Leading off today:
Change is inevitable on high school rosters as players graduate (or simply run out of eligibility each year), and others come and go via transfers.
What's taken place in the Middletown boys basketball program, however, nearly defies description. Six players, most of whom would have seen considerable time on the court this winter, have left to attend prep schools, the Times Herald-Record reported Wednesday.
Swingman Travis Cook, a two-year starter, has left for Mount Zion Christian Academy in Durham, N.C., joining guards Darielle Jefferson and Tarik Boyd, who would have been senior starters at Middletown but are reclassifying as juniors at prep school according to the paper, and junior D'Andre Liburd, another guard who played on the junior varsity a year ago.
Further, 6-foot-8 senior Shandy Casimir has transferred to a prep school in Atlanta. And 6-6 sophomore center Hasahn French left this summer for Commonwealth Academy, a prep school in Springfield, Mass.
"It's just a better opportunity for me," Cook told the paper. "I get another year back and will play some talented players. I didn't want to leave at all. I love coach (Jim) Kelly, I love all the coaches. But this is the decision my family and I made."
Kelly will have to rebuild around junior swingman Aaron Ray, who averaged 17.7 points, 10.2 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game last year.
"It's amazing how these kids let people fill their head with ideas on how prep schools are their ticket to a big college scholarship," Kelly said.
Also on the move: 6-foot-5 Kena Gilmour of New Paltz and Anthony Salmon on Newburgh, regarded as top junior prospects for the upcoming basketball season, have transferred to 2013 NYSPHSAA tournament finalist John S. Burke Catholic, the Times Herald-Record reported.
"I like the school a lot, I have my friends there. I always wanted to go there," said Gilmour, a 6-foot-5 swingman who averaged 15 points last season. "I went there for the academics and because I need a change in my life. I just want to help the team however I can."
Salmon was a two-year starter at Newburgh.
Burke, which has made four straight trips to the state final fours in Glens Falls, was elevated by Section 9 from Class B to A last season. In May, the Section 9 athletic council approved the recommendation of the non-public school reclassification committee to bump the Eagles up to Class AA.
Bad start: Thomas Jefferson will forfeit its second straight PSAL game to begin the football season, but the Orange Wave will likely re ready to play in Week 3, the New York Daily News reported.
Coach Stephen Edwards was fired in May, reportedly because of a weight room accident that left a player with a chipped tooth. Former Jefferson assistant Frederick Nash was hired as the head coach, but AD David Rivera has since stepped in as the interim AD and restored Guy Cyrus to his position as an assistant.
The latest changes triggered the return of other assistants who had quit in protest of Edwards' dismissal and essentially ended player boycotts of practices.