One of the most exciting and interesting summers is getting ready to come to a close and it will be remembered for a lot of reasons. The Shore Conference again is where most of the big news was made and there is a reason for this…IT’S THE BEST GIRLS BASKETBALL CONFERENCE IN THE COUNTRY.
LOOK WHO’S SMILING…NOTRE DAME TOO!
You can’t start talking about this summer, without starting with the 13 players who have given verbal commitments to Division one schools from the Shore Conference. What makes that number impressive is that, there are only 16 Division one commitments in the entire state (the number is unofficial) of course I may have missed a player across the state. But either way it’s a very impressive number. Marina Mabrey given National runner-up and BCS power Notre Dame a verbal and Grace Stant proving education matters picked Villanova were clearly the two glamour verbal commitments. But there were a few surprises!
GRACE STANT IS NOVA BOUND!
Katelynn Kuster did not make all shore and for the most part was an unknown name to most followers of the Shore Conference. Her Coach John Truhan advocated for her all year, sending e-mails to me and telling anyone that would listen, how special this young lady was as a player. It only took one look for me and college coaches to go…”WOW” talk about sleepers. Head Coach Bryan Whitten and Mt. St. Mary’s picked up a sleeper of sleepers.
I WILL NEVER DOUBT COACH TURHAN EVER AGAIN
Jill Faverly choosing St. Francis of PA may have surprised a few people. But I long ago told you, Jill was a D1 steal and powerhouse Mid Major St. Francis of PA felt the same way and stole the 6’2” Middletown South forward. Go look at the SFPA history folks it may surprise you, they are one of the most successful programs in the country.
THE WHALEN SHORESHOTS HAD 3 D1 VERBALS
Jess Louro will become the 14th Shore D1 player in this year’s class before the school year starts. I tried to tell Mid Majors that she was a BCS player long before the summer started, only a few listened, but now they are all calling and trying to get involved. Well for the most part they are late as Louro has BCS offers and is still considering the one Mid Major that was there from the beginning. All I can say to the Mid Majors who are calling her 3 and 4 times a day hoping to get her on the phone is this…I TOLD YOU SO….oh yeah a good friend of mind owes me a nice steak dinner….lol
SHE GOT BCS OFFERS…NO SURPRISE!
The Shore Continues to be the leader in girls basketball and the fact that college coaches continue to flock to this area is more proof why this is no place like the Shore Conference for seeking out talent.
THE MARY BETH CHAMBER HAWKS team was another big story, not because they won so many games and played against the best AAU competition all summer. But the fact the ever single player on the team received a full scholarship to college is AMAZING; even for Mary Beth Chambers. She proved that nobody prepares kids for summer AAU exposure and develops them like she does. College coaches know that a Mary Beth Chambers player is prepared and has been coached…that’s why almost every player she has coached in the past 3 years is going to school for free and this year was no different.
FREE IS ME…AS IN AN EDUCATION!
This year’ s Freshman Class may be the best since in 6 years. The number of projected D1 players in this year class is no less than 15…that folks is as big a number, as I can remember in recent years. The most D1 players in one class is 21; this class has a chance to beat that high mark. That class included players such as Sy Davis, Shakenna Richardson and Christa Evans of Rutgers.
ANOTHER GREAT MABREY IS ON THE WAY!
As great as this year’s Shore Class, the best incoming class in central Jersey belongs to East Brunswick High School. RFH may have won the biggest prize in Tori Hyduke, but RBC put together the best freshman class again this year. But with MAKAYLA MRKHAM deciding to attend St. Rose, things may have changed bit.
The Maroon and White Camp run by James Young again proved its one of the best High School summer events anywhere. It’s not often College Coaches will step away for AAU to attend a local driven High School event. But this is the Shore Conference and 35 D1 coaches and a number of D2/D3 schools were on hand.
One of the biggest stories of the Academic Elite was the coming out party of Christina Antonakas, who stole the show. How good was Miss Antonakas? A Big East asst coach said these words “She is the best pure point guard in the Shore RIGHT NOW” those are strong words but Antonakas was all the talk of college coaches and shore fans everywhere this summer. But the words that I remember most about her was from a former Big East Head Coach and current D1 asst Coach “That’s the kind of kid, who breaks your heart if you don’t get her”
The most underrated player in the Shore right now is Gabbie Davis of Southern High School. Make no mistake folks she is one of the best young post players in the Shore. She came out of nowhere and proved to everyone, she is a future lock D1 player in the same mode of Kristen Sharkey…this is a highly skilled player. How she was not on the ALL FRESHMAN TEAM IS A DISGRACE…MY BAD!
Speaking of Freshman, Tori Hyduke left no mistake that she is ready to step into the RFH rotation and help the Bulldogs get over the hump. Hyduke became the first freshman to ever win MVP at the NBS camp. Tori Hyduke will be on every college coaches must get list and is one of the most talented offensive players we have seen come into the shore in recent years.
Speaking of High School events, nothing was more shocking than Joe Whelan taking his St. Rose babies led by Kat Phipps and Jess Louro to what many consider the best high school event of the summer, the Battle of Baltimore. While SJV struggled all weekend, St. Rose made it to the Semi-Finals. Coach Whelan and St. Rose are proving they are real and are going to be around for years to come. There freshman Class the past two years have been special.
Phipps and Louro gave St. Rose the leadership in Battle of Baltimore
More and more players are attending Academic Elite Camps and there profiles are rising and this is becoming more and more a blessing for kids. This summer we saw more kids attend Elite College camps than ever before. Let’s hope the trend continues, because kids all benefit from being on a college campus.
The summer was loaded with talented players, but none was more talented than an 8th grader named Faith Masonius. College coaches could not believe Masonious was a rising 8th grader. Faith Masonious will become one the best players in the state the moment she puts on a Manasquan uniform. I have never seen a player this young with her size, strength and skill sets in all my years watching the shore. The shore’s next great player was special every time she walked in the gym “No way she is in 8th grade, I refuse to believe it” D1 Head Coach.
THE ST. FRANCIS PROGRAM MADE THE SHORE ITS RECRUITING PLAYGROUND
St. Francis of New York pulled off the biggest recruiting heist of the summer. First they got a commitment from 6’2” gym rat and future All Shore Center Tori Wagner, how this they got this kid is unbelievable. But then they go out and get St. Rose stud guard Kat Phipps who will be on my Pre-Season All Shore 1st team. Phipps is an A-10 type shooter, think Hannah Missry of Fordham…SCARY. Then for good measure they go out and sign Holmdel star and sleeper, Mia Ehling who is a scoring machine. No school has ever done this type of recruiting job in one summer…EVER!
THE SHORE POINT GUARDS ARE ON EVERYONE’S WISH LIST
Kelly Crouch, Kelly Campbell, Nicole Morris and Stephanie Karcz kept college coaches head spinning as they continued to prove landing one of these stud Point Guards will take a great recruiting job. Nicole Morris has offers from everyone. Kelly Campbell has Big East offers, Kelly Crouch has D1 offers and of course Stephanie Karcz is on everyone’s wish list and could be a BCS player one day. All are also top notch students making that much harder on colleges hoping to secure their services.
KELLY CAMPBELL AS ONE COACH TOLD ME “SHE WAS BEASTING”
Former Central Jersey Hawk Coach Nick Dipillo has joined the Seton Hall coaching staff. This is a great pick up for Coach Bozzella as Dipillo knows the Shore Conference inside and out. Nick is also a great teacher and communicator…and played for me at FDU.
Speaking of Coaches this summer former RBC great Christina Danella was named the Head Coach at Caldwell University http://www.caldwellathletics.com/news/2014/5/12/WBB_0512140534.aspx. Danella one of the best players in Shore Basketball History, boys or girls, right out the gate went out and got a verbal commitment from Addie Lennon of the Chambers Hawks….look for Caldwell to become a POWERHOUSE!
Georgian Court hired former Monmouth Univ asst Jasmina Perazic http://www.gculions.com/news/2014/6/16/WBB_0616140555.aspx she will will no doubt make the shore a major priory. She has already jumped on a few shore players and reached out to the shore community.
Tina LeBron came back in a big way!
There were some real feel good stories this summer, Tina LeBron coming back from a season ending injury last summer to score 38 points in an AAU game. LeBron wowed college coaches and fans this summer and is back better than ever. Look for her to have a great season at SJV. leBron is one of those real good kids you root for… Then there was the story of Caitlin Carroll of RBC. Carroll had Heart surgery last year and missed the season, then she showed up at NBS camp and blew everyone away. Not only with talent but also with her basketball IQ and work ethic, you will be hearing a lot about this young lady this season. By the way who did she credit for keeping her spirits alive last year? Joe Montanto, now does that really surprise you at all?
It’s the good kids that make you want to do it…
One Story that won’t seem like much this summer is that of Morgan Graziano who signed with Manhattan College. What’s special about her, other than her talent as a basketball? Well Graziano proved this summer that good kid’s is what makes this game special. No kid this summer did more for my belief in kids than Miss Graziano. She is one of the nicest well-mannered and most coachable kids, I have EVER MEET…kids she is the example you want to follow.
Finally, we lost one of the real good guys in the AAU world. JOHN SPIESS loved kids and was a champion for any kid regardless of talent of ability. He really believed it was about the experience. It was he who made AAU possible not just for the star player but for all kids, when it wasn’t fashionable…RIP JOHN
NBS IS STILL ACCEPTING SPOTS FOR THE WEEKENDS SKILLS SESSION as of Aug 24th spots are still available…https://nothingbutskills.com/registration/ OR E-MAIL NBSPD@AOL.COM