To this point the season has been weird. What I mean by this is so many tams have beaten a team bust lost to another team that lost the team they beat, it sounds confusing but let me give you an example. Bishop Louglin beat St. Raymond but lost to Christ the King twice who were blown out by St. Raymond. This is just one of the many examples I could have used. Their have been only two dominate teams in the A league. New edition St. Mary's and PSAL leader Robeson. St. Mary's hasn't lost a game on the court but were forced to forefeit 2 games because of rules violations. A major reason for St. Mary's success is 6'4 SF Mamadou Diakhate. Mamadou is the teams leading scorer and rebounder, and has lifted them from contender to favorite. 6'6 SF Matt Preston is second on the team in scoring and rebounding, and gives this team a deadly 1, 2 punch. His twin brother 6'3 SG Brian Preston has done a good job scoring when needed and defending other times, as shown when he held 6'5 SG Mike Grinnon of St. Dominic to just 4 points. The two other startes on this team are both point guards, 5'11 PG Ken Grant and 6'1 PG Dwayne Byfield. Grant has done an excellent job setting up the offense for St. Mary's while Byfield adds yet another scorer to this potent offense. St. Mary's has made themselves New York's best team with big wins like winning a tournament in Las Vegas, beating St. Dominic by 22 at St. Dom's, and beating Lincoln by 18 and absolutely destroying Frederick Douglass Academy by 50, both at home. In the NSCHSAA St. Mary's faces competition from only one team, St. Dominic. St. Mary's is not only my pick to be the champions of their division but also the Class A State champion. Robeson is another team with many weapons, like DePaul bound 6'8 PF Kenny Adeleke, 6'1 PG Gary Ervin, 6'3 SG Anthony Williams and 6'2 SG Shakim Berry. Adeleke started the season off slow but lately has been dominating, as he has been consistently scoring over 20 points and grabbing 12 rebounds a game in the last month. Ervin is coming into his own ever since outplaying the Grady backcourt of 5'6 PG Tyquawn Goode 5'11 PG Woody Souffrant. Williams is nearly impossible to guard when he gets going, which is why he is quietly dominating his opponents. Berry is a nice compliment to the other 3 as he is another person that can score and he can play D. Robeson has also beat some of the top teams in New York like Grady, Boys & Girls and Roosevelt.
I am sticking with my pre-season prediction of Grady winning the PSAL eventhough they have lost to both Robeson and Lincoln. Once the playoffs start Grady will once again play like the team that completely outplayed All Hallows early in the season. Grady is led by 5'11 PG Woody Souffrant, 5'6 PG Tyquawn Goode, 6'5 PF Mike Clarke and 6'4 SG Quincy Douby. Souffrant and Douby can kill a team from the outside, while Clarke dominates from the inside, and Goode gets to the basket and sets up his teammates. 6'5 SF Jerome Richardson is another player who contributes to this team with his energy on the boards which gets his teams second chances. Lincoln is the only team to really dominate Grady as they handed Grady their biggest loss of the year 81-67. Lincoln is led by 6'0 PG John Quintana who has been the surprise of the season in my opinioin as he has played well in virtually every game. 5'10 PG Sebastian Telfair has also played well but tailed off in the middle season but has begun to pick it up with a 27 point game against St. Mary's and a 17 point game against St. Ray's. Two key players who don't get the recognition that the two guards get are 6'6 PF Sam Mielnik, and 6'4 SF Dominic Osei who make Lincoln the contenders they are by getting rebounds. Boys & Girls is the final team who can seriously challenge Grady and Robeson. For one Boys & Girls is the only blemmish on Robeson's record, a 1 point victory at "The High". Boys & Girls has the most size in the city, with 6'8 C Brian Franklyn, 6'6 SF Tommie Eddie and 6'5 PF Amadou Fall. Eddie is the key player on this team as he can hurt teams crom the inside and outside with his nice 3-point touch. Fall can dominate a game on the inside and on the boards. Franklyn is the wild card on this team, if he plays well they may end the year up in Glens Falls.
The CHSAA has been wide open all year long, with everyone beating everyone. All Hallows claimed the best team in the CHSAA early in the season with a 17 point victory over Molloy. Just a couple of weeks later they fell to Holy Cross. But since then they have beaten teams like St. Raymond, Xaverian, Rice twice and Lincoln. In all, that is 13 of 14 with the one loss to St. Raymond. This team has been led by 6'3 SG Ricky Soliver and 6'1 SG Bobby Santiago. They are the teams two leading scorers and both are excellent free throw shooters which give the Gaels the advantage in close games vs. most teams. 6'0 PG Marvin McCullough has also played very good this year, and is an excellent defensive guard. In the middle for All Hallows is the key with 6'8 Kiril Washman, if he plays good this team is nearly impossible to beat. They have already proven they can beat a good team without everyone as they beat Rice easily without Bobby Santiago and 5'10 PG James Brown. There are at least 7 other teams in the CHSAA that can win it this year, St. Raymond, Christ the King, Holy Cross, Molloy, Bishop Loughlin, Rice and Xaverian. In my opinion the 4 teams with best shot of beating All Hallows are the defending city champs, St. Raymond, Holy Cross, Christ the King and Molloy. St. Ray's has already beaten All Hallows and have the most dangerous player in the city, 6'6 SG Julius Hodge. Hodge if his shot is on he is just unstoppable, just ask Rice and Clovis West (Ca), in those two games he scored 70 points and missed just 5 shots. St. Ray's is not a one man team however, 6'4 SF Chris McRae is the teams best man to man defender and rebounder and is the second best scorer. There are 3 other players on this team that can hurt you, 5'9 PG Daon Merritt, 6'3 SF Louie McCroskey and 6'1 SG Allan Ray. Ever since stepping in at the point full time he has played solidily, he has been getting his teammated involved and scoring when the opportunity is there. Ray started the season off slow but lately has picked it up, scoring double digits in all but 3 games since losing to All Hallows on January 5th. McCroskey has been playing real well as of late, as he has been grabbing rebounds on both ends and has given the team a 5th scoring threat. Despite he apparent quitting of the team by 6'8 C Wendell Gibson Molloy is still a very good team. They have lost back to back games since he quit but they are by a total of 4 points to Xaverian (1 point) and Christ the King (3 points in OT). But the lost to CK was also without 6'0 PG Marlon Smith. Smith has made it no secret to people around him that he is not happy with the playing time he has been receiving. And why should he considering the talent this kid has, I feel if he was starting this team would probably have just 1 or 2 losses. 6'5 SG John Sikiric and 6'4 SG Kevin Diffley have also been major contributors to this team, both can kill a team from the outside. 5'10 PG Thomas Harrison has been doing a great job being a pure point guard and getting his teammates the ball in positions they can score. 6'1 PG Kevin Hamilton is another player who isn't getting nearly enough playing time. He is an excellent ball handler and can shoot the ball. Chris the King has been the surprise of the CHSAA as they started off looking terrible but now are starting to look like the favorite in the Brooklyn/Queens division. They are led by 6'3 SF Petey Nelson and 5'10 PG Mitchell Beauford. Nelson not only can score but he is a great defensive player, he shut down Bishop Loughlin star 6'6 Curtis Sumpter in their first meeting. Beauford can score and that is what he has been doing this year for the Royals which has been a pleasant surprise fo them. Two other key players on this team are 5'10 PG Japhet McNeil and 6'5 PF Rob Barrett. McNeil has been very eratic this year as he has been shooting way more then expected and is not finding his teammates the way he can. If he starts to play the role of a pure point guard this team may win the CHSAA. Barrett has been getting rebounds for this team and way he scores this team is very hard to beat. Holy Cross is another team that has been surprsing people. They are led by 6'1 PG Chris Fileti, 6'5 PF Pierre Ward, 5'9 PG Miguel Gonzalez and Joe Marino. Fileti is the teams best player and has been getting the job done on the offensive end. Ward is the teams leading rebounder and also can add offense when needed. Marino has been putting up nubers as of late and if he continues Holy Cross will be very dangerous. Gonzalez doesn't score much but he does run the point very well.
In Westchester there are only two teams competing for the title in the A league, Mt. Vernon and White Plains. These teams only met once this year and it was a great game won by White Plains. The unquestioned leader of this team is 6'5 SG Markus Austin. Austin outplayed Ben Gordon in their head to head matchup this year scoring 25 while Gordon scored 19. But White Plains has another weapon Shonte Sasser. He is another player that can score, he can also get his teammates involved. If these two players play well this team will be tough to beat come playoff time. For Mt. Vernon Ben Gordon isn't having the type of season he was expected to have but he is still playing good averaging about 22 points per game. Early in the season 6'2 SG Will Cherry was playing great at one point he was averagin 25 points per game but now he has tailed off and is now averaging 17 points per. If he regains what he had at the beginning of the year this team may be able to repeat as Federation champion. Long Island is a two team battle with St. Mary and St. Dominic. The teams have played twice and St. Mary has won both games but the second game was just by 7 at St. Mary's. St. Dominic is led by the eccentric 6'5 SF Tim Doyle who can score, rebound and pass, and shows it virtually every game by averaging near a tripple double. 6'6 SG Mike Grinnon is a great shooter and scorer. He can kill you from the outside or can drive to the basket and hurt you there.
In the B division, there are many teams with the chance to win it but my pick this year is JFK Catholic. They are led by talented Junior 6'2 PG Donnie McGrath who is currently averaging 20 points and 9 assists a game. McGrath has begun to pick up his scoring ever since teammate James Gray went down, as he has averaged about 25 points since his injury. Another player who has stepped his game up since the injury is 6'4 SF Bobby Serafin who is scoing 20 points a game and grabbing over 10 rebounds a game in that time. Brian O'Donnell is also playing well this season averaging about 15 points per game and 9 rebounds. But if James Gray doesn't come back at the same level he was before his injury the other 3 stars will have to step their games up. Peekskill and Amittyville are the two teams that can seriously challenge JFK form this region. Peekskill is led by 5'9 PG Rashard Turner. Turner steps up his game when he plays the best. In his two games against JFK Catholic he averaged 38.5 per game. If he can do that again when they meet JFK in the league championship Peekskill could represent Westchester. With 6'8 C Jason Fraser blocking every shot that comes his way this team is obvious a very good defensive team. But on offense they are led by 6'1 PG Tristan Smith who can shoot the lights out when he gets going. He also knows how to play his position as he gets his team involved very well. Fraser is averaging nearly a triple double, as he averages just over 9 blocks per game. From the city there are a few teams that can challenge for the title. Banneker led by Kareem Lloyd, Urban Peace Academy who is currently undefeated and is led by Bryant Williams and Walter Flowers, Alfred E. Smith led by the PSAL's leading scorer and assist man Khalfarni Hyde, Bronx Science with Jaquone Miller and Jermaine Smith. In the CHSAA Mt. St. Micheal with Greg LaVann, Lamar White and Phil Alexander and Bishop Ford led by Rob Legister, Mark Riley, Khary Moore and Lamont Hamilton.