Last week the letter of intent period started. Kids from across the state saw their dreams come true. The Shore Conference had it’s smallest D1 group in Shore history. Some may believe this was a sign of the Shore Conference decline . Those folks would be very, very wrong. There are real reasons why the 2018 class was the smallest ever.
The Shore Conference has always been considered the best girls basketball in New Jersey. The track record speaks for itself. The state titles and dominate presence in the state ranking. This year the Shore again will be well represented in the ranking. So why do so many believe there is a massive drop in talent? This is where the haters get things mixed up. In fact the Shore right now may be as talented as its ever been. What missing is the tradition of great senior players. Because of this many are under the impression, the shore has lost a step. Again nothing can be further from the truth. There is a reason for this misconception .
The Shore Conference has always been a place, where kids eat and sleep basketball. It was a place where a D 3 talent would will themsleves into D1 players. It was a place where kids trained year round and competed against the best. The best competition would be right in the Shore. While the rest of the state played games year round… SHORE kids trained. They were called system kids, not big time players but rather just more skilled, because they had more resources. Many of these things were true. But in recent years the Shore has joined the rest of the state. There are by my count a total of only 5 gym rats in the senior class. This is shocking when just a year ago of the 14 D1 players..12 were gym rats. Now you say why is this important. Because being a Gym Rat is what makes a difference from being a D3 to a D 2 player..a D2 to D1 ..a mid major to high major..a high major to a Power 5. There were 4 players in the senior class who were recruited above there level of talent..Dara Mabrey, Tori Hyduke, Hayley Moore and Rose Caverly…what did they all have in common? They were TOTAL GYM RATS. But does the weak senior class mean the Shore Conference is down…NO.
The real talent in the Shore resides in its underclassmen. My prediction and I remind you, I missed on one player this year and batted 100% last year, is that there are 50+ D1 kids in the underclassmen group. So why the shocking gap you ask? Why the dramatic drop in talent in the 2018 class ? It’ as simple as ABC. Quickly scan the 2018 class, what do most of them have in common? Unusually heavy driven and participation in games for Shore players..next a shocking amount of games..games games. The senior class were a group that played tons of games and trained less than any group in Shore history. If anything that reminded you of the rest of the state. In the past I ran a after school shooting session ( no charge) it would be packed with upperclassmen. These days it’s exclusively all underclassmen with a few senior expections..you can guess who they are.. While NBS is loaded with seniors off to D1, currently there are only 6 D1 Shore seniors that attend NBS a shocking number to say the least. Before the Shore haters start smiling, what is interesting is what the underclassmen are doing..Shore Haters you won’t be happy.
There are currently 5 underclassmen who have yet to play a high game with D1 offers on the table. There’s no less than 50 Plus D1 players in the underclassmen group and that’s not counting players on the fence. This year not one player on the D1 fence, fell over to D1 side… this is a first in all my years covering the Shore. Why did this happen? Fall AAU and constant games. Whats different about the shore underclass? Few if any play strictly games. Lola Mullaney for example played games in the fall but did not do that at the expense of her training and development . Most of the Shore babies train and focus on weakness and development.
The Shore Conference is as strong as its ever been, the difference is the bulk of the talent is in the underclassmen. Not only are they highly skilled and talented, they are once again gym rats. While the 2018 class have HARD WORKERS…GYM RATS AND HARD WORKERS ARE MUCH DIFFERENT. What many are about to find out this year, is the Shore may be moving into the golden age of the conference in the next 4 years. This is a new new generation of gym rats that reminds you of the Shore group of 3 years ago.. ..we lost our way for a minute .. but this only reminds us not to take things for granted..
BOOT CAMP IS THIS WEEKEND!!!