TINY GREEN SAYS AAU GIRLS BASKETBALL AT PRECIPICE…

 I once told a group of kids that one day the NCAA would shut down summer basketball. I said, if the AAU coaches, parents and players don’t police themselves, they are going to destroy the very thing they love.

 I’ve always like the summer camp format for coaches and kids. The Hoop Group for example runs the best summer exposure camps in America, folks it’s not even up for debate. Their camps are more than about just basketball, these camps teach responsibility, like getting to places on time. This may not sound like much until, that is until a young man has to manage their time at the next level. Its then player and coach appreciate the lessons learned at the Hoop Group camps. Players, get so much skill work, that they can’t help but to improve in their time at camp. The players rub elbows with College coaches, who are more truthful with kids about what their strength and weakness are in there game. I love that kids are forced out of there comfort zone and have to mix with kids from different cities, states and countries. This allows a kid to mature a little and learn a little about life outside their communities. Finally I love that it’s not life and death for a kid at camp. The competition is tough, but you have time to get into a playing groove. You don’t have to show your entire game in one half. You can build on a performance though-out the week. It’s okay to pass the ball and play as a team. One game is not going to break you, but it could make you. The camp situation for all is best…the problem on the girl’s side, is there are NO camps.

There was a time when the best female players in the country came to the Pocono’s. We are talking Hall of Fame greats. The names would take forever to list. But more importantly, it was a chance for young girls to make friends, be together and make memories. Now that still goes on today but it’s NOT during the live recruiting period and it’s a darn shame. This was a healthy environment for kids to grow into strong, self-confidence women. To this day anyone who has gone to the Pocono’s will say it was the highlight of their basketball summer…ask any girl who has attended one of these camps, this summer and they will say it was their highlight. This is not talk folks…its real 

Why do I bring all this up? Because folks AAU basketball is in major trouble and that’s not talk either. The NCAA is getting ready to pass some serious rules that could affect everyone. All the wonderful things I just brought up about camps, for the most do not exist in AAU. We now have a situation where kids are playing too many games. Parents think nothing of changing teams every year and folks it’s the parents 99% of the time, players with bad attitudes and ego’s before they even play a high school game. When college coaches are texting me questioning the attitude of an 8th grader at a live event.…something is wrong. When college coaches text about kids playing on 3 and 4 AAU teams in the same summer, something is wrong. When AAU coaches practice 3-5 days a week and play 4-5 games on the weekend, something is wrong. When parents are afraid of AAU coaches who are controlling their child’s every movement, something is wrong. When the good kids suffer for being loyal, while disloyal players and parents take advantage of the system to their benefit…something is wrong. When people are running AAU tryouts and practicing in August…for me that’s jumping the shark! But what’s most disappointing is this…when college coaches start saying they do not even want to watch AAU games ANYMORE…Then we have reached the be breaking point. I had a number and I am talking a big number of college coaches this summer, say these words to me “I left because it’s not worth watching”. The NCAA AND COLLEGE COACHES HAVE HAD ENOUGH!

It’s easy to blame all college basketball problems on AAU, because of a few poorly run organizations. Does anyone have a problem with Mary Beth Chambers OR the Central Jersey Hawks for example? Of course not, these are well run organizations. But the few poorly run organizations ruin it for everyone. Now the NCAA is talking about taking AWAY MORE DAYS IN JULY. They are considering having are you ready?  TWO WEEKENDS IN THE SUMMER…THAT’S IT FOLKS. They are discussing adding a weekend in September, but one very famous college Women’s coach, is telling her fellow coaches to boycott any new September, recruiting weekends added to the calendar. The NCAA is also talking about taking away an April recruiting weekend…to me this is all sad. A few bad apples are ruining it for all. But it also is a case of the chickens coming home to roast.

I believe any talk of taking away recruiting days will hurt not only kids but colleges as well. Anything that limits coaches from seeing players, hurts everyone. It hurts those kids who do not play on powerhouse high school teams. It causes more transfers because of recruiting mistakes. Shorten recruiting days could affect so many young people’s lives. It also is going to cause some coaches their jobs…trust me on that one. Trust me taking away days is not the answer to AAU’S PROBLEMS. To punish kids because of adults behavior is not an answer….we need TO EDUCATE…NOT ELIMINATE. Let’s get these AAU coaches to clinics and explain why, the kids need skill work OUTSIDE their organizations. Let’s show them how to put together a healthy summer schedule. Let’s teach them what colleges, want to see when showcasing their kids. Let explain to those trying to impress us that they can coach, that winning AAU games is not the measure of a good coach…we need to TEACH AND HELP.

The Northeast Conference has proposed a rule, which would allow college coaches 57 recruiting days during the course of a year, to use at any time. I like this much better than shorten the recruiting period. Let me give you an example. Years ago college coaches would be allowed to attend NBS. It was great for everyone, coaches saw great talent. Players got great teaching and competition. The coaches saw the skill work and the attitudes. They also came back year after year and saw which kids were progressing and which ones were not. They got to see which parents were going to get them fired and which would be supportive. The 57 days would bring that all back (yes some would cheat on the days). I often say,  I never make a mistake in my evaluation and it’s for one reason. I see them all the time from an early age. I know who has the work ethic, I know which kids are progressing every year, and I know the ones with the bad attitude or a great attitude. I know which ones get along with their peer and which one’s don’t. I see the Jealous ones and the good teammates, I SEE IT ALL! …WHY NOT ALLOW COLLEGE COACHES THE SAME ACCESS. One the most respected men in AAU basketball, had what I thought was the best idea of all….simply have more DEAD PERIODS. This would keep everyone happy and still allow kids to get exposure.

They tried to clean AAU up, by changing the name to grass roots basketball. Folks changing a name does not solve the problem. We need real answers, but most importantly, the very people in AAU better wake up and change. Stealing players in order to win games, parents changing teams, every time their child is unhappy or not getting enough attention, coaches playing hundreds of games, because they want to control kids and lack of skills work are issues that must be dealt with NOW…5 years ago I said “AAU is going to be dead”. Well they say people change at the PRECIPICE, well we have reached that point…because AAU is on life support right now.

 

***POINT GUARD SCHOOL STARTS TOMORROW…again this is a teaching camp and coaches help your kids, encourage them to learn the right way.

NBS CAMP RE-CAP…MOLLY WEISS IS MVP

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THE MOST COMPETITIVE CAMP IN NEW JERSEY!

With a rash of verbal commitments, I have had to put the NBS camp recap on the back burner. I apologize for the delay, but I think we will all agree it was great week for many kids who have fulfilled they dreams. Many of those kids where at the NBS camp and did a great job.

The Division one count at NBS was 44 and it is why the NBS Camp is a must for any kid trying to challenge themselves as a player. The early bird workouts that started at 8am was attended by the half the camp. This is what separates gym rats from the players and folks there is a major difference. This year’s camp, Molly Weiss proved she is moving into elite status. We also saw two new talented freshman to gain stream on the freshman class. Both were not household name freshman most of the year, but clearly have moved up the ranks.

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44 D1 PLAYERS BUT ONLY ONE MVP…MOLLY WEISS

The NBS Camp MVP was Molly Weiss, and folks this was not up for debate. Molly Weiss entered high school as virtual unknown and right now, is one of the best pure point guards in the state. Now those are strong words folks. But the facts are the fact, and this week at NBS camp she was at her best all week. Now here is why Molly Weiss was special this week. First she can be coached hard, why is that important? Because coaches love to messages to their teams, though their point guards. Next, her ability to make quality decisions regardless of the pace of the game. I will tell you of the 44 D1 players at this year’s camp. None had the impact of Miss Weiss. I believe Molly Weiss will be the floor leader of a future conference championship team at the next level. Coaches, I think the video will say it all.

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Academic Elite was just the start for Paige 

Next when you talk about Top Freshman in the 2020 class, the names Camryn Foltz and Kylee Watson (not from the shore) are sure to be the first two that pop up…at least by college coaches. But make no mistake there are two players making a rapid move to the top of that list. The 2020 shore class was once thought to be one of the weakness in years. But here is something to think about, this year’s guard group is deeper that last years. First Paige Slaven has clearly had a light go on since the end of July. Her performance at the Academic Elite was an eye opener for all. She had college coaches buzzing. But guess what? She backed it all up with a stellar week at NBS. Folks this young lady is going to make a real case for the 2020 All-Freshman team. While the reputation may not be as big as some others. Make no mistake her game right now is saying volumes.

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St. Rose Freshman Molly Lynch is a D1 LOCK

Now Kristen Somoygi said this to me “Molly Lynch is the first or 2nd best freshman point guard in the state” I did not respond to that text. The reason I did not was because I didn’t want to disagree with Kristen. Well guess what Kristen Somogyi? I will go you one step further. Right now she IS the best incoming freshman point in the state. Those are some bold words, but from what I saw at NBS camp, let me be very clear and college coaches you better listen. MOLLY LYNCH IS OFFICIALLY A D1 LOCK PLAYER. Now you have to understand, Molly Lynch at NBS played heads up against 6 current guards, already committed to D1 schools and no less than 12 other guards. Now here is what Molly Lynch showed me last week. First, she the most consistence shooter from the guard spot of any baby I’ve seen this summer. Next her ability to handle the ball against pressure and against older physically stronger D1 players, is a serious step up in her game. Finally and don’t under estimate this….she is as mentally and physically as tough as any kid in the 2020 class. For that kid to come into NBS and do what she did…was shocking, college coaches the tape don’t lie.

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ARIANA DALIA/JOHN PTASZEK DAY ONE PLAYER OF THE DAY

The week got off to a surprising start, because in a gym packed with talent. Ariana Dalia, of St. Rose was the player of the day. The young lady showed a nice shooting touch and more importantly an ability to defend in the post and on the perimeter. The crazy thing about this young lady is this. I believe she starts for every single team in the shore expect two. Now am not going to predict what level this young lady will play at…but you have to admit, being a player of the day at NBS is very impressive, when you consider who she is playing against. This young lady has a big future and college coaches will need to watch the video and pay college attention, because she is sitting behind 6 post/swing Division players. Think Lauren Lithgow her teammate who also had a great week at NBS. Lithgow will be one of the best in the entire state, once she gets into the lineup.

 

Because of High School practice, Lola Mullaney could only attend 3 days of NBS. Now understand nobody, repeat nobody is in the gym like Lola Mullaney. But let me just say this and move on, LOLA MULLANEY IS FUTURE POWER 5 SCHOOL PLAYERS. I recently told an Atlantic 10 head coach Lola Mullaney would be player of the year in her conference, if she could get her. Lola Mullaney at NBS camp, asked everyday…”are we playing games” Now why is that so impressive? Because folks Mullaney just came off the summer recruiting period, that’s why. She loves to play and trust me, she will be in the running for Player of the Year one day. NOBODY shoots off the dribble better and nobody finishes at the rim better…nobody. Let that rattle around your head…I just said nobody. But most importantly have you ever seen a kid, who continues to improve this rapidly?

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Jess Board was a BEAST!

Now at one point over a two day period, Jess Board too over the camp. She just became dominate and there were many who believe she was the camp MVP. Board who was a Player of the Day winner and sure felt that the MVP winner could have been her. College coaches you better listen, this is a not only future D1 player. But I don;t believe we have seen anything of what she will become. She flat out was a beast! and for the record college coaches I did call it… read ( http://hoopgroup.com/headquarters-blog/uncategorized/improved-player-award-team/)

Now my favorite part of the week, just may have been watching Dezzy Allen and Ellyn Stoll both who will be attending NJIT. Folks NJIT is going to be dancing in the next few years. Don’t tell me anyone at that level has two guards like these two coming into the same class. This reminds me when NJIT stole Sara Olson and I said she would be their best player. Well she was there best player and Monmouth’s too. Allen and Stoll are going to rip that conference apart…must like they did at NBS.

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Emily Cramer was put on a show right out the gate

Now there were some real sleepers at NBS this year.  Emile Cramer of PA, a 5’11 freshman guard is going to be special. If you played in the shore, she would have been a Top 5 freshman. The young lady drove 2 hours to get to the camp. Now there is no question at some point D1 schools will be trying to get her name on the dotted line. But a much improved Cramer at times looked her the best player in the gym

Megan Hughes of Pt Boro has quietly slipped up the D1 radar.  NO WORRIES MEGAN….Folks remember I will say “I told you so” at some point. Megan Hughes was great all week. Her ability to score and play two positions make her valuable to any school at the next level….NBS again proved she is one of the best. Looking forward to saying “I told you” real soon.

Now 8th grader Erin Martin, played in the high school division at NBS. She is from Florham Park and coaches you better learn this name quick. Erin, is the total package, she has size, quicks, vision and zero fear. The young lady got hurt on Thursday and spent the next two days dribbling on the sides lines for 6 hours….special young talent.

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Julia Setaro came out of nowhere

*****Now look I want everyone to remember this name …Julia Setaro of RBC. I am telling you this kid is going to shock everyone. NO player this summer surprised me more than this young lady. I believe this season, she is going to help RBC win a big game at some point. Her quickness and ability to defend, while also get to the rim, was as good as any guard this will week. I couldn’t not have been more impressed.

 

Speaking of RBC, Rose Caverly is the ultimate leader away from the court. Not only did she have a great week. But her biggest strength is her ability to bring others in the mix away from the court. Her social skills and leadership skills are off the hook. It’s reason she is the apple of so many D1 schools….

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Eve Crawford won the guard one on one title

The Crawford Twins Eve and Mayam showed up at NBS and did what they always do…ball out. Eve won the One on One for guards.  Both players are special and no question proved that they can play against any level of competition. Plus I got to drive with them every morning. College coaches these are two impact players at the next level.

Lastly I want to say a few words about Hayley Moore. I believe Hayley Moore had as good a summer as any player this summer. I also believe if she didn’t show me anything at NBS, she showed me this. I believe Hayley has a chance among the 10 best players in the shore conference this year. She seems to enjoy playing against the best competition and more importantly…she plays because of her love for the game….bravo Hayley we tease and joke each other, but make no mistake….my respect for you and the way you carry yourself makes me very proud!

A FEW PLAYERS OF THE DAY….AND KELLIE CROUCH STOPPED BY TO JUMP IN!

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The competition all week was great. Kids got in the gym worked hard and did what is most important. Get better…coaches you will have a full cheat sheet (some players have already committed) in your box with the video….if you have any question please e mail me at Tiny @hoopgroup.com

 

VERY IMPORTANT PLEASE READ FULLY.

NBS FALL DATES UP

The NBS fall dates will be up tomorrowonly current members may sign up until next Thursday. Then we will open NBS up to the public for all remaining spots. This year you must send in a $50 dollar deposit in order to save you spot after signing up online. We are waiting to hear, if college coaches will be allowed to visit NBS this year. If that is the case, we will no question be forced to add a 2nd session. There will no exceptions this year regarding registration. One day sign ups will be put on hold till we can find somebody for them to partner up with to take the 2nd day.

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If you are wondering why I am URGING kids to attend PG this year, it’s simple. This past year, I have had number of players who college coaches said they ball handling was not up to par. I believe that kids must learn the proper drills and then be shown the proper way to use them. High school coaches I strongly urge you to encourage your kids to attend this event….I believe our kids can only learn from such powerful teaching events. REGISTRATION http://hoopgroup.com/hoop-group-headquarters/new-jersey-summer-basketball-camps/basketball-101-camp/

EMILY CALABRESE VERBALS TO ST. BONAVENTURE!

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

 

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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.

POINT GUARD SCHOOL IS MONDAY….WHY? BECAUSE IT’S ABOUT BEING YOUR BEST AND LEARNING THE DETAILS….NO SHORT CUTS…PARENTS, COACHES PLEASE TAKE MY ADVICE ON THIS CAMP!

ELLYN STOLL VERBALS TO NJIT…PERFECTLY UNDERRATED TOGETHER!

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When you play on team where every player is a star, everyone must accept their role; in order to have success. There are teams in recent years with more talent that St. Rose, but few that have been better. Joe Whalen has created a culture where team is always first and the players compete against the competition and not themselves. No player has given more of herself for her team than…..ELLYN STOLL WHO GAVE NJIT A VERBAL COMMITMENT YESTERDAY.

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 For the past 3 years, Ellyn Stoll has played her role to a “T” at St. Rose. But while doing so, she has been an afterthought at times. She seems to never get acknowledged for what she brings to the table. There is no doubt at times it must hurt. When it comes awards time, rarely does she get any love. This year at a sports award banquet, the entire St. Rose starting five was invited except her…trust me, she won’t admit it, but that had to hurt. When she put St. Rose on her back in the SCT and single handily tried to beat St. John Vianney, there was barely a mention of her 21 points and breath taking perfomance in the media…that had to hurt. When the All Divisional Awards were given out at the end of the year, all five St. Rose starters were honored except one. That one was Ellyn Stoll…she may smile and it may appear it doesn’t matter. But make no mistake …IT HAD TO HURT AND IT HAD TO CUT DEEPLY INTO HER CORE. While  Ellyn Stoll may have been hurt, she never changed her game in order to benefit herself. She is the ultimate teammate and will NEVER accept personally glory or attention over winning…never!

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Who was St. Rose’s leading scorer against #1 team in the state, the SCT and TOC Champs this past season? Who was the St. Rose leading scorer against #2 Rutgers Prep this season? Who was one of two players in double figure scoring against Top 10 Lenape, this season? Who had 16 points, 4 dimes and a steal against #7 Franklin this season? Who had 11 points, 3 dimes, 3 rebounds, a steal and block against powerhouse Spalding of Maryland? The answer to all those questions is Ellyn Stoll. Who ran off 21, 18 16 and 15 points in consecutive SCT and TOC games to close out the St. Rose season?  The answer again is to Ellyn Stoll, now tell me a guard any guard who had a better tournament time run, last year.  You can’t… are you surprised? Of course you are, it’s the story of Ellyn Stoll’s basketball life. But you see, I pay attention to the real games. I know who is REALLY GETTING IT DONE!    Now ask yourself, HOW IN THE WORLD IS SHE NOT ON ANY THE ALL SHORE TEAM? It’s because when you watch St. Rose play she doesn’t overwhelm you. She is a quiet assassin who in every single big game for St. Rose, not only showed up but delivered the goods.

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This summer Ellyn Stoll decided to play with her high school team during the AAU season. It was a risky move because she would not dominant the ball. It also meant sharing the spotlight vs dominating the spotlight. There are plenty of AAU teams that would let her throw up shots and make wild drives to the basket. She could get her’s as they say. Social media can be a tough thing on a kid with dreams. It’s hard when every day you turn around and one of your peers is on Twitter or Facebook announcing they are committing to a University. It’s then, when you find out, what a kid is really about. Do they start jacking up shots, start playing selfless; or continue to trust their time will come. But more importantly, are they happy for peers who have made their dreams come true. Ellyn Stoll is a program kid as you know and we know she passed that test with flying colors.

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Mark and Robin Stoll, know what it’s like to have a talented kid with dreams. They know the pain of watching a daughter chase their dreams. Mark and Robin, have been team players every step of the way. They moved their daughter from an elite AAU team to join her high school teammates. They allowed her to get up every day at 5 pm to get to early shooting, they live 45 mins form St. Rose. They have seen the tears and the fear of not knowing what the end game would be. But they believed in their daughter and let her chase her dreams….yesterday two parents, two very kind and gentle parents….SHED TEARS OF JOY after so much doubt along the way, their daughter has accomplished her mission

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Ellyn Stoll’s time came yesterday, when she gave her verbal to NJIT. But there is so much more to this Verbal that even Ellyn Stoll knows. Like of all the players in the 2017, she had picked the best academic school of all. The average SAT score for incoming freshman at NJIT is OVER 1200. She will travel and become the worldliest player in the 2017 class. She will see travel and see the country. Like to places like FLA, SOUTH CAROLINA, GEORGIA, TENN, VIRGINIA AND MICHIGAN and that’s just in conference play. She will find out that NJIT is building a spanking new sports complex. She will learn NJIT is now eligible for a NCAA automatic bid in conference play. But most of all she will find out that she has something in common with her new home. NJIT was rated by Princeton Review as the #1 underrated college in all of America.two of the best and both underrated coming together…it’s only seems right!

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NJIT …IS GETTING IT DONE!

The NJIT basketball staff is getting it done. They’ve already created a great following at their games. Downtown Newark is becoming a real hot spot for young upward bound mobile kids. This year they hit the ultimate home run, when Dezzy Allen gave NJIT a verbal commitment.  I don’t have to tell you; how big a recruit this is… I remember Dezzy Allen father saying to me, “other shore kids may want to come and play with Dezzy”. He was right,  Ellyn Stoll and Dezzy played together when they were younger. Now they will form the best back-court in the ATLANTIC SUN CONFERENCE one day.  You can trust me on that one. The speed, defense and offensive talents these to bring to the table is insane.

I don’t want to put pressure on NJIT; If they get a stud post player. They are going to be real good, I’m talking mid major power good, I’m talking paid raise good, I’m talking NCAA GOOD…. NJIT is building the Roman Empire right under the noses of everyone….Because to be able to pick up two players of this ability in the same class is almost unheard of….folks let me remind you. I see them ALL…THIS IS THE BEST PICK UP OF ANY TWO PLAYERS IN THE SAME CLASS FROM THE SHORE EVER…I SAID EVER!

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So Ellyn Stoll has now made her dreams come true. It seems only right that she will be the last of the St. Rose players that committed this summer. She finally got her due, her reward, for being one of the best players in the shore. She couldn’t do it, despite her stellar play on the court. She couldn’t do it by putting up mega stats against the very best competition in New Jersey. She never complained about giving up parts of her, while her teammates shine. Joe Whalen’s program has proven, you can play as a team, even with overwhelming talent. Coach Whalen proved being a team player doesn’t mean you can’t shine and make your dreams come true. All of his players are now reaping the benefits from his philosophy.  Bob Green, Ellen Masonious, Raheem Carter and Mike Rice all must be smiling today. They  where the people behind the curtain who made it happen for Ellyn. They all knew Ellyn Stoll, was not just a D1 lock player, but more importantly a Division 1 person and teammate.   NOW NJIT HAS HER LOCKED UP…..CONGRATS TO ELLYN STOLL… A PROGRAM KID WHO NOW HAS THE SPOTLIGHT ALL TO HERSELF.

 

UPDATE….

Point Guard school starts next Monday.I never want to hear about one of our kids who can’t handle pressure or finish at the rim…coaches please get your kids to this event!

ALEX PENDERGRASS GIVES VERBAL TO MANHATTAN COLLEGE

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It has been a banner summer for Joe Whalen and his St. Rose team. The Purple Roses became the first NJ team to win the Best of Maryland and they’ve had 5 players commitment to D1 schools. It clear that Whalen’s team believes in working hard and letting the rest take care of itself. Yesterday things took care of itself again as ALEX PENDERGRASS gave Manhattan College a verbal commitment.

It is not even a discussion who the best athlete in the Shore Conference or the state. In fact I believe Alex Pendergrass is the most athletic player these eyes has ever seen. When she was in 7th grade I once told her she would be the first girl in New Jersey to dunk a basketball. She is only 5’9” and is one of the best high jumpers in New Jersey. It was thought at one time; Track and Field would be her calling. Basketball seemed to take a back seat to track. But yesterday Alex Pendergrass put all those questions to rest.

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The term teammate applies to Alex Pendergrass more than any kid or family I have ever known. It’s almost bizarre, how she is totally about up lifting her teammates, in a time where being self-centered is all the rage. I called Manhattan assistant coach Allie Bassetti to congratulate her on getting the athletic player. She said “Tiny if she never scores a point, she will be an asset to our program.” SHE’S 100% RIGHT. When Alex was a freshman at St. Rose, she did not get much playing time. Coach Whalen, is old school and he believes kids should learn the system. Prove they are real teammates, wait their turn and buy into the system. It’s seems he knows what he is talking about because Joe Whalen is a STAR MAKER; based on this weeks run of D1 commitments by ST. ROSE. Many freshman in Whalen’s program where not happy about having to wait their turn. Some even sulked and complained behind closed doors….NOT ALEX PENDERGRASS. She was a one woman cheerleader on the bench. She yelled loudly and jumped off the bench on time outs. She bragged how her coach was the best in the shore. She was concerned about one thing and one thing only…being a great teammate.

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As a sophomore Alex Pendergrass fell off the basketball radar, because she focused on track in the spring and summer. While she played AAU, it really was an afterthought. Nobody thought one of the best high jumpers in New Jersey would consider anything else in college….WRONG. The start of her junior year Pendergrass started out with a bang and was putting up scary numbers. First against #7 Franklin she had 8 points and 11 rebounds in a huge win for St. Rose, against a team that played in the state TOC. That was just a start for Pendergrass because then against national powerhouse Archbishop Spalding of Maryland, she put up the exact same numbers. Joe Whalen knew Pendergrass was coming on and she was doing it all off the bench. But against Top 10 Lenape, Pendergrass got down right gritty, she had 9 points and 17 rebounds off the bench, backed up by 8 points and 8 rebounds against defending National Champs, Newman Goretti. Pendergrass was becoming a major star in the shore conference and almost nobody was talking about her. It could be because Alex Pendergrass got hurt in January and did not play the rest of the season. It was tough break not only for her but for St. Rose as well. The only one that has benefited by her injury is Manhattan College…because if she had played an entire season, she’d be a household name.

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There is only one player in the shore that brings an all-out intensity when she walks on the floor. There is only one player that is physically strong enough to guard centers and put point guards on total lock down. The player is Alex Pendergrass, and Manhattan College may have picked up the player with the most upside of any player in New Jersey. Alex Pendergrass has never trained year round as a basketball player. She doesn’t always show up for the St. Rose’s shooting in the morning. She pops into NBS but is hardly a regular (but we always save a spot for her). Her time in the past has been split between basketball and track. But now Alex Pendergrass is in with both feet. The thought of her training year round is downright scary. What will happen when the skills catch up to the athleticism? We are talking about something that could be shocking and almost unstoppable.  I called Alex Pendergrass, and told her she should go to ACADEMIC ELITE.  I really didn’t know what to expect, but she said “sure”. When she showed up it… it was Alex being herself. She smiled and joked with everyone, then got down to business. She is the most vocal player in the shore, and it was on full display. “Shoot that”…”good pass”….”use this screen”…”don’t worry about that”…”you got that” and my favorite…”YO LET’S GO”…Alex Pendergrass is a Division one player just on energy and vocal leadership. It’s why Manhattan College just may have stolen the player who may one day be thought of as the best player in the 2017 class….

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I think coach Bassetti, of Manhattan College may be the next Carlene Mitchell formerly of Rutgers. Mitchell had an eye for talent, but more importantly she was a great recruiter and relationship builder. Coach Bassetti has all the same qualities. We sat and chatted at Academic Elite, then she followed up with a text and e mail the next day. Then I heard it was Shore convention at the Manhattan Elite camp. The young aggressive coach was not just talking the talk, she was walking the walk too. It’s the reason her boss Head Coach Heather Vulin told her that morning, after watching Pendergrass ten minutes…“I AM OFFERING HER!” 

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COACH VULIN

Recruiting is a funny thing and timing is everything. After the Elite camp, the Manhattan staff told Alex Pendergrass they were offering. Alex, was happy and they all said their goodbyes. Then the Manhattan staff got together to talk. They were in the office talking, hoping Alex Pendergrass was impressed and hoping she would come back for another visit. But then they heard a knock on the door. It was Alex Pendergrass, and she said “Coach, I just couldn’t go home without telling you this, I am coming to Manhattan”. Alex Pendergrass was sure, she found a home and because of that Coach Vulin and Manhattan College’s had a GREAT DAY….

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The Pendergrass family are as tight as any family can be. They have allowed Alex to find her way without pressuring her. They’ve let her enjoy sports and not make it life and death. When she needed their support, they were there. But they never let anyone ever pressure them to do anything, they didn’t want to do. They wanted a happy daughter, who could make her own choices. They let things take care of themselves…. their daughter has now made a choice and it’s a great one…..SHE SIS NOW HAS JOINED THE JASPER FAMILY AT ….MANHATTAN COLLEGE!

 

****DO I NEED TO SAY IT…POINT GUARD STARTS MONDAY!***