Pooley’s Picks: New Jersey Tip-Off

Pooley’s Picks

2016 New Jersey Tip-Off Preview

Qualifications:  Sticking with the theme of high school events we have NEW JERSEY BASKETBALL BACK!  Nothing like the start of basketball season in NJ and nothing like the 2016 New Jersey Tip-Off.  This week we’ll have a little different approach to Pooley’s Picks.  No specific qualifications this week, just some pointers for people to watch out for during this event and really the rest of the season.

Picks are in no particular order. Please enjoy the fifth installment of Pooley’s Picks.

2016 New Jersey Tip Off

The 2016 New Jersey Tip-Off: Ten great match ups. 5 of the top 7 teams in NJ.

The Event: For years (17 to be exact), the Hoop Group has put on the NJ Tip-Off.  Each year, it features high-profile match ups and top-tier talent. The event itself is well run and the venues are always excellent.  The 2016 New Jersey Tip-Off will be very much the same.  First, Eric Kessler and Dave Fedor have a ton of experience running events, and more importantly a ton of knowledge of the teams.  When you get the best teams together to start the season it is important to have a great setup and planning.  This event will have that and more.


HC of Pope John at 2016 New Jersey Tip-Off, Vincent Johnson, while at Lehigh.

Vincent Johnson: Vincent was named the head coach of Pope John after former coach Jason Hasson left for Pennsylvania.  “Chico” as many know him, is a great coach with an unbelievable background in basketball.  More importantly, he is a good friend of mine and an excellent mentor to many young ball players.  The #1 thing I’m excited for at the 2016 New Jersey Tip-Off is to watch Coach Johnson in his head coaching debut.  Now, he has been matched up with Roselle Catholic, a staple at the top of the NJ rankings.  Don’t be surprised if Coach Johnson and his young, talented squad can keep it close.

2016 New Jersey Tip-Off participant Mike Morreale

2016 New Jersey Tip-Off participant Mike Morreale

Michael Morreale:  The 6’5″ 2017 senior is one of my favorites.  He is an excellent player, known both for his excellent athleticism and long range jumpers.  Entering his senior year, he’ll be a valuable asset for Coach Mergin Sina and the Knights.  Look for Mike to knock down a couple threes and convert on a jam or two.  More than that, look for Mike to make the big play at the end.  Defensively Mike is one of the best around, guarding point guards right on down to centers.  More importantly, he is a great kid and a great teammate.  No question that at the 2016 New Jersey Tip-Off everyone will enjoy watching Mike.



Blair v Linden: Earlier in the year, in the first installment of Pooley’s Picks I predicted the most productive players in New Jersey.  This match up features (admittedly) my biggest snub: Tavon Jones.  I can’t wait to watch Tavon in his first opportunity to prove me wrong.  The big guard can do it all and will have a huge test against one of my favorite backcourts on the east coast.  Let’s not forget the match up also features two great coaches: Phil Colicchio and Joe Mantegna.


Bergen Catholic v St. Benedict’s:  Mark Taylor’s team is led by impressive Syracuse commit Bourama Sidibe and fab frosh Noah Farrakhan.  Billy Armstrong’s team is led by two senior guards Gabe Stefanini (Columbia) and Taj Benning (Fairfield).  Something has to give here.  This is the most evenly matched game of the weekend, and one I really am excited to see.  Look for the X-factor, 6’8″ freshman Matt Zona, to jump onto the New Jersey seen.


Ja’Quaye James:  The small, heady PG will have his work cut out for him against Newark East Side.  First, the Red Raiders are one of the best defenses at the 2016 New Jersey Tip-Off.  Second, they are led by senior stopper Elijah Olaniyi and sophomore stud Anas Amos.  However, none of that matters to James, who has been taking on the country’s best for years.   Watch for some highlight reel excitement, some up-tempo basketball, and a lot of buckets from James.


Hun vs Union Catholic:  Just a solid match up.  Union Catholic is tough and physical, Hun is tough and physical.  Guard play from both schools will be the difference in the game.  Hun will try to keep Jordan Pierce of the offensive boards and Union Catholic will need to keep Tyler Washington and Desmond Cambridge away from the rim. Freshman guard Niels Lane, who got a lot of minutes at PSA Cardinals Showcase just two weeks ago, is another X-factor.


Calistus Anyichie 2016 New Jersey Tip-Off commit

Calistus Anyichie 2016 New Jersey Tip-Off commit

St. Mary’s Elizabeth Bigs: Certainly not a group the casual fan would talk about, but I think that’s about to change.  Both bigs, Calistus Anyichie and Casmir Ochiaka, have big upside and great coaching.  Perhaps a little underrated right now, I’m looking for them to have a breakout 2016 New Jersey Tip-Off.  As the season continues, look for colleges to start taking notice as well.

Jabri Abdur-Rahim: First of all, it’s not often you get to see a freshman play major minutes in a High School game.  Second of all, it’s less often you get to see a top player nationally impact a game.  Finally, both of those two will come together for the 2016 New Jersey Tip-Off, as Abdur-Rahim will do his best to live up to the hype.


Samba Diallo:  Will BLOW UP this season.  Been hearing his name a lot lately in some basketball circles.  Samba has started coming into his own. First, look for this kid to have his first big game of the year at the 2016 New Jersey Tip-Off.  Then, look for him to finish his sophomore year with all of the offers.  The big lefty can do it all, and legitimately play 4 different positions.


Special Guest this week, Event Director Eric Kessler:

NJ Tip-Off Game 4 Preview

Game 4 7:00: Roselle Catholic vs Pope John

A big time Top 20 matchup between #2 (NJ Hoops) team in New Jersey, Roselle Catholic, against #19 ranked Pope John.  Roselle Catholic will feature some of the best players this state has to offer, starting with ESPN #10 2018 Naz Reid. The 6’10 forward is as talented as anyone in the country. If you haven’t seen him play live, you will not want to miss this game. Roselle has more than just Reid, including Temple Commit Nate Pierre-Louis, and do-it-all forwards Alanzo Frink and Khalil Whitney both of whom have a host of major scholarship offers. With all this talk about Roselle Catholic, I should warn you not to sleep on Pope John. Starting with 6’7 forward Samba Diallo, who is as impactful as any player in the state! Aiding him will be ’18 Aaron Clark and ’19 Jack Cavanaugh, both of which are hoping to make a statement in the state. Coach Vincent Johnson will have his team ready to go as they look to make a splash in their first game of the year!

Brandon Anderson to Perform on The Hoop Group Stage One Last Time


Don Bosco Prep is back again and ready for the Hoop Group Tip-Off Showcase. Class of 2016 Brown commit Brandon Anderson leads the Ironman and very excited to go against CBA (NJ). He is looking forward to his senior year of high school basketball.

“My goal is to continue to build on the success that we have had as a program, and bring home multiple championships along the way,” he said.

Don Bosco has prepared a great deal in the gym for this event and Anderson has done a lot of individual work as well.

“I’ve put in countless hours in the gym and weight room,” Anderson said. “We’ve also had a lot of reps that have prepared my team and me for this season.”

There are a couple of keys to success for this Don Bosco Prep team that Anderson has set.

“The key for a successful season is having a strong work ethic and doing whatever it takes to win,” said the Brown commit. “Coach Diverio has prepared our team for success. We believe in our system and that will make us a tough team to stop.”

Anderson is a quick guard with a great jump shot. Someone he looks up to as a player is Russell Westbrook.

“Russell Westbrook is my favorite player to watch because he brings a different energy and swagger to the court,” he said. “It sets him apart from all other point guards.”

The New Jersey native point guard really blew up onto the scene in last year’s Tip-Off Showcase. He is excited to play in the event for the third time.

“We are very excited to get out there,” he told HoopGroup.com. “This is my third year playing in the showcase and each time has been a great experience battling against other top teams in the area.”

Hoop Group NJ Tip Off Showcase Preview

Deceber 17th- The 15th Annual Hoop Group Tip ­Off-Classic will host a total of nine games Saturday, December 20 and Sunday, December 21, 2014,. Four games will be held Saturday and five games Sunday at the spacious new West Orange High School gymnasium.

The first game will tip-off at 1:30 on Saturday and at 12:00 on Sunday.

The Hoop Group Tip ­Off Classic provides for some of the most exciting match-­ups of the High School Basketball Season. The schedule includes virtually all of the best high school programs in New Jersey including nationally ranked Roselle Catholic.

The Game Schedule

Saturday ­ December 20, 2014 – West Orange High School, West Orange NJ
1:30 East Orange vs. Paterson Eastside
3:10 Don Bosco Prep vs. CBA
4:50 Teaneck vs. Gill St. Bernards
6:30 Columbia vs. Seton Hall Prep

Sunday ­ December 21, 2014 –West Orange High School, West Orange NJ
12:00 West Orange vs. Union Catholic
1:40 St. Patrick’s vs. Bergen Catholic
3:20 Newark East Side vs. St. Anthony
5:00 Roselle Catholic vs. Blair
6:40 Linden vs. Hun

Nationally ranked: Roselle Catholic #5 USA Today, #9 MaxPreps
The top 5 teams in New Jersey ranked by NJ Hoops: #1 Roselle Catholic, #2 St. Anthony’s, #3 St. Patrick’s, #4 Gill St. Bernards, #5 Linden
6 of the Top 10 teams in New Jersey ranked by NJ Hoops: #1 Roselle Catholic, #2 St. Anthony’s, #3 St. Patrick’s, #4 Gill St. Bernards, #5 Linden, #9 Seton Hall Prep
10 of the Top 15 teams in New Jersey ranked by NJ Hoops: #1 Roselle Catholic, #2 St. Anthony’s, #3 St. Patrick’s, #4 Gill St. Bernards, #5 Linden, #9 Seton Hall Prep, #11 Don Bosco, #12 Paterson Eastside, #13 CBA, #15 Newark East Side
15 of the Top 50 teams in New Jersey ranked by NJ Hoops:


SENIORS: Isaiah Briscoe – Roselle Catholic #9 Rivals.com, #13 ESPN, Chris Silva – Roselle Catholic #96 ESPN, #133 Rivals.com, Markis McDuffie – St. Anthony #92 ESPN

JUNIORS: Tyus Battle – Gill St. Bernards – #14 ESPN, #15 Rivals.com, Temple Gibbs – Seton Hall Prep #37 ESPN, #69 Rivals.com, Jagan Mosely – St. Anthony #101 Rivals.com, Bryce Aiken – St. Patrick’s #127 Rivals.com

COMMITTED PLAYERS: Isaiah Briscoe – Roselle Catholic – Kentucky, Chris Silva – Roselle Catholic – South Carolina, Markis McDuffie – St. Anthony’s – Wichita State, Elijah Burns – Blair – Notre Dame, Tim Delaney – Blair – Villanova, Pierfrancesco Oliva – Bergen Catholic – St. Joseph’s, Pierre Sarr – Roselle Catholic – Monmouth, Lonnie Rivera – Don Bosco – American, Isaiah Still – Union Catholic – Robert Morris, Donovan Wright – Blair – Cornell, Mohamed Bendary – St. Anthony’s – NJIT, Jack Laffey – CBA – Adelphi


SENIORS: Isaiah Briscoe – Roselle Catholic #1, Markis McDuffie – St. Anthony #5, Chris Silva – Roselle Catholic #6, Eli Burns – Blair #7, Tim Delaney – Blair #9, Isaiah Still – Union Catholic #10, Pierfrancesco Oliva – Bergen Catholic #12, Pierre Sarr – Roselle Catholic #16, Kelly Hogan – Seton Hall Prep #19, Donovan Wright – Blair #25, Ganlandou Cisse – Roselle Catholic #27, Mike Runcie – Columbia #30, Asem Johnson – Paterson Eastside #32, Otis Livingston – Linden #36, Jonas Stakeliunas – Gill St. Bernards #46, Ahmad Harrison – Newark East Side #48, Marquel Sheffield – Paterson Eastside #49, Josh Carter – Linden #50, Taj Price – Newark East Side #54, Juwan Dolbrice – Linden #55, Jack Laffey – CBA #60.

JUNIORS: Tyus Battle – Gill St. Bernards #1, Temple Gibbs – Seton Hall Prep #2, Jagan Mosely – St. Anthony #3, Asante Gist – Roselle Catholic #4, Bryce Aiken – St. Patrick’s #5, Matt Bullock – Roselle Catholic #6, Taurean Thompson – St. Anthony #9, Pat Andree – CBA #11, Cyril Langevine – Patrick School #12, Fatir Hines – St. Patrick’s #20, Idris Joyner – St. Anthony #21, Javarius Hayes – St. Anthony #26, Brandon Anderson – Don Bosco #31, Julius Stoma – Gill St. Bernards #33, R’keem Dixon – Linden #34, Shyquan Gibbs – St. Anthony #37, Steve Ferraro – Seton Hall Prep #40, Adam Mitola – Gill St. Bernards #54, Jack McGuire – CBA #58

SOPHOMORES: Jamil Harris – St. Patrick’s #3, Leondre Washington – Teaneck #4, Robert Cole – St. Anthony #5, Bul Ajar-Ajang – St. Patrick’s #7, Marcus McClary – St. Patrick’s #8, Matt Turner – Blair #11, Darnell Brodie – Newark East Side #13, Tyrese Jenkins – St. Anthony #25, Elijah Olaniyi – Newark East Side #26, Taj Benning – Bergen Catholic #30, Amadu Benbow – Newark East Side #31, Brandon Hampton – St. Patrick’s #32, Jaiyer Jinwright – Newark East Side #36

FRESHMAN: Nazreon Reid – Roselle Catholic #1, Koko Buay – St. Patrick’s #3, Jaquaye James – Teaneck #5, Justin Winston – West Orange #8, Louis King – #7 Roselle Catholic, Aaron Clarke – Roselle Catholic #8, Tavon Jones – Linden #9, Marquise Nowell – St. Anthony #11, Chauncey Sterling – St. Anthony #14, Dallas Hoffman – Gill St. Bernards #16, Mike Watkins – Union Catholic #19, Rodrique Massenat – Patrick School #20

For More Information: HoopGroup.com
Kim Waiters 732-­502­-2255

For Media Credential
Contact James Albano

Tickets also available at the door.
Student Tickets are only $8
Adult Tickets $12

DEC 20 – 3:10 – Don Bosco vs. CBA
DEC 20 – 4:50 – Gill St. Bernards vs. Teaneck
DEC 25 2:00 – West Orange vs Union Catholic
DEC 26 7:30 – Patrick School vs. Bergen Catholic
DEC 25 7:30 – Newark Eastside vs. St Anthony
DEC 27 1:30 – Roselle Catholic vs. Blair Academy
DEC 28 1:30 – Linden vs. The Hun School
Special thanks to our broadcast partners