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5/16
Thursday night I was at the IS8 quarterfinal game to see the Juice All-Stars take on the Future Stars. The gym was packed for 1 reason, to see Sebastian Telfair and AJ Price, arguably the two best guards in their class in the state. Juice started out quickly behind 2 3's from Jamal Dart which helped them to a 9-2 lead. Then Sebastian took this game over, he hit 3's, mid range jumpers and found his teammates. He made one incredible play, where he picked up his dribble at the top of the key, and was harassed by the D, and with no where to go he threw the ball off the backboard; which forced one the Future Stars big men to step out on him, when the ball got back to Telfair he made a nice touch pass to Sean James who was fouled and sent to the line for 2. That sent the gym into a frenzy, what Pete Edwards said explains it the best "you can't teach that." The rest of the half was all Telfair as he put up 20 of his 26 points in the half. Juice jumped out to a 30-9 lead at the end of 1. The Future Stars opened the quarter in a man to man, and it seemed to be working as they had the lead down to 14, but then Telfair hit back to back 3's to push the lead back to 20, the lead would be at 16 at the half, 45-29.  The Future Stars came out in the second half looking to get back into the game as they quickly closed the gap to 12, but it just wasn't meant to be, as that would be the closest they would get. Telfair was just too good, and he got plenty of help from Kojo Mensah and Shawn James, who had a big part in shutting down Derrick Caracter, and blocked at least 7 shots. As for the matchup between Telfair and Price, it is clear Telfair is the better player, but Price, who finished with 16, is also a great talent. The only thing holding Price back is that he tends to fall in love with the 3 point shot, and doesn't penetrate nearly enough, when he does penetrate he is unguardable. After seeing Telfair play, I can say with confidence that he is the best player still in high school with the exception of LeBron James. After his poor showing last summer, I can guarantee he will be playing this summer with the passion he showed two summers ago, and will completely dominate all those that step in front of him. 

3/13
St. Raymond makes it 3 out of 4 city titles

1/10
Senior point guard Daon Merritt of St. Raymond High School may have played his last high school game, as he broke a bone in his foot during practice this week. If he does play again it won't be until the CHSAA playoffs. Without him, the Ravens will need their four other starters to step up, 6'4 SG Louie McCroskey, 6'2 SF Tariq Atkins, 6'6 SF Gavin Grant and 6'4 PF Brian Laing. But most of all they will need 5'10 PG Corey Simmons to takeover the point guard duties, and run the team. St. Ray's has enough weapons that they can lose a player like Merritt and still be contenders. One thing is for certain with Merritt being hurt it has opened the CHSAA race up a bit.

1/9
I will be very busy over the weekend, on Friday I will attend the Molloy vs. St. Raymond triple header at Molloy, Saturday I will be at the Real Scout Invitational at Fashion Institute of Technology on 27th street and 8th avenue, and Sunday I will be at Hunter College to see Sebastian Telfair the Lincoln Railsplitters take on Wadleigh. 
    The Molloy vs. St. Ray's game could be the best game of this early season, the first time the two teams met was at St. John's University, where St. Ray's prevailed 77-72. But this team St. Ray's could be without 5'9 PG Daon Merritt and 6'3 SF Tariq Atkins who did not play against Holy Cross. With or without those two, this game will be very competitive. If either doesn't play, then 6'3 SG sophomore Ricky Torres will step in, and give the Ravens a deadly outside shooter. If Molloy is to win this game, they will need someone beside 6'2 SG Sundiata Gaines and 6'0 PG Marlon Smith to step up. The triple header starts at 4pm.
    On Saturday I will be at Fashion Institute of Technology for the Real Scout Inviational which will feature the NB Celtics against Storm King Prep, which features 6'5 SG Sammy Mejia, expect 40 from him. There will also be an 8th grade all-star game, featuring some of the best 8th grades across the city.  Click here for full details about the Real Scout Invitational.
    The Manhattan Winter Classic will feature a matchup between the Lincoln Railsplitters against Wadleigh. This game will take place at 6pm, this will be the only game I will see Sebastian Telfair before the playoffs. Lincoln has been dominant so far this season in the PSAL, and Wadleigh will try to establish themselves as legitamate title contender, don't expect it to happen. Lincoln is battle tested, as they have traveled and played top notch competition, and have just one loss, and they will not get number this weekend. Personally I feel Lincoln will run through the PSAL unscaved and untested.

1/8
Top 15 teams updated

1/7
All Hallows vs. Molloy game report

1/6
Christ the King vs. All Hallows game report

1/1
Top 15 teams updated

12/28
There are New York teams playing all over the country, at the Beach Ball Classic (South Carolina), Slam Dunk to the Beach (Delaware), Academy Invitational (Texas) and the Glaxco Smith Kline Invitational (North Carolina). At the Beach Ball Classic, Molloy won their first round game over Don Bosco Prep (NJ), behind 19 points from 6'2 SG Sundiata Gaines, and 18 from 6'1 PG Marlon Smith. But they were unable to repeat the effort against Seton Hall Prep (NJ) as they were defeated. Gaines once again led the team in scoring with 17 points. Christ the King was able to defeat Calhoun County (South Carolina) behind 20 points from 6'0 SG Mitchell Beauford, 19 points from 6'0 PG Japhet McNeil, and 9 points and 6 assists from 6'1 sophomore PG Chris Martin. Molloy doesn't play again until Monday when they take on the winner of White Station (TN) vs. McQuaid Jesuit (NY). Christ the King takes on Denham Springs (LA) tomorrow at 5:15, with the winner moving on to the semifinals.
At the Slam Dunk to the Beach, there are 3 teams in action from this sites region, Linocln, Amittyville and Our Savior New America. Amittyville beat Bloomfield Teach (NJ) 72-63, behind 30 points from 6'1 PG junior AJ Price. Our Savior New America fell to Cardinal Dougherty (PA) 64-57 despite 26 points from 6'6 SF Oumar Sylla. Lincoln took on Oxon Hill (MD) earlier today, an update from that game will posted later.
Out in Houston, Texas Rice is playing in the Academy National Invitational. They took on Westchester (CA) which features top 15 recruit 6'8 Trevor Ariza, but he wasn't enough as Rice won 52-51, on a last second shot from Russell Robinson, who finished with 11 points. Rice was led by 7'3 C Shagari Alleyne who scored 20 points and grabbed 9 rebounds. Next up for Rice is a rematch with St. Patrick. Rice has made me a believer with their latest victory, eventhough they are ranked #1 my poll, it was more of a token ranking, since they beat the team team that beat St. Ray's. They have convinced me that they are definitely a top 5 team nationally, and if they can win the Academy National Invitational they deserve to be ranked #1 in every poll, as they will have won 5 games over top 5 teams, Mater Dei and St. Patrick at the City of Palms Classic, and Westchester, St. Patrick and either Oak Hill Academy (VA) or Rainier Beach (Wash).
If anybody has info about the Glaxco Smith Kline Inviational, featuring St. Raymond can you please email me.

12/24
First rankings of the top 15 teams in the New York City area.

12/22
Last night St. Raymond and Rice played in the semifinals of the City of Palms Classic.St. Raymond took on St. Patrick, featuring 6'9 freshman phenom Derrick Caracter. St. Ray's led by 12 going into the 4th quarter, but found themselves trailing by 3 when 6'3 Tariq Atkins hit a 3 with under 5 seconds left to send the game to overtime. But in overtime St. Pat's would prevail, Caracter finished with 15 points and 18 rebounds. 6'4 Louie McCroskey finished with 21 points and 11 rebounds. But he was the only one who shot the ball reasonably well, going 8-18, Atkins went 3-8, 5'9 Daon Merritt and 6'6 Gavin Grant both went 4-15 while 6'4 Brian Laing went 3-14, and got just 4 points from their bench, and they were still able to bring what some people consider the best team in the nation to the brink. St. Ray's proved even a loss they are easily one of the 10 best team's in America. 
In the other semifinal Rice took on Mater Dei (CA) a consensus top 5 team and ranked #4 by USA Today. Rice ended up dominating this game, winning 88-76 and held a 16 point lead  heading into the 4th. The story of the game was emergence of 6'2 Russell Robinson. Robinson put up 42 points in the spotlight, and he will surely be recognized nationally as one of the best juniors in the nation. He is beginning to look like the player he was before he broke his wrist in the summer of 2001. If Robinson continues to play like this it will mean trouble for the rest of the city. 
The championship game will by played On Monday at 9pm, between St. Patrick and Rice. The 3rd place game will be between St. Raymond and Mater Dei (CA) both should be great games. 

12/20
   
Today I went down to Basketball City mainly to check out Blair Academy, and 6'7 SF Luol Deng who I had yet to see. As for Blair they won both of their games by about 20 points against good teams, Lawrenceville Prep, and Boy's Club, which consists of players that aren't playing high school basketball right now -- to name a couple, 6'2 SG Benny Utley and 6'4 PF James Barrett (Lincoln). I came into the day expecting to see a player that was on the same level as LeBron James, and I did but it wasn't Deng as I thought it would be, it was 6'9 SF Charlie Villanueva. Charlie has gotten even better since I saw him at ABCD, he runs the floor, handles, passes and shoots like a guard and blocks shots, rebounds and finishes like a big man. The only weakness in his game is his slight build, and he tends to give up position in the post from time to time, but he makes up for with his length which allows him to block shots, whether it is his man or weakside. After seeing him today he is at best 1 and done on the college level. As for Deng, while I was disappointed in what I saw, I did only see a game and a half, and one the full game I saw he was in foul trouble, so I probably haven't seen him at his best. But from what I can tell he has a nice stroke, but his jumper wasn't falling, and he is very comfortable playing in the post. He doesn't block many shots, and he has trouble handling full court pressure, I saw him get ripped twice, bringing it up court against the press.
   
On the Boys Club side, Benny Utley needs to get into a school because he is a solid mid major prospect, he can get to the rack, and finish against bigger players and he can hit the 3. Utley who attended Robeson high school never played one high school game, because of grades, I just hope he doesn't become a player who had a bright future but never got anywhere because he couldn't get the grades. James "Goo" Barrett, who right now is ineligible at Lincoln played pretty well, and showed a much improved outside touch, and as usual played strong inside. If and when he gets eligible this season, Lincoln will be tough to beat. They probably won't lose any games to PSAL schools, but without "Goo" they have no hope of beating the best teams outside the PSAL, as was evident when they lost by 21, to St. Ray's at Fordham University.    
    Speaking of St. Ray's they are currently in Florida playing in the City Of Palms Classic. They won their first two games by 6 and 5 points respectively, and are likely headed into a matchup with St. Patrick's who had a bye in the first round and will meet St. Andrews (RI) in the quarters, which should be a great game. In their first game against Andew Jackson (Florida) six players were in double figures and 6'3 Ricky Torrres pitched in with 9. The players in double figures were 5'9 Daon Merritt with 17, 14 from 6'5 Chris Bethel, 13 from 6'3 Tariq Atkins, 12 apiece from 6'4 Louie McCroskey and 6'4 Brian Laing and 10 from Gavin Grant. In their second game against John Bartram (PA), the Ravens got all but 2 of their 71 points from their starting 5. McCroskey led the way with 18, Merritt scored 16, Grant had 14, Atkins got 12 and Laing added 9. Rice is also at the City Of Palms Classic and they won their first game 81-48 over Woodham (Fla), led by 6'2 Russell Robinson who finished with 20, Shagari Alleyne nearly posted a triple double with 19 points, 12 rebounds and 8 blocks. Up next for Rice is Creekside (GA).

12/19
I know the site has been on hold for a while, but that's because I've been away at Bryant College in Rhode Island, so obviously I haven't seen any New York City ball in a long time. I will be home for the next month so I will see plenty of games while I'm here, starting tomorrow as I will take a trip down to Basketball City to check out the Boys' Club of New York's Holiday Classic. For the most part I am going down to check out the consensus #2 player in the nation 6'7 wing Luol Deng. I have yet to see him play but from what I hear minus all they hype there is very little difference in skill level between him and 6'7 LeBron James who put on a show last week on ESPN2. 
If there are any games that anybody feels I should check out, send me an email, with the teams playing , the time and location of the game, and I will try my best to make it. 

8/3
RSB/Big Apple Sports Summer All-Star Classic report. I would like to thank Nate Blue and Thomas "Tippy" McTernan for putting together a great event, hopefully this will be an annual event to end the summer evaluation period.

 

7/27
The Ravens did what nobody thought they could do this year and that was win the Adidas Big Time. The Ravens beat the Florida Hoopsters by a score of 71-69 to complete a perfect 10-0 trip. The Ravens were led by 6'2 G Curtis Stinson's 16 points and 11 rebounds. 6'6 PF Justin Marshall scored 13 points and grabbed 9 boards, 6'4 PF Brian Laing also scored 13 points and pulled down 7 boards. Once again Stinson is proving what many people nationally don't believe, that he can play in a major conference.  But clearly the best player in the game was 6'0 G Darius Washington. Once again this kid proved that he was one of the 5 best players in his class, as he poured in 37 points on 12-20 shooting, 5-8 from 3 and 8-8 from the line, and to top it off he pulled down 10 boards. Earlier in the day he poured in 34 against the Michigan Hurricanes on just 11 shots. He was 8-11 from the field 4-5 from three and 14-16 from the line. For the complete box score of the championship game click here.

7/26
The New York Ravens have advanced to the finals of the Adidas Big Time for the 2nd time in the last 3 years. The Ravens won their bracket with a huge upset over probably the most talented team in the nation, Tim Thomas Playaz Gold. Not only did they beat them they did it convincingyly with a 29 point victory. In the first round of the Championhisp Bracket they met fellow New York powerhouse, the Long Island Panthers. The Ravens won that game by a score of 78-65. In the second round they won very easily over Billy Shepherd Sports 75-42. In the championship the Ravens will face the Florida Hopsters. 

7/24
Pool Play results from the Adidas Big Time:
Ravens 84 - Ohio Shooting Stars 72
Ravens 96 - Fox Valley Skillz Black (WI) 61
Ravens 75 - Fort Worth Lions 71
Minuteman Press 65 - Inland 1 (CA) 66
Minuteman Press 73 - Texas Blue Chips 1 61
Minuteman Press 65 - Gary Payton Nike Select 83 
Panthers 84 - Do Right (CA) 47 
Panthers 76 - BWBA Orange (CA) 56
Panthers 79 - DTA Wisc Gold (WI) 59
Juice All-Stars 86 - Granite State Raiders (NH) 47
Juice All-Stars 85 - Vegas Stars 72
Juice All-Stars 89 - Houston SS 3 Stripes 74
CAS Warriors 83 - Tri County Cobras Red (MI) 63
Emmanuel Quezzada scored 33 points which is tied for the 12th highest scoring game of the tournament as of 9pm last night.
CAS Warriors 93 - Full Court Gladiators (CA) 44
CAS Warriors 91 - Saguaro (AZ) 68
Student Athlete Broncos 101 - Basketball IQ (CA) 73
Student Athlete Broncos 79 - San Antonio Hawks 16s 54
Student Athlete Broncos 78 - E Wash. Elite Blue 44
NY Elite 69 - Seattle Friends of Hoops Green 46
NY Elite 66 - Stop Six (TX) 59
NY Elite 78 SSA Sac Platinum (CA) 69
LI Lightning Gold 80 - ECBA Freshman II (WA) 48
LI Lightning Gold 74 - IEBP Ballers & Play (CA) 34
LI Lightning Gold 68 - North Texas Cowboys 76
Jaguars 71 - Night Hawks (CA) 41
Jaguars 80 - SE Texas All-Stars 61
Jaguars 36 - Rudolph Boys White (WI) 84

7/21
Gary Forbes profile added

7/20
Senior rankings updated and a Curtis Stinson profile has been added. 

7/16
Report from the Bronx Hoops Fest held at St. Raymond High School.

7/13
NYC rankings and evaluations from the ABCD camp played this past week. National rankings and evaluations for selected players may be added later, along with all-star game reports. 

7/7
More from UDC
Keith Mason- I will be at ABCD for the afternoon and evening sessions on both Monday and Tuesday, and just the afternoon session on Wednesday. But I will be back up to the camp on Thursday to check out the the all-star games.

7/6
UDC Report for Saturday July 6th. 

7/2
Den Cronin of High Hoops has informed that his site is back up under a new url it is www.nycnjhoops.com. While the front page is up many of the internal links are not working but they will be up hopefully in the next week.
Charlie Villanueva and Sammy Mejia profiles have been added.

6/26
2005 rankings updated 

6/25
2003 and 2004 rankings along with Westchester rankings updated. 2005 rankings will be added tomorrow.

6/18
16u summary added on the Rumble summary page, to complete the most in depth report on the Rumble in the Bronx you will find anywhere on the net. I would like to congratulate Jim Hart and his staff for putting together a great event, and I am looking forward to next year's event. 
Links page updated, BigAppleSports link added.

6/17
More Player Evaluations have been added, along with rankings of the event. I didn't get a chance to put a 16u summary, but hopefully I will have that up later.
Congratulations to the 2002 champs of the Rumble in the Bronx 17u Gold bracket the Riverside Church. 
Rumble in the Bronx Summary and Player Evaluations. A 16u summary will be added later along with plenty of more evaluations.

6/16
The most anticipated game of the day was the Juice All-Stars against the Albany City Rocks, because of the matchup of the #1 ranked players, by the HoopScoop, in the 2004 class and 2005 class, Sebastian Telfair, and Emanuel "Tiki" Mayben. But from the start it was clear these two players are on two totally different levels. Sebastian is simply the truth, while Tiki has potential but is not there yet. Sebastian poured in 32, most in spectacular fashion, while Mayben was held to 2, and was held in check by Juice's press. Other news on the day, Tim Thomas Gold didn't even qualify for the Silver Bracket, which is the bracket for the second place finishers in pool play. They lost to Team Breakdown at the buzzer and lost to LPAC by one. I wouldn't have been surprised by the LPAC lost if it wasn't for the fact that Sammy Mejia is on the Panthers (yes the Panthers, thought they were going to fall off right? Don't feel bad so did I, but 2 blowouts and a close game that they had in hand doesn't say that, and oh yea, Charlie Villanueva is sitting this one out) and Tim Thomas actually had Ed Berrios. Much more on these games and plenty of others tomorrow. One note about tomorrow, if you are up late enough or early enough to read this before 9 o'clock AM, make sure you get to the Fordham University in time to see the very likely matchup of Darius Washington and Sebastian Telfair, which are in my opinion the two best players in the class of 2004. And don't think this is another overhyped player who just won't measure up to Telfair, because this kid is not a joke. He scored 33 tonight in his last pool play game, and last year as a freshman he helped his Tallahassee Wildcat team upset the Panthers with a 20 point effort in this very event. So expect a battle no matter how much Juice traps.


6/14
Today we will be at the Rumble in the Bronx. There aren't too many games that will be played today, just 4 set of games, starting at 6 and the last set starts at 10pm. The 4 teams that are considered the best in the 17u division out of New York will all be in action. The Ravens take on the CAS Warriors formerly the Washington Heights Warriors at 6pm. At 7:20 the Long Island Panthers will play AC Davies, and at the same time the Riverside Church will be taking on the Westchester Hawks. At 8:40 the Brooklyn Bridge will take on the Lancaster Elite. Saturday is the big day, when there are games from 8am in the morning all the way to 9:20pm. If there is one day you come out for the Rumble make sure it's Saturday. The big matchup of the day is the Brooklyn Bridge vs. Albany City Rocks game at 1:20. The reason this is such a big matchup is because the #1 player in the 2004 class, Sebastian Telfair will be going head to head with the #1 player in the 2005 class by the Hoop Scoop Tiki Mayben, who is also a point guard, so they will be guarding each other. Another interesting matchup is the 4:00 game between LPAC and Playaz Gold. This will put Sammy Mejia, who shared the #1 ranking in the 2003 class with Charlie Villanueva against the best program in New Jersey, which features players like, Sean Banks, Jamar Nutter, Darryl Watkins, Art Bowers and Will Sheridan. Here is the list of the top players in the tournament, I'm not sure of many of the players on the out of state teams but I do know some, so here is a list of about 20 players in no particular order:
Daon Merritt 5'9 PG New York Ravens
Louie McCroskey 6'4 SG New York Ravens
Curtis Stinson 6'2 PG New York Ravens
Martin Iti 6'10 C New York Ravens
Sebastian Telfair 6'0 PG Brooklyn Bridge
Chris Taft 6'9 C Brooklyn Bridge
Elliah "Karron" Clark 6'6 SF Brooklyn Bridge
Ramel Bradley 6'1 PG Brooklyn Bridge
Gary Ervin 6'1 PG Riverside
Quincy Douby 6'3 SG Riverside
Charlie Villanueva 6'9 SF LI Panthers
Tiki Mayben 5'10 PG Albany City Rocks
Sammy Mejia 6'6 SG LPAC
Jamar Nutter 6'2 SG Playaz Gold
Sean Banks 6'5 SF Playaz Gold
Darryl Watkins 6'10 C Playaz Gold
Darius Washington 6'2 PG Tallahassee Wildcats

My pick to win the 17u  championship is the Brooklyn Bridge, with the Tournament MVP being Sebastian Telfair. The 16u champ will be the Riverside Church. They have the best player in the 16u division with 6'0 PG AJ Price, to go along with the #1 player in the 2006 class in the nation 6'8 C Derrick Character and 6'6 PF Tyrell Biggs.

6/13
2005 rankings updated, only slight changes because we haven't seen much of these players lately. 
Sundiata Gaines and Ronald Ramon profiles have been added. More profiles will be added after the Rumble in the Bronx, as well as the rankings, and the rankings will go much deeper.

This week The Apple's Best Ballaz will be at the Rumble in the Bronx. If you live in the metro area you should come check out this event. This is the events 5th year, and if last year was any indication of how good this year's event will be we will all be in for a treat. Last year's 17u championship game saw Howard Pulley beat Riverside in overtime after Keydren Clark hit a 3 at the buzzer to put it in OT. The event will feature virtually every prominent AAU program in the area, with the exception of SONDAY Express, if anybody knows why they are not in it, can you please let me know by clicking here. There are quite a few teams from outside of the city and Jersey like:
Albany City Rocks, Team Texas, Team Breakdown (FL), defending champs Howard Pulley (MN), CT Select, Diaper Dans, Tallahassee Wildcats, Bray Center (WI), NCO (DC), Florida Hoopsters, along with a few others. 
Jim Hart and his staff does a great job putting the even together every year, and this year will be on exception. In last year's event Keydren Clark made a name for himself as a clutch player and a legit star in NYC and on the national scene, who will be the player to do that this year? I say the sleeper for this year's event is Josh Wright 6'0 PG who is from upstate but will be playing with the Panthers, and last year when he made his big city debut he did not disappoint, watch for him to go out looking to put his name up there with the elite 2004 class in NY. To get a full schedule of the Rumble in the Bronx click here  

6/12
2004 Rankings have been updated

6/8
Keith Mason- Tomorrow I will be at the Gaucho Gym for their 15u tournament playoffs.

6/7
After a long layoff The Apple's Best Ballaz is back with updated rankings of the rising seniors, the class of 2003. Prep Schoolers that live in New York and play for New York AAU teams are ranked, also ranked are players that are headed to prep schools next year who weren't there last year. The rankings are a consensus between Keith Mason and Matt Grasso. The rest of the rankings along with profiles will put up over the weekend.

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