The Apple's Best Ballaz
I'll start this preview off with
the defending state champion and two time defending CHSAA champ, the St. Raymond
Ravens. St. Ray's loses McDonald's All-American Julius Hodge and Chris McRae.
Besides that they didn't lose much returning 5 of their 7 best players from last
year's team. Headlining the returning players is All-American candidate 6'1 SG
Allan Ray. Ray gives St. Ray's an outside threat but also player who takes it to
the basket as hard as anybody in the city. The undersized Ravens team who has
nobody taller then 6'4 will need a big contribution on the boards from Ray.
Point guard Daon Merritt is the other player in the NYC's best backcourt.
Merritt is in my opinion the best finisher in the city so he will get his
points. But I feel for St. Ray's to be successful he will have to play tough on
D and get his teammates involved. Forwards Louie McCroskey and Tariq Atkins have
come up big in separate games this year, they will have to be more consistent
for St. Ray's to have a chance to 3-peat.
St. Ray's archrival is Rice. Rice is in a familiar position
they are the favorite to win the title, but unlike past years they have no clear
best player, instead they have plenty of players who can get it done. The player
who I feel will become the go to guy by the end of the year is 5'9 PG/SG Keydren
"Kiki" Clark. Clark is the best shooter in the CHSAA if not the
city. But he also has an underrated handle and can get to the basket. Unlike
last year Rice has shown they can beat quality teams without a major
contribution from 7'3 C Shagari Alleyne. Already this season Rice has beaten 2
of the better teams in the country without much from Alleyne (Lincoln and
Midwest City (OK)). But Alleyne has gotten much better and makes Rice that much
tougher to beat. Rice has a number of players I could talk about but I'll just
talk about 3 of the guards, 6'2 SG Russell Robinson, 6'0 SG Steve Burtt and 6'1
PG Jason Wingate. Robinson and Burtt are scorers and they will have their big
games this year, both have the ability to put up 30 on any given night. I once
said Wingate had the ability to become the best guard ever to play at Rice, that
hasn't exactly panned out but he is still very good. Wingate may not do anything
spectacular but he gets the job done and is one of the best PG's in NY.
Last year Molloy went to double overtime before losing in the
city championship. They have lost 4 of their 5 starters from that game, big man
Wendell Gibson, guards John Sikiric, Thomas Harrison and John Maser. But
this year's team may be just as good, with 6'0 PG Marlon Smith, 6'1
SG Sundiata Gaines, 6'2 SG Kevin Hamilton, 6'4 PF Kevin Diffley and 6'3 SF
Jamaal Wagner. Smith gives the Stanners a player who can get his teammates
involved but can take a game over when it is needed. Gaines and Hamilton are
scorers, they both can get to the basket and hit the outside jumper. Wagner is a
very dangerous outside shooter. Diffley can hit the outside shot but his major
contribution to this team will be on the boards and inside scoring. If he can do
that Molloy may be back at Fordham University in March.
Last year the team that many thought was going to win the
championship going into the playoffs was All Hallows. They basically lose nobody
from their rotation, and add 6'1 PG Ronald Ramon. I felt Ramon should've been a
starter on varsity last year. This year he has shown he will be a factor come
playoff time. But the star of All Hallows is 6'3 SG Ricky Soliver. I thought
Soliver was going to have a big summer, but it never happened but he is putting
up big numbers so far this year including his 48 point performance against Duke
bound Shavilik Randolph and company in the City of Palms tournament where they came in
second. They have an advantage over most teams with 6'8 C Kiril Waschman in the
paint. Waschman will have to play his size by grabbing boards and blocking
shots, and scoring when the opportunity is there if All Hallows is to win this
year's CHSAA title. 5'10 PG Marvin McCullough will need to continue is solid
play at the point at the offensive end and excellent defense. The Gaels will
need more then what they have been getting early on from 6'1 SG Bobby Santiago.
He will have to produce like he did last year if All Hallows is to make a run at
the city title.
A team that is used to winning but hasn't even been to the
title game since Omar Cook was a Junior is Christ the King. They have a great
shot at winning the championship this year, but their championship hopes took a
major blow when 6'3 SF Kelvin "Petey" Nelson was dismissed from the
team. Even without Nelson they still have a talented team. They are led by
guards 5'10 Japhet McNeil and 5'10 Mitchell Beauford. McNeil has been scoring a
lot more then expected but he is still getting his teammates involved, but his
one setback so far this season has been turnovers. Beauford has been doing what
he is supposed to, and that is score. They will need him to continue to score if
they are going to win games in their half of the CHSAA. The key to Christ the
King being title contenders are the big men, 6'5 PF Brian Williams and 6'6 C
Justin Marshall. Williams will have to play strong download doing both scoring
and rebounding. Marshall is not a big scorer but he is one of the 3 best shot
blockers New York. His defense and rebounding will be necessary for CK to make a
run at the title.
CHSAA Team Rankings
||Christ the King
There will be no 3-peat this year,
instead Rice will win their 3rd title in 5 years. Rice is just too deep and too
talented this year for anybody to beat them. All Hallows will be the team to
play against Rice. But if Kelvin Nelson is allowed to play they will be in the
championship and not All Hallows.
the Year and CHSAA First Team
This year there is no clear favorite to
win the CHSAA player of the year. With the injury to Allan Ray I think it is
between two people, 6'6 SF Curtis Sumpter at Loughlin and 6'3 SG Ricky Soliver.
The difference here is one team has title hopes and the other doesn't, because
of that I am going to pick Ricky Soliver as Player of the Year.