There is an old complaint how I favor Shore Kids. Those complaints are 100% valid but there will always be”ADOPTED SHORE PLAYERS”. These are players that have that shore approach towards basketball. They seek out competition, they live in the gym and are 100% dedicated to the game. There have been many Shore Adopted kids in the past. Danielle Padovano was such a kid, she now plays for Fordham University of the A-10. I once said another Shore player would play in the Atlantic 10…her name was Emily Calabrese of Ramapo High School and she proved me right….Emily Calabrese gave ST. BONAVENTURE UNIVERSITY A VERBAL COMMITMENT LAST NIGHT.



Three years ago a skinny 6ft player from North Jersey showed up at ACADEMIC ELITE. Nobody knew who she was, but when the day was over, everyone was asking “WHO IS SHE”. She made jump shots, she drove to the basket and she posted up. My jaw dropped, I brought her out in front of all the girls at the event and we gave her a standing ovation. She was that good, Emily Calabrese reminded me of Danielle Padovano, because of size and skills sets. It was that day, Emily Calabrese became a Shore Adopted player. I just didn’t realize how much until we spoke after.


When Elite ended, I asked Emily where she was from. She told me she was from Ramapo High School and played for Sandy Gordon. With those words, she won me over. Sandy and I go back 25 years. We were both young assistants’ coaches at FDU together. We would run at lunchtime and play pickup hoops. We would go out for cocktails (Sandy has stories folks). Sandy Gordon and her family became real friends of mine. She later would become the head coach at FDU. She also has a brilliant basketball mind. But there is more to this connection, because when I left FDU to coach at St. Bonaventure, a year later Sandy Gordon followed me on the girl’s side. To know Emily will attend St, Bonaventure is like living an old sweet dream.


Olean, New York is one of my favorite places on planet earth. What made it my favorite place is two things. St. Bonaventure University and the people of the town. Olean, is truly a place where goodness lives, it’s a place that does not eat it babies. It’s a place where the community loves it young. St. Bonaventure University is where morals, understanding, patience and teaching are not just words…they mean it there. The Franciscan life style is real, not talk. It’s a place where mentoring matters, it’s a place where the professors love teaching and are truly part of the student body. Emily Calabrese may not know this, but her life has just changed; like she will never believe. No place I ever worked at, had a bigger impact on my life….oh yeah, they happen to love BASKETBALL IN OLEAN


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I been everywhere folks and let me be clear…nowhere has fans like the Reilly Center in Olean, New York and that includes Duke. The Bonnies fans love there basketball teams. While the men have a great following. The St. Bonaventure women get the same love. The St. Bonaventure community, takes great pride in their teams. The cheer the old fashion way, nothing ugly, just good ole clean fun. I miss it, to this very day. The Bonnie fans are going to love Emily Calabrese, because she represent all that St. Bonaventure stands for. She will work hard and give it all the moment she steps between the lines. She will not only become of part of the community, but she will become a real leader. She will be selfless, she will value education, she will be kind to her classmates, she will give service to others ….she simply will become a BONNIE!


Emily Calabrese, would make it down to the shore as often as she could. Her father would send me e mails and updates. Despite living 90 mins away, she played for the Central Jersey Cardinals. She wanted to play against the best. She could have done what most girls in her situation. Play on a local team, rack up points and brag. But she knew if she was going to be special, she had to shine against the best and that’s what she has been doing. Last year I went to watch her play in the Cardinals Tip -off tournament. I was shocked, because you simply cannot match up with. Put a big one her and she goes outside, but a small and she goes inside. Double team her and she makes the right pass. Play her straight up and…well we really don’t want to talk about that because it’s too ugly for opponents to think about. Emily Calabrese as my friends in the hood, like to say….IS A BAD GIRL!

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This past year Coach Gordon, brought her team down to the shore to play in a tournament, with other north Jersey Teams. The other north Jersey teams had big name stars. Those stars found out the shore is a different animal. Ramapo took on a RBC team with 6 D1 players on their roster last year. Most people knew their names, I doubt anyone knew Emily Calabrese’s name. The Ramapo players am sure where caught off guard with speed and physical play of the game. Emily Calabrese, well that was a different story, because for a half she toyed with the RBC team of D1 players. She made jumpers, scored against double and triple teams. Got out and ran the floor. RBC threw everything but the kitchen sink at her, they tried everything against Calabrese. When tried a big on her…no luck as she got them in foul trouble. They tried guards on her… no luck, grown women against little girls. They got physical as in real physical against her…no luck, she has a college body right now. There were a lot of talented D1 players on that court, that day….but only one was un-stoppable and that was Miss Calabrese. For a half she single handily had RBC on the ropes. RBC won the game as Calabrese just ran out of gas. That’s what happens when you play so hard and the other team has a numbers advantage. But it sure was fun watching her show put on that show for a half. As a good friend of my mine, said “you were on the money with Calabrese” In my mind I thought “I told you so”….SHORE ADOPTED KIDS ARE SPECIAL.

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Emily Calabrese is a three spot letter winner. She plays varsity Lacrosse and Volleyball as well. That’s when she is not grabbing 21 rebounds in a high school 32 minute game. She is a three sport player because she is just a talented young lady. Racking up double, doubles on the basketball court is just part of who she is. Her high school coach loves her and not just because of the basketball. It’s the attitude and her approach towards the game. Coach Gordon was a competitor in her day and it’s what she likes most about Emily Calabrese. Her father has taken some long drives to get Emily in the right place against the best competition. Now it has paid off, because she is now going to be a BONNIE….CONGRATS TO ONE OF MY ALL TIME FAVORITE SHORE ADOPTED KIDS….EMILY CALABRESE OF ST. BONAVENTURE!



Special notethe CENTRAL JERSEY CARDINALS ORGANIZATION is changing a lot young ladies lives folks. AAU is not an exact science, nobody is getting it right all the time. But the Cardinals are putting a lot of kids in position to make their dreams come true….congrats to KRISTEN SOMOGYI for making it possible for so many kids.


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