I am a sports and music fanatic from Farmington, CT, currently attending Saint Joseph's University in Connecticut. I am mainly interested in College Basketball, CIAC High School Basketball, and Major League Baseball, though I follow just about all sports closely.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
The conference was one of the best in the state last year, and though it did lose a good amount of talent (Adrian Satchell, Danny Lawhorn, Steven Samuels, Darryl McCoy, Tyler Olander etc.), a core neucleus of many of the league's powerhouses remain. The addition of powerhouses Northwest Catholic, East Catholic, and Middletown helps just that much more. Here are some of the teams that should contend to be among the league, and states, best this coming year.
East Hartford (last year, 18-8, 9-3):
The Hornets really came on strong at the end of last season, advancing all the way to the CCC Championship before losing a respectable game to Windsor. But making it more impressive, is that four of their starters, including their three leading scorers and all-conference players, will be returning for this year. East Hartford will be led by Senior forward Jakarri McCallop, a 6-5 do-it-all type player who may be looking at division one offers, especially after a possible year at prep school. McCallop averaged 18.2 points last year as a Junior, being able to score in so many ways. He will be helped greatly this year by his other all-conference teammates, Junior guard Anthony Jernigan and Senior G/F Jevon Williams, who both averaged over 10 PPG last year. Jernigan has been considered one of the state's top 5 prospects in the class of 2011 and should be looking at D1 offers, because of his blinding speed and superb ball-handling ability. Also returning for the Hornets are Senior G Alex Cruz, Senior G Devin Mitchell, and Senior F Tim Washington, all of which contributed in the team's strong 08-09 campaign. Losing post-precence David Dudley may hurt the Hornets a bit, but they just have too much talent returning to deny them as one of the state's powerhouses this year.
East Catholic (last year, 12-11, 11-7)
It wasn't a very typical season for the powerhouse East Catholic Eagles in '08-09, but at times they proved they could compete with anyone. Losing absolutely no contributers from last year's squad, the Eagles should have enough talent to put them back at the top of the state rankings. The Junior duo of G Jerome Harris and F Rohan Brown will return for their second year together after Brown transferred from Public the year before. Both youngsters were all-conference performers the year before, and are considered possible D1 prospects in the future. Also along for the ride will be 6'6" C B.J. Carderelli, who was also all-conference last year as a Junior. Role-players G/F Cordell Snow, F Kevin Copeland, F Shawn Egan, G Justin Nunez, and G James Rhodes all return for their Senior season as well. Look for the inexperience of last year's Eagles to disappear, and for this team to be among the best in the conference.
Windsor (last year, 26-1, 10-0, LL State Champion)
Whenever you graduate six players to play college basketball, you know you probably won't be as good next year, especially if you're just an average-sized Connecticut public school. Adrian Satchel (UMBC), Steve Samuels (St. Peter's), Doug Soutar (Concordia), Kingsley Boothe and Attah Agyemang (ECSU), and Bilali Kalilou (Emerson), are all off to school, but Windsor is such a strong program and again should be one of the better teams in the conference. In fact, their leading scorer from last year, Senior G Tyrus Weaver (16.2 PPG), will be returning, as well as athletic freak and dunk extrordinairre Senior F/C Ryan Delaire (8.1 PPG). Former role-playing Seniors Ishmael Kalilou and Brandon Jones look to flourish in their new roles, while Senior G Brendan Allen will look better then ever coming off of a tough season ending ankle injury last January. I've also heard good things about Sophomore PG Garey Allen, and with Samuels, Soutar and Agyemang gone, it is possible he could get some quality minutes this year. Windsor should contend for a conference and state championship once again, even with all of the losses.
Weaver (last year 10-12, 6-4): Return a very strong core in Junior F's Mike Fraylon and Maurice Eastwood, will have to recover from loss of all-conference performer Mike Anderson.
South Windsor (last year 8-13, 3-7): Spencer Calling returns as one of the conference's best true big men.
Manchester, Glastonbury and Wethersfield should struggle in this division.
Northwest Catholic (last year 21-5, 15-3):
Northwest will enter the CCC with one of the strongest team's it's had in a while, a team that should have the Indians fans hoping for a state championship in 2010. Senior F Julian Harris (19.5 PPG in 2009), should be among the league's most dominant scoring presences, while Senior PG Jordan Lewis, should be among the league's best distributers. The loss of G/F Uzoma Orchigwa and his 16 PPG will be a challenge to recover from, but players like F/C Theo Agnew and J.C. Carr should improve enough to help in that category. Three-sport superstar Tom Bourdon has been a rock for the team the past two seasons as well. The one wild-card going into the season for Northwest is the possible addition of 6'8" freshman sensation Kuran Iverson. Iverson, possibly the next Drummond, decided to enroll at his hometown Northwest rather than prestigious prep schools like Oak Hill and Pinecrest, and should make an immediate impact for the Indians. Another young talent, sophomore guard Tyler Huffman looks poised for a breakout season as well. With coach John Mirabello running the show, NWC should have enough talent to make a deep run in both the CCC and State tournaments.
New Britain (last year 20-4, 11-1)
The Golden Hurricanes are another team that will definately be listed among the state's best, as they return their top two scorers from their 20 win season in 2009. Senior G Steven Glowiak, son of coach Stan Glowiak, will return as one of the state's best long-distance shooters, and has been gathering interest from D1 and D2 schools such as Sacred Heart, New Hampshire, Bryant and Bentley. 6'5" Senior F Darius Watson, though, returns as the team's best player and leading scorer at 18.8 PPG in 2009. Watson, similar to East Hartford's McCallop, is a player who can score both from the inside and outside and will be among the conference's leaders in scoring this year. UCONN football commit Tebucky Jones Jr. (7.6 PPG) and his football teammate Tarik Hightower (4.8 PPG) will also be major contributers as well to this perrenial powerhouse.
All of the other 6 teams in this division should struggle this year. Newington returns Senior F's Jimmy Hepple and Nick Lebron, and should be #3 in this division, but nowhere near NBHS or NWC. Conard's Josh Levitan is poised for a big season, and may help lead. Conard a .500 record. Farmington, Hall, Simsbury, and Southington should all struggle.
Bulkeley (last year 16-10, 8-2 L State Champion)
The Bulkeley Bulldogs will return most of their core nucleus from last year's cinderella championship run. The question will be, can they play as well as they did last March with enough consistency to give them a chance at another championship this year. One key to their season will be Senior 6'3" F Deshawn Hamlet (17.8 PPG), who dominated last year in the CCC Tournament. Senior G Brandon Jones (15.6 PPG) will provide strength from beyond the three-point line with his shooting ability, while Senior G Bomani Jones (5.2 PPG) will contribute with his athleticism. The key player in Bulkeley's run this year, though, will be Junior big-man Chaz Arnold (8.8 PPG) with 20 point games in the tournament against Bassick-Bridgeport and Northwest Catholic. If Arnold can break out into a star, this team will be among the best in the state.
Middletown (last year 19-4, 16-2)
Middletown enters it's first year in the CCC coming off one of the team's best years in recent history, finishing 16-2 in the usually strong Northwest Conference. Though they will lose G/F P.J. Santavenere (12.7 PPG), and G/F Rishawn Brown (13.6 PPG), the team has enough speed and athleticism to compete again. Senior PG Taeshawn Jackson should lead the way for the Blue Dragons, coming off an all-conference campaign last year in which he averaged 13.8 PPG. Junior G Steven Santavenere, a mid-season transfer from East Catholic, will also prove to be a huge factor in the success of this team. Senior C Mike Pelligrini (8.5 PPG), Senior F/C Matt Monahan (5.4 PPG) and Senior F/G Tevin Dempsey (3.0 PPG) will also return as contributers. While this team loses a lot of talent, there is always so much depth there in Middletown that it should be able to recover quite easily.
Berlin (last year 11-11, 9-8): Return Junior G/F Max DeLorenzo (18.5 PPG), as well as Junior G Richie Conway (13.9 PPG) from solid 2009 campaign.
Maloney (last year 7-13, 5-5): Last year's rebuilding effort has ended and will return stronger with Junior sharpshooter Ryan Belote (11.9 PPG) and Senior slasher Dell Jackson (10.0 PPG) leading the way.
Bristol Eastern (last year 14-8, 7-3): Superstar Cody Bayne has graduated, but Senior G's Tylon Holmes (13.3 PPG) and Xavier Wade (7.8 PPG) will be back.
Platt, Bristol Central, and Plainville should be in the bottom of this league.
Bloomfield (last year 21-4, 18-3): Will dominate this division and definately contend for a state championship. Return two of the conference's best players, and leaders in the team's state championship run in 2008, in F Denzel Jones (12.8 PPG) and G Rashad Moore (17.8 PPG). Jones has been reported to be looking at Central Connecticut to play both football and basketball. Sophomore G Ryan Sutherland stepped up bigtime last year as a freshman, averaging 8.1 PPG, while Veteran Senior G Shomari Cowan will continue to anchor the backcourt. Also returning include Senior G/F Ashar Whittingham and Senior F/C Stanley Ferguson, among many others for this deep squad. Should go undefeated against the otherwise weak CCC East.
Hartford Public (last year 18-6, 8-2): It may take a while to recover from losing C Darryl McCoy and G Arshad Jackson to graduation, and D1 bound PG Danny Lawhorn to South Kent Prep. But the Pub should bring back G Frederick Wright and G Derrick Guy, and will have enough talent to win some games in the weak CCC East.
RHAM (last year 6-14, 3-13): Graduate sharpshooter Mick Kelly, but keep Ethan Sperry. Still not enough athleticism to win very many games.
Rockville (last year 21-5, 7-3): Won 20 games last year, they can't drop off too far can they?
Tolland, Fermi, EO Smith, and Rocky Hill should struggle in the CCC this year.
All in all, although there are some very weak teams in the conference this year, there are about 10 teams that can compete with anyone in the state. There is so much talent spread across this 32 team conference, that games will be more wild than others. Here are the top 10 teams in the conference, IMO:
1. East Hartford
2. Northwest Catholic
4. New Britain
5. East Catholic
1st Team All Conference:
G: Anthony Jernigan, East Hartford
G: Tyrus Weaver, Windsor
F: Julian Harris, Northwest Catholic
F: Darius Watson, New Britain
F: Jakarri McCallop, East Hartford
2nd Team All-Conference:
G: Rashad Moore, Bloomfield
G: Steven Glowiak, New Britain
G: Jerome Harris, East Catholic
F: Denzel Jones, Bloomfield
F: Deshawn Hamlet, Bulkeley
3rd Team All-Conference:
G: Jevon Williams: East Hartford
G: Jordan Lewis, Northwest Catholic
G: Taeshawn Jackson, Middletown
F: Rohan Brown, East Catholic
F: Ryan Delaire, Windsor
Player of The Year: Jakarri McCallop, East Hartford