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Wednesday, July 16, 2014: Kingston basketball star heading to prep school

   Leading off today: Players coming, players going ... some sooner rather than later. Yup, it's been a busy week in the boys basketball offseason.

   For starters, Anthony Gaines is gone after an outstanding sophomore season at Kingston, The Times Herald-Record reported.

   Gaines, who averaged 21 points and 9.6 rebounds to help Kingston reach the Section 9 Class AA final and earn recognition as a sixth-team all-stater, is heading off to prep school. The 6-foot-4 wing will transfer to New Hampton School, a prep school in New Hampshire.

   "It's a great opportunity," Gaines told the paper. "The competition is going to be a lot better and I'm going to play against a lot of Division I players. That is my goal, to go big-time Division I."

   Former Pine Plains star Tyler Lydon, who has verbally committed to enroll at Syracuse just over a year from now, will return to New Hampton for a second year this fall.

   Recent Webster Schroeder post player Emmitt Holt, a second-team all-stater after averaging 19.5 points, is also going the prep-school route even though he had Division I offers on the table (the latest came from Hofstra over the weekend).

   Holt, a finalist for the state's Mr. Basketball award, told the Democrat and Chronicle last week he is enrolling at Vermont Academy in Saxtons River, Vt., to work on both his grades (which were already good enough to enroll in college) and his game.

   "I felt for playing and academically in college, it will help me get my head on straight," he told the paper.

   Holt will be walking onto a college campus to be determined at the same time Jordan Roland will be arriving at George Washington University. The Westhill guard, th reigning state Class B player of the year, revealed his decision Monday on Twitter.

   Roland averaged 24 points per game as a junior while leading Westhill to a 27-0 record and the NYSPHSAA Class B championship. His 41-point effort in the state title game vs. Olean was arguably -- there's a dumb word; it's hard to see how anyone could argue otherwise -- the most electrifying performance in New York high school sports for the 2013-14 school year.

   Former Jamesville-DeWitt star Tyler Cavanaugh recently announced his transfer from Wake Forest to GWU.

   And, finally, Half Hollow Hills East grad Jordan McRae will continue his career as a collegian at Binghamton University. McRae was an honorable mention all-stater as a senior after averaging 13 points and 13 rebounds, but it's likely most people know him for his bloodlines; he's the son of Conrad McRae, the former Brooklyn Tech and Syracuse University star who died at the age of 29 during a workout in 2000.

   Jordan McRae's stepfather is former New York Jets lineman Shaun Ellis.

   "Shaun has taught him how to be a man in every sense of the word," Jordan's mother, Cecile, told The New York Post. "Shaun has modeled what a good father should be, what a good husband should be, what a good man should be. He's taught Jordan how to be a competitor, a hard worker, responsible, and he has taught Jordan how to be humble. ... I guess Jordan has had the perfect balance between nature (Conrad) and nurture (Shaun)."

   All-state softball: Co-players of the year in four classes highlight the 2014 all-state softball teams announced this week by the New York State Sportswriters and Coaches Organization for Girls Sports.

   In Class AA, pitchers Kerri Shapiro (East Meadow, senior) and Julia DiMartino (Brockport, junior) split the honor. DiMartino was selected as Gatorade's state player of the year last month.

   In Class A, the picks were first baseman Aidan Falk (Rochester Mercy) and shortstop Emily Martin (Williamsville South), both seniors.

   In Class C, the honor was split between seniors Kate Warren (Elmira Heights Edison, pitcher) and Lindsey Thayer (St. Lawrence, catcher). In Class D, the picks were junior pitchers Becca Rogers (Hamilton) and Molly Bailey (Fort Ann).

   The sole pick in Class B on the 25th annual NYSSCOGS team was Watervliet senior shortstop Taylor Daniels.

   The complete all-state team and information for ordering certificates recognizing the honorees can be found here.

   A non-responsive response: I expected a bit more from a college-educated man who went on to a professional sports career and now spends some of his time seeking to convince taxpayers that his proposals are worthy of their money.

   Instead, what I got was someone playing the race card.

   Former East High, Syracuse University and NFL tight end

  
RoadToSyracuse.com
RoadToSyracuse.com football site

Roland Williams took exception to my unflattering critique this week of his proposals to fix the Rochester City School District's struggling football programs.

   Rather than refute any of my points, Williams took the low road -- "racially insenstive" -- in an email that arrived in my inbox early this morning. He used big words while saying nothing of substance:

   "I was deeply saddened by this writer's inaccurate dramatization of my efforts with the RCSD and the City of Rochester. This mockery was divisive, racially insensitive and disrespectful to my expertise of the game I love.

"Although I can't understand WHY this individual would attack me, its clear that his effort was more about sensationalized media, discrediting expertise and RCSD cheap shots than truth. I am truly interested in hearing what is this writer's credentials professionally and personally to provide such a report.

   "Additionally, if whoever wrote this letter would like to discuss this matter in more detail, please forward me their address. I would love to identify a time to discuss face-to-face on camera this situation and then let the conversation be turned into a blog for ALL to read the truth."

   -- RW

   Williams has yet to land any of the sizeable grants he's been seeking from City Hall and the school district for the plans he's put forth for football. On Tuesday, however, he was in Rochester to launch his Champion Academy initiative, a free, 10-day football camp slated for August for 500 city boys.    WROC-TV reported the school district is giving Williams $34,000 to help defray some of the expense of the Champion Academy, a small component of his overall football plan, but that works out to just $68 per participant -- likely quite a bit less than what the project will ultimately cost.

   "I've exhausted my personal resources to jump-start this initiative," Williams said during the announcement. "It's clear that governing bodies are not unanimously convinced that right now is the appropriate time to invest substantially into this group. This perspective is awfully saddening. The truth is young males ages 12 to 17 are in crisis right now."


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   If the amount of government funding -- $34,000 -- sounds a bit odd, consider this note from the TV station's report. That sum is just slightly under the $35,000 threshold that would have required a vote from the school board.

   Want to take a guess at how much Williams was paid to conduct his evaluation of the RCSD programs that led to his subsequent proposals?

   Yup, $34,000.

   Shame on the Rochester City School District for doing business in such a fashion.

   An all-star educator: Abraham Lincoln athletic director and assistant principal Renan Ebeid was one of 30 educators from across the country to be honored ahead of last night's Major League Baseball All-Star Game in Minnesota.

   Ebeid, who has worked at Lincoln for 17 years and also teaches a dance class there, was on the field before the game for a pregame ceremony.

   "It's nice to actually be recognized for the work you put in," told The Daily News. "You do it because you love what you do, but they make us feel like all-stars. We all have our own jersey with our names on it for the team we represent."


  
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