We are now in the meat of the recruiting season. It’s also a time for me to talk about the things I have noticed around the Shore area. Now let me start by saying this, I see most of the most talented kids in the Shore in most cases long before they enter high school. So I have good idea of how players are developing and also those who are growing as expected. It part of the journey that all kids go though. So today I will cover a little bit of what I have noticed this spring.
Nothing is more interesting to me, than the NCAA voting to end AAU basketball as we know it. The men have already done away with summer basketball next summer and I expect the women will do the same. USA basketball will take over and what I find most interesting is college coaches will allowed only to attend there camps, and the players will be invitation only. I really don’t understand how this can possibly work. We all know the top 100 players lets say. But what about the player who is a talented player that does not play at a high profile high school or AAU team. Lets also not forget on the girls side for example players 60 to 200 in my opinion is just that an opinion. This decision by the NCAA is going to have to be well thought out. I also believe all this is driven by money. But lets not forget the AAU people brought this upon themselves with their behavior over the years. AAU has become about stealing and controlling kids movements, not about what is best for a kid. It’s a shame we have gotten to this point.
Now this is a fact....The best players in this area are the younger players. I have a real reason behind this, it starts with the attitude of the younger players. First most of the younger players are no longer just playing and training with their AAU teams. Many have stood up to their AAU programs and train and guest with other teams. This was very common years ago and why the gap between the shore and the rest of the state was so big. The 2023,2o22, 2021 classes are stacked top to bottom. I will list the top players in each class next week. I think I got it 100% right last year. The younger players seem to be living in the gym. They are okay playing in high level competitive environments, where they are no longer the best. These classes are loaded with gym rats and I believe we could see some record number D1, D2 and D3 players. I know of 9 current 2021 players and 3 in the 2022 class with offers on the table. The numbers in these two classes alone are tracking to challenge the record of 23 D1 players from one class in the shore. It all comes down to these young players putting real value into training outside there comfort zone. Something the Shore community lost for about 3 years.
I have seen some real interesting changes in the Shore regarding teams. Like first of all Manchester has so much talent its really not fair. But now remember Manchester has never been the hunted like they will be this up coming season. They have a excellent incoming freshman class and added of course a top 5 player in the state. But does that make them the favorite? No, what makes them the favorite now, is the improvement of the team as individuals. I have watched Dakota Adams become a deadly shooter, Destiny Adams improve her ball handling and Morgan Brustman a little known freshman live in the gym. This alone is why right now I believe they are the favorite. Now Serenity Anderson, just might be the missing piece to get them over the top. I have not seen her this spring. So it will be fun when I put eyes on her. SJV is once again loaded and I believe are better because Katie Hill is a full blown star. I think she and Christine Whitehead are very capable of having great seasons. But the two teams I think that could surprise everyone is Middletown South and Manasquan. South because for the first time have players, in the spring playing against real competition as a group. Manasquan because of the talented babies they have entering and I believe LOLA MULLANEY is a Top 3 player in the entire state. But picking up transfer Kate Leturgez was a huge. Another thing I think that people are missing is that TRN is going to be very good again. But I do think, TRN not playing Manchester is a big mistake for Ocean County and for both programs. It makes no sense this game has not been scheduled. Competition is just what TRN needs and think of all the exposure their kids would get. Somebody needs to step up for TRN and make this game happen.
There are number of players who have stepped up big time this spring. I love this because I get to watch it up close and personal. The college coaches in many cases catch on much later than I do. I can assure you few college coaches know who Amelia Medolla is… right now she has blown me away with her work ethic and improvement. I believe this young lady will be one of the biggest surprises in the shore. Not only is she in the gym EVERYDAY, she has taken on the challenge of playing against real competition. She has a chance to tip the scales for St. Rose next season.
Kayla Richardson, who has been nothing short of amazing this spring. Here is what you need to know about Richardson, she has turned the lights out on some of the best players in the 2020 class at NBS. Players with coaches falling all over them. She has destroyed everything in front of her, on offense and defense. Right now she is the best defensive player in the Shore conference and that’s not just talk folks. She is also the most under recruited player in Shore history…did you hear what I said? Shore history. But more on this later in the week. Let me say this, right now she is the either the best or in a dead heat for best 2020 in the shore. She has taken her game to a different level. Let that roll around your head college coaches, who have offered a few kids, she has crushed. Folks just remember this, if you do it at NBS, you are doing it against killers…KAYLA RICHARDSON IS A REAL KILLER. I also think Catlin Wingertzahn has stepped up big time this spring. I am really surprise she has made such a big move as a player so quickly. Now here is another name I doubt few know about. Antonia Panayides of Red Back Catholic barely played last year as a freshman. Folks she is taken a monster step forward. This young lady is making enough noise she has D1 coaches asking her to visit their campus. She has improved her shooting and more importantly is playing with mega confidence. Abby Antognoli is flat out the something we have rarely seen before. I just shake my head every time I see her, because she seems to bring something new to the table, each time. She also is doing in on the track as well. She is flat out becoming a track star. But on the basketball court she is something magical.
This spring saw two RBC players who signed at D1 schools, watched their future college coaches leave. Rose Caverly, watched Chris Day leave Vermont to become the Assistant Coach at LaSalle and Hayley Moore watched Linda Cimino leave Binghamton for St. Francis of NY. Both these coaches changed jobs very late in the game. Both players have decided to attend the schools they signed with. Rose Caverly, had everyone hoping to get in the mix, if she left. But after sitting down with her new coach, decided to stay. Hayley Moore didn’t find out until Friday, she would be playing for a new coach. She has decided to stay and appears to 100% sure its the right move. Both players are talented and were smart enough to pick a school based on more than just who the coach was….wise lesson for others.
I LOVE THE COLLEGE PICKUP GAMES… folks its a whose who of players and the games are so intense. Everyone is welcome to come watch, only players invited are allowed to play and it’s really enjoyable for all. It’s a mix of Professional players, current D1 players and senior high school players who are moving on to college. Think the best of the best.
Finally NBS this spring has been insane, I will do a full blog about the spring session. It was a session that had 29 D1 players and that number might be higher. I am always impressed when kids put their reputations on the line at NBS. I thing this years summer camp is going to be special. I also know many kids still duck the competition at NBS, I really don’t understand this. I believe competition makes everyone better. Kids like Grace Meehan coming to NBS to me tells me something about her. It was a bold step for this young lady. She has done a great job and will reap the benefits this summer. NBS kids always tear it up in the summer, its just the way it is folks…I will have my full NBS wrap up later this week.
Finally coaches ACADEMIC ELITE IS JULY 29TH….PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU KIDS ATTEND…NO EVENT WILL DO MORE FOR THEIR EXPOSURE