50 States in 50 Days: New York
New York keeps its reputation as a basketball state
As the season draws closer, Five-Star is previewing the high school basketball scene in all 50 states. Each day, we will focus on one state, highlighting the top teams, players and games of the upcoming season. Today, we focus on New York. So New Yorkers, did we pick the top teams or did we snub your alma matter? Did we find the best players, or is there someone flying under the radar, ready to make noise? Let us know in the comments below.
Enough has been made about the great players that consistently come out of New York. From the boroughs to Buffalo, New York is undoubtedly a basketball state, with dozens of schools that play at an elite level. As 2011-2012 approaches, who are the next stars to shine on the nation’s brightest stage? Coaches like Jim Boeheim (Syracuse) and Steve Lavin (St. John’s) will be watching, and so will basketball fans from across America.
Five teams to watch:
Long Island Lutheran: There’s no doubt that the loss of now Villanova Wildcat Achraf Yacoubou is going to hurt. But John Buck was named Long Island coach of the year by longislandbasketball.com for a reason last year. He is set to lead the Crusaders this year with a new host of talent, including jumpshot extraordinaire Shane Plunkett. Kentan Facey, standing at 6-9 will be the presence on the interior.
Mt. Vernon: The defending New York State Federation Class AA champs will be looking for a record sixth state championship this year. Though they lost West Virginia-bound Jabarie Hinds to graduation, the Knights have true offensive threats in forward Randy Stephens and guard Isaiah Cousins. Stephens is adept at driving to the bucket while Cousins will shoot the three and keep D-I schools begging for more.
Jamesville-Dewitt: The Red Rams certainly do not lack star power. You might remember forward/center Dajuan Coleman from adidas Nations and Peach Jam when he played for the Albany City Rocks. His City Rocks and Red Rams teammate Tyler Cavanaugh is also a big man who can put up 20 and 10 in the blink of an eye. If guard Pete Drescher can add solid guard play, then Jamesville-Dewitt will be tough to beat.
Boys & Girls: Brooklyn is by no means an easy place to play basketball, with competitive high schools looking to take you down, left and right. But Boys & Girls should be in good shape this year, led by rising seniors Jeffland Neverson and Leroy Fludd. “Kangaroos” might not sound like an intimidating nickname, but don’t count on hopping all over Boys & Girls this year.
Christ the King: Make no mistake about it: This is Omar Calhoun’s team. The future UConn Husky (see below) is a 6-5 scoring machine who averaged 25 per game for the Gauchos over the summer. Sure, Jordan Fuchs and Jon Severe will be a nice supporting cast, but in order to stop the Royals, you’ll have to contain Calhoun. Isaiah Lewis is also a top junior shooting guard in the nation.
Five players to watch:
DaJuan Coleman (Jamesville-Dewitt): He’s tall, he’s strong and he has one of the better post up games you’ll see in New York. Before he preps for his NBA career under John Calipari at Kentucky, Coleman will be on display at Jamesville-Dewitt. The 5-star recruit is in good physical shape and is one of the best bigs in the country.
Omar Calhoun (Christ the King): He might be on his way to becoming the second-most famous Calhoun in Storrs, Conn. But first, the confident and composed scoring guard will try to deliver a state championship to Christ the King. ESPN ranks him as the 27th best 2012 recruit in the country, and that might be selling the Brooklyn guard short.
Chris Obekpa (Our Savior New American): He has offers from four Big East schools, and why shouldn’t he? Not many are capable of bringing his level of energy and strength to the court night after night. He is quick and can get up there, making for some highlight reel dunks. UConn, Cincinnati, Memphis and Georgia Tech are among the schools that have offered.
Isaiah Whitehead (Lincoln): A sterling 6-4 guard, Whitehead's cultivating interest from a slew of Big East schools including Rutgers, St. John's, Syracuse, and Pitt, and is also being eyed heavily by Xavier. A solid mid-range shooter, Whitehead also has the ability to slash, spark a fast break off the defensive glass and create shots for teammates. He's only a sophomore, but is already being touted as New York City's next big star.
Daniel Dingle (St. Raymond): Daniel Dingle brings more than an alliterative name to The Bronx this season. Boasting offers form Auburn, Rutgers and UMass (to name a few), the diminutive forward makes up for his lack of size with a high basketball IQ. Couple that with a will to score on the offensive end, and Dingle can bring great things to St. Raymond this year.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (St. Jude)
Kenny Anderson (Archbishop Molloy)
Nate "Tiny" Archibald (Dewitt Clinton)
Walter Berry (Franklin)
Rolando Blackman (Grady)
Elton Brand (Peekskill)
Carl Braun (Garden City)
Larry Brown (Long Beach)
Roger Brown (Wingate)
Al Cervi (East)
Bob Cousy (Andrew Jackson)
Billy Cunningham (Erasmus Hall)
Connie Hawkins (Boys)
Bob Lanier (Bennett)
Dick McGuire (LaSalle)
Chris Mullin (Xavieran)
Tom "Satch" Sanders (Seward Park)
Dolph Schayes (Dewitt Clinton)
Bobby Wanzer (Benjamin Franklin)
Lenny Wilkens (Boys)
Speedy Claxton (Christ the King)
Rafer Alston (Benjamin N. Cardozo)
Metta World Peace (La Salle)
Red Auerbach (Eastern District)
Lou Carnesecca (Archbishop Molloy)
Julius Erving (Roosevelt)
Jimmer Fredette (Glens Falls)
Ben Gordon (Mount Vernon)
Mark Jackson (Bishop Loughlin)
Bernard King (Fort Hamilton)
Christian Laettner (Nichols)
Stephon Marbury (Abraham Lincoln)
Sebastian Telfair (Lincoln)
Ed Pinckney (Adlai E. Stevenson)
Rick Pitino (St. Dominic)
Pat Riley (Linton)
God Shammgod (La Salle)
Kenny Smith (Archbishop Molloy)
Lance Stephenson (Lincoln)
Jim Valvano (Seaford)
Pearl Washington (Boys and Girls)
Kemba Walker (Rice)