Today I will announce the 2014-15 HOOP GROUP FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR AND THE ALL FRESHMAN TEAM. First I would like to give you a little history. Every player who has won this award has gone on to play Division one basketball. This year’s winner will be not different. Every player who has ever made First Team ALL FRESHMAN  has gone on to play Division one basketball (one player decided to play Lacrosse, but was certainly a D1 player. That player was Grace Fallon) Next year this streak will be tested as every player on the All Freshman team of 4 years ago has an offer with the exception of one. This years FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR winner is the biggest surprise winner we have ever had. The previous winners had all been on the pre- season ALL FRESHMAN TEAM.  This years winner did not appear in any of the pre-season discussions about incoming freshman. She went though most of the season as a unknown. That has all changed and LUCIANA THOMAS is the 2014-15 HOOP GROUP FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR…

LUCIANA THOMAS- OCEAN TOWNSHIP HIGH SCHOOL- 6’0″- FORWARD- She had one of the best statical seasons for a Freshman in shore history. She was a walking double/double this year for Ocean. She averaged 17 points and 11 rebounds a game. But what was most interesting was her ability to maintain such a high level of play against elite competition when being double and tripled team all season. Her cool level headed approach for such a young lady is special to watch. What is even more amazing is that Luciana Thomas is a year younger than her freshman classmates. Some of her highlights this season are not just shocking but amazing.



* She had 14 double/double during the course of the season*She had  6 games of 15 rebounds or more
* She had 4 games of 20 rebounds or more

*She scored in double figures in every game except 2

* She had 15 or more points in every game except 3 and had 6 games of 20 points or more

Luciana Thomas started her march towards Freshman of Year in game one of the season. She introduced herself to high school basketball with a double/double right out the gate against then Top 20 ranked RBC with 14 points and 11 rebounds. But it was not until she put up one of the best performances of the year PERIOD against Top 20 ranked Neptune did people start to take notice. She had 23 points and 21 rebounds. That folks is not just a double/ double that is a monster double /double against one of the best team in the state. But Luciana was not done by a long shot. She lit up Long Branch for 23/21 followed by 18/13 vs Colts Neck. Thomas folks did things this season we have not seen in years. In fact I am not sure we have ever seen a freshman with these type of Monster games against top level competition. When she played against Freehold Twp she went for 16 point and 13 rebounds. In the first round of the state tournament  she had 24 point and 23 rebounds. The young lady folks is SPECIAL and more importantly has that gift that all the great ones have… understanding big moments.

*Luciana Thomas was almost missed if not for parents and coaches singing her praises during the year.

Ocean Twp, Head Coach: ” Lucy plays with great poise, even temperament and selflessness. As a coach you want her to be more selfish but she always looks to involve her teammates first. As her game evolves she is going to be even tougher to stop” 

Central Reg, Coach Truhan: ” Miss Thomas has shouldered the burden of putting Ocean Twp on the map. She is to be commended for staying at her hometown school. She has given Ocean Twp instant credibility! When she finishes around the rim her soft touch allows layups to be automatic and her elbow jumper is tough to guard, because if closely guarded it only takes one dribble for Miss Thomas to  finish at the rim . Battling for a rebound with her…Don’t bother!! her hands are great…eerily similar to Crystal Langhorne! Pleasure to watch..JT”

 St. Rose, Coach Whalen: “Thomas is a rare talent. There are few kids with her size and skill sets. I think she caught us all off guard this year”


Luciana Thomas moved to New Jersey from Brooklyn when she  was in 2nd grade. She has been part of the shore youth and aau programs for years. But her step dad, John Oliveras was still worried that she was too young to enter high school this year. Luciana Thomas age wise is a 8th grader and played 7th grade AAU last year.  He didn’t know if his daughter was mature enough for high school basketball. He was worried that the competition and  strength  of much older kids could break her confidence. He was worried that a 8th grader playing in the best conference in America would be an issue. He wanted his daughter to wait a year before entering high school. But she wanted to attend high school this year…She proved she was right, because Luciana Thomas has over 460 points already this season and over 300 rebounds. Folks one day she is going to join a very exclusive club. The 1000 point rebounding and scoring club….let that sink in folks.

*No player has ever come from nowhere like this to win this award. In most years we know the 3/4 kids who are the candidates for this Prize. But Luciana Thomas, proved there are always kids we miss….



MY ALLL FRESHMAN TEAM THOUGHTS If you are upset  Makayla Markham, does not appear on first team, you have every right to be. No freshman had the ball in THERE HANDS MORE IN BIG GAMES LATE. This blog was delayed for 3 days because of the pain of leaving her off the first team. She no doubt will use my lack of respect for her accomplishments as fuel in the future.  I believe she has a chance to be the best point guard in the shore one day. This was one of the best incoming freshman classes we have seen since 2007. Nine members of this years ALL FRESHMAN TEAM are D1 locks. Some very talented future D1 freshman played on great teams with D1 upper-classmen in front of them, so you did not hear much from them this year. You no doubt will hear about them next year. I would like to remind everyone this list does not represent the BEST FRESHMAN. It represents the freshman who had the best seasons THAT I know…I do not see everyone play and the freshman on the top teams get way more exposure than other freshman, because my focus is on the Top Teams. I can also tell you that there always kids who blow up later in there career…JEN LOURO for example was not on the ALL FRESHMAN TEAM last season, that looks rather silly today. Finally kids, making or not making a All FRESHMAN TEAM will have no bearing on your future. These awards are subjective and I can promise you others have there opinions about this topic….If I left you off one of the teams, work and prove me wrong…just like so many others have done in the past and nothing will make me happier.  



DARA MABREY- MANASQUAN HIGH SCHOOL- COMBO GUARD- She stepped into the starting lineup on the best team in the state. She not only lived up to the hype she surpassed it. Mabrey’s sweet shooting touch was the key in many big games this season. Her basketball IQ was just another plus she brought to the table.  There was not more she could have done as a freshman this year. SHE WILL BE A ALL SHORE PLAYER ONE DAY.

TORI HYDUKE– RUMSON-FAIR HEAVEN HIGH SCHOOL- PT GUARD Its clear she is a future star. She started the off the year in style with 10 points against #1 Manasquan and was sensational all season.  Coach Sourlis showed total confidence in his star freshman all year in big games.  She will be the block the RFH WILL COUNT ON FOR YEARS  TO COME. She is the most creative guard  RFH  has had in years.  She will be a future POY CANDIDATE ONE DAY.   

LOVIN MARSICANO- ST. ROSE HIGH SCHOOL- FORWARD She was the missing piece to a great season. She gave St. Rose a rebounder and scorer they needed due to graduation. Lovin was at her best in big games. They were times she carried her team on offense, when nobody expected it in big games.  She will be highly sought after the next 3 years. With exception of Thomas…NO FRESHMAN HAD A BIGGER IMPACT ON THERE TEAM.

CHRISTINA ANTONAKAKIS- HOLMDEL HIGH SCHOOL- POINT GUARD The magic women stepped into the Holmdel starting lineup and never looked back. Her ball handling skills and passing skills have no rival in the freshman class. Antonakakis is already the apple in D1 coaches eyes. The energy and pace she plays at is rare. There is no question she will be one of the elite point guards in the state the next over the next 3 years…ONE OF THE FUTURE GREATS IN THE SHORE.

LUCIANA THOMAS- OCEAN TWP HIGH SCHOOL- FORWARD- Maybe the best Freshman statistical year in Shore HISTORY



MAKAYLA MARKHAM- ST. ROSE- POINT GUARD- should have been first team?

ROSE CAVERLY- RED BANK CATHOLIC- POINT GUARD~ No surprise to those who know her

KATIE RICE- RED BANK CATHOLIC- SWING~ too think a year later this..AMAZING

CARA  VOLPE- COLTS NECK- SWING~ What a debut, she has star written all over her


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