering. All rankings are via ESPNU.

• • •

Christ the King junior guard Omar Calhoun is the top-ranked player in New York City in the Class of 2011, ranked the 11th-best shooting guard and No. 56 overall. His father, Omar Calhoun Sr., said there are eight schools in contention for his services: North Carolina, Kentucky, Connecticut, Pittsburgh, Villanova, West Virginia, Georgetown and Seton Hall.

“Right now, we are wide open,” Omar Calhoun Sr. said. “We are down to these schools and then after the July recruiting period we are going to cut it down to five.”

The father said all eight schools are the ones that have been extremely active with Omar and added that they are plan to taking an unofficial visit to the defending national champions, UConn, in the next week or two.

He said UConn assistant Kevin Ollie has been the man behind the Huskies recruitment, and Coach Jim Calhoun told them recently that Omar is a priority. He added there is no concern right now about Jim Calhoun possibly retiring.

Omar Calhoun is currently playing AAU with the New York Gauchos.

“It’s been a great experience and it’s been an honor that so many great coaches and great programs are interested in Omar and his talents,” Omar Calhoun Sr. said. “We’re fortunate and blessed for the opportunity.”

• • •

Staying within the CHSAA, St. Raymond junior forwards Daniel Dingle and Nkereuwem Okoro are also drawing attention on the national scene.

Dingle, the No. 5 player in New York City and No. 35 power forward, said Temple, Auburn, Seton Hall, Western Kentucky and Arizona have all offered, as well as some others he couldn’t remember. He added that George Washington, Texas, Miami (Fla.) and Florida have shown interest. There is no leader at this time.

He said his official visits will be done after the July recruiting period, when he narrows down his list and he plans to take the process slowly but wants to commit before the season, but if he doesn’t, will wait until the spring. He is playing AAU with Long Island Lightning-Dingle.

Okoro, the No. 8 player in New York City, has offers from Iowa State, Pittsburgh, Seton Hall and Arizona, while Dayton is recruiting him but has not offered. He has taken unofficial visits to Iowa State and Seton Hall and is supposed to visit Pittsburgh on an unofficial visit. He is also playing with Long Island Lightning-Dingle, but not on the same team as Dingle.

“Right now, it’s neutral. I’m not making up my mind,” Okoro said about there being a leader in his recruitment. “I guess I’m one of the players who might make his decision when it feels right.”

• • •

Mount St. Michael senior guard Peter Aguilar, a one-star recruit, said he’s still working out details,but said Manhattan and Long Island are his top suitors, while Robert Morris has called. Aguilar said he has a learning disability and both Long Island and Manhattan both have great programs.

Aguilar, who guided the Mountaineers to a CHSAA Class “A” title, said as of now he would have to sit out his freshman year because he found out his grades aren’t good enough, but plans to take a Keystone course, the ACT and SAT so he can try to improve his grades so he would be ready to play.

• • •

Thomas Jefferson had a pair of commits to Manhattan for next season, but both Davontay Grace and Edson Avila were released from the National Letters of Intent after former coach Barry Rohrssen was fired in March.

Grace, a two-star recruit, said he decommitted because of the coaching change and said new coach Steve Masiello did not reach out to him. According to his coach, Bud Pollard, Dayton and Colorado State have shown interest.

“I’m a little bit nervous and anxious,” Grace said. “The thing is if nothing comes my way I can always have a prep option and play on the circuit again for one more year and show people I can run the team and stuff like that.”

While Grace said he is considering a prep year, Pollard said that he thinks Avila will now head the prep route.

• • •

Rice senior power forward Josh Gomez, a two-star recruit, is being looked at by Iona, Marist, Binghamton and Bowling Green, per his coach Dwayne MitchellHoly Cross junior center Marcus Hopper took a visit to Mississippi Valley State and will be visiting Marist, per his coach Paul Gilvary…Cardozo sophomore forward Jermaine Lawrence, the No.4 player in the class of 2013, is drawing interest from Western Kentucky, Miami (Fla.), Virginia Tech, Iowa, Iowa State, Virginia and Louisville, among others, per his father Christopher Lawrence and coach Ron Naclerio.

• • •

Here is a list of senior players who have committed or signed from the PSAL or CHSAA…Rice’s Jermaine Sanders: Cincinnati…Christ the King’s Corey Edwards: George Mason…Lincoln’s Shaquille Stokes: Hawaii…Boys & Girls’ Malik Nichols and Frederick Douglass Academy III’s Moussa Kone: Hofstra…Rice’s Emmanuel Andujar: Manhattan…Xaverian’s Manny Thomas and Christ the King’s T.J. Curry: Marist…Cardozo’s Marquis Barnett and Holy Cross’ Evan Conti: Quinnipiac…Wings Academy’s Gerrell Martin: Long Island…Midwood’s Bryan Smith: Fordham

• • •

Cardozo’s Shelton Mickell is the only junior from the PSAL or CHSAA who has committed to a school as he has chosen Central Connecticut State

CHSAA AA SF: St. Raymond 59, Xaverian 49

March, 3, 2011
NEW YORK--In a game that appeared as if St. Raymond’s would run Xaverian out of the gym, it was surprising to hear the winning team preaching about defense.

But when St. Raymond’s coach Oliver Antigua called timeout with 5:58 left in Thursday night's CHSAA intersectional tournament quarterfinals, and what looked like a blowout transformed into a scary four-point lead, he reminded his team how it earned a lead in the first place. And what would get it on the court at St. John’s University next week.

“Teams make runs in the playoffs,” Antigua said. “They’re a good team. I give them credit. They were down and they made a good run.”

St. Raymond’s held on to beat Xaverian, 59-49, Thursday night in the CHSAA AA intersectional quarterfinals at St. Francis Prep in Queens.

HOW THE GAME WAS WON: Antigua said he took some advice from his brother, Orlando, an assistant coach at Kentucky, remembering that Xaverian had shot the lights out in St. Raymond’s gym earlier this season. Xaverian hit 13 three-pointers and won 81-64. Orlando Antigua told his brother to let Xaverian have the two-pointers. Just take away the threes.

The problem for Xaverian was it couldn’t make the twos either.

The Clippers missed a truckload of layups and shot a dismal 4-for-30 in the first half. Xaverian’s Brian Bernardi arrived minutes late to the game. Dillion Burns started in his place and Bernardi seemed absent from the game until he scored five straight points with about 4:30 left in the third quarter that started a 13-4 run that cut the lead to six headed into the fourth. Xaverian coach Jack Alesi called it a “cosmetic run.”

“It’s usually pretty predictable,” Alesi said. “A team goes down 20, makes a run, runs out of gas. The bottom line is the bottom. They just outplayed us from start to finish.”

That’s not completely true though. Xaverian finally found their offense in the third quarter and cut the lead to four, 42-38, with 5:58 remaining. That’s when St. Raymond’s sophomore Shane Rector stepped in.

TURNING POINT: Xaverian looked like it had a chance to steal the game after a layup by Manny Thomas cut it to four. But a layups by Nkeruwem Okoro and Myron Hickman, back-to-back baskets by Rector, and a couple more missed layups by Xaverian later and St. Raymond’s posted a 13-2 run that put the Ravens ahead by 15 with a minute remaining.

“We knew that if we guarded the way we did in the first half that we were going to alright,” said Rector, who scored 12 of his 16 points in the second half. “Coach kept telling us that we were going to win the game if we keep playing D.”

STAR OF THE GAME: Daniel Dingle did everything he could to put the team ahead when it stepped on Xaverian early and everything to try to hold the fort when the lead was in danger. He finished with 21 points, 17 rebounds and 3 blocks, including 8 of the team’s 17 first-quarter points.

“Today it was big,” he said. “They came to our house and blew us out, embarrassed us in front of our 1991 alumni. We just had to get payback and move on to the next level and St. John’s.”

BIGGEST SURPRISE: That outside of his spurt in the third quarter, Bernardi never really got into the game. He hoisted three three-pointers that all front rimmed in the second quarter. He scored just nine points.

QUOTE OF THE GAME: “It’s too easy to say we weren’t ready to play. We were ready to play. We just didn’t play well. Sometimes it’s more mental than it is physical. If I had the answer to all that, I’d go write a book on how you get ready to play.” - Alesi

Christ the King 73, St. Peter’s 46: Omar Calhoun led the Royals (20-6) with 24 points and 7 rebounds. He also scored his 1,000th career-point on a thunderous one-hand slam with 2:02 left in the first half. He scored 10 points during an 18-3 run that put the game away in the third quarter.

UP NEXT: Christ the King will play St. Raymond Wednesday at St. John’s University in the semifinals.