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Thursday, April 10, 2014: St. John's adds another Delarosa

   Leading off today: Family likely played a major role as St. John's University scored a rare, and much needed, basketball recruiting victory.

   Adonis Delarosa, a 6-foot-11 center who averaged 12 points and 12 rebounds for Federation champion Christ the King, verbally committed to the Red Storm on Wednesday after considering several schools including Pittsburgh and Alabama.

   Delarosa originally intended to announce next week but moved up the decision after his older sister, Cindy, was diagnosed last week with cancer, he told local media. Older brother Joey Delarosa, who's also 6-11, has transferred to St. John's from Florida International and could become eligible at the end of the fall semester.

   "The fact that I will be home, can be with my family, and also be an impact player as soon as I come in," he said. "There's nothing better than playing and putting on for your city. And also you get to play at the Garden."

   St. John's, which has not had a stellar recent history when it comes to recruiting New York City, is in need of low-post talent with the unexpected departure of Chris Obekpa (transfer) and JaKarr Sampson (NBA draft) as well as the graduation of two others.

    • Christ the King point guard Andre Walker, MVP of the Federation Class AA tournament, committed to Loyola (Md.).

   Assist record matched: Senior attackman Derek Andrews of Iroquois tied the Section 6 boys lacrosse record with 10 assists in the game as the Chiefs defeated Lake Shore 18-3. The senior co-captain also scored three goals while matching the assist mark most recently reached by Zach Williams of Silver Creek in 2010.

   What a season: NYSSWA editor Neil Kerr reminded me this week that one would be hard-pressed to find a national championship basketball team with more of a New York flavor than the UConn women, who capped a 40-0 season by beating previously unbeaten Notre Dame on Tuesday.

   Forwards Breanna Stewart (Cicero-North Syracuse) averaged 19.4 points/8.1 rebounds and Stefanie Dolson (Minisink Valley) averaged 12.5/9.3.

   In the backcourt, Bria Hartley (North Babylon) was the Huskies' No. 2 scorer at 16.2 points a game to go along with 173 assists. Freshman Saniya Chong (Ossining) added 4.7 points a game to the attack and finished with a solid assists to turnovers ratio of 60 to 27.

   Calling all helpers, Part I: Tom Vartanian of the Cortland Standard will be handling baseball rankings for the New York State Sportswriters Association once again. He has put together a network of helpers to supply weekly class-by-class updates from across New York each weekend, but there's one hole in the lineup.

   If there's someone out there in the Section 10 region of the state who would like to help, please make contact with Tom via e-mail as soon as possible.

   Calling all helpers, Part II: Perry Novak is moving along with the process of selecting the girls basketball all-state team, but information is a bit scarce thus far from some precincts.

   Helpers who have not yet submitted nominations are encouraged to email Perry with their picks as quickly as possible so that we can stay on schedule.

   This would be funny, but ... If not for the developments at Irondequoit that I blogged about earlier Thursday, there would almost be humor to be found in this report from The Chronicle-Express summarizing concerns expressed by the parents of a lacrosse player at the recent Penn Yan school board meeting.

   Here's an excerpt:

   "Milt and Brenda Race told the Board of Education they were concerned about their ninth grade son's situation on the Junior Varsity team.

   "Saying ninth grade is the year his son is supposed to be able to 'shine,' Milt described how his son had been moved from the position where he excels -- attack -- to one he's unfamiliar with -- midfield. He says a younger player, brought up from the modified team, had taken the attack position, and his son's play time has been reduced.

   "Brenda said, 'My son is scholarship material. There are

  
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other young men who are scholarship material ... they deserve that chance.' She said last year, scouts from two teams outside of Penn Yan approached the family about their son playing for them.

   "The couple and Christa Disbrow said Penn Yan coaching staff promotes and plays athletes whose parents are school employees, rather than players who have more advanced skills."

   You can follow the above link to read the rest of the story and see that there was a somewhat satisfactory resolution. But why the coaches and AD had to be dragged into the matter at all rates somewhere between frustrating and disgusting.

   On a related note: I was on the phone relaying the Penn Yan story to a friend this afternoon. He cracked a joke along the lines that the parents may have a point since a freshman lacrosse player who hasn't committed to a Division I school by now is going to have to turn it up a notch just to attract interest from the local junior college.

   That is an exaggeration -- but sometimes I wonder by how much. Laxlessons.com says 10 current New York freshmen have made non-binding commitments to NCAA Division I lacrosse programs. That's absurd on several levels, not the least of which is that some colleges have pretty stringent admission requirements. (Yes, I wish I could rewrite that sentence to suggest that all colleges have pretty stringent admission requirements.)

   This brings me back to an email I received late last month after I mentioned that a Section 5 girls soccer player had committed to Ohio State. The reader asked me to consider not acknowledging verbal commitments.

   In part, his email read:

   "I understand it is news, but how can a freshman actually know what college they want to attend at such an early age. Many College coaches feel the same way I do. ... A lot can change in four years both academically and athletically. A verbal commitment can give a student a false hope. It only means a coach will support you through the admissions process. Nothing says a coach can't change his/her mind (hopefully they don't). Students have to have acceptable ACT, SAT and GPA's to even be considered. ..."

   I have considered from time to time ignoring verbal commitments by athletes not even old enough to apply for a learner's permit at the DMV. The reader's reasons were among the issues I considered, and I've also wondered if the attention plays into the hands of parents who are somewhere between misguided and delusional.

   The bottom line, though, is that the proverbial horse has left the barn by the time a commitment gets noted in this blog. Ignoring commitment news here isn't going to stop the next generation of freshmen from making non-binding verbals. For that matter, the NCAA can do plenty to put its house in order, but restricting free speech -- even by those too young to appreciate the implications -- isn't an option.

   At the end of the day, the practice of committing early really can only be reeled in by mom and dad. Now, if we could just get someone to reel in mom and dad.


  
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