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.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Northwest vs. Avon- Game Notes

I just got back from watching my first high school game of the season, getting my first glance at Kuran Iverson as his Northwest Catholic Indians win in Avon, by about 15.

It was obvious from the get-go that Northwest was just incredibly more athletic than Avon, but they seemed to a bunch of mistakes, including dumb turnovers and defensive lapses, that kept Avon in the game for a while. In the end, Julian Harris took the game into his own hand and gave Northwest the victory.

Kuran Iverson really is a freak of nature on the court...but he is a freshman and showed it tonight. He must have had 5-6 turnovers, mainly due to some out of control passes (including two that were thrown off the backboard). He also must've been about 1-6 from 3 pt. range, and many of his shots did not even look close. He did have one nice throwdown on a dish from Tyler Huffman in the 4th quarter, and had a few good blocks, but all in all he did not have a very strong game.

Julian Harris is definately among the top players in the conference, if not the state, and I'm suprised he's not getting many looks from d-1 schools. He is extremely athletic, and at 6'5" he can flat out dominate against teams like Avon. His outside shot is decent, but sometimes he tends to hang out outside the three point line too much, where he could be scoring at will inside. He finished with about 21 points tonight, including two dunks. He's got a good passion for the game; I'm a big fan of his.

I really was impressed with Northwest's backcourt of Jordan Lewis and Tyler Huffman as well. Lewis is super quick and attacks the basket well, with a good mid-range game. He's a bit undersized for the next level, but is a very solid player for the Indians, and has a good chance to be all-conference again. Huffman suprised me, as he looks about 10 years old on the court with his small 5'8" frame. But he rarely makes a mistake on the court and has a very smooth jump shot. Despite his looks, he shows a great deal of maturity on the court, and should be a very solid sidekick for Iverson the next three years.

J.C. Carr is also a solid player for Northwest, though he is overshadowed by Iverson and Harris, because he doesn't quite display the athleticism that they have. Northwest's biggest problem may be their lack of depth. Behind those starting five, the Indians are fairly weak, as BC-Baseball commit Tom Bourdon, sophomore Zach Lewis, and Taylor Ramos are the only others that got minutes. Bourdon is nothing more than an athlete on the court who plays good "D", but can't be relied on for offence. Lewis is going to be good but is still young, and Ramos is nothing more than a solid role player. This gives the starters more leeway to make stupid mistakes like some of them did today, as coach Mirabello doesn't have much competition on the bench.

As for Avon, their two Senior guards really impressed me tonight. I forget their names, but they were #4 and #5, and both were very poised, good shooters, and limited mistakes. They were able to work the ball around the aggresive NWC zone, and gave their shooters the open shots needed to stay in the game. I expect Avon to contend for a conference championship in the weak NCCC (made even weaker with the departure of Tolland)

Sunday, December 27, 2009

College Basketball: Week of 12/28

I've been doing a weekly top 30 for college basketball in my opinion, every week.

Here it is this week.

1. Kansas
2. Texas
3. Kentucky
4. Purdue
5. Syracuse
6. West Virginia
7. Duke
8. Villanova
9. North Carolina
10. Kansas State
11. Connecticut
12. Michigan State
13. Washington
14. Clemson
15. Tennessee
16. Georgetown
17. Mississippi State
18. Mississippi
19. Florida State
20. New Mexico
21. Ohio State
22. Northwestern
23. Wisconsin
24. Texas Tech
25. Alabama-Birmingham
26. Georgia Tech
27. Dayton
28. Temple
29. Oklahoma State
30. Brigham Young

Dropped Out: Florida, Texas A&M, UNLV, Missouri State

I really don't understand all the Gonzaga hype. They lost by 35 to Duke...they really shouldn't be in the Top 25 every week.

Games to Watch this Week

#5 Syracuse at Seton Hall- Seton Hall proved to be able to hang with the best teams in the Big East Saturday against West Virginia. Look for the Orange to be tested here.

#24 Texas Tech at #20 New Mexico- The Lobos look to knock off another quality team from a major conference in order to prove the Oral Roberts loss was a fluke.

#11 Connecticut at Cincinnati- The Bearcats have been struggling lately, but have the tools to possibly knock off the inconsistent Huskies.

St. John's at #16 Georgetown- St. John's is better than they have been lately, and Georgetown is looking to prove their critics wrong from the Old Dominion loss with a big conference win here.

#21 Ohio State at #23 Wisconsin- Other than they're overtime loss to Green Bay, Wisconsin has looked like one of the best teams in the Big 10. I expect them to upset the Evan Turner-less Buckeyes at home on New Years Eve.

#6 West Virginia at #4 Purdue- This is the game of the week by a long shot. It matches two of the final six unbeatens in a huge out of conference matchup. Both teams are definate final four contenders and beyond.

#27 Dayton at #20 New Mexico- Two of the best teams in the country from non-power conferences will square off on New Year's Day.

#1 Kansas at #28 Temple- Temple's already knocked off Villanova on their home court. Could they do the same with the #1 team in the country?

Lousiville at #3 Kentucky- Calipari/Pitino in-state rivalry has been anticipated since Calipari was hired at Kentucky. The two coaches share one of the strangest relationships in sports, and their careers have been going in opposite directions this year. Anything can happen in a rivalry like this, so Kentucky's going to need to stay focused in order to stay unbeaten.

#12 Michigan State at #22 Northwestern- Northwestern is the only team from a power conference to never have made it to a NCAA tournament. That should change this year and upsetting the Spartans would help a lot.

Notre Dame at #11 Connecticut- Just because I'll be there. Any Big East game is a good one.

#14 Clemson at #7 Duke- Two of the best teams in the conference square off in the weekly Sunday Night ACC game.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Kuran Iverson

Kuran Iverson's a name I'd mentioned a few times before, and am very intrigued by. Yesterday the 6'8" freshman, who plays mostly out on the perimeter, dropped 20 points, 10 rebounds, and five blocks, in a heartbreaking loss to a very strong Middletown team.

From what I hear, he still needs a little fine tuning on his game, but he's a freshman varsity starter and that's to be expected. But anytime a Freshman comes in at 6'8", has ball-handling skills of a guard, outside shooting range, and athleticism off the charts, some heads are going to be turned.

I'd suggest seeing this kid play now, because although it would be a bummer for the CIAC, who knows if he'll stay a Northwest Catholic much longer. But when you do see him, you may just be seeing a future NBA prospect in the making.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Opening Night in HS Hoops

From what I've heard so far it was an incredibly exciting opening night in the area for basketball.

First of all, the news has come in that Tyler Olander, the 6'8" forward who had recently transferred to Massachusetts' Worcester Academy, has re-enrolled at his former school, E.O. Smith where he will play for the basketball season this year. He was supposed to repeat his junior year at Worcester, but he will probably only have one more year of eligiblity here in the CIAC, which is interesting because he had been getting serious interest from big-time division 1 schools as a member of the class of 2011. Expect him to most likely take a PG year in order to slow down his recruiting interest this year, but with him back Smith becomes a contender, at least in the relatively weak CCC East.

In what was expected to be a battle between two of the top teams not only in the CCC, but also in the state, New Britain held on to defeat a depleted defending state champion Bulkeley Bulldogs team 54-53. Bulkeley was without two of their better players, in Senior Deshawn Hamlet, and Junior Chaz Arnold, who were both benched for diciplinary/academic reasons. New Haven bound Darius Watson had 15, and Sacred Heart bound Steve Glowiak had 13 for the Golden Hurricanes. Supposedly both teams looked a little rusty, but if Bulkeley gets Hamlet and Arnold back both could be contenders for both a conference and state title.

At my alma mater, Farmington High School, Berlin's Junior Point Guard Richie Conway drained a half-court heave at the buzzer to defeat my Indians. Despite the tough loss to their former NWC rivals, Farmington, who lost four starters starters from last year, including their top three scorers, should be encouraged by their defensive performance, and should finish in the middle of the pack in the CCC West.

Plainville's undefeated; a statement that would shock anyone based on their play the last few years; beating Conard 49-45. Sure Conard isn't supposed to be very good this year, but it's a good start for a Plainville team that should be improved this year.

In my opinion, the biggest game of the night was Windsor/Bloomfield. Not only an intense rivalry between two north-of-Hartford suburbs, both teams were in the state championship last year and expect to contend for one again this year. Bloomfield emerged from the pack, planting themselves possibly as the favorites in the whole CCC, winning 87-75 in Windsor's home gym. Windsor had lost six players to college basketball, including three starters, but still returned their leading scorer in Tyrus Weaver, as well as Ryan Delaire, Ishamel Kalilou and strong Weaver transfers Maurice Eastwood AND Mike Fraylon. Not only that, but Rashad Moore, Bloomfield's star shooting guard, and leading scorer from last year, did not play due to a team suspension. Denzel Jones, the teams tank at PF, was only approximately 90% from a knee injury occurred at a football game. Senior's Shomari Cowan and Ashar Whittingham led the way for Bloomfield with their two go two men not at 100%, both scoring 17 points. Weaver had 21 for Windsor, while Jones still finished with 14 for Bloomfield.

East Hartford, who I think is the best team in the conference (and only behind Sacred Heart and Hillhouse in the state), was not too impressive, only beating Tolland 65-51.

East Catholic, who should also be very good, only beat Smith by four, 49-45. Not sure if Olander played in this one.

RHAM looked impressive in a 86-78 victory over South Windsor, while Glastonbury destroyed a much weakened Rockville team 75-51, in a battle of east of the river teams who lost basically their entire team from the year before.

Still excited to see how Kuran Iverson is, I plan on trying to catch a few NWC games during break. They open up tomorrow night against Middletown in the always epic Doc Hurley Classic. Some other big games in the DHC this year include New London vs. East Hartford and Bulkeley vs. Bloomfield, both on Saturday. Will be interesting to see if both Bulkeley and Bloomfield are still without their best players because of their suspensions.

Re-vamped CCC Rankings
1. East Hartford
2. Bloomfield
3. Bulkeley-Hartford
4. Northwest Catholic-West Hartford
5. New Britain
6. Windsor
7. East Catholic-Manchester
8. Middletown
9. Platt-Meriden
10. Berlin