News, notes and observations on New York high school sports
NYSSWA rankings are updated weekly.
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Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015: No. 2 Athena loses all-state guard to broken arm
(Editor's note: This entry was revised at 8:45 a.m. on Feb. 5 to make a correction to the list of football signings.)
Leading off today: In the blink of an eye, Class A in next month's NYSPHSAA boys basketball tournament may have just become a bit less interesting. What was projected to be an exceptional battle between No. 1-ranked Scotia-Glenville and No. 2 Greece Athena became a bit less likely to happen Tuesday night.
Greece Athena guard Jay Sarkis, a 12th-team all-state selection in Class AA last year, broke both bones in his left forearm Tuesday during a game against Spencerport.
Sarkis was transported to Strong Memorial Hospital, where he was scheduled to undergo surgery on Wednesday. Estimates have him missing from six to eight weeks; the state final is March 22 at the Glens Falls Civic Center.
Junior post player Anthony Lamb is the single most irreplaceable Athena player, but Sarkis was most indispensable amongst the supporting cast. He scored 20 points Saturday as the Trojans scored a 70-69 win over Class AA Jamestown on Saturday.
Without Sarkis, Athena remains deep and dangerous. But the trip through the Section 5 and state tournaments leading up to the final just got substantially more complicated.
I will not fail. I will bring it home for you man stay strong.
Wheatley picks Michigan: Canisius senior T.J. Wheatley, the NYSSWA's player of the year in Class AA football, announced Wednesday that he will attend the University of Michigan, where his father was a star running back and was recently hired as an assistant on Jim Harbaugh's staff.
Wheatley's choice reportedly came down to Michigan and UCLA.
Wheatley is the third member of Canisius' senior class to commit to a BCS program. Here's the list of players for New York's high schools who were scheduled to sign letters of intent today.
Brandon Coleman, QB, Archbishop Stepinac (Navy)
Tyler Davis, QB, Mepham (UConn)
Jordan Fredericks, RB, Lawrence (Syracuse)
Jordan Gowins, RB, St. Anthony's (Boston College)
Duke Hwang, DE, Williamsville North (Buffalo)
Evin Ksiezarczyk, OL, West Seneca East (Buffalo)
Tyrone Perkins, RB, Friends Academy (Syracuse)
John Phillips, OL, Syracuse CBA (Boston College)
Deonte Roberts, LB, Erasmus Hall (Rutgers)
Kamaal Seymour, DT, Grand Street (Rutgers)
Qaadir Sheppard, LB, Iona Prep (Syracuse)
Cameron Skipworth, RB, Baldwinsville (Buffalo)
Brandon Smiley, WR, Sweet Home (Buffalo)
Michael Tarbutt, K, Canisius (UConn)
T.J. Wheatley, TE, Canisius (Michigan)
Brad Zaffram, LB, Canisius (Texas-El Paso)
Hot off the press: The New York State Public High School Athletic Association has posted a PDF with the school-by-school BEDS enrollment data that will be used for determining classifications for the 2015-16 school year.
Speaking of numbers: There've been several 50-point performances in the past few days, including 51 by Joel Wincowski on Tuesday in a 68-41 win over Broadalbin-Perth. The outburst upped his career total to 2,312 points, allowing him to pass three more players on the all-time state list.
With the season winding down, he's within reasonable reach of Jimmer Fredette's Section 2 record of 2,404 points.
On Friday, Batavia rolled past Irondequoit 71-49 as Jeff Redband also hit for 51 points. He went 6-for-12 on 3-pointers and canned all 15 of his foul shots. The Blue Devils' previous single-game scoring record was set by Tom Hoitink at 45 in 1965.
On Saturday, Ryan Basso of Putnam Valley scored 34 first-half points on his way to a school-record 50 in a win over Pawling. Basso added 10 assists in the victory.
At the other end of the spectrum: The Bibb County and Brookwood boys basketball teams played a glorified game of keep-away Saturday in Alabama, one of the few states that has not adopted a shot clock.
A Bibb County field goal 15 seconds into the opening possession marked the only points of the game. Though the game ended with a relative flurry of action, there was no more scoring in the visitors' 2-0 win.
"It was not my intention to go into that game and stall," Brookwood coach Thad Fitzpatrick told Tuscaloosa News. "The intention was to get as much rest as we can offensively, and do whatever we needed to do defensively. It was our fourth game of the week, and on Friday night we started cramping a lot, so I made the decision."
Content with a lead, Bibb County coach Russ Wallace decided to match Brookwood's passivity with some stalling of their own.
"Why should I extend my defense when I've got the lead is the question that everyone needs to understand," Wallace said. "I've got the height advantage and the length -- why should I extend over half the floor just for one of them to get loose and maybe make a basket?"
Uh, maybe so the folks in the stands wouldn't be bored to tears?
A teachable moment: When a superintendent's name shows up in this blog, it's all too often because he or she is being quoted about something bad that involved a coach, player or team.
With that in mind, here's some fun stuff from recently appointed Webster Superintendent Carmen Gumina.
Webster students hoping for a snow day Monday after the storm in the Rochester region the previous night got this YouTube message from Gumina.
Strong words: New York Post sports media columnist Phil Mushnick came out swinging following Saturday's college basketball game between Xavier and Seton Hall in which freshman Isaiah Whitehead, the former Abraham Lincoln star and reigning New York Mr. Basketball, returned from an injury.
Here's some of Mushnick's take on what perhaps the FOX Sports announcers could have talked about:
"[T]he hard, ugly facts of the matter went ignored. The Pirates landed Whitehead with some shady persuasion. First it hired -- or had to hire -- Whitehead's Lincoln High School (Brooklyn) coach NYC AAU basketball operative and sneaker deals-empowered Dwayne "Tiny" Morton, as an assistant coach.
"Yet again, the stench of a Rumpelstiltskin deal under the pretense of higher education. Young Whitehead's presence gives the inescapable appearance of a purchase, a kid brokered among consenting adults.
"Yet this malodorous hire to a university's staff meets with Seton Hall's standards and approval -- as if there hasn't been enough academic, financial and criminal scandal attached to Seton Hall basketball the last 25 years.
"Seton Hall has two other freshmen who played for Morton at Lincoln: Desi Rodriguez, who had a terrific game Saturday, and Trevonn Morton, son of new assistant coach Tiny Morton.
"If only our Division I universities were as eager to recruit kids who wanted to cure disease. Or eliminate fraud."