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Smaller Moravian will run and gun, hope for winning season
By Andre D Williams
Moravian will play a style designed to run opponents off the floor, and if possible, out the gymnasium.
The Greyhounds will move at that breakneck speed, turning down few shots and gunning from any distance in an effort to better the 11-14 mark they posted in Potts' first season last year.
The Hounds jacked up 30 3-pointers in an 85-79 setback to Muhlenberg on Tuesday night in what was a preview of shots to come.
"We took 30 3s tonight and that's about what we'll take every night," Moravian coach Justin Potts said.
Sophomore guard Jimmy Murray from Plymouth Whitemarsh will lbe taking the most 3s. The electric Murray took seven 3s against Muhlenberg, connecting on three.
The young guys will be spearheading the charge.
"We're still very young," Potts said. "We've got 11 freshmen and sophomores. We need to keep those guys getting better. We need to progress throughout the year. Because of the way we play some of those young guys got to grow up quickly."
Sophomore Jake McGee will be depended on but in crunch time Murray will have the ball in his hands. He averaged 14.9 points per game last season to lead all freshmen in scoring.
Murray, who's just 6-foot, suffers from what the Hounds need most - height.
"We'll never be the biggest team," Potts said. "We're  going to play small, play fast and if the pace gets to where we want it then we'll be ok."
The lack of height figures to hurt Moravian somewhat. That's because it didn't hurt it against Muhlenberg as the Hounds outrebounded the taller Mules by a 38-37 marge
The yeoman work of 6-4 senior Brandon McGuire is the reason why the shrimp Hounds may not be that pushed over in the paint. McGuire moved bodies and scrapped for points (26) against Muhlenberg, pulling down a game-high 14 rebounds.
McGuire is one of four seniors on the Hounds.
"I'm comfortable with what we've got.," Potts said. "We just have to be a little better with what we do."


 

Central Catholic's Jean Lee Baez assertive in Muhlenberg's win over Moravian
By Andre D Williams
A trimmer Jean Lee Baez sported a complete game for Muhlenberg against Moravian Tuesday night.
Playing with energy and force Baez helped the Mules to a double-digit lead in the first half at Memorial Hall in Allentown.
That big jump start helped the Mules stave off Moravian which gunned back with a barrage of 3-pointers before falling short, 85-79.
Baez (14 points, five rebounds) was 5-for-5 from the field.
"A lot of credit goes to my teammates and my coaches pushing me in the offseason," Baez said. "Last year I was irresponsible and not thinking about the team and I was not in shape. Ultimately, in the offseason I worked hard for this moment. Fortunately I had a good day but I couldn't have done it without my teammates."
Another Mule who was a non-factor last season was 6-foot-8 Eric Werheim (nine points, five rebounds) also showed a better and more complete version of himself too.
The refreshing play of Baez and Werheim combined with 6-9 center John Hunter gave the Mules an imposing advantage against the Greyhounds.
"They both played well tonight,"  Muhlenberg coach Scott McClary said. "I thought Eric was outstanding  on the backboards. I thought Jean Lee finished well on the backend of our press offense. He got us points early. He was 5-for-5. He put himself in positions where he's strong at making shots. Both of those guys gave us big contributions."
The Greyhounds hectic fast-pace style made Baez obsolete in the second half but McClary was pleased with his performance.
 
"I just think it was the way Moravian was pressuring us," McClary said. "We went a little smaller and instead of two posts most of the second half we moved [Brandon] LaRose to the forward spot so we went with one post. The game dictated that and our guys have to be ok with that. It wasn't anything that Jean Lee did. It was what the game dictated."
It was the season opener for both teams, both coming off 11-14 seasons. The game had a historical note being that it was the first time in 83 years that the Mules opened the season against the last team they played from the previous season.
Moravian, behind a preview of the way it will play this season, prevailed 107-98 last season. The heroic play of 6-4 Brandon McGuire (26 points, 14 rebounds) and Jimmy Murray (15 points) kept them in the game Tuesday but the Mules height and penchant for going to the free throw line (49 times) were too much for the Hounds to overcome.
The Mules converted 38-of-49 from the charity stripe.
"We kept fighting," Moravian coach Justin Potts said. "We just didn't have enough in the tank to get a win."


 

EPC's Rindock, Baez and Long hope to steer Mules back to playoffs
By Andre D Williams
Muhlenberg hopes to return to regularity this season after coming off an irregular 2015-16 year.
What make last season irregular was the Mules 11-14 record and  missing the playoffs which was out of the norm for coach Scott McClary.
Three players from the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference will have a hand in returning Muhlenberg back to its winning ways, led by returning all-conference junior Nick Rindock (Parkland).
The other two are Jean Lee Baez (Central Catholic), a transfer from Division II Kutztown and Nigel Long (Freedom), a transfer from Catholic.
Rindock, a decorated Trojans star, averaged a team-high 12.3 points last season and McClary thinks he's posed to average even more this season with a few more improvements.
"I think he's an extremely important player and his ability to be a better version of himself will go a long way to determining our success as a team," McClary said. "I would expect him to have a larger imprint on what our team. Can he continue to show areas of improvement in leadership? Can he challenge himself defensively? Can he be a consistent rebounder for us?
"I think he's always been blessed with the gift of putting the ball in the basket and did that right from the beginning. Can he raise his other levels to his scoring and be a guy who we can be built around."
While McClary expects Rindock to be a major player he hopes the same happens with Baez and Long. Baez has transformed his body and is now slimmer and muscled up instead of sporting flab as he did last season. He averaged 6.3 points and 5.8 rebounds last season, both lower than expected being that he transferred down.
But Baez was beset by injuries which slowed his progress to be into total shape.
"Jean Lee Baez, was a transfer here last year and he was dealing with a lot of leg injuries so I don't think he was able to impact the game and he wasn't able to play the minutes and the role," McClary said. "But with it being year two in our program and going through a whole offseason on health I'm very encouraged by what he did and encouraged by what I expect him to do."
A healthy Baez with an improved 6-foot-9 senior center John Hunter could give the Mules one of the most imposing frontcourts in the Centennial Conference.
Hunter averaged 9.1 points and 6.4 rebounds per game last season and his maturity, experience and talent should help him improve on those stats in his final campaign.
"i think he's in a good position to have a great senior year," McClary said. "Each year he's been with us he's shown a great deal of maturity. He's always been a central figure as defending the rim, controlling the rebounds and quarterbacking our defense. He's done that from day 1 and he's naturally good at it. What we've asked of him offensively has changed from year-to-year, week-to-week and it's continues to grow."
Hunter has one thing in his favor this season.
 
"John will be the oldest and most experienced player at the center position in the entire conference," McClary said. "He's spent three years always battling guys older than him and this will be the first time he's the oldest. I think it will be good for his confidence and I think he will make a jump. Part of us making a leap from last year is Big John."
What Long contributes depends on how much time he spends on the court. He was in a battle for point guard.
"if you look at Nigel he was in the same situation as Jean Lee Baez where he was a transfer and last year was his first at Muhlenberg," McClary said. "Unlike Jean Nigel was healthy and as the year progressed he started to get some game night opportunities. He had always impressed us in practice and he took advantage of those opportunities.
At Muhlenberg McClary believes Long is capable of running the same fastbreak offense as he ran at Freedom.
"Nigel is very quick," McClary said. "He's aggressive. One thing is Nigel has a high level of concentration. He's not one of those guys who takes plays off. He's very engaged. He takes care of the ball. He's not careless with it so when you put Nigel into the game I feel pretty confident in him being able to guard his position and get us jump started into our offense.
"If we could put him on a stretcher and stretch him out to 6-0 or 6-1 I think things will be easier for him."
With the three EPC players Muhlenberg hopes to make this season much easier than last.
"I don't like to quantify it in terms of numbers," McClary said. "I think that puts pressure in the wrong places. I can tell you that 11-14 is disappointing and not acceptable at a place like Muhlenberg. We compete in one of the toughest conferences in the country. We know there is going to be between five and eight games that are decided by the final two possessions in the final two minutes.
"I don't worry about the wins or losses. I think we go into every game expecting to win but what we really want to do is come together as a team, build our cu;ture, build our identity, build what we are physically offensively and defensively and we want to figure out what's the potential of this team."



 

Bethlehem Catholic grad Matt Husek still chasing NCAA Tournament dream
By Andre D Williams
Former Bethlehem Catholic center Matt Husek has long had dreams of playing in the NCAA Tournament and despite his Holy Cross team winning the Patriot League Tournament his dream will be a little longer.
Holy Cross (14-19) must play Southern University in a NCAA  play-in game on Wednesday in Dayton, Ohio.
The Crusaders upset Lehigh 59-56 in the Patriot League Championship game last Wednesday for their fourth straight win, this coming after ending the regular season with losses No. 18 and 19.
"Every college basketball player their goal is to make the NCAA Tournament," Husek said. "Coming in here we all knew that what was going to happen if we won."
Having to play the play-in game is no slap in the Crusaders face. Their horrible record included an 0-9 road record in conference games.
"We didn't get a road win in conference," Husek said. "It was a tough season. We were 13-18, not good. Having that record and not getting a road win ... it was a tough season but we never gave up."
His DNA is strong.
At 6-foot-11 Husek is often the biggest player on the court and the space he created made for a little uncomfortableness for Lehigh center Tim Kempton as many of the players Husek used to tower over looked on at Stabler Arena.
"I saw a bunch of kids I went to high school with, that I played against literally in the front row," Husek said. "I live a half hour away so a lot of my family was here so I had a lot of supporters."
Husek could stare in the face of those supporters from the sideline as he endured a hectic final 18 seconds that saw Lehigh unleash thee open 3-point attempts at tying the game.             
"The entire bench was yelling, 'Rebound, rebound,' but we didn't grab one," said Husek who's averaging 6.0 points and 3.1 rebounds a game. "It's a testament to the guys on the floor. They didn't get the rebound but they didn't give up. They still contested the shots. It was a really long 18 seconds."
And it will be a little longer before Husek gets into the NCAA Tournament.
 
 
For Lehigh Austin Price was right in 78-62 Patriot League semi win over American
By Andre D Williams
It was the biggest game of the season to date, the Patriot League semifinals and Lehigh guard Austin Price was bent to make plays, get into the scorebook much earlier.
His first shot swished from 3-point land and he dropped in two more from beyond the arc and scored a lot more points, scoring in every facet to lead Lehigh to an impressive 78-62 victory over American at Stabler Arena.
Price (18 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block) fed off the energy of the spirited crowd of 2,225. So too did defensive stalwart Jesse Chuku (8 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 blocks) who sent the fans into an outburst with his every rejection.
Two-time Patriot League player of the year Tim Kempton (17 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block, 1 steal) was his usual self, Kyle Leufroy (10 points) was solid and Justin Goldsborough (five points, three rebounds) brought great energy on defense.
And the man distributing the ball, sophomore Kahron Ross (7 points, 9 assists, 2 rebounds, 2 steals) was pesky as ever.
Lehigh had all the bases covered en route to winning its 11th straight game to tie the 1925-26 school record for consecutive wins in a season.
Lehigh (17-14) meets nemesis Holy Cross (13-19) for the Patriot League Tournament Championship at 7:30 Wednesday at Stabler.
"We have a point guard that can who can create," Lehigh coach Brett Reed said. "We've got a center who can score. We have another forward who can stretch the defense, rebound and block shots and someone who brings a solid defensive presence. You've got someone like whether Austin or Kyle Leufroy who are bookend type of forwards and then we are getting good contributions from our bench whether its beautiful minutes  playing solid defense or coming in with  energy plays whether its Devon Carter or Tyler Jenkins or tonight I thought Justin Goldsborough extended the type of emotional energy we were trying to send when he came in."
For American (12-19) the price wasn't right. A game after going 1-for-11 from the field, including 0-for-11 on 3s in a 65-63 quarterfinal victory over Navy, Price was determined not to revisit his ghost.
"I came out a lot more aggressive I was really feeling it," said Price who was 7-of-11 from the field, including 3 of 6 on 3s.
His performance earned him a lot handshakes and dap from his teammates who never lost faith in his ability. His standout play was a resemblance of the player who was named to the Patriot League's third team..
"There is no faith to be restored," Kempton said. "When great players struggle they find ways to fix it and perform in other ways and that's what he did.
"Austin, I knew that he would get into the gym, do whatever physically he had to do to prepare for this game so we knew that he would come out and play like he has all season and that's what he did tonight."
Shooting with a near flawless touch and attacking the basket with reckless abandon, Price set the tone early and the Eagles were unable to stop it. Lehigh had trounced American twice during the season, 65-50 in Washington, D.C. and 72-49 at Stabler.
"I definitely got in the gym a lot more before this game because I shot so poorly," Price said. "I didn't really change any mechanics."
His performance against Navy was awful, yes, but only on the offensive end.
"It was very frustrating because I committed the two fouls in the beginning of the game," said Price, who fouled out against Navy. "I was just trying to get myself going but I felt like I hung in there and get the victory not necessarily scoring but some defensive plays."
 
 
Lehigh holds off Navy in Patriot League quarterfinals, 65-63
By Andre D Williams
Lehigh center Tim Kempton was there so often, muscling for points and yanking rebounds.
Kyle Leufroy was there at the finish, sinking five of six free throws in the final 21.7 seconds to secure a 65-63 win over Navy in the Patriot League Tournament quarterfinals Wednesday at Stabler Arena.
Big Navy misfires on offense were followed by fouls on Leufroy who was ace on the spot.
"I was cool, calm and collected," said Leufroy, who had 17 points. "I think that's the biggest thing for us when you step to the free-throw line. You just want to be relaxed. You don't want to listen to outside noises. I just try my best to go up there, focus on the rim and shoot my regular shot."
Kempton (22 points, 17 rebounds) was an enforcer from the beginning. The two-time Patriot League player of the year grabbed the first five defensive rebounds and had six total boards before the game was even three minutes old.
His best work was in the final minutes when the game was in the balance. Kempton scored on five straight possessions with his final sending the crowd into a joyful outburst. Getting the ball down low in his comfort zone Kempton was fouled on his way to a three-point play and 60-57 lead with 40 seconds remaining.
His relentless play was crucial against Navy's 6-foot-9 Patriot League defensive player of the year Will Kelly. In the second half both of them served the other making for a memorable big man battle.
"This win couldn't mean more to me," Kempton said. "It's my first playoff win at Lehigh — two years too late — but it means a lot to our team as well. We want to make a run this year, and I told you earlier we won't be satisfied without a ring on our fingers. This was the first step in making that run possible."

Lehigh (16-14) won its 10th straight game and will play American (12-18) at 2 p.m. Sunday at Stabler. The Mountain Hawks, seeded No. 2, won't have to travel on their way to a potential NCAA Tournament berth because top seed Bucknell was toppled by Holy Cross 77-72 in double overtime.

"The only thing that matters is that we win this game and win the next game because we wouldn't meet Bucknell or Holy Cross until the finals," Lehigh coach Brett Reed said. "If we win two then we will play three. It will be a challenge to make sure our guys don't look beyond what they can control which is the next game."

Against Navy after a cold beginning Lehigh finally hit its stride and was pummeling Navy, building a 42-23 lead on a Jesse Chuku short jumper with 16:58 remaining. Then Lehigh went into a super funk, allowing Navy to rally and tie the game at 46-46 with 7:44 left.

"For us tonight, it took us building a major lead in order to be able to pull out this game," Reed said. "We rode emotional energy. I thought the atmosphere in this building was terrific. Our student section was fantastic, and they really fueled us.

"They have too much heart and I know that type of kid they are. Fortunately for us we were able to stay strong and stay tough in that pressure and key situation  and it shows a lot about our guys in that tp of environment and setting. It would have been easy for them to hang their head or be emotionally drained. Instead they found a way to win and that's a sign of a great team."


 
Coach Justin Potts' frenetic pace is catching at Moravian
By Andre D Williams
While Moravian didn't break the scoreboard in a recent rampage the Greyhounds did break apart Muhlenberg in a recent season finale for both teams.
Topping the century mark for the first time this season Moravian outgunned Muhlenberg 107-98 last Tuesday at home, closing an 11-14 season with noticeable improvements.
It's all about the offense.
"We want to play fast, in the 80s or 90s," Moravian first year coach Justin Potts said. "The last three weeks of the season we made a  lot of shots than we did earlier. I think that was our young guys growing up a bit and getting a lot more confident where those shots are coming from and [Tuesday] was a track meet which we like and the basket got real big for some guys."
Freshman guard Jimmy Murray (career-high 30 points, 6-of-8 on 3s) and 6-foot-4 center Brandon McGuire (26 points, 13 rebounds) were nearly unstoppable, both players breaking down Mules with quickness.
Speed is what Moravian is all about and much taller Muhlenberg couldn't hang pace. Down 61-48 at halftime Muhlenberg closed within four twice in the second half before Murray or McGuire stuck a dagger in them with a basket or free throws.
"Way too many points to give up," Muhlenberg coach Scott McClary said. "Give credit to Moravian. They did a way better job executing their offense than we did our defense."
Muhlenberg which closes its season also at 11-14 was plagued by inconsistent play all season from 6-9 center John Hunter on down, just about everyone except for ex-Parkland star Nick Rindock (14 points, eight rebounds). Rindock,a sophomore, was the Mules' leading scorer and second in rebounds.
"He's a competitor," McClary said. "He wants to win. I'm proud of Nick. He has worked real hard to build himself as a player.  He had a great year as a freshman and an even greater year as a sophomore  but he will tell you that it doesn't matter what you do, if you don't win it doesn't matter. We are going to continue to push him and all the players and I think as he turns into an upper classman and a great leader for us he'll be a big key to changing the outcome that we were disappointed with this year."
Moravian actually got better as the year progressed. The Hounds had to adjust to Potts' frenetic pace that he brought over from East Stroudsburg University where he was the top assistant. Buying into his system was easy because his players wanted to run but operating it took some time.
The run-and-gun system is in place to stay.
"It just goes to show that at the beginning of the season we were young and didn't really have that many games in us," Murray said. "But we got more comfortable with ourselves."
Jimmy Murray antics: With victory well in hand and the final 20 seconds running off Murray decided to dribble through the lax defense and one-hand dunk, instantly irritating the Mules who then tried to respond.
But not on Murray's watch.
Murray refused to let Brandon LaRose coast in for a dunk, drawing an intentional foul.
"I think Jimmy is a young guy who made a mistake," Potts said. "That's not what this program is about or what we want it to be about and he understands that. It's a rivalry game and it got heated at times. I try to explain to my guys that if we win the right way we'll be up on the radar screen."
The Mules Baez/Long: Jean Lee Baez, the muscle on Central Catholic's 29-1 team three years ago, started his collegiate career off at Kutztown before transferring to Muhlenberg.
Nigel Long, Freedom's athletic and rapid-paced point guard, was out of basketball last year but joined the Mules this season.
It wasn't a walk in the park for either player but McClary saw something he can work with in the future,
"Both of them had very good moments for us," McClary said. "Nigel, of course spent a year out of organized basketball and it took him a while to get back into that flow that you need and I think he really turned it up the last three weeks of the season. His minutes went up and he did a good job with them.
 "His character is of the highest levels. He's one of the hardest working kids on the team. His future really looks bright.
"Jean Lee was a lot like our tram. He had a lot of ups and downs. He had some huge moments, huge moments. He's got to get consistent just like our team. One of the things that hurt him is he wasn't able to come into the season in shape. He battled ankle injuries all summer and fall and it was hard getting prepped up to game shape so he could look like most people in the Lehigh Valley was accustomed to seeing him when he was at Central Catholic so we're going to spend the offseason getting him into the shape he needs to be."
Tim Kempton, son of an ex-NBA player, leads Lehigh to 73-61 win over Lafayette
By Andre D Williams
Lehigh center Tim Kempton banged around, leaped over everybody and after his handywork was finished he received the ultimate complement from the rival coach.
"He's been one of the better centers in this league since he came here," Lafayette coach Fran O'Hanlon said. "He's a handful."
Operating from the inside-out, Kempton worked over the Leopards for 16 points and 15 rebounds in a Mountain Hawks 73-61 victory at Stabler Arena.
Sporting goggles for the first time since injuring his cornea against Holy Cross on Jan. 15, Kempton asserted his will as soon as he was inserted into the game, clawing for a rebound and giving Lehigh the lead, 7-6.
It would be a theme throughout the afternoon.
"It's certainly nice to have Tim Kempton recognized as the best player in the league but there are certainly some more guys involved in that conversation," Lehigh coach Brett Reed said. "You can add Kahron Ross where he had 12 assists and one turnover tonight in a game where he was pressured for 94 feet and he really established himself."
Ross (11 points) was the real deal, a ball-hawking guard, playing all 40 minutes because Tyler Jenkins turned his ankle one minute into play and did not return. Ross sped up and down the court, dishing often to the 6-foo-10 Kempton, 6-8 Jesse Chuku (10 points, eight rebounds) and Jason Goldsborough (seven points, four rebounds).
But Kempton the workhorse when the Hawks needed him to be. After having a 16-point lead cut to 41-35, Kempton picked up the charge by scoring and ripping the next rebound and then another layup by Kempton boosted the lead back to double digits.
Lafayette (5-22, 2-14) didn't pull as close until two minutes were left.
"We could have been sitting in a far worst situation if we didn't give ourselves a cushion early on," Kempton said. "When someone makes a run, hits us in the mouth we are able to refocus a lot quicker than in the past and buckle down right here and say that we need a stop or a bucket here."
Reed noticed the resurgence of his team.
"It's real critical for us and important," Reed said. "He's efficient and scores inside. He's a threat from the perimeter. Today he rebounded the ball  after a couple lax after giving up a couple offensive rebounds in the first half to close out those possessions. Obviously we want him to tighten up his offensive game and cut down on his turnovers but you are talking about an excellent player who's a threat to score, an excellent point guard who can dictate tempo. Austin Price is playing defense and offense at a very high level. Contributions from Jesse Chuku and even Kyle Leufroy who has given us a boost of energy and scoring potential."
Because of Kempton's play Lehigh (13-14, 11-5) is a game ahead of Boston University with two games remaining and head for at least one home playoff game.
That's motivation enough.
"Playoff basketball is better when played at home no matter what team you are in the country," Kempton said. "We don't want to travel whether it's two hours or 45 minutes. It's much better if we can wake up in our own beds and go play basketball."


 

College Basketball Scene

 All-American Darnell Braswell returns to DeSales as assistant coach
By Andre D Williams
DeSales' favorite son has returned home.
Darnell Braswell who earned Division III first-team All-American acclaim as a junior and senior at DeSales, has returned to the Center Valley university in a different role.
But still in basketball, nonetheless.
Braswell, 27, has been promoted from his top assistant coaching job at Central Catholic and is now the top assistant to his former college coach Scott Coval at DeSales.
"It feels great being back on the sidelines at Billera Hall, obviously in a different role," Braswell said. "It's something that was unexpected but it's a great opportunity for me and I'm going to fulfill to the best of my ability."
The door for Braswell was opened when DeSales assistant coach Harry Mora went to Lehigh in the same role. Braswell had worked at Central Catholic for three years, coaching with the same passion as when he played so the players believed in him.
Not because he could take anyone of them to the rack but because of his insights and basketball intelligence, both of which he looks forward to bringing to DeSales. In addition to his coaching job, Braswell has also been named coordinator of athletic recruitment.
"This particular job will provide clarity with me as to whether this is something I'll want to do for the rest of my life," Braswell said.
Coval has some years to groom Braswell as his replacement.
"Who knows," Braswell said. "Time will tell as with anything."
Still young enough to play in competitive recreational leagues, Braswell holds no regrets to not turning pro as soon as his college career ended.
"That was my dream to play oversees, have a nice start to my life," Braswell said. "Things didn't go as planned and once I realized it wasn't going to happen - you know I don't come from a very wealthy family. I love my family - I had to get a job. I had to become an adult. That kinda put my dream on the back burner."
He has never gone a season without basketball being a part of his life and he hopes to share that with the players he'll be recruiting. Most of them already know this in the Lehigh Valley but now the border has been stretched wider with his move to college.
"I have a good relationship with the kids from the Lehigh Valley so I know how to deal with high school kids on that level but I'm sure when it comes down to New York, New Jersey and Philadelphia I'm going to have to have as much expertise down those areas to make connections, relationships that way," Braswell said.
The ingredients that made him so successful at his last job is what will make him successful in his return home.
"What made it successful was the dynamics," Braswell said. "We had a great coaching staff. We worked well together. The players were great. They bought into what we were preaching. And the Central Catholic community was behind us and they trusted us with their kids."
And now Coval and the DeSales community is trusting Braswell with their players.

Not a problem.
"I have a good relationship with the current players," Braswell said. "I've met them on recruiting trips, talked to them before so they know me already. That gap has already been bridged. All I'm going to do is provide insights of what I went through. I know what it takes to make it to the NCAA tournament, to win a championship and how it is to play for Coval so I'm going to be here to support them emotionally and to provide them with the key to make it further than the teams I played on. The goal is to make it to the NCAA tournament, to win a national championship and to bring that to DeSales University. I'm going to do all I can to make that happen."

Back at home Justin Potts set to elevate Moravian
By Andre D Williams
Moravian first-year basketball coach Justin Potts got a taste of winning as the top assistant coach at East Stroudsburg and he hopes to keep the winning going at his new job.
Leaving ESU was tough, especially with all the winning but it's smoothed over with the fact that he's returned home.
"It was not easy," Potts said. "I was there for 13 years and had a great relationship with [ESU coach] Jeff Wilson. That basketball program is like a family to me. I thought if there was one job that would pull me away it was Moravian. This place is special to me to come back and lead the program where I played.
"But it was not easy. They'll keep rolling along without me. Anthony Ross taking my position, they'll be good for a long time."
Potts has the blue print for Moravian to be good for a long time, too. It's the same one as he used at ESU.
"I think to be successful at the D-3 level you've got to find some guys that can be solid D-3 players and you've got to find some guys who are borderline PSAC guys, that can maybe play at the scholarship level but are maybe undersized or not as quick," Potts said. "We are going to play like we played at East Stroudsburg. We are going to run and press. I'm recruiting the same type of guys. At the D-2 level you try to get low D-1 guys and at D-3 you try to get guys that are in that D-2 range."
Potts got a good look at potentials in Moravian's shootout recently and some of them are local.
"Obviously basketball in the Valley is good," he said. "There are a lot of good teams, good coaches. We'll try to be a factor with local guys to fill out the program."
He understands that he's got a task at hand. Moravian's program slipped a little bit in coach Jim Walker's final years but Potts arrived in April and found enough of a foundation to build on.
"We have to rebuild some things," Potts said. "Coach Walker had a great run and we can build on things that were already in place. I think we can be more competitive this year. I'm going to continue to build the program.
"What we did at East Stroudsburg was build with four-year guys that were coming in, working hard and trying to do the right thing on and off the court, in the classroom and in the community."
Winning is made easier when you like who you're working with and Potts has that.
"It's going good," Potts said. "I have a great staff, Mike Covert who played for us up at East Stroudsburg, Tom Shiffert, a Nazareth guy and was our student coach up at East Stroudsburg. So they are two guys who are going to get out on the road and evaluate people and get us involved with the right kids. Now you've just got to go through the recruiting process and see how things pan out."
 
Moravian went 5-20 last season and another five-win season won't cut it and Potts isn't expecting that dismal record, either. But he's not expecting Rome to be built this season, either.
"As we did at East Stroudsburg I'm just trying to build a program, create a culture to which we can be successful, not putting a number of what we're trying to get to," Potts said. "We're going to come in and be aggressive each night. We're going to follow our core values which is compete, attitude and passion in terms of sacrifice for the program."
He appears to be the right man for the job at the right time.
"I know I wasn't a really great player," Potts said. "I just think I remember being a part of a program where guys cared about each other and wanted to be successful. I played over 15 years ago and I know that I'm not going to be on any Hall of Fame ballots but I enjoyed the opportunity to compete each night.
"As a player and coach it's not much different. It's the opportunity to compete."
 

 

Coach Anthony Ross set to make a difference as ESU top assistant coach
By Andre D Williams
Anthony Ross' coaching career is like a fastbreak.
It's going that fast that the Dieruff graduate has gone full circle and has ended back up at East Stroudsburg University where he graduated from in 2006.
"It's moving a little faster than I thought it would move for me be but I guess that's due to all the hard work I've  put into it, " Ross said.
Ross, 34, is coach Jeff Wilson's top assistant coach, rejoining Wilson's staff where he was a student assistant coach 2005-07. He replaces Justin Potts, a 13-year Wilson assistant who became the head coach at Moravian College.
Since ESU Ross has been the assistant varsity coach and head JV coach at Pocono Mountain East for three years, an assistant coach at Moravian College for two seasons and his last job was at Penn State-Lehigh Valley for three years where he helped the program grow from 1-20 in his first season to 9-17 this year and a berth in the PSUAC Tournament.
PSU-LV did post a 10-15 record in Ross' second season.
"I'm very appreciative, appreciative of the opportunities I've been afforded  to move faster," Ross said.
A decorated athlete, Ross is Dieruff's all-time leading scorer and was ESU's 2005 Male Athlete of the Year for the 10.3 scoring average, 111 assists and 45 steals he posted.
Still relatively young enough to take some of the guards he coaches to school, Ross is more focused than ever. He's Wilson's recruiting coordinator which puts him into another level of coaching.
At PSU-LV he couldn't offer his recruited players nothing but the promise that he'd be relentless in coaching them. At ESU it's about the money he can offer.
"I'm just getting started," Ross said. "I think the recruitment part I'm doing now is opening my eyes to another world. I'm recruiting kids that I can help."
In 13 years at ESU, Wilson has compiled a 232-139 record that includes Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference titles and four NCAA tournament appearances. In the 2013-14 season ESU went 30-2 and Wilson was named the NCAA Division II Coach of the Year by Basketball Times and Collegeinsider.com
It is hoped that Ross will help Wilson continue that success.
"This is something I've dreamed about and now I'm in a position where I'll , be able to make a change in some kids life," Ross said. "Coach Wilson has given me that opportunity and I'm very grateful of that.
"It feels good. Leaving a head coaching position one of the things I know is the needs of a head coach. So I feel I can do a good job as the top assistant at a Division II program."
Alllen grad Jalen Cannon turns pro, ready to get paid
By Andre D Williams
Allen graduate Jalen Cannon is going for the money and he figures to get paid.
Cannon, who was named the Northeast Conference's player of the year as a senior, has signed a pro contract with Overtime International Sports of and is currently looking at pro teams in Italy, France, Spain and Greece.
A powerful rebounder, Cannon is deciding not to try for the NBA at this time.
"I just has surgery on my wrist recently and this is the best option for me right now," Cannon said.
Italy is the frontrunner.
"I think my game will translate well over there," Cannon said. "There is a lot of pick and roll over there and I can put the ball on the floor more. A lot of people tell me with my rebounding ability that I should do well over there because guys don't rebound like that."
Cannon has always had a niche for rebounding and it expanded when he went to St. Francis-Brooklyn. Cannon finished his decorated Terrier career with school records in points (1,720) and rebounds (1,160), leading all of Division I in rebounds this season.
"He's had an unbelievable career,"St. Francis-Brooklyn coach Glenn Braica said n March. "He's going to go down as the most prolific in school history and they've been playing basketball here for 100 years. I don't want to slight anybody from years ago but if you look at the numbers he's put up its crazy. He's the all-time leading rebounder, all-time leading scorer. He's the NEC'S leading rebounder."
It's tough to leave all that success behind but Cannon is ready to jolt.
"Looking back it's been an amazing ride," he said. "It's really amazing how I went from a role player as a freshman to becoming a star. It was a fun four years for me.
I'm really looking forward to my next journey. I'm going to miss school a little bit but I'm ready to move on to my next chapter of my life."
Pennridge grad Mike Guldin to decide whether to return to DeSales for 5fh year
By Andre D Williams
The next two weeks are going to be pressure-filed for DeSales senior point guard Mike Guldin.
At stake is his love for the game and whether he's going to return for a fifth year. He's been granted a medical redshirt year by the NCAA because he only played in five games this year after suffering an ACL injury in his left knee.
He recalled the excruciating injury.
"We were playing against Catholic University and I went to drive to the hoop and I planted my left foot and I knew immediately that something bad had happened,." Guldin said
Unable to play while he went through a grueling rehabilitation process, the Pennridge alumnus  did the next best thing - help coach. But there were limits to what he could take.
"It was really tough, especially when we were making a push for the playoffs at the end of the year and me  being a leader, " Guldin said.. "The only thing I could do was help coach the point guards to feel like I contributed something to the team."
DeSales coach Scott Coval spoke with high regard about Guldin.
"He was a really tough competitor, really tough, "Coval said. "He's a real fine kid. He's worked really hard. Going into the season we thought he was going to be our leading scorer but he tore his ACL.
Now Coval hopes Guldin's playing days are not over. Guldin is a finance major and will work as a financial adviser
Selling his parents on another year is his first task.
"I expect to make a decision within the next two weeks," Guldin said. "I will go home and talk it over with my parents to see what's best for me."
Coval wishes he was making the decision.
"There's a cost involved but I'm hoping to have him for another year," Coval said.
Hanging around with his teammates and coaches has been a big joy for Guldin.
"Playing at DeSales has been the best thing because of my teammates and the coaching staff," Guldin said. "I'd say the guys and the coaches have made this enjoyable."
 
 
 
 
East Stroudsburg University wins with Lamont Tilley
By Andre D Williams
Undersized to be playing the power forward spot in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference, East Stroudsburg's Lamont Tiller made his mark muscling bigger players.
The 6-foot-4 Tilley was kind of like Charles Barkley with one exception.
."I'm not a four man," Tilley said. "I'm a shooting four man."
ESU coach Jeff Wilson fessed up on Tilley's actual height.
"Well they list him at 6-4," Wilson said, "But he's like 6-3. He has big hands. He has no fears. He was very physical. He wasn't the one with the most accolades but he was the type of guy you wanted in your program."
His career at ESU was, "A good one," Tilley said with the stats to prove it. Tilley played in every game from his freshman year, a total of 122 games. ESU was 91-31 for the winingest  class ever in school ever.
Wilson's talk to Tilley before the first game of his career served as a motivational tool for Tilley all four years.
"He told me how I could get on the court and that motivated me each game each year," Tilley said. "He just said to be physical, very energetic and if I started to just play my game."
"Lamont was a kid who really bought into what we are trying to do here," Wilson said. "He did all the things that helped you win. He was a gym rat. He was always improving. He took the most charges on our team. He really was a role model for our younger guys."
Tilley closed out his career averaging 9.2 ppg and 4.2 rpg in 21 minutes per game.
Tilley went to high school at nearby Pocono Mountain East where he was a noted football and basketball player. He became the Lehigh Valley's only noted football player to accept a basketball scholarship
"When I recruited him I thought he was going to go play football," Wilson said. "Temple was recruiting him. He was second-team All-State. When he said he wanted to play basketball I was very happy/"
It didn't matter that he was undersized because he used his strength and athleticism to his advantage to carve out a successful career at ESU.
"My career was a good one," Tilley said.." My career progressed each year, both offensively and defensively. I have no regrets."
Malique Killing was Muhlenberg's greatest small player all-time
Hailing from Philadelphia, Muhlenberg senior Malique Killing developed his fearlessness from stampeding the playgrounds in his hometown.
He earned a majority of his stripes playing at the PIT in West Philly.
"It's a known playground in West Philly, " Killing.
Killins played a higher speed than most guards he faced, taking it to the basket more often than not and often scoring.
Just like he did at the PIT.
"You don't shoot jump shots in Philly," Killing said. "You take it to the hole."
Killing did it with a greater flare than any other guard in the Lehigh Valley en route to finishing his career with 1,900 points. He's a little disappointed that he didn't reach 2,000 points.
"We were a little bit more balanced than we had been in previous years, " Muhlenberg coach Scott McClary said. "And he had a lot of injures that he played through. He was about 80 percent of himself but he still had a very good year."
It's just that his first three years were much better.
Killing starred at Friends Central in Philly but received only one scholarship offer - East Stroudsburg. He visited only one Division III school - Muhlenberg and that's where he believed he'd find his sweetest home.
And 1,900 points later Killing carved out one of the all-time great performances in school history, doing it with dazzling offense, in particular taking the ball to the hole where he served up dozens of other players over his four years.
"We gave him freedom within his talent in the process of our offense," McClary said. "With his speed and athleticism, if he could beat the defender to the basket then we let him  but we didn't just let him run wild.
"He's one of the best players at Muhlenberg all-time"
And probably the best under 6-foot player ever.
"On the offensive end and attack mode for someone his size he was fierce, McClary said. "He was also a very good passer."
Liberty grad Izel Dickerson makes most out of career at Moravian
By Andre D Williams
Izel Dickerson finished his studded career at Liberty by going for the comfort of moving a couple blacks away at Moravian.
The same success that he experienced at Liberty did not follow him.
A senior, Dickerson's basketball career is essentially over with him achieving only half of what he wanted to in four years at Moravian.
"Academically, yes," Dickerson said about achievements. "Sports-wise I never won a championship and I really wanted to do that."
He will never be accused of not doing the job. He was a consistent scorer, toppling 1,000-poin milestone this season and finishing with1,018 points.. He also had 203 assists and 101 steals.
Minus the victories his move to Moravian was almost like playing at Liberty with the exception of passing Villanova senior Darrun Hilliard.
"It was kind of similar, playing close to home and having a following of local fans," Dickerson said. "That was just the best transition sports-wise and academically, it was just getting the program I wanted."
He's not the only departed from Moravian. Coach Jim Walker retired after 35 seasons and 442 career victories at the school.
"It's going to be a huge change for the program,"  Dickerson said  "He's been the face of the program for 30-some years and it's going to be tough to replace him. It was time for him to retire. I just hope the program continues to be one of the more respected ones. I'm interested to see what he does with the program."
Walker was more than just a coach to Dickerson.
"We had a very good relationship," Dickerson said. "He persued me personally. Like any coach and player relationship you had your arguments and disagreements but we had a good relationship on and off the court."
His best on and off the court relationship has been with Hilliard.
"When he comes home we'll hangout," Dickerson said. "I'll text him every now and then. We both have very busy schedules so we chat when we have time."
The two ballers have been close since childhood days. Dickerson feeding Hilliard for alley-oop dunks was the best assist Dickerson ever dished.
"We are so close because we grew up together and I know when he wants the ball."
Next winter the ball won't be in Dickerson's hands except for a recreational league. He's got to find a job."
Jean Lee Baez leaves Kutztown, joins D-III Mulenberg
By Andre D Williams
A key piece to Central Catolic's 30-0 start two seasons ago is now going to play basketball only up the street from where he used to stampede.
Jean Lee Baez, a 6-5 power forward is transferring from Kutztown after only one season and to Mulenberg where he'll join Parkland's Nick Rindock, Whitehall's Nick Melosky
 and at least three other Lehigh Valley players next season.
Freedom's Nigel Long, who sat out last year, has applied to Mulenberg and may also join the team.
This season Baez appeared in 21 of the Golden Bears 31 games, averaging 1.5 ppg and 1.3 rpg. but he did not transfer necessarily because of his low numbers.
 "I decided to transfer from Kutztown because I just did not feel that it was the right fit for me," Baez said. "I just thought to myself that if I was not happy with the situation I should take initiative and ask for my release which was exactly what I did."
Central Catholic coach Dennis Csensits is overjoyed by the decision.
"Mulenberg is a great school," Csensits said. "He's going to get a great education. I'm happy for him. That's terrific.
"Mulenberg is right up the street so we'll get to see him play which is nice."
At Mulenberg Baez will have an easier time muscling players that was much harder at the Division II level.
"I enjoyed the amount of competition we went against night in and night out," Baez said. "But, to me it really was not about the level. I was just happy with the fact that I was able to play college basketball and be considered a part of the college basketball world."
Mulenberg won the battle for Baez's services over DeSales and Moravian.
"Desales is a great program and they have a great head coach at helm with Scott Coval," Baez said. "Moravian in the same respect is making all the right moves to get better as a basketball program and it all started a couple weeks ago when they hired Justin Potts, former assistant coach from D-II powerhouse East Stroudsburg University. I personally chose Muhlenberg because I just felt that it was the right fit for me and when I visited the school I felt really comfortable.
"Another big aspect in my decision was the fact that I genuinely have a love for their coaching staff. My biggest thing with the people from Muhlenberg is that they care about me more than what I do on the basketball court and that means a lot to me. I will only play basketball for so long and I just want to know that the way I perform on the court is not the only thing that they would be worried about even though it is a big component of what I bring to the table."
Mulenberg plays an uptempo style Baez prefers. Nothing is guaranteed. He will have to earn his playing time but that's a challenge he welcome
"I’m not guaranteed a starting spot at Muhlenberg and I would not want it any other way," Baez said.  "I will not tell you my life story, but long story short I have never been given anything in life, so it would not be anything new to me to take what I want. It is fine . Do not give me the starting spot. I do not want you to give it to me. I want to show you and everyone else on my team that I deserve that spot."
 
Allen grad Daquan Holiday learns about himself at NJIT
By Andre D Williams
Allen graduate and New Jersey Institute of Technology senior Daquan Holiday couldn't help but ride the emotional tide created by season's first band, dancers and jam packed crowd in Monday night's home CollegeInsider.com first-round game against New Hampshire at the Fleisher Athletic Center.
With Holliday waving his hands to encourage the crowd to cheer even louder NJIT finished putting the final touches on an 84-77 victory that advances them to the second round.
It was announced that NJIT will host a second round game on March 23 with an opponent to be named. It's hard to imagine a school with a tiny gym being more festive than the Highlanders were in NJIT''s first-ever CollegeInsider.com victory.

 "It motivates us for the next game. makes us want to do better," Holiday said.  "Playing in an atmosphere like that just makes everything better.

Playing in his first ever tournament game Holiday was not displeased about the 16 minutes he only played, scoring four points, grabbing four rebounds with a blocked shot.

"It's what we do," Holiday said. "I don't take it personal. It's a strategy that works for us."

A chiseled 6-foot-8 Holiday handles things in a mature way these days and his personality rubs off on people. Before showering Holiday came back out of the locker room following the coaches postgame talk to kick it with his many fans.

"Yeah I've been here for four years," Holiday said. "My personality is loveable. Every time I get to soak up attention I do it."

His high school coach Doug Snyder was in attendance as was retired Moravian College coach Jim Walker.

"Daquan is a wonderful person and a great basketball player, but a better person," Snyder said.

Four years removed from high school Holiday is handling his academics quite studiously - he'll finish with two minors - and some memorable performances, perhaps none any sweeter than the 72-70 upset at then No. 16 Michigan in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Holiday sealed the win by corralling the rebound with 4.3 seconds remaining and sinking two free throws. The stunner magnified with Michigan of the Big Ten losing to NJIT, which is the only school in the country without a conference.

That has not dimmed Holiday's attitude. So when the crowd acts as jubilant as it did Monday night Holiday ( 5.9 ppg, 4.4 rpg) feels really appreciated.

"It was the first time that we had a band," Holiday said. "It's like that but add the crowd, add the band  and add the atmosphere. It was just amazing."

Amazing is essentially how NJIT freshman center Vlad Shustov described Holiday.

"Practicing against Daquan is always great," Shustov said. "He has a level of enthusiasm. He never takes a break. Sometimes I like to take a break but playing against him he always pushes you to the limit, makes me better everyday."

For moral support Holiday always has his teammates but he also has his ex-teammate, St. Francis-Brooklyn center Jalen Cannon.

"I talked to him on the phone the other day, told him a tough loss against Robert Morris and he said continue to do big things at NJIT," Holiday said.

The two former teammates talk often and are there for each other's support.

"I'm very proud of him, the all-time leading score and rebounder at St. Francis (Brooklyn)," Holiday said. "Of course I'm proud of him but you can't tell him that all the time because his head will get big. Every time I talk to him he keeps telling me to keep working and I always tell him that I'm proud of him. It's just great to have someone in your corner like that."

Holiday has mastered his grades, his play, has even gained some extra pounds and muscle and as he gets set to end his career he has no regrets.

"It's a learning experience, a change, just a learning and overall change for me," Holiday said. " I'm learning so much about myself."

Hot Nick Linder leads Lafayette to Patriot League Championship
By Andre D Williams
Lights, camera and Nick Linder.
All three worked great for Lafayette in its 65-63 victory over American in the Patriot League Championship game Wednesday at Kirby Sports Center.
The little guys game was unstoppable and his shooting touch marvelous. American had no answer for Rindock (game-high 25 points).
The lights out performance by the 5-foot-11 Linder is something the Leopards have become used to and needed against American with senior and leading scorer Dan Trist (six points, seven rebounds) unable to get on track offensively.
"Go to Nick," Lafayette senior Seth Hinrichs about solving the problem.
"Nick took over in the first half and that was the scoring," said Hinrichs who finished with 16 points, four rebounds ."They obviously were trying to play Dan real closely. That was part of the game plan. They switched off on him and Nick could exploit mismatches."
Though he dropped in two buckets from downtown, Linder went hard to the basket to score off a number of dazzling baskets or free throws after being fouled.
"I think they were hugging our shooters as most teams do," Linder said. "Everyone shoots a high percentage on the floor and they were switching ball screens. We felt Dan got out there quickly. He got lot of attention and that I would have a chance to get to the basket and it worked out that way."
Time and time again, especially in the first half where Linder registered 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting. He finished a sizzling 9-of-13 from the field, including 2-of-3 on 3-pointers.
A 3 by Michael Hoffman put the Leopards (20-12) ahead, 40-27 - their largest lead - with 18:07 to go in the second half. Lafayette maintained the lead at around 10 points to under 10 minutes when American (17-16) got a resurgence and made its move.
The Eagles closed to within 50-47 on a layup by John Schoof with 8:33 left and trimmed it even closer, 53-52 on a smooth layup by point guard Pee Wee Gardner. American then regained the lead, 55-53 before Lafayette seized control for the duration on a Hinrichs 3 for a 56-55 lead with 4:30 remaining.
Five straight free throws by Linder finally put the game on ice, 65-60 with 14.5 seconds left.
"These guys have carried us all year," .Lafayette coach Fran O'Hanlon said. "Nick had a great first half, had a great game and Seth in the first half had some huge baskets. He hit a big rebound and a big 3 where we needed it. Joey [Ptasinski] can't help  us. He's on the bench. But it was a night where everybody played great."
Linder was the best.
.He's very quick and he did a great job for us," O'Hanlon said. "He's done a great job all year but the last seven or eight games is as good as he's played all season."
Allen's Jalen Cannon is beast of the boards at St. Francis-Brooklyn
By Andre D Williams
Allen graduate Jalen Cannon has become possessed since he left the Lehigh Valley on scholarship to St. Francis-Brooklyn.
A maniac rebounder, Cannon has gone after each rebound with an "Eye of the Tiger" attitude and its led to great acclaim for him. Now a senior, Cannon was recently named the Northeast Conference Player of the Year.
His rebounding prowess is a main reason.
"That's my specialty ever since I was younger," Cannon said. "People used to yell at me because I didn't shoot the ball because I would always get the rebounds and pass it out. So I guess I am possessed going for rebounds."
He's the best in the country. Cannon is the active leading NCAA Division I rebounder with 1,124. That total is more than any NEC player has ever had and Cannon is also the Terriers all-time leading scorer with 1,682 points.
"He's had an unbelievable career,"St. Francis-Brooklyn coach Glenn Braica said "He's going to go down as the most prolific in school history and they've been playing basketball here for 100 years. I don't want to slight any body from years ago but if you look at the numbers he's put up its crazy. He's the all-time leading rebounder, all-time leading scorer. He's the NEC'S leading rebounder and I think he's the active leading rebounder in the country."
So nothing has changed on the court since he left a Canary uniform. In his senior year he averaged 19.6 points and 10.3 rebounds in leading Allen to a 23-5 record and a victory over Liberty and Darrun Hilliard in the District 11 Class 4A Championship.
"Jalen and Darrun Hilliard from Villanova played each other in the district final and Jalen has been named the Northeast Conference's Player of the Year and from what I hear Hilliard is about to be named the Big East Conference's Payer of the Year," Braica said.
Great players become greater by the company they keep and compete against. Cannon has played with two pretty good players in the summer.
"We [Hilliard]  work out with Jamar Wilson [NBL player], " Cannon said.."[Hilliad] and I talk once in a while but not too much because we have to worry about ourself."
At the present Cannon is on top of his game. He scored 15 points and ripped down 15 rebounds to lead SFB to a 79-70 victory over St. Francis-Long Island in the NEC tournament quarterfinals on Wednesday.
When LIU cut a once .15-point lead to four points the Terriers went to their money man Cannon to halt the rush and Cannon did so with a bucket and fee throw and a turnaround banker off glass to boost the lead to 55-46. Cannon didn't take his first rest until 2;25 left in the game to have his sore left hand bandaged.
His rest lasted all of four seconds before Cannon was back in the game being an enforcer.
"It's feeling good," Cannon said. "I just needed a little rest. I really didn't feel anything before the game. The other day I was hurting but everything is fine. I just need treatment and ice and I'm pretty sure I'll be fine by tomorrow."
His motivation is stirred by the lack of offers he received out of high school.
"I was getting a lot of looks but no offers," Cannon said. "I'd say that I've played with a chip on my shoulders. something to prove to myself."
The system at St. Francis-Brooklyn has always been great for Cannon. He just had to make a trip to the school he had no idea even existed until receiving a phone call.
"Actually the assistant coach Andy Johnson called me and said, 'St. Francis, NY," and I was like for a second, 'St. Francis, NY, that's a school?" Cannon said "I heard of PA before. It was fun. The coaches always came to my practices which I thought was pretty cool. They always came to my practices and games even when I committed so I really liked that. I just enjoyed every bit of it."
Brooklyn at first was an overwhelming city to Cannon who instantly became homesick before adjusting.
"He almost left the first week," Braica said. "I'm glad he didn't. I guess it has worked out. I'm going to hate to see him go."
Lafayete edges Lehigh 63-61, moves up to third in Patriot League standings
By Andre D Williams
With hands in the face, feet moving in synch, Lafayette came up with the defensive stop of the season against Lehigh Sunday at Stabler Arena.
When shots by Lehigh's Kahron Ross and Austin Price came up short, the Leopards had secured a 63-61 victory.
The ramifications of that play are huge.
For Lehigh (15-12, 9-7) it now will have to win at least one of its final two games against Patriot League frontrunner's Bucknell and Colgate to remain in third place or possibly move up to second.
For Lafayette (16-11, 8-8) it too will have to win at least one of its last two games against Colgate or Army to hold onto third place onto fourth place or unseat Lehigh at third.
"I haven't looked at anything," Lafayette coach Fran O'Hanlon said. "All I'm thinking about is we've got Colgate. We've got to take care of that. I really don't look at the standings. I know that Bucknell is up there and that Colgate is up there. After that I really don't know.
"And if we win we aren't going to be five, four. We just need to win this next game."
About this game Lafayette stripped Lehigh six times, disrupted flow and played the type relentless defense that it didn't seem it was capable of playing.
"I feel we really competed throughout the whole game," O'Hanlon said. "I've been emphasizing - it may not look that way at times - and we really made them halfcourt and if we did that we had a better chance."
Knowing the tendencies of the opponent helped too.
"It's something we emphasized," said Lafayette guard Set Hinrichs. "Playoff basketball, hitting big shots, getting big stops. We did a pretty good scouting to know what they run and from the last time we played."
So the defensive stop of the game really wasn't a stop as much as it was a miss. Ross, a dynamic freshman guard who had thrilled the crowd with his fancy dribble, was supposed to create a shot out of the timeout with :13 seconds left. He shook past the Leopards defender, got good lift but the shot clanged and Price ran down the rebound, made a quick move but his shot also missed.
They were both shots that both players have been accustomed of making.
"It was a flat ball screen," Ross said. "I had a loop for one option. The second option was to roll but the first option was to create a play."
The set went exactly as Lehigh coach Brett Reed drew up. It just wasn't executed.
"We wanted to give Kahron a chance to create," Reed said. "Unfortunately, he didn't have great separation for that shot and it was fairly contested on that play. There wasn't enough time left on the clock where he could make a play off the dribble whether for himself or somebody else. For us he's been very good for us in pressure situations. Unfortunately for us with the turn of events he wasn't able to get a second look and its unfortunate that we weren't able to knock that one down too.
"I think Austin getting the ball at that place, being fairly open, would be one of the better looks that he could find in that type of situation. He had the ball in his hands. Whether it was the uncomfortableness of the clock winding down or worrying about how much time he had to release the basketball, the fact is he was in a strange situation. Does he use the backboard. Does he shoot it straight on. The two factors in the situation led to him coming up short."
Lafayette led for the better part of the game with its largest lead of 10 points. Lehigh stayed close because of Ross (13 points. eight assists) and Price (12 points, six assists) dropping it on Lafayette and with center Tim Kempton (13 points, 10 rebounds) playing a more energized second half.
The Leopards banged away on 3-pointers (8-for-22) with Hinrichs (16 points) going 3-of-7 and Nick Linder (14 points) nailing 2-of-4 in the second half to keep Lehigh on the edge.. And then the Leopards worked the paint with 6-9 forward/center Dan Trist (14 points, 10 rebounds) moving bodies with his brute strength.
"These guys did a terrific job hitting some huge shots of a highly contested game,"  O'Hanlon said. "I'm very proud of how they finished up that game."
Ex-Husky Anthony Ross making all the right moves
By Andre D Williams
There's one noticeable difference between Penn State/ Lehigh Valley coach Anthony Ross and every college coach in the area.
Ross is black, the only African-American coach among them.
"I'm honored," Ross said.."It's not my focus and I don't ever think about it. I don't separate myself because of it. I call myself the youngest coach in the area."
Ross, 33, is a graduate of Dieruff High and East Stroudsburg University and he's in his  third season at Penn State Lehigh Valley/Penn State.
On Dr. Martin Luther King Day the LBVR salutes Ross. It's his first head coaching job and definitely not his last as he will probably be highly sought after for jobs as they become available.
His marks are already high.
"I think he's one of the promising college coaches coming up," said Rich Fatzginger, a former Parkland coach and the athletic director at PS/LV. He's terrific with the kids. He cares for them off the court as well as on. His demeanor is good on the sideline and he's willing to listen and get better and I think all qualities seem to make a great coach."
Listen to a player speak about his feelings about Ross.
"I can't think of anything I don't like about coach," said sophomore point guard Jordan Young, a graduate of Freedom. "He's a great human person and a great basketball player and a great coach."
Ross has a plan courted out but he's not in that fast a rush to get there. He's big on timing.
"That one thing you miss might hurt you in the championship game," he said. "I just think you've got to take every small step. If you accumulate enough of them you will have a big one."
It's taking time for him to shape the Lions program the way he wants it and he has the support of Fatzinger and of other coaches in the area, especially Moravian's Jim Walker who Ross worked as an assistant under for two years.
"I think a lot of him and he thinks a lot of me too," Walker said..
"He's my white father," Ross said after a 78-76 overtime loss to Moravian on Sunday. "Once I coached with him I saw a different side. At camp if you came two to three minutes late [you'd get ripped] but I was 22, 23 but when I started coaching with him I was 29 and I was more mature."
With Fatzinger as his boss and Walker only a call away Ross seems like he can't lose.
"One thing I will thank coach Walker for if I have any success is discipline," Ross said  "He teaches his guys about discipline and structure. He really was the first coach who told me that the game wasn't just about wins and losses. At the Division III level its more of a leisure type thing. There's no scholarship money being spent. Everything is because you love it.
There's no doubt Ross still has passion for the game. His players not only know it but witness it too. Ross engaged in a 3-point shooting contest with one of his players during warm ups before the Moravian game.
Dressed in a shirt, tie and slacks, Ross nailed 3 of 9 attempts from beyond NBA range. He won the competition.
Time and a lot of coaching victories appear ahead for Ross now.
Liberty grad Izel Dickerson nearing 1,000 points at Moravian
By Andre D Williams
Moravian senior and Liberty graduate Izel Dickerson doesn't care about perks like reaching the 1,000-point plateau.
Not with the Greyhounds riding an eight-game losing streak.
But Dickerson is the face of the program and just 166 points away from the 1,000-point milestone.
"It's in the back of my mind," Dickerson said on Saturday following another loss, 79-57 to Susquehanna.."You kinda look at that stuff before the season but once it started, I want to win more than anything."
Unfortunately, Moravian isn't. Dickerson needs to average 11 points in the Greyhounds final 15 games to reach 1,000 points. As much as his drive to reach it Dickerson's job as he closes out his standout career will be teaching the younger guys how to win.
Dickerson and Garrett Kashmer are the only seniors on the team. Kashmer at 6-foot-5 is one of the tallest while Dickerson is one of the shortest on the team. Success of the team will go through Dickerson, the point guard.
Right now he doesn't know how to end the funk.
"It is because we don't have too much experience so trying to win and develop younger guys along is not easy, especially when we are going against senior and junior-led teams," Dickerson said.
His coach, Jim Walker is scratching his hair out trying to figure out a way to end the losing streak. Making no excuses, Walker refused to use the Greyhounds height disadvantaged against Susquehanna as a reason why they lost.
At halftime Moravian held a 23-20 advantage on the boards but the Crusaders crashed the glass with more reckless abandon in the second half and finished with a 43-39 edge.
"I don't think it was a height thing," Walker said. "We got discouraged when we didn't score. And we didn't do things on the defensive end."
Walker is in his 35th season at Moravian (1-9, 0-3 in the Landmark Conference) and apparently on his way to one of his most lousy seasons, if his younger players and two seniors don't turn around things.
"It's a frustrating season," Walker said. "I never rank one with another."
So far there hasn't been anything good about this one.
Muhlenberg's Big John destroys DeSales
By Andre D Williams
The lane and everything and everyone in it belonged to Muhlenberg center John Hunter.
That's one of the luxuries of being 6-foot-9 on Division III.
The Mules rode on the shoulders of Hunter to demolish DeSales 86-57 at Memorial Hall Saturday.
 "It makes it a lot easier when you've got a 6-9 player going to the glass, defending the rim," said Muhlenberg coach Scott McClary said. "You can make a run at it and John is the last in line. He had a game today."
DeSales tried to matchup to no avail with 6-8 Ryan Callahan and 6-7 Aaron Borroughs but Hunter (20 points, eight rebounds.) worked them both over with ease. Looking to score every time he got the ball deep in the post Hunter was 8-for-10 from the field and 4-of-5 from the free throw line.
I felt it today," Hunter said. "It was a little advantage. Once you make one or two you get confident. It was  a little advantage. I had to be quicker than the person guarding me."
The Mules (5-4) had more guns than DeSales (7-3) with freshman guard Nick Rindock (18  points) shooting better than Hunter. Rindock was 6-for-7 from the field and a perfect 5-of-5 on three point field goals. He splashed a jumper on his first attempt.
Jon Schreer scored 16 points and  Brandon LaRose added 15 points for the Mules. DeSales was led by Kuity Slanger with 15 points.
The most relevant part of the game was Big John though he insists he wasn't the first option.
"No the game plan was to work to get open shots," Hunter said. "If I was open then I would get the pass."
His coach saw it otherwise.
"He's right and he's wrong," McClary said. "He's wrong when he said no. The game plan was to get the ball inside in order to get the open shot. It wasn't necessarily him taking the open shot but him hitting a cutter or kicking it out. We were finding ways to get him the ball and he was finishing."
Bragging rights
The last two years Muhlenberg has drubbed DeSales by 29 and 19 points, respectively.
But McClary isn't getting overconfident. 
"It tends to go in cycles," McClary said. "This is my sixth year back at Muhlenberg. For the first four years they won.
They have a lot of success. They have a great program. They are well coached. They have not come easy."
Muhlenberg leads the all-time series 23-17.
 
 
Hilliard victorious in homecoming
By Andre D Williams
It was another clear look like every other shot Darrun Hilliard  launched but the result was different.
The Villanova senior's 3-pointer with 12 1/2 remaining against  Lehigh was money in the bank
Before that trey that tied the game at 48, Hilliard had missed his previous eight 3-point attempts but in living up to his nickname, "Money" Hilliard delivered at a crucial time of the game and Villanova rolled from there en route to a 77-68 victory before 8,751 fans at the state-of-the-art PP&L Center Friday  night.
It was Hilliard's, a former All-State player from Liberty, first appearance back home for a game and many of his fans friends and family were in attendance.
During introductions Hilliard received a rousing applause, then did little to stir up the crowd until the final 12 1/2 minutes when he popped his first 3 and got two steals, one in which he finished with a crowd-pleasing two-handed dunk for  a 56-51 lead.
Hilliard's stat line: 4-for-18, 1-of-9 on 3s, 1-of-2 on free throws for 10 points, 2 rebounds, 4 assists and game-high four steals.
It would have been nice for more points but his overall floor game was outstanding.
"Darrun Hilliard is an excellent player," Lehigh coach Brett Reed said. "He's smooth, he is a competitor, he's got great size and length and that size and length is not always you see from somebody who has that type of feel for the game, ability to let things come to him.
"I thought it was real special that Villanova took the opportunity to bring him home, back to the Lehigh Valley where he grew up. He's someone I know the Lehigh Valley is real proud. It has become very evident that his commitment to basketball is at a really high level and you can see that the way his game has evolved." 
He just didn't show much on offense in the way of scoring.
"I was over-excited, proud to be home, trying to do what the game plan was," Hilliard said. "I was overly ampted up. I'm ready to go back to Nova now."
Everybody laughed but its on that Villanova campus where he's perfected his shot and matured greatly. He's now considered an NBA prospect, either late first round or early second round.
So shooting displays like Friday is something "Money" has just got to shrug off.
"I was frustrated shots weren't going in," Villanova coach Jay Wright said. "The first three were in and out and I thought, 'Oh this poor kid.' I thought he handled it well. It was nice that he came up with the big steals."
Hilliard's back-to-back steals with nine minutes left seemed to KO a game Lehigh team as Villanova stretched its lead to 59-51 before Lehigh scored again  on a Jesse Chuku slam.
"We were on a roll," Hilliard said. "We got stops on defense. That's what I was most excited about, excited that we were playing Villanova basketball."
Hilliard is now the face of Villanova basketball. As he rolls so too does the team.
"We didn't play like we wanted but we grinded, got stops, steals," Hilliard said.
And most importantly of all, Villanova left with a victory.

 

Under the Spider-Potts direction, #WarriorPride has seen a great amount of support.  The Warriors hosted the PSAC Championships, and the love was phenomenal. Wilson states, “We have gotten tremendous support from our campus and surrounding community.  The Championship game saw over 2,300 energized fans pack Koehler Fieldhouse and help us to the PSAC Championship over a very good West Chester team.  There is no question that our support has been a major factor in the season we are having.” 

 

The support from Associate Head Coach Justin Potts has been second to none.  The guy is #relentless and because of this, his influence on the program is undeniable.  Potts main roles for the Warriors are as the lead recruiter and chief of player development.  His expertise led to landing and developing prominent stars Duane Johnson (pro player), Terrance King (pro player), and Whis Grant (All American).  Potts hard work is getting noticed.  He is THE hot prospect for head coaching jobs; however he continues to stay loyal to East Stroudsburg University.  “I’m committed to ESU and Coach Wilson because he is a great coach and even better person.  He is a boss, mentor, best friend, and has been great to me and my family.” 

ESU recruits certain players to be a member of their #WarriorFamily.  Wilson and Potts are looking for student athletes that want an overall college experience.  They ask their players to work hard in both the classroom and on the court to maximize their potential in both areas. On the hardwood, once again their success is determined by hard work.  It takes incredible perseverance and toughness to play Warrior style of basketball- #94FeetofHeat.  Spider states, “We look to recruit guys that have the ability to run and press.  This requires a yearlong commitment to their overall fitness and strength training.  This has been a staple of our program and our teams have really enjoyed competing 94 feet for 40 minutes.  This has definitely provided us with a distinct style of play that has helped us win games.”

 

The Commander in Chief (Wilson) and General (Potts) are certainly the leaders of the #WarriorNation.  On the battlefield they rely on captains Zechariah Runkle, Whis Grant and Will Brown to provide leadership and execute the game plan.  Wilson is proud of how the tri-captains set the bar high with pre season expectations and have risen to the challenge.  “This team wanted to qualify for the PSAC playoffs, Win the PSAC East, Win the PSAC and win some games in the NCAA Tournament.  So far they have done the first 3 and are looking forward to this weekend’s competition in the NCAA Tournament.”

Wilson and Potts have formulated an incredible culture at East Stroudsburg University.  Whether it’s their #relentless approach to recruiting excellent student athletes or their nonstop, pressure #94FeetofHeat style of basketball, #WarriorNation will continue to enjoy success because of everyone’s Hard Work.

LAFAYETTE SHOOTS LEHIGH'S LIGHTS OUT
By Andre D Williams
Given a chance to poison Lehigh, rival Lafayette went for the kill - the 3-point shot.
The big break for the Leopards came on a negative result for Lehigh after Mountain Hawks freshman Austin Price dunked hard in transition. Unfortunately for Lehigh that was the last play for Austin who fell hard to the floor face down, cutting his chin and had to be helped off the court.
Meanwhile, Lafayette took immediate advantage with Bryce Scott and Joey Ptasinski nailing 3-pointers, two of five treys the Leopards made over the final 11 1/2 minutes to prevail 77-71 at Kirby Sports Center.
Ptasinski gained sweet vindication for his missed 3 with 11 seconds left against Lehigh onJan. 25 at Stabler Arena, enabling Lehigh to escape with a 71-68 victory.
Again Ptasinski (game-high 23 points, 5-for-8 on 3s) had the ball in his hands with the game on the line as he attempted four free throws in the final 34 seconds, making good on all of them.
Overall, Lafayette buried 10 of 15 three-pointers, a poison that ultimately doomed Lehigh.
"it's a great atmosphere to be in," Ptasinski said. "All our students are there, the crowd is packed and my parents flew out from Colorado for some extra motivation for me. We get pumped up everytime we play Lehigh. Its one of the great rivalries in the nation. It's just a great game to play in, a great game to win."
Ahead 67-61 with under three minutes later Lafayette got four straight offensive possessions, a murderous stretch that took off 1 minute, 48 seconds off the clock before Mackey McKnight scored on a layup that pulled Lehigh within 67-63 with 1:11 to go.
"That was a really deflating sequence," Lehigh coach Brett Reed said. "If we get a stop it gives us a chance to close that gap. It was a tell-tell thing to give up that many rebounds to a team shooting that well is a major challenge."
Lafayette beat Lehigh up on the boards too -  34-29, including 13 offensive boards. That was a major difference because Lehigh won the rebounding battle 33-28 last month.
 "Rebounding was an Achilles heel for us.," Reed said. "Our transition defense and rebounding hurt us."
McKnight also hurt Lehigh with his shooting (6-for-17) and his ballhandling (two assists, six turnovers).
"I don't think that today was one of Mackey's better games," Reed said. "I think he would like to get this particular game back. It's unfortunate that we didn't convert in transition. We had other opportunities that we didn't convert on."
And unable to stop Ptasinski hurt Lehigh too. He hit several rainbow 3s from NBA range. He credited the extra work on him by assistant coach John O'Connor.
Ptasinski was 6-of-9 shooting. He had it going so much that it was shocking when he missed.
"You kind of start thinking that and its a good feeling," Ptasinski said. "You get the fans into it too. It feels great, you get the energy up. You kind of feel like every shot is going in."
1/27  The Rivalry: Lafayette at Lehigh
By Andre D Williams
Amazing what two straight Patriot League victories will do to a teams confidence and Lehigh is on Cloud 9 after its exciting 71-68 win over Lafayette Saturday night at Stabler Arena.
The celebration was grand as if Lehigh (10-11, 3-5) had just won a championship instead of just beating a Lafayette team (4-15, 0-8) that hasn't won since before Christmas, a stretch of 10 straight losses.
Lafayette just can't catch a break. Lehigh was once in that miserable company before beating Navy 68-66 in overtime to snap a five-game losing skid.
"Winning a game in league play, in a tightly contested game between good teams playing pretty well," Lehigh coach Brett Reed said. "We've grown accustomed to playing some pretty tight games. Unfortunately we've fallen under the stick sometime. Other times we've been able to come through. The fact that our guys have persevered in some of those tight moments will not only give us confidence but experience."
 
Gritty Lafayette battled back all game only to be denied on two looks at 3-pointers in the last 11 seconds that would have forced overtime, the last on a Scott Bryce misfire with 0.2 remaining.
"Obviously another close game that we did not pull out but we are getting better," Lafayette coach Fran O'Hanlon said. "It's hard to see that because we haven't won a game. We just have to keep working."
Both 3-point attempts were wide open looks. Lafayette was 6-of-15 on 3s on the night. 
"You never want to be put in a situation where you need the shot to go in but we did nt scrap well enough, block out well enough," O'Hanlon said. "You can look back at this and look at the missed opportunities."
Bottom line is Lafayette did not stop the Mountain Hawks two big men, 6-10 freshman Tim Kempton (19 points, seven rebounds) and 6-8 sophomore Justin Goldsborough (19 points, 8 rebounds, 3 blocks).
Together, Kempton and Goldsborough went 15-for-19 from the field in perhaps the performance of their careers. With leading scorer Mackey McKnight (6 points, 7 rebounds, 9 assists, 0 turnovers not scoring Lehigh needed every bit of what their big men provided.
"Those complimentary roles of Justin and Tim Kempton was phenomenal," Reed said. "For each of them to score nearly 40 points and to make 15 of 19 shots is incredible performance but both of them rebounded the basketball for us and they brought great energy. One of the most impressive things was Justin's ability to guard out on the perimeter against that perimeter-oriented offense, keep that type of performance guarding mostly guards yet still able to put up those offensive numbers."
McKnight was the facilitator, running a fine floor game in which he dished perfectly to
Kempton and Goldsborough. The only thing McKnight didn't do well was shoot - going 1-for-8 on shots and 4-of-6 from the free throw line.
McKnight was just 2-of-4 from the line in the final 16 seconds, enabling Lafayette to hang around but ahead 70-68 McKnight came up with the rebound of the game when he flew in to snag a Joey Ptasinski missed 3.
"Mackey has been a pretty good free throw shooter for us and he's made clutch baskets towards the end of games, something that is real critical," Reed said. "We did not (tonight) do that as well as we needed to and that was very critical especially against a team like Lafayette that uses the free throw line and plays with a high degree tempo. Fortunately we made just enough to get us out of here tonight."

"He's a good player and he's going to get even better.

1/15   Lehigh Falls Short
By Andre D Williams
Lehigh senior guard Mackey McKnight was hot, draining multiple 3-pointers, so with under 20 seconds left and American ahead by three you'd expect McKnight to pull the trigger again.
Right? Wrong.
"My coach always tells me if its above 13 seconds take it to the rack, try and get a foul," McKnight said. "They just wanted me to make a play."
The blazing McKnight made his way into the lane and his awkward layup attempt missed badly, terminating Lehigh's chances at victory with 17 seconds left. American escaped Stabler Arena with a 65-63 victory.
McKnight (team-high 23 points) scored 14 points in the second half to keep Lehigh (8-10, 1-4) in close range of the upset. American improved to 9-7, 5-0.
American probably should have won by a whole lot more considering it was ahead 90 percent of the night. Breaking apart Lehigh's 2-3 zone by stationing a player in the lane with a big man cutting in for a layup below, the Eagles built a 16-point first-half lead.
Then McKnight started to sizzle, running a smooth floor game that included layups, free throws and deft assists like his dish to 6-foot-10 freshman center Tim Kempton (eight points, 11 rebounds, two blocks) for a layup to cut the lead to 30-26 with 25 seconds before halftime.
Lehigh coach Brett Reed made great adjustments for the Mountain Hawks to counter the wizardry way American was whipping the ball around the perimeter that helped Lehigh take a 46-44 lead on a McKnight jumper - its first lead since the 18:07 mark of the first half.
But Lehigh is a young team with only one senior in the starting lineup and its inexperience showed, especially in the final 20 seconds when McKnight had to try and create something out of really nothing instead of passing to one of his shaky teammates.
"I've been kind of lucky lately but it just didn't go my way tonight," McKnight said.
But he did what his coach expected him to do.
"Mackey and I have talked about that often because with 26 seconds left you are talking about multiple possessions," Reed said. "There are sometimes when we can put ourselves in a tight position by hoisting a difficult 3. That's the one thing you don't want to happen. Mackey is a good penetrator and we wanted to capitalize on that. Going to the hole can create opportunity like we saw against Army where he finishes, is fouled and makes the free throw that ties the game."
After his miss McKnight fouled American's 6-10 center Tony Wroblicky (14 points, 12 rebounds) who sank two free throws on the other end for a 65-60 lead with 15 seconds left.
McKnight's 3 with six seconds left put Lehigh into bad company again, a fourth straight loss by four points or less.
The good thing is that its only January and the Mountain Hawks will play every team again, given freshmen as Austin Price and Kempton more time to hone their skills and toughen up.
"I definitely hope there's opportunity for growth in the second half," Reed said. "We have been close. Our team could be 5-0 and I don't think anybody would be overly surprised, however, in games there have been times when we didn't play our best basketball. They are a very good basketball team. Thirty-six minutes, 34 minutes doesn't cut it in these type of games."
1/8  PSU-LV UPDATE
By Andre D Williams
Penn State Lehigh Valley, a mostly freshman team, has found out that its not easy to earn stripes as easy on the college  level.
But as they grow so too does their young coach Anthony Ross.
Ross, a former All-Area player from Dieruff, has tried different lineup changes all season and now the former point guard thinks that he has the right mix of players now.
And that means his bench will shrink.
"Heading into the second half of the season we are fighting for a playoff spot and one of the things we have to do is shorten our bench," Ross said.
But the Lions are subtracting but also adding a new player in 6-5 Derike Chiclana from Freedom, who had not played as of the weekend.
What Chiclana brings to the Lions is size, mobility and toughness.
"Adding somebody like Derike Chiclana is going to help us on that back line tremendously," Ross said,. "He's been known to block and alter shots. One thing I've noticed about him is that he has more guard skills than I knew. Coming into the second semester I'm going to be playing him out at the four a lot. With his lack of strength I'm going to try and get him speed cuts, more diving from the 3-point line to try and get rebounds as opposed to having him stand next to a big guy where its  all about strength.
"And I think with him being able to space things out at that five it will open up things where our guards will be able to hit the gap."
Size is a much needed ingredient. At least it was over the weekend when PSU-LV was smashed 90-64 by Moravian and 113-63 to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute on Sunday.
While the present is obviously disturbing, Ross hopes his young Lions (5-7) are able to compete better in the Penn State University Athletic Conference.
Moravian and RPI are both Division III teams who refused to be shamed by the Lions, who have 11 freshmen out of 14 players. And the other three are just sophomores, including 26-year-old D'Avery Rickmon, who hasn't played in six years.
Rickmon's rust is hurting the Lions because he fouls out of a number of games or spends much time on the bench in foul trouble.
But the post aside, PSU-LV is a guard oriented team and it has some promising prospects, starting with gun slinger Anthony Bellucci from Whitehall, who's just 5-10 but makes up for his lack of size with a lights out 3-point shot. He shoots 3s better than layups.
Point guard Jordan Young, a freshman from Freedom, at times runs a smooth show but then there are the turnovers that show his inexperience.
"The toughest thing with freshmen is you get a lot of inconsistency but that's also the scary thing," Ross said. "If they ever get a chance to figure it out as young and energetic as they are its a scary thing for everybody else in our conference."
For now the losses mount but its the end result that Ross hopes his team will be judged by.
"One of the things I stressed to the guys from the first day I met them is, 'Don't concentrate on the big win,' " Ross said. "My life the way I was brought up, I was told that life is about about a bunch of small ones. Get the small ones it will equal up to that big win;
 "A lot of these guys played against each other in high school so they have an understanding f what each players capabilities are."

LVBR Division 2 Standouts  12/19

 

“Cool” Joe Lococo is lighting up the PSAC in his sophomore season averaging 18.8 ppg, 4 rpg, 3.3 apg in 8 starts for Shippensburg University.   Lococo is shooting an astounding 50% from 3pt land and 46% from the field.   The former LVC MVP and Freedom graduate has a high of 33 points vs Shephard and (2) 27 point outbursts in back to back games versus Chestnut Hill and Bloomsburg.  On 12/2 Cool Joe was named PSAC Eastern Division Player of the Week.  Cool Joe states, "Im just doing whatever I can to help my team. I'm working as hard as I can on both sides of the floor, especially in practice."

 

Austin Beidelman is off to a stellar start to his freshman season at Kutztown University.  The “Parkland Iceman” was up to his old tricks again during a fantastic performance versus Clarion.  Beidelman’s  27 pts, 5 rbs, 2 assists, 2 steals were instrumental to their 82-80 overtime victory at Clarion.  Austin came alive scoring 12 points in the final 6 minutes including the game tying layup.  The 27 points is a career high for The Iceman and also the high scoring output for Kutztown this year.  Beidelman has started all 8 games at point guard for the Golden Bears with averages of 12.5ppg, 3.6 assists, 3.0 rebounds, while shooting 73% from the free throw line.  The Iceman states," I've just been working on my game extremely hard and trying to help my team in any way i can!"  Pottsville native Brandon Bridy is also contributing as a freshman averaging 15 minutes a game with a 3.5-1 assist to turnover ratio. 

 

The only LVBR athlete in the past 20 years, that we have knowledge of playing high school football and basketball but on a collegiate basketball scholarship, is East Stroudsburg’s Lamont Tillery.  Tillery (Pocono Mt East) is a junior on the #12 ranked Division 2 team in the country.  Lamont averages 8.2 ppg, 4.5 rpg and shooting 50% from 3pt range in 19 minutes per game.  Lamont has played in all 10 games for the Warriors. Head Coach Jeff "Spider" Wilson gleefully states, "Lamont has been critical in the early season success of our program.  He is a tireless worker that has made significant improvements in all aspects of his game over the past 2.5 years.  In addition he is a GREAT teammate who will do whatever is asked of him for the betterment of the team." 

 

Emmaus graduate Matt Wisely has been a terror on the glass for West Chester University.  Wisely, a sophomore, leads the team in rebounding with a 7.7 average.  Matt has played in all 10 games including 3 starts, however his rebounding surge coincides with his move to the bench.  In back to back December games, Wisely dominated with 14 rebounds versus Millersville and 15 rebounds against Kutztown. Wisely states, "Whether I start or come off the bench, I try to bring as much energy as I can and do whatever can be done to help our team win."  Eric Frans (Saucon Valley) and Lincoln Holley (Easton) are also on the West Chester team.  Frans is 3rd on the team in rebounding  with 6 rpg and scoring 5.9 ppg.  Holley is a redshirt freshman still battling to earn more minutes. 

 

Tyrel “The Bulldog” Dixon is playing big for Division 2 Roberts Wesleyan.  The 6’3 sophomore from Pocono Mt West is averaging 11.2 ppg, 8.1 rpg, and 3 apg.  Dixon’s shining moment came 12/14 vs NYIT when The Bulldog scored 24 points and snatched 11 rebounds.  Dixon came thru with a remarkable 4 point play with 2 seconds remaining in the game to give Roberts Wesleyan a one point victory.  The Bulldog states, “We are still a fairly young team and as we try to find our identity as a team, I’m trying to find my identity as a player.  I think I’m finding that identity and starting to settle into it.  I am eager to show everyone that the only person that can stop me, is me.  I’ll do whatever I have to do for my team to come out on top.” 

 

Tynell Fortune (Pocono Mt West) leads California University of Pa is scoring.  The junior point guard is averaging 13.6 ppg in 9 games (5 starts).  Fortune is shooting well too- 80% fts and 49% from the field.  Tynell has led his team to two straight victories over West Chester (19pts) and Edinboro (17 pts).  Tynell states, "As we get to know each other and play as a cohesive unit, we realize that the path to a championship is bright.  As a third year player, I have to set the tempo, lead by example, and stay positives in all scenarios.

 

Easton representers Noel Hightower and Ezra Gaines continues to contribute in the CACC.  Hightower has started all 10 games for Chestnut Hill.  Hightower, a 6’4 defensive specialist, is averaging 27 minutes per game, 4.9 ppg, and 3.6 rpg.  Gaines, also a rugged defender, is averaging 4.4 ppg while shooting 45% from the 3pt area.  Gaines has played in all 8 games averaging 14.9 minutes per game.

 

Lock Haven’s Al Blount Jr (Bethlehem Catholic) and David Garcia (Pocono Mt East) have played in all 8 games thus far.  Blount has started every game at point guard averaging 5.5 ppg in 27 minutes per game.  Garcia is a reserve guard scoring 3.9 ppg in 14 minutes per game.

PSU-LV Roaring to 4-4 Start
By Andre D Williams
With back-to-back victories Penn State Lehigh Valley has changed its make up.
"I think one of the things that has happened is that they know who's on the team and they are committed and I think coach is starting to realize what lineups work best for him., Penn State LV athletic director Rich Fatzinger. "We are getting good efforts from different guys each night."
The Lions overcame a late deficit to beat Penn State Fayette, 72-68 at Stabler Arena and on Friday they blew out Penn State Kennsington, 95-63 at Moravian College in two Penn State University Athletic Conference games to improve to 4-4.
Lehigh Valley really grew up with the Fayette victory, especially freshman point guard Jordan Young (Freedom) who willed the young Lions to the win in the final two minutes.
Like a quarterback in the two-minute drill, Young made multiple plays, the first on 1 0f 2 free throws to tie the game at 65-65, then he drew a charge but the play that he'll be forever recognized for came with 30.5 seconds left.
Following a timeout Young blew past his defender to kiss a running layup that put Lehigh Valley ahead, 69-68.
Young closed out the game with a steal and subsequent fastbreak layup, culminating his night with 11 points.
"I just got a kick in me," Young said. "I really started to develop my junior year [in high school at Freedom] but I didn't have it all there but with coach {Anthony Ross} I am picking up a lot of stuff."
Ross, a former Morning Call All-Area Player of the Year from Dieruff, is happy to coach Young. More Lehigh Valley guards are stepping up their level of play.
A couple forwards had breakout games against Fayette.
Like freshman Benjamin Lee (14 points, nine rebounds) who banged inside all night with favorable results.
Like freshman Basheer Hairston (15 points, 15 rebounds), a player with hops and an exciting game.
Like Shane Schmidt, who connected on 2 of 4 treys for 10 points and four rebounds.
"If we can play with that type of heart and determination for 40 minutes I like our chances against other teams," Ross said. "It's a good conference, a guards conference. If we rebound the ball we'll be all right.
"We really don't have one guy that we rely on."

 

Spider Wilson has ESU “running” to 6-0 start

By Andre D Williams

East Stroudsburg men's team wants to play full-throttle and the Warriors appear to have the horsepower to do so.

We're talking about 5.0 speed.

So far ESU (6-0) has amassed 90, 106 and 83 points against undermanned teams, winning by 25 against St. Thomas Aquinas, 38 against Penn State-Lehigh Valley and 19 against the University of Sciences.

Neither of those three teams are basketball teams and ESU showed them no mercy. Though its the type of spanking ESU wants to put on every foe coach Jeff "Spider" Wilson is realistic with his expectations.

"I think we have the ability," Wilson said. "I think we are developing.. I do like our start, the work ethic of our team.. Now its up to us to put it together."

About the horsepower:

There's 6-foot junior guard Will Grant, a returning All-American, who's averaging 18 points a game.

There's 6-5 freshman forward Raheed Moore, the apparent face of the program in the future. He's averaging 12.8 points and 5.5 rebounds a game.

There's 6-2 junior guard Jamal Nwaniemeka, a solid player who's averaging 10.4 points and 3.0 rebounds per game.

Those are the Warriors' top three players but the show doesn't stop with them.

"We have some firepower," Wilson said. "We have Will Grant and Jamal Nwaniemeka both back. Will is a returning All-American and a pre-season All-American. We have a lot of guys that can put the ball in the basket."

And having so many playmakers figures to have ESU in the rugged Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference, which is considered one of the top Division II conferences in the country.

That's when the losses will add up. Wilson hopes not many for the defending PSAC East Champions who have been in the NCAA Tournament in three out of the last four years.

"We are hoping that this team will get us back," Wilson said about the NCAA's. "I think every year as a coach you want to try and get there. Our goal is to win our league, then our conference."

To do that ESU will run the fastbreak and press teams relentlessly, creating many turnovers while also protecting the ball.

"I think we are developing (an identity)," Wilson said. "We will press and attack. I think we have a lot of talent. It's just putting it all together and developing that chemistry." 

The good thing about ESU is that it will lose just one player to graduation, meaning The Greatest Show in the Poconos will return even stronger next season.

Top players: Whis Grant, 6-0 Jr. G, 18 ppg, 2.0 rpg; Rasheed Moore, 6-5 fr, 12.8 ppg, 5.5 rpg;  Will Brown, 6-0 Jr. G, 12.0 ppg,2.0 rpg;  Jamal Nwaniemeka , 6-2 So, G, 11.3 ppg, 2.0 rpg.

Last season: 22-7, 18-4 PSAC Champions.

Coach: Jeff Wilson, 12th season, 183-127.

 

Walker Leads Moravian to 34th Season

Andre D Williams

Moravian men’s basketball team is a work in progress and there’s no telling if the team will straighten itself out before the losses mount up.

What is known about the Greyhounds is that junior point guard Izel Dickerson (Liberty) is their best player. In a recent game against rivals Muhlenberg and DeSales, Dickerson showed off his speed and his jumper in scoring a game-high 27 points (Muhlenberg) and 26 points (DeSales).

“Sure Izel played well tonight but we have to play well together as a team,” said Moravian coach Jim Walker. “That’s the way offense is team. It’s five men together as a team.”

But on that Tuesday game Dickerson was a one-man show and the Greyhounds needed his offensive production to prevent being swept to Allentown.

“We’ve got a ways to go,” Walker said.  “Right now we aren’t a good team. We have to be better than other teams and right now we aren’t consistent. "

Walker, who’s in his 34th season believes the woes will be less if the ‘Hounds share the ball and there’s truth in that belief because they do have talent.

Like 6-foot-5 center Cameron Cullen (6.8 ppg, 8.5 rpg). He would normally be too small for this position if he was at a D-I or D-II school.

Like 6-1 senior Kenny Gula (7.3 ppg, 3.3 rpg), a product of Quakertown.

Like 6-7 senior Blake English (10.8 ppg, 5.5 rpg). English needs to rip down rebounds to assert himself early in games.

And when all else fails as they have in each of Moravian’s first four games (2-3), then there’s always Dickerson (16.0 ppg, 2.0 rpg) to create and shoot the 3-pointer.

“We say, ‘Together every time we leave the huddle,’ “Walker said. “We’d like to think we are ok as players but we aren’t doing that now.”

Starters: Izel Dickerson, 5-11 Jr. G,  18.0 ppg, 2.0 rpg; Jarrod Dilts, 6-1 So. G, 7.5 ppg, 3.3 rpg; Cameron Cullen, 6-5 Sr. C, 6.8 ppg, 8.5 rpg; Blake English, 6-7 Sr. C, 10.8 ppg, 5.5 rpg; Isaih Jennings, 4.0 ppg, 2.5 rpg; Kenny Gula, 6-1 Sr. G, 7.3 ppg, 3.3 rpg.

Last season: 14-12, 6-8 in Landmark Conference.

Coach: Jim Walker: 427-411.

 

 

 

Muhlenberg Season Outlook

By Andre D Williams

Muhlenberg is a team with speed, height and focus and Coach Scott McClary is praying that things take shape.

"We've won 35 games over the last two years so we expect to be on top of our game but in order to do that you've got to win the next game, the next practice," McClary said. "I'm trying to get them focused on the next game and if we can do that then I think we'll give a helluva effort each night."

About the speed:. Junior guard Malique Killing is like a speed boat on water the way he zips past defenders. In a recent game against rival Moravian, Killing used dazzling one-step dribble moves to score a team-high 23 points with five rebounds and four assists.

Nobody Moravian guarded him with could keep pace with Killing, a returning All-Conference guard.

"He is probably the second fastest guy at Muhlenberg," McClary said. "I can beat him in a race only because I have the power to take him out of the game.

"We are very fortunate. He's very athletic. He's able to do a lot of things, ball handling.  He's worked his tale off to improve his skill level with that quickness."

Killing is relentless going to the basket, getting off numerous layups over sharks, despite only being a shrimp (5-foot-9).

"I think I have a little bit of a fearless attitude," Killing said. "I'm not scared to go to the rim. That's definitely my bread and butter. If I have to I can step out and hit the jumper too."

His motor never seems to slow.

"I just take what the defense gives me," Killing said. "If its taking it to the rim 20 times a game, then I'm taking it."

He's so high-octane that McClary has a tough time taking him out of the game. One time McClary took Killing out against Moravian to instruct Killing - aka yell at him - Killing gave the coach lip back and McClary brushed that outburst off.

"He's a competitor," McClary said. "He's the toughest competitor that I've ever coached and I've coached some good ones. It's a fine line. When you start to take away some of his strengths.

"I've coached him now for three years and he's matured every week. If he continues on that path he's got great things ahead not only on the court but off the court as well."

On the court Killing is only looking for championships. He's won accolades galore. Now its time for a banner or two.

"At this point it’s just about winning," Killing said. "My freshman and sophomore years I definitely broke enough records to hand out. I really don't have any expectations as far as records are concerned. It's just about winning a championship."

About the height: Kevin Hargrove, a 6-10 All-Conference center takes up a lot of space and has a nice inside touch. Along with 6-9 freshman John Hunter, Muhlenberg should bang on and clear out a lot of space this season.

"[Hargrove] hasn't gotten off to a quick start," McClary said. "We've really got to work hard to get him off but we've got depth behind him."

McClary is also looking for big things from 6-4 swingman Alec Stavetsky, who nailed a crucial 3-pointer that forced overtime of an eventual 104-99 loss to Washington College, dropping the Mules to 3-1 on the season.

Hunter is perhaps the Mules best big man. He's got the athletic body and the moves to go with it. But McClary is no fool. He knows that he'll need Hargrove to score more than the 10 points he's averaging to have success.

"He had a great finish to the season last year," McClary said. "He was All-Conference and he comes off a great offseason with a lot of expectations and sometimes when you have that expectation you want to be rewarded right away and sometimes you get frustrated when it doesn't happen right away so he's just got to take a deep breathe, relax and we have to put him in situations where he'll be successful.

"He's one breakout performance from being the same old Hargrove."

One thing is for sure the smallest guy - Killing - is his same old self now. He scored a season-high 37 points in the loss to Washington College, marking his fourth career 30-point game.

"We are definitely can contend for a championship," Killing said. "We fell short last year. We lost in the semifinals in a game where we were up by five with two minutes to go."

That's where the focus comes into play. 

 

Muhlenberg Men and Women Win Annual Scotty Wood Tournament

Robert Parkins

On Saturday evening at Memorial Hall Gymnasium the Muhlenberg Mules men & women teams squared off for the annual Scotty Wood Championship contest. The women Mules played against Misericordia Cougars and the men Mules matched up with Gwynedd Mercy Griffins. At the end of the evening both men and women teams were victorious.  Women were in a back and forth battle before eventually pulling away, and men’s game came down to the last minute.

Women Mules were in an up and down, fast pace for pretty much the whole first half. Mules were scrappy to loose balls, protecting paint with blocks, penetrating through the lane, and crashing the boards. Janelle Fleet (6 points, 3 dimes) was breaking down the defense to get into the paint or rise up for mid range jumpers. Fleet saw the floor well creating scoring opportunities for teammates, and pushing the pace to keep the team in transition.

With the stellar play from Leanna Tallamy (23 points, 12 boards) she sparked a late 6-0 run on three consecutive baskets inside the paint. She made crucial baskets when needed towards the end of the first half. Tallamy also was big on the defensive end altering shots, grabbing boards and playing with great intensity. The intensity was fueled through press to force the Cougars into careless turnovers. Into the second half, Mules got out of what gave them command of the game. So they went back to press defense to get back in the flow of things. Fleet and Tallamy took over the game getting out in transition scoring, causing turnovers, and showing passion. Towards the end Erin Laney and Abby Stenger, heated up from beyond the arch to put the game out of reach. Mules’ hit six three pointers to deliver the knockout punch to the Cougars and won the game 77-54.

When the men Mules action took place the building was electric, and ready to see a great game against the Griffins. For the fans that came tonight got their monies worth. Mules came out fast running and gunning lead by Malique Killing (28 pts, 4 dimes, 5 boards). He pushing the pace and driving into lane. Early on Killing was creating shots for others and feeding Kevin Hargrove (16 pts, 9 boards) inside. Mules went through some early struggles in the half court going to 2-3 zone which allowed the Griffins to hit threes from down town. The biggest struggle was having Hargrove go out with injury, but later returned.

When Hargrove re-entered the team wanted to get him involved and the Mules had great ball movement in their half court offense. Brandon Bovino (11 pts, 8 boards) along with Hargrove crashed the boards hard. Then Killing started heating up from the perimeter with Alec Stavetski (19 pts, 3 dimes, 7 boards). Griffins were still hanging in there midway into second half.  Both teams were trading baskets. Killing played the passing lanes scoring in transition he went over 1,000 points in his career. His play got the rest of the team going and Stavetski started hitting timely shots. Hargrove eventually fouled out, but John Hunter (2 pts, 5 boards) stepped in in his place cleaning the glass. Killing was taking the game over getting to the rim at will, but the Griffins hung in there. In the whining minutes of a tight game, Stavetski hit a reverse layup hit a basket to put lead up to five (80-75). Closing minutes it was one point game (80-79) Killing hit (1 of 2) free throws, and Griffins player Justin Knight (23 pts, 4 dimes, 5 boards) went to the foul line. Knight made (1 of 2) then James Albano (5 boards) secured the missed foul shot, and nail biting win for the Mules 81-80.

LVBR Fall Tour invades Kutztown University to check out the Golden Bears

LVBR FALL TOUR Continues with Anthony Ross' PSU-LV Team

 

By Andre Williams

Penn State-Lehigh Valley won only one game out of 21 last season and returns no starters this season, not giving coach Anthony Ross much to work with you'd figure.

But that's quite the contrary.

"It's all irrelevant," said freshman guard Chevon Williams from Liberty. "Because none of us were here."

Though he will field a team with four freshman starters and a big man who hasn't played in four years, Ross is optimistic about his chances.

The former Morning Call Player of the Year is enthused about his guards - something he has a lot of this year.

"We have a lot of guards," Ross said. "I think we are right there. I am confident in our ability to play."

The former standout guard from Dieruff has a lot of moxie, something he played with at Dieruff and later at East Stroudsburg University.

"I'm confident this year," Ross sad. "I have the players I need. Last year our guards were limited so teams stepped up the tempo on us."

And the Nittany Lions were not able to keep pace. This season Ross will play an uptempo style of play himself and will press teams full-court.

PSU will try to rattle opponents with Williams, who has moved from point guard to shooting guard, Jordan Young from Freedom will run the point - both of those guards are 5-foot-11. The
 Lions will also showcase Taaj Williams, a 6-3 scorer from Lincoln Leadership, Anthony Bellucci from Whitehall and 6-3 forward Ben Lee, who has skyscraping hops ability.

Lee will team with 6-7 center D'Avry Rickmon from Baltimore to man the boards.

"I am lacking a real scorer but I have a collection of scorers and I like that. If you look at our roster it’s a lot of guys who were second and third options on their high school team. Now things will have to be intensified."

The visions Ross has for the program are shared by PSU-LV athletic director Rich Fatzinger, the former Parkland and Central Catholic coach who's trying to shape up the entire athletic program with limited funds.

"It's definitely a change going from Parkland where we had all kinds of facilities to here where we are limited," Fatzinger said.

Like the Nittany Lions have men's and women's basketball teams but no gymnasium. So the men practice and play majority of their home games at Stabler Arena. They also will use Moravian's Johnston Hall for some home games as well.

"That's one of the things that we are excited about," Fatzinger said. "We signed a contract at Stabler and Moravian. We will play half our games at Lehigh and at Moravian.

With so much on the upward bound, Fatzinger also expressed confidence in his young coach.

"He's really, really good for the kids," Fatzinger said. "He's really concentrated on the young kids as men. The basketball court is his classroom.

"What really impresses me about him is his passion and how he sells himself to the kids."

 

 

 

2/8  Foley has NCC Winning Championships and Saving Students $$$

Kevin Foley is in the midst of his 4th season at Northampton Community College and is enjoying their finest campaign.  The Spartans are 18-8 (13-1 in league play) and undefeated at home (12-0).  Foley has established a home for thriving male athletes to play at competitive level and at a reduced rate financially.  His base for recruiting starts right here in the LVBR area, “This past year is the best recruiting class I have ever had regarding basketball talent from the local area as well as academic success. It has to do with the competition we play in the NJCAA as well as the economic constraints on DIII players. We are receiving players that are division III recruits that either is hoping to get looked at by a higher level, or, want to save on two years’ worth of tuition at a private DIII school.”  The local talent includes Brent Maron (Salisbury), Justin Ringland (Bangor), Tyler Krchnavi (Palisades), Andrew Miller and Zach Hankerson (Easton).   Miller is the team captain, top 10 in career scoring, and has destroyed the 3 point mark at NCC.  Miller is a Moravian recruit.  Hankerson, a former LVC MVP and Kutztown scholarship athlete, is the team’s best all around talent.  Foley calls him “one of my biggest and most important recruits.”  Maron is having a great season and could end up making a run at the all time assist mark.  Ringland and Krchnavi have both started some games this year.  Ringland best defines all the attributes NCC has to offer as he strives to be a doctor!  NCC’s most talented and recruited player is from Arkansas.  Yes, Arkansas.  Jaylonn Tullis (pictured) is a 6’6 hyper forward that rebounds and plays extremely hard.  Tullis is receiving multiple D2 interests. 

Foley has two valuable assistants that he refers to as “the brains.”  Kevin Strobl continues to be Foley’s number 1 assistant since their stint at Lehigh Carbon Community College.  He offers a relaxing, calming demeanor on the sidelines.  Mike Kaminsky was a long time member of Doug Snyder’s staff at Allen and currently plays a vital role as the key recruiter for the Spartans.  Kaminsky has the dedication, desire and hard work to be a head coach in the very near future. 

NCC will be back in action February 25th at home as they will start their journey for a regional championship.  A regional championship will put the Spartans in the Elite 8 of the national tournament. 



1/27/2013 - East Stroudsburg University Men extend win streak to Nine
It was alumni day at ESU, which featured an alumni mens basketball game. It was the a tight contest with the gray team (led by Russel Grant and Dan Hargrove) defeating the red (led by Josh Wentz and Rich baker)  87-86. 
The real team took the floor against shippensburg. ESU put the game away in the first half with a 20 to 0 run. The final score was ESU 99 and Shippensburg 56. Whis grant led the way for the warriors with 18 points.

1/26/13 --Lehigh vs. Lafayette Womens Basketball

 The Lehigh Lafayette womans basketball Rilvary continued with the 82nd edition. Lehigh was ranked #1 in the LVBR coming into this game. Danielle Fiacco (LVBR #2 ranked player) led Lafayette with 17 points, 6 rebounds and 5 blocked shots in route to a 68 - 52 win. Fiacoco had help, Kelly Loughney poured in 16 points on 7-9 shooting. It was the first league win for Lafayette which is looking to turn their season around. Lehigh played a terrible first half, but fought back in the second with a strong effort from Becky Guman (13 points in 2nd half). Kerry Kinek (LVBR #3 ranked player), Lehighs best player, struggled from the field shooting 3-17, and finishing with only 10 points.

1/25/2013 - Lehigh has a Rising Star

Kerry Kinek (#2 Ranked LVBR Collegiate Women’s Player), has been with out question the best player for the Lehigh Mountain Hawks guiding her team to a 2-2 record this month. Patriot League play has began, and Kinek has been unstoppable. Kinek is averaging 17 points and 7 rebounds in league play, as a freshman

1/21  LEHIGH VALLEY SMALL COLLEGE SCHOLAR ATHLETES

By Andre Williams
They are leaders on the court and in the classroom.
They are your next doctors, teachers and accountants.
Recently each of them was named to the Lehigh Valley Small College Media Scholar Athlete team.
DeSales junior Matt Poorman is the leader, sporting a 3.95 GPA.
''He's an awesome young man, who has a 3.95 GPA as a pre-med major," DeSales coach Scott Coval said. I just asked him about how many A's he got.
''He's had 25 classes at DeSales and 22 of them have been A's and three of them A-minuses. It's unbelievable and he's taking the hardest major we have."
But Poorman has endured a setback on the court. He injured his back lifting weights before the start of his sophomore year and took a medical redshirt year.
He has proved to not only be bright in the classroom as his injury has taught him what he can
and cannot do.
''Right now I don't have any (limitations)," Poorman said. ''I work hard to keep my back stretched out to prevent future injuries."
He's not averaging anything of note but Coval has confidence in lhim.
''He has been a really talented player but a bit unlucky," Coval said. ''We are hoping that he will show what he can do. He can shoot and pass."
And as far as the classroom goes, ace a test. He's had great training.
''Academics has always been a priority for me," said Poorman who graduated from Stroudsburg.''I work hard in athletics and on the court. I just make it as a priority and I have been able to be good at both."
Especially the academics.
''My parents helped make it a priority when I was younger and I maintained it in high school and college," he said.
Other male's named to the Dan Clapp (Easti Stroudsburg), Ryan Connolly (Kutztown), Jay Donovan (Delaware Valley), Ryan ALagomarsino (Muhlenberg) and future congressman Mike Weinert (Parkland/Moravian).
The women named to the team includes Barb Borst (East Stroudsburg), Avery Hodgson (Kutztown), Katelyn Donahue (Delaware Valley), Colleen Gavin (Quakertown (DeSales), Alyssa Hann (Nazareth/Moravian), and future sports reporter Julie Kelly (Muhlenberg).

1/21 Runnin' Warriors 

East Stroudsburg University continues their stellar play. The Warriors have won 7 games in a row and have won a school record 9road games in succession. Whis Grant has been outstanding! The sophomore Plymouth Whitemarsh graduate is the only player under Head Coach Jeff Wilson to score 25+ points in 3 consecutive games. Wilson states, “Whis Grant has proven through his year and a half with the program to be a proven and reliable scorer (team’s leading scorer in both of his years at ESU). His recent string of games is so impressive because he is scoring in every way possible and not just relying on one manner to score.” Wilson’s Warriors play 40 minutes of 94 feet HEAT creating an atmosphere that encourages athletes to be athletes and also allows ESU to play a lot of players, “We look to play an uptempo style of game by running and pressing for 40 minutes. The style starts with defense both in the half court and full court. We rotate 10 players on most nights in an effort to keep players fresh to maximize their effort while on the court.” The Runnin’ Warriors host Millersville Wednesday, and we look forward to seeing Dan Hargrove, Rich Baker, Anthony Ross, Josh Wentz, and Justin Scott and all the other East Stroudsburg Alumni in their “Geezer Day” this Saturday as they take on Shippensburg.



1/21 Fab Freshmen Honored

Three LVBR area freshmen were recognized for their efforts last week. Chestnut Hill swingman Noel Hightower (Easton-pictured) was recognized as CACC Freshman of the Week. Shippensburg guard Joe Lococo (Freedom and reigning LVC MVP) was recognized as PSAC East Freshman of the Week, while Lock Haven guard Dave Garcia (Pocono Mt East) was honored as PSAC West Freshman of the week. Noel recorded his first collegiate double-double by scoring 10 points, grabbing 12 rebounds, swiping 2 steals in a win over Goldey Beacom. The reigning LVC MVP, Joe Lococo, averaged 17 points last week while shooting a blazing 54% from the field and 71% from three point range. Garcia earned his second PSAC West Frosh of the Week honor s by posting a career high 17 points versus Edinboro.



1/14  Division 3 Recap

Desales Men’s Basketball team has been playing fantastic basketball. They are currently 12-3 and undefeated in conference play 4-0. The Bulldogs have an impressive victory over traditional power Catholic (DC) who came into the contest ranked #12 in the country. Coach Scott Coval has received tremendous contributions from Brett Moyer (recent conference player of the week) and Parkland’s Paul Pammer. This past Saturday, Pammer hammered Delaware Valley with 22 points (17 in first half). Coach Coval states, “Paul Pammer is having an all conference type of season. He is excelling on both ends of the floor and has been very consistent.” Desales has local talent splattered throughout their roster. Notre Dame’s Andrew Kohler and Pennridge’s Mike Guildin are both starters on the team. Guildin is a former Suburban One MVP and leads the team with 3.7 dimes per game. Kohler is a 6’5 long range threat that is shooting 41% from downtown. Bethehem Catholic’s Jake Hungarter is slowly getting back into the swing of things. “Jake Hungarter missed our first 8 games with mono. He got cleared to play right before Christmas. We expect him to give our team a lift when he gets back to full strength.”



Moravain Men’s Basketball team is currently 9-5 (2-3 in conference) after losing to #6 Catholic University last Saturday. The Greyhounds are led by longtime bossman Jim Walker. Walker has been at Moravian since 1979 piling up over 400 victories. Moravian is filled with local talent as they roster 8 players from the LVBR area. Walker elaborates, “All 4 of our seniors played in local conferences. I have always felt that Lehigh Valley basketball produces very good college basketball players. It also helps that the high schools have excellent coaches. We will continue to recruit the area very hard!”  Leading the team in scoring and assists is former Pocono Mountain East star DJ Strayhorn with 14.1 ppg and 3.4 assists per contest. Senior captain and former Allen wing Garrett Johnson is second in scoring with 11.5 ppg. Garrett has been deemed B.A.D (click here for article). Sophomore Izell Dickerson (Liberty) was recently recognized as the MVP of the 35th annual Greyhound Classic. Izell blacked out and torched New Jersey City University for 23 points (8/11 shooting), 4 rebounds, and 4 steals. Dickerson enjoys playing in his hometown and was humbled to be named MVP, “To play in my hometown is great because people who followed you in high school can still follow you, and your family still gets to come and see you play. To be MVP on the collegiate level takes hard work every day. Even when your mind and body want to quit, you have to find a way to keep pushing. More importantly you need teammates to help push you through it as well. “



Muhlenberg Men’s Basketball team is currently 8-7 (4-4 in conference play). The Mules are enduring a tough stretch as they have lost 3 games in a row. However, the players are enjoying some fantastic opportunities. The Mules played in a tournament in Puerto Rico and also played everyone’s favorite Cinderella, Lehigh. Individually, Muhlenberg has received fantastic play from Junior center Kevin Hargrove and Malique Killing. Hargrove recorded his first career triple double vs Mcdaniel with 12 points, 13 rebounds, and 10 blocks. Hargrove followed that effort with a career high 24 points vs Gettysburg. Sophomore Malique is averaging a team high 20.1 ppg and 3.1 asssists per game. The Mules best win of the season was against their arch rival, Moravian. McClary states, “This is a huge rivalry as it contains so much history and great games between us. Moravian is having a great year ,and they are quite the challenge to beat. Great day to be a Mule!”



LVBR College Womens' Weekly Report

1/12/2013 - Alexis Wright (16 pts, 12 rbs), added another double double to the record breaking season she is having for Moravian WBB. Moravian (62) beat undefeated Catholic University (59) in a true battle. Coach Spirk has Moravian WBB (14-1, 5-0) primed and ready to make a deep run into March.

1/12/2013 - Kerry Kinek (13 pts) and Katie O'Rielly (17 pts, 12 rbs), carried the load for Lehigh in the win. O'Rielly hit the game winning bucket to cap of a career day for herself, as well a victory for her team. Lehigh (67) Holy Cross (65).

1/12/2013 - Sondrine Glovas (pictured-25pts) was the best player on the court. She also had help from Alexiah Grant (17 pts) and Colleen Gavin (17 pts). Desales WBB (82) cruised past Deleware Valley (57) league play.

LVBR College Mens' Weekly Report

1/12/2013 - Jalen Cannon (15 pts, 6 rbs), had another solid Division 1 basketball game in a win. St. Francis NY (71) beat up on Wagner (52) in NEC league play.  Cannon is holding down Brooklyn averaging 16.4 ppg and 9.2 rebounds.  The former Allen all star still represents Atown to the fullest as he states, "Allentown has prepared me for growing up in a tough environment.  In many ways, Allentown is a small version of Brooklyn. 

1/12/2013 - Tony Johnson (14 pts, 6 Asst) and Seth Henrichs (22 pts, 9 rbs), played up to their rankings this weekend as they both carried Lafayette (64) to an easy win over Navy (45), in their Patriot league opener.

1/12/2013 - Gabe Knutson (12 pts) Mackey McKnight (16 pts, 4 asst) and Holden Griener (15 pts, 4 asst), played very well with out their leader C.J McCollum (injured foot). Lehigh (79) cruised to an easy victory over Holy Cross (47), in their Patriot league season opener.

1/12/2013 - Micah Fraction had a career high 35 points for Kutzown in a loss. Kutztown (76) continues to struggle this season in a PSAC league loss to Slippery Rock (99).

1/12/2013 - Whis Grant (29 pts, 3 asst), could not be gaurded by anyone in the PSAC game. East Stroudsburg continues to play well under the direction of coach Jeff Wilson. ESU (85) deafeted Edinboro (75) in a heated PSAC crossover league battle.

1/12/2013 - Brett Moyer (11 pts, 14 rbs) and Paul Pammer (22 pts, 7rbs), put in major work for Desales (69) in hard fought victory over Delaware Valley (63). Scott Coval has his team playing very well together, as they continue to pile up wins.

1/12/2013 - Frank Dejesus (28 pts) and Erick Nyamai (14pts, 11rbs) played very well in a win. Lehigh Carbon Community College (66) beat Ocean County Community College(61) in a good game.

 

 

12/21/12 Lehigh Basketball Report

Mackey McKnight scored a career-high 25 points and handed out 6 assist in a (Lehigh 90 - North Texas 75) win. Showing why he is the #1 rated college point guard, in LVBR coverage area. Gabe Knutson (#2 rated post player), continued his consistent post play, by scoring a game high 28 point. The #1 overall collegiate basketball player (C.J McCollum) on the east coast was out due to an injury.

 

LVBR was live at Stabler Arena to see Kerry Kinek (LVBR #1) and the Lehigh women try to defend their home court after a 12 day layoff (Sacred Heart 73 – Lehigh 63). Lehigh was definitely rusty, but Kinek had a solid performance (9 pts, 9 rbs, 2 asst). Kelly Peterson (LVBR #5) had a team high 16 points, she has a beautiful, high arching 3 point shot, and it was falling last night (4 three point shots made). Becky Guman added 7 points and 7 assist in another consistent performance. Hillary Weaver has apparently won her starting point guard position back, and she did not disappoint (7 pts, 5 asst).



12/16- Moravian at Muhlenberg

Muhlenberg had an impressive 71-52 victory over their arch rivals Moravian.  Several players stepped up with major contributions.  6'10 junior center Kevin Hargrove filled the stat sheet with 13 rebounds, 9 blocks, and 9 points. SuperSoph Malique Killings scored 23 points and junior guard Austin Curry made 4 threes (14 points).   Senior PG Matt Ohara dropped 10 dimes and freshman reserve Alec Stavetski chipped in with 13 points.  Moravian shot poorly (30%) and could never really get going.  Allen Alum Garrett Johnson and Pocono Mountain East graduate DJ Strayhorn led the Greyhounds with 12 points. The Mules are taking off for a tournament in Puerto Rico and Coach Scott McClary was ecstatic for such a good win against their long time nemesis. "It was a great win.  Chemistry is really coming together, and we are playing to each others strength.  This is a huge rivalry as it contains so much history and great games between us.  Moravian is having a great year, and they are quite a challenge.  Great day to be a Mule!"

Muhlenberg got some new local flavor as former Whitehall swingman Nick Melosky has transferred to the program from Lebanon Valley College.  Nick will also join the team on their trip to Puerto Rico. "I chose Muhlenberg because of their great academic reputation and close proximity to my house.  Coach McClary and the staff at Muhlenberg recruited me in high school and Muhlenberg was one of my top college choices coming out of high school." 

12/18- College Scene Recap

12/10/2012 - LVBR Weekend Review

It was a busy weekend on the College basketball scene, but not too busy for the LVBR. Almost all of the LVBR top ranked basketball players were in action, and proving why they deserve recognition.

Lehigh University’s C.J. McCollum (LVBR #1 Ranked College player) had 29 points and 9 rebounds in a win on the road over St. Francis (click).

12/3  Week in Review   (Click any of the paragraphs for box score info)

 

-Senior Dana Wieller (Liberty) led Bloomsburg to a 3-0 week cultivating with a resounding win over nationally ranked Edinboro.  Bloomsburg is now ranked #25th in country.  Wieller (pictured) is averaging 15.8 points and 4.6 rebounds for the season.  Junior "Super" Cat Noack (Liberty) is also a starter for the Lady Huskies.

-The Mules went 3-0 last week defeating Kings, Swarthmore, and Washington College.  Their strong week was led by Malique Killing.  His strong play earned him B.A.D. status.  Click here for B.A.D article

-Angel Ayala had some strong performances last week as Holy Family defeated Kutztown and lost to Dominican College.  Click here for B.A.D article

-Moravain Men went 2-0 defeating Lebanon Valley and Juniata.  Versus Lebanon Valley, all 5 starters were in double figures and against Juniata, Moravian had 4 double digit performers. The Hounds take the court tonight versus Jon Ward (Parkland) and Ursinus. 

-Ty "Bulldog" Dixon (PM West) is off to a stellar start to his freshman season.  Playing for D2 Roberts Wesleyan (NY), Dixon was the ECC conference Rookie of the Week.  The Bulldog is averaging 12 points, 5 rebounds, shooting 55% from the field and 75% from the charity stripe in 29 minutes per contest. Click here for B.A.D article

-Tynell Fortune (PM West) is playing well for Cal Univ of PA.  He averaged 15pts and 4.6 assists as his team went 1-2 last week. 

-East Stroudsburg University went 3-0 last week winning two PSAC games in West PA defeating Mercyhurst and Gannon. Congrats to senior Terrance King as he scored his 1000th point in a win over PSU-LV. Senior Duane Johnson led the way during the 3 game win streak  averaging 17 points and 7 rebounds.

 

College Basketball Weekend Recap

11/19/12- Last year's Express Times and LVC MVP Joe Lococo (pictured) started his first two collegiate games for Shippensburg averaging 15.5 points, 5 rebounds and 38 minutes/game in a 1-1 weekend. 

-Lafayette went 0-2 on a weekend trip to two schools in the Blue Grass State.  They played Friday night at Rupp Arena versus the defending National Champions, Kentucky (101-49).  The Leopards then lost 88-74 to Morehead State. 

-Former Whitehall standout Matt Greene (sophmore) led Misericordia to a 2-0 weekend averaging 12 points, and a 5:1 assists to turnover ratio with 10 assists and 2 turnovers. 

-Former Allen all star Daquan Holiday (sophmore) scored 4 points and 5 rebounds for NJIT in a loss to South Carolina State.

-Freshman Matt Wisely, an Emmaus all league product, played 21 minutes for West Chester University in a loss to Shaw Sunday night.  Eric Frans, a sophmore from Saucon Valley, has finally hit the floor after an injury setback. 

-Moravian College is loaded with LVBR area players.  We counted 8 of their 12 man roster has LVBR surrounding area players.  The Greyhounds went 1-1 this past weekend at the Albright College tourney.  Albright also features Pedro Perez (Bethlehem Catholic) and Johnathan Amoroso (Pocono Mt West).  The LVBR will be going into more depth of the Greyhounds as they host Desales Tuesday night 11/20/12. 

-Former Pius X star Caleb Knudsen helped Eastern University get their first win. The freshman had 4 points and 7 rebounds Saturday afternoon. 

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