The first round of the recruiting period has come to a close as everyone is heading home. The college coaching staffs will hustle back to campus to be with their players. The AAU crowd will rest a day or two. No question college coaches will sit in their offices and make some tough decisions. Some players they will agree  upon, some they won’t. Some players  will be removed from “the board”.  And finally there will be some players they are still not sure about for a variety of reasons; academics, attitude, parents, talent or need….This brings me to the best available senior left in the shore conference.


The best available Senior Jess Louro

I consider myself a very lucky person because I live in the best basketball area in the country for girls’ basketball. The players, coaches, parents and fans in the shore, eat and sleep basketball. It starts when they are young, often when they join the best youth basketball organization on planet earth the Mid Monmouth Program. Then they join one of the insanely gifted AAU programs and then end up playing for a Hall of Fame type high school or coach. There is nothing like the Shore Conference and at times it’s almost hard to believe.  Recently I had a interesting conversation with a parent on a website, who simply could not believe college coaches were chasing and offering shore players as Freshman and Sophomores.  But college coaches have long figured out if you want a shore player, you better be there at the starting line. 13 Division one schools have already figured that out and real soon a few more will as well. The funny part is that the best available senior left on the board just may be the pick of the litter….JESS LOURO.


This past year, with Marina Mabrey missing most of the season,  Jess Louro won the HOOP GROUP PLAYER OF THE YEAR…Folks do I really need to tell you what that means? Go look at the names of the past HOOP GROUP PLAYERS OF THE YEAR…it’s a who’s who of Shore Royalty.  But what you may not  know is Jess Louro’s background and how all  this took place and why she is special. imgres When Jess Louro  entered Wall high school as a freshman, I called her one of the best young point guards in the STATE at the time; that seems all but forgotten these days. Why did I call her this? Because even as young player, she played old, meaning she was not afraid of anyone and already had a full understanding of the game. She would play against older players and at times dominate them and we are talking about players currently playing D1 basketball. But what I really loved about her was her competitive edge.  She would appear insulted when you matched her up with smaller point guards saying,“Tiny she is too small to guard me, can I have somebody bigger?”.  She wasn’t being rude or trying to insult anyone, it was just the truth and folks she was talking about future D1 point guards being too small to guard her…lol.  You see many people don’t  understand that  Jess Louro can not only play the point guard position  but she guards them and how do I know this…Because I  have seen  her do it every weekend at  NBS for 6 years.  But see this is where the story gets fun, because Jess Louro would not be the HOOP GROUP PLAYER OF THE YEAR if she wasn’t a team player and have a sneaky little genius as her high school coach.


Joe Whalen knows a little about coaching great players, here with former player  ” KRYREE IRVING”


When Jess Louro transferred to St. Rose high school they were coming off a SCT Title, led by two future St. Rose Hall of fame players Sam Clark currently helping Fordham become one of the best teams in the country after winning the A-10 title and KC Chambers who will be taking her talents to U-Penn. Many believed St. Rose was dead and soon to be forgotten when these two graduated; but a funny thing happened. After sitting out 30 days Jess Louro became eligible for St. Rose. St. Rose then played State Champs Manasquan in a re-match who had blown St. Rose out in the first contest and St. Rose lost in a barn burner and then St. Rose lost to Kelly Hughes and Pt Boro by 1 point in the SCT. It was clear St. Rose was not dead and Jess Louro was a big reason why and some were starting to say St. Rose could be special again.

images   With no size on the Roster Joe Whelan put Jess Louro at the 4 spot and some people who don’t know basketball said she doesn’t have a college position. LOL what people didn’t know was Joe Whalen can coach his butt off, he knew that Jess Louro had point guard skill set.  So what did he do? He turned Louro into a point 4; when bigs guarded Louro, he had her step out and bury 3 after 3 point jump shot or he had her smoke them off the dribble… all season. Joe Whalen allowed Jess Louro to dominate some big name teams and players. When the state #2 ranked Gil St Bernard’s caught up with Joe Whalen’s tricks they tried to have guards defend her, but what did Coach Whalen have Louro do? Go right into the post against the smaller Gil Bernard guards for easier baskets in the big win. When teams would press St. Rose, Whalen would move Jess Louro to the backcourt. Maybe this is why St. Rose spent almost the entire season at #1 in the shore polls after beating SJV and why Louro was MVP at battle of the Boardwalk. So when people say she doesn’t have a position, I laugh a big belly laugh.  Ask any of the current D1 recruited point guard’s whether Jess Louro is fun to play against and they will say hell NO…But remember she needed a coach who knew how to take advantage of her unknown abilities…Joe Whalen was that coach and maybe that’s why he was the Coach of the Year images Now this summer there were some who felt it would be better for Jess to go play for a AAU team where she could score tons of points and dominate the ball and show the world she can play the point or in some cases even the 2 spot and by the way  those doubting if she is a two, I only have one thing to say…the best PURE TWO GUARD IN THE SHORE AND ITS NOT EVEN CLOSE and put her in the A-10 conference and I will bet my house she’s on the All-Conference Freshman team and I have NBS kids in that great conference…But Jess Loruo decided she wanted to win and learn and this was more important to her, she wanted to learn from the best, Mary Beth Chambers and play against the likes of Grace Stant in practice every day.  Now you know why I call her special.  She sees the big picture.


Louro plays for the Best AAU Team in New Jersey


Now it’s getting to that time when Jess Louro will have to make some hard decisions.  She will receive pressure to choose a college, all kids do. But I hope this kid takes her time and reads the tea leaves. I hope she picks a school where they know her background and appreciates the sacrifices she has made, that led to some doubters but made St. Rose a powerhouse. I hope she picks a school where the coaches’ say I know you out played almost every big name player in the state in head to head competition last year. By the way if Marina Mabrey doesn’t come back the word ALMOST would be removed.  I hope Jess Louro also picks a school that loves BIG TIME PLAYERS…..Because I see them all in the gym when it matters MOST….when nobody is watching and you are just playing for pride and Jess Louro has more pride that most!…good luck Jess


What ever you decide over the next few months…GOOD LUCK:)


UPDATE- THE NBS CAMP IS SOLD OUT…There is a waiting list….coaches I will TWEET each day and release A FULL BLOG FRIDAY discussing the week….D2 AND D3 COACHES you are invited to watch at HOOP GROUP…NO CHARGE AND FREE ROSTER…..I have posted the daily schedule  @coachtinygreen

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