|PSAL Season Preview|
I'll start this preview with the defending PSAL champs, Kennedy. Kennedy has lost 4 starters from their championship team, Willie Shaw, JC Mathis, Ray Edwards and Elvis Rivera. But they have picked up Louis Rodriguez and Dominic Lewis. This years team will rely on great wing play rather than interior dominance. Seniors Lashard Duren and Jerome Simmons will be counted on greatly, so will the point guard play of Mike Wilson and Kennedy will need Rodriguez not only to score but to also grab rebounds if they want to return to the Garden. They will face competition in the Bronx division from Roosevelt, the defending PSAL B champions. Roosevelt has the tandom of Sammy Mejia and Mark Felder who combined averaged over 40 points a game last season. They also have sophomore Edward Berrios who should have a good season. They will also depend on Senior point guard Scott Williams to play mistake free basketball in order for them to dethrone Kennedy.
The best player in the PSAL is at Robeson, Kenny Adelake. Besides Adleke Robeson also has "Mr. Clutch" Ontae Gates, Shakim Berry, Benny Utley and Gary Earvin, who has made a big splash in the fall. Robeson will need Earvin to run the point brilliantly and not to forget who the star of the team is. Adelake will probably win the PSAL player of the year and should dominate easily. The team that I think will win the PSAL is Grady. Grady has maybe the best backcourt in the city with Tyquawn Goode and Woody Souffrant. Goode can make a defense look bad by slicing through the lane and dishing off or scoring on his own. Souffrant can stand outside and knock down the 3 all day. Grady also has Quincy Douby, who will also stand outside and knock down the 3 all day. Up front Grady has 6'5 Mike Clark and 6'6 Ahkeem McKinnon. Clark should have a fine season and he will be counted on greatly if Grady is able to defeat Robeson. McKinnon is also needed to pay well in the post, if he can score and get rebounds Grady will be tough to beat. Antoher Brooklyn team who has a shot at winning the title is the PSAL runner-up from a year ago, Lincoln. Lincoln lost 3 starters, Eric King, Eric Thompson and high flyer Aaron Lesane. Lincoln has the brightest talent in the city Sebastian Telfair, John Quintana and Olabode Olukanni at the guard position. With this backcourt Lincoln will have very few turnovers. Telfair and Quintana both can take the ball to the basket or shoot the lights out. Olukanni is more of a slasher type and has the strength to do so. Lincoln will depend heavily on Sam Mielnik down low and will need Anthony Strong to have great season if they want ot be PSAL champions.
The only team from the Manhattan dvision that has a real shot at going to the Garden is Wadleigh. Wadleigh has super soph Kendell Provet and junior Norman Simmons. Provet will have a great season, he can shoot, pass and nobody can defend him off the dribble. By the end of the season Provet may be on the PSAL 1st team. Norman Simmons AKA Whole Lotta Skills should also have a good season. He may be too strong for wing players to guard him in the post. Simmons one weakness his he has a shaky jumpshot, but he has proved twice this fall that he can make game winning shots, with a game winning three over the Gauchos at Nike Riverside and another game winning shot over the Panthers at IS8.
Other teams that should do well:
Boys & Girls (Tommie Eddie & Amadou Fall)
Canarsie (Devon Neckels & Robe White)
FDA (Jermaine Miller & Alonzo Brown)
New Utrecht (Darren Sykes & Tiquan Cannady)
Curtis (Mike Thomas & Terry Downing)
TOP 15 Players in the PSAL
1. Kenny Adelake, Robeson, Senior
2. Tyquawn Goode, Grady, Senior
3. Curtis Stinson, Morris, Junior
4. Tommie Eddie, Boys & Girls Senior
5. Kendell Provet, Wadliegh, Sophomore
6. Sebastian Telfair Freshman
7. Sean Dantzler, Columbus, Senior
8. John Quintana, Lincoln, Senior
9. Damien Herard, Francis & Lewis, Senior
10. Darren Sykes New Utrecht, Senior
11. Darry Hill, Cardozo, Senior
12. Woody Souffrant, Grady, Senior
13. Mike Thomas, Curtis, Senior
14. George Jefferson, Automotive, Junior
15. Devon Neckles, Canarsie, Senior
Honorable Mention- Deshaun Warren, Bryant, Senior, Mike Clark, Grady, Senior, Lou Rodriguez, Junior, Kennedy, Lashard Duren, Senior, Kennedy, Jerome Simmons, Senior, Kennedy, Anthony Strong, Sophomore, Lincoln, Norman Simmons, Junior, Wadleigh, Sammy Mejia, Roosevelt, Senior, Mark Felder, Rossevelt Senior, Anthony Lalor, Clinton, Senior, Wardell Wells, Campus Magnet, Senior
#1 seed Robeson over #5 seed Kennedy
#2 seed Grady over #3 seed Lincoln
#2 seed Grady over #1 seed Robeson
Player of the Year- Kenny Adelake
New Comer of the Year- Lou Rodriguez
Freshman of the Year- Sebastian Telfair
Leaving the B League, some traditionally strong teams:
Telecommunications (Brooklyn champ two years- Up to A) Wingate (2 years Final 4- Up to A), Roosevelt (2000 champs- up to A), Lane (1999 champs- up to A) & Cleveland (1999 runnerups- up to A).
This should make the B's, traditionally wide-open even more wide open.
Teams to Watch:
Automotive: The Pistons finished 17-9 last season and return 9 players. Their season ended with a second round loss to Aviation, while star sophomore George Jefferson sat out with a broken wrist. Jefferson has blossommed and exploded this season (after 3 games against quality 'A' opponents he's averaging 24.5 ppg/ 19.5 reb./ 4.6 assists.) High flying 5'9" Senior point guard Shamark Limehouse leads a strong, veteran supporting cast, supplemted by Senior Forward Tyrone Palmer, and Senior Guard Gary Brown. The Pistons play a brutal non-league schedule against strong B and A teams in tournaments.
Bronx Science- made the final 8 last season (21-5), losing to eventual champ Roosevelt. Four of five starters return including high scoring Jaquone Miller and F
Jermaine Smith a tough scorer and rebounder. Bacote is also looking forward to the contributions of some key JV players.
Benjamin Banneker- they shared the regular season crown in the now defunct Brooklyn IB league last season with eventual PSAL runner-up Sarah J. Hale, who they lost to in the Final 8. Though stung by the loss of Elliah Clarke to Prep school, Banneker has other key returnees who will make them very strong, including guard Akantunde Amare and guard Kareem Lloyd.
Other Teams that I have heard or should be strong:
John Adams- PSAL semi-finalist last year
Monroe- refs and coaches I have seen are saying great things about this group
Brandeis- lost in Final 8 last season- has several returning players
Aviation- should be strong again