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John Moriello's NYSSWA blog
Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2010: Organizers unveil statewide all-star football game
   Leading off today: Organizers today officially took the wraps off the New York State High School Football Classic, a statewide senior all-star game that will make its debut June 6 in the Carrier Dome in Syracuse.

   "Iím thrilled about it because I think itís great for New York state football," said retired Fairport coach Don Santini, who will assist Alden coach Dick Diminuco on the Upstate team. "Itís going to give kids exposure and it will create a lot of interest because itís in-state and at a centralized location."

   The contest organized by the New York State Football Coaches Association will feature 80-100 of the top seniors in the state, replacing the defunct New York-New Jersey All Star Football Classic. Syracuse-based Empower Federal Credit Union has signed on as the sponsor.

   The contest will take on an upstate vs. downstate format. Joe Vito of Roosevelt High on Long Island will coach the downstate squad. The selection process will begin at the state coachesí convention next month, Santini told the Democrat and Chronicle.

   New basketball site: The NYSSWA has launched a new basketball-only Web site covering the boys season up to and including the NYSPHSAA and Federation tournaments. is modeled after the football site that proved to be quite popular with visitors in the fall.

   Sections within the NYSPHSAA as well as the PSAL and CHSAA have individual content pages, each with a "widget" supplied by that offers links to every team in the state. Clicking on items within the widget transports users to a wealth of game results, statistics, photos and other items on, which is a division of CBS.

   We are also experimenting with a new twist that I starting tweaking last month: A Twitter feed (located in the lower left corner of the page) consisting of "tweets" from a variety of newspaper and other sources covering the high school scene. On any given night, there could be five or more reporters from throughout the state sending frequent updates from game sites. I'll keep fine-tuning it over the course of the season.

   Career upgrade: Canisius High linebacker Jimmy Gaines committed to Buffalo last month only to see Bulls coach Turner Gill exit for the Kansas job. Just as Gill improved his place on the football totem poll, Gaines has also taken a step up.

   Upon re-opening his recruitment, Gaines (who will not turn 17 until March) attracted the interest of the Miami Hurricanes staff thanks in part to a push by coach Brandon Harris. He traveled to Coral Gables, Fla., last weekend and accepted a scholarship offer.

   Gaines was a jack of all trades during the season, lining up at linebacker, safety, tight end, tailback and wideout for the Monsignor Martin Association champions. He was selected a second-team all-state linebacker by the NYSPHSAA.

   Arkansas, Arizona and Oklahoma had also started to express interest according to Harris.

   A year ago, Harris also pushed a bit behind the scenes, resulting in John Urschel getting a scholarship to Penn State after early interest that was only lukewarm.

   In other recruiting news, Malcolm Cater appears to have formalized news that was widely assumed for almost two months: says the Riverhead linebacker has switched his commitment from Syracuse to Rutgers.
Road To Glens Falls boys hoops site

   Friday Night Follies: Someone in Western New York has some explaining to do. I don't know whether the words to be uttered need to be in the form of an apology to the Buffalo Nichols team, a promise to make sure it doesn't happen again -- or both.

   But one thing is for sure: An assistant coach cannot be allowed to be the most powerful man in the gym while there's a boys basketball game in progress. What happened on Friday during No. 14 Bishop Timon-St. Jude's victory over No. 4 Nichols in Class A action certainly looks like a conflict of interest.

   In a nutshell, here's what transpired (courtesy of Keith McShea's live blog for The Buffalo News) late in the game that Timon led virtually wire-to-wire:

   What had been an 18-point Timon lead had been cut to three, but a pair of free throws with 42 seconds left got the margin back to 62-57. On Nichols' subsequent possession, Mike Scarcello blocked a ball out of bounds after which Nichols was called for an offensive foul while trying to inbound the ball with :31 to go.

   As McShea described it, the officials awarded the ball out of bounds to Timon near the spot of the foul but Timon assistant coach Mark Clifford waved one of the refs over to the bench for a discussion, after which the two refs had a separate conference.

   But what you need to know in order to appreciate the complexity of the situation is that Clifford is more than just an assistant coach. He also happens to be the rules interpreter for the Western New York Basketball Officials Association, a consideration that was not lost upon Nichols coach Greg Plumb.

   The officials, apparently with help from Clifford, overturned the call and ruled that the infraction was actually a two-shot foul rather than a simple turnover. That brought about this exchange between the coaches, according to the blog:

   Plumb: "You're coaching. ... That's not right."

   Clifford: "Who cares? The call is the right call."

   Scarcello made one of two free throws, and Timon went on to wrap up the victory. But there's a big question left unanswered to the point: How in the name of creation can the rules interpreter stop the game and cause a call to be changed?

   Whether Clifford's input resulted in a wrong call being corrected doesn't matter one iota. What does matter is that we have no idea whatsoever whether Clifford would have spoken up had the change worked in favor of Nichols rather than Timon.

   How the basketball officials organization could allow its rules interpreter to also be a coach is beyond me.

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  • 5/27: Football gets approval to add a game
  • 4/29: Officials turning focus toward the fall
  • 4/23: Boys all-state basketball (large schools)
  • 4/22: Westhill hoops star dies in crash
  • 4/16: Boys all-state basketball (small schools)
  • 4/8: LuHi girls coach Slater steps down
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  • 3/18: Weekly NYC boys basketball recap
  • 3/13: Dutchess Co. teams idle until April 30
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