OK, I just needed a little breather and then I will be knee deep in all of the basketball stuff, and I have had preliminary reports trickling in to me from various precincts as the scrimmages get played so the buzz is definitely building.
This is the deepest year I can remember in a while on both the boys and girls sides. I feel like seemingly every top player is back from last year. There are going to be some good teams that are not even ranked in the Top 10, and the Shore Conference Tournament should be electric on both sides this year. I’ll be launching full bore into all of that stuff on Monday. If I don’t get this Christmas tree and decorate it today, Miss All Shore Media is not going to be happy. Plus, I need a few hours to let the Jets spike my blood pressure and get high school football out of my head, although I will have a few more “Unsung Hero” features interspersed with all of the basketball and wrestling stuff on the way.
Also, a quick college commitment: Congrats to Brick Memorial offensive lineman Anthony D’Elia, an All Shore Media All-Conference first-teamer, who has verbally committed to Monmouth University. D’Elia chose Monmouth over Wagner, Princeton and a few other Ivies. That brings the list that I have so far of Shore Conference D-I commitments to Southern’s Glenn Carson (Penn State); Wall’s Blaze Caponegro (Temple); Marlboro’s E.J. Tucker (Army); Rumson-FH’s Taylor Brown (UPenn) and Toms River North’s Evan Regas (Temple). If I’m missing anyone, please let me know.
“I like the atmosphere, I like the kids, and it’s not as uptight as those other places,” D’Elia said.
As for more reactions to the selections on the All-Conference team, I received a not-so-happy e-mail from a Keyport backer arguing that junior two-way lineman Bryan Thomson should have been on the first team. I must admit this was the one that I agonized over the most. I think Thomson is an excellent player and will be one of the Shore’s top returning linemen next year, but defensive line was so deep in the Shore this season. Still, there is definitely an argument to be made for Thomson. One of the hardest things with these teams are the division winners and state champs arguing that they should have more players because of their success, and then the teams arguing that just because they were .500 or below, it doesn’t mean they don’t have players deserving of recognition. Hey, hard decisions are part of the job. You will know by the time you make your first all-star team whether you want to continue being a sportswriter.
OK, enough about that, and as my colleague Nep84 recently asked, “Is it finally basketball season yet?” The answer is yes, and it will begin in earnest tomorrow. I also will be compiling an alumni page for the former boys and girls players from the Shore Conference now playing in college and beyond, so feel free to e-mail me with any info you have on those grads.
I’ll even give you a few quick hoops stories to read as we get ready:
- Good story on the best college coach that you’ve probably never heard of
- Solid story on Boston’s Paul Pierce, who, as a Knicks fan, I can’t stand.
- Chris Jones did a good job of wrapping up the year in sports in ESPN the Magazine by getting some solid behind-the-scenes stuff, especially on Tampa Rays reliever J.P. Howell.
- Former Raritan star and St. John’s forward Qa’rraan Calhoun is now at the University of Houston, and here is a video interview from August with the former Rocket. He is averaging 8.1 points and 4.7 rebounds in Houston’s first 7 games and is teammates with another name familiar to Shore fans, freshman guard Desmond Wade, who starred at Linden and battled Neptune over the years. Wade is averaging 9.3 ppg.