Blogs > Gettin' Schooled

A boys basketball blog hosted by Daily Times reporter Christopher A. Vito

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


The All-Delco boys basketball team was unveiled in Wednesday's Daily Times. And based on the graphic at right - and the headline above - you should already know that Penn Wood junior point guard Tyree Johnson is the 2009 Player of the Year.

Johnson led the Patriots to their first PIAA Class AAAA championship and a Del Val League championship. Along the way, he became the county's best point guard and demonstrated the uncanny ability to make everyone around him play better, resulting in the school's first championship of any kind since 1992.

Four Patriots averaged in double figures this season - including Johnson - and two of them improved their scoring tallies significantly in the state playoffs. All thanks to Johnson's play, thus earning him the honor of Daily Times Player of the Year.

Here's the rest of the All-Delco team:
  • D.J. Irving, Jr. PG, Archbishop Carroll (pictured)
  • Calvin Newell, Sr. SG, Strath Haven
  • Aaric Murray, Sr. C, Glen Mills
  • Duane Johnson, Sr. F, Penn Wood
  • Rahlir Jefferson, Sr. F, Chester
*Murray and Johnson are repeat All-Delco selections.

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It's been a while since I last posted - following state-championship lag from State College - here's a quick-hitting recap of what you might have missed:
  • Former Chester coach Fred Pickett has thrown his hat into the political ring. He will launch a campaign for a city council spot.
  • Penn Wood coach Clyde Jones was named the PIAA Class AAAA Coach of the Year. Seven Delco players earned state honors, too.
  • Three-time All-Delco Tyreke Evans told that he plans to leave Memphis to declare himself eligible for the NBA Draft.

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009


One of the best all-star games around – the All-Star Labor Classic – announced its rosters Wednesday. The game, which benefits United Cerebral Palsy, will be held Sunday, April 5, at La Salle’s Tom Gola Arena. It follows the Suburban vs. City format.

The Suburban team, coached by Glen Mills’ Craig Mellinger and Conestoga’s Mike Troy, features nine players from Delaware County (including three from Penn Wood):

Cory Goodman, G, Episcopal Academy
Marvin Holman-Little, F, Penncrest
Rahlir Jefferson, F, Chester (pictured)
Duane Johnson, F, Penn Wood
Aaric Murray, C, Glen Mills
Calvin Newell, G, Strath Haven
Khayri West, G, Upper Darby
Thomas White, F, Penn Wood
Chris White, G, Penn Wood

Kasheef Festus, C, Archbishop Carroll

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Sunday, March 8, 2009


The feelings Glen Mills coach Craig Mellinger expressed openly outside his team's HersheyPark Arena locker room Saturday night were those of remorse. Maybe there was some regret dashed in there too.

Mellinger, who has been around long enough to win his 300th game this season (pictured), has been down this road before. He knows that the Battlin' Bulls' first state playoff team since 2004 might have been their last for quite some time. There is never any certainty which student-athletes will be back next season at Glen Mills, a school for court-adjudicated youths.

"How many am I guessing I'm losing? Every single kid in our locker room," Mellinger said after the Bulls' 59-44 loss to Central Dauphin East in the first round of the PIAA Class AAAA tournament. "And that's always a huge question-marked proposition. A, who's going to still be committed to the court system, and B, who will be in a situation where maybe it's not conducive for him to go back home and they need to stay here and get processed.

"Honestly, and I'm not being facetious – we're probably going to lose every kid in there, so we'll have to start over again."

It also does not help the Bulls' cause that they lose 6-10 All-Delco center Aaric Murray, a La Salle signee who you can pencil in for a double-double almost every night. Murray, who prior to three years ago had never played organized basketball, was considered a project at The Mills.

"All of these guys, from the moment they set foot on our basketball court, are our kids and our projects," Mellinger said. "Some, their learning curve is going to be a lot quicker. Other guys, we’re willing to work with any and all. We just got done saying to these guys, ‘It’s been an absolute pleasure to work with you all.'

"…From November and until now, I don't think they realize how far they've come. I think they'll reflect back on it in a couple of weeks and they'll understand it."

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Here are some links from Saturday's high school action:

Chester 66, Red Land 50: Click for the story; Click for photo slideshow by Eric Hartline.
Penn Wood 51, Penn Manor 46: Click for the story; Click for video by Bob Gurecki.

Archbishop Carroll 59, West York 42: Click for the story.
Camp Hill 54, Sacred Heart 41: Click for the story.
Delco Christian 51, Greenwood 45: Click for the story.

Springfield's Andre Petroski, the reigning Daily Times wrestler of the year, took the bronze medal in the 189-pound division at states. Jon Campbell has the story. He and Daily Times sports editor Rob Parent tag-teamed (wrestling term, get it? Albeit a WWE one) the state championships, where Springfield had four wrestlers make states and three win medals.

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Saturday, March 7, 2009


Sometimes, you just can't have it all.

Five Delaware County boys basketball teams advanced to the state playoffs, and four shored up spots in the second round. Glen Mills' loss Saturday means only those four remain.

Here are the details from Saturday's games:

Chester 66, Red Land 50 - Why is Rahlir Jefferson (pictured) so excited? He and the Clippers are movin' on. In the process, Jefferson recorded his first triple-double of his career (14 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists) and became the Clippers' all-time leading rebounder.

Penn Wood 51, Penn Manor 46: The Patriots trailed, 25-19, at halftime only to roar back in the second half. Aaron Brown and Duane Johnson had 15 and 12 points respectively for the Pats.

Central Dauphin East 59, Glen Mills 44: Aaric Murray concluded his career with 14 points and 11 rebounds but the Battlin' Bulls could not stop Demond Bates, who went off for 20 of his game-high 27 points after halftime.

Of course, you're all aware of what Archbishop Carroll and Strath Haven did Friday in the Class AAA field. Now it's onto the next round.
One more thing: here's a shot of Chester's Learon Pray (nine points) by Daily Times staff photographer Eric Hartline, who busted his tail all weekend. He shot the Chester game at HersheyPark Arena, then ran across the street to the Giant Center to take shots of the state wrestling finals.
It's safe to say we're all happy this weekend is coming to a close.

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Wednesday, March 4, 2009


There are certain things coaches are willing to look the other way on:
  • A turnover amidst a flurry of assists? Surely.
  • A missed dunk during a blowout? Of course.
  • A home playoff game in states? Ummm . . . .

Hazleton Area coach Mike Joseph was furious with the decision to play Tuesday's PIAA Class AAAA play-in game at the site of the opponent: Glen Mills.

It's where the Battlin' Bulls were 9-3 entering the game. And it's where four players, including Aaric Murray (pictured) scored in double figures in Glen Mills' double overtime win.

"You know, we didn't get ourselves caught up with why we had to do it," said Joseph, whose team ended its season 20-7. "I think the PIAA really needs to re-think the idea of this play-in situation because this team (Glen Mills) didn't win a championship of any kind. We played in a championship game in our district. They played in playback games. For them to get a home game, for either team to get a home game or an advantage, I think, is unfair.

"We didn't sit around for the last few days and think, 'Oh boy, we have to go down there and play.' We looked at it as a positive thing, and another test for us."

For Joseph, he saw it this way: Hazleton, despite losing the District 2-4 combined region title, claimed the District 2 championship for a fifth time in six seasons.

For the PIAA, the governing body likely saw it this way: Glen Mills was the ninth-best team among District One's 51 teams in Class AAAA, which apparently outweighs being the second-best team in a region (District 2 and District 4) that has 6 Class AAAA squads. That's the reason for the home game.

Does that mean it's fair to do it this way? Absolutely not. But I think it's a fair compromise, considering Glen Mills had to win three consecutive single-elimination games just to get this far. All things considered, however, the game should be on a neutral floor.

In what other playoff system do you see a game this late in the year played on a team's home court? On top of that, Glen Mills is known state-wide for its built-in fan base, raucous home arena and decibels-loud crowd. It was unrealistic to think Hazleton Area had a shot to win this one.

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Saturday, February 28, 2009


The expression by Penn Wood senior Will Brown (pictured) should say everything. In case it doesn't here is what Brown felt immediately following the Patriots' 52-49 loss to Norristown in the District One Class AAAA championship game:
"It felt good," said Brown, whose potentially game-tying shot rimmed out at the buzzer. "It just didn't go in. It didn;t drop. I really wish it would have gone in."
The Patriots had tons of chances to secure their first district championship since 1992 - and only their second in school history. They had plenty of unforced errors in the game, however:
  • They committed 19 turnovers.
  • They committed 20 personal fouls.
  • They shot just 5-for-16 from the free-throw line.
Making matters worse was the exceptional play of Norristown senior Khalif Wyatt. The 6-3 guard, a Temple signee, did just about everything for the Eagles. He scored 19 of their first 20 points. He finished with a game-best 25 points and (deep breath) hauled in five rebounds, grabbed five steals, dished out two assists and even blocked a pair of shots to boot.
It didn't matter who the Patriots threw at him - and Penn Wood coach Clyde Jones tossed everything but the kitchen sink at Wyatt - there just was not stopping him. Wyatt got the upper hand, even if it looks like otherwise in these excellent photos by Daily Times photographer Bob Gurecki.
The win made the Eagles' return to the district-title game a memorable one. They lost to Chester last year, ending their undefeated season.
Wyatt was impressive throughout. He knocked down five 3-pointers. Two of them stick out:
1. On one right before halftime, he faded to his right and jumped off only his right foot. The shot, which looked offbalance, banked off the glass and in.
2. Chided by Penn Wood's fans all game for airing a layup in the paint, Wyatt drilled a 3 with Penn Wood junior DeQuan Pelzer draped all over him. After hitting the shot, Wyatt looked at the crowd and thumped his chest with a closed fist.
OK, enough about this game. After all, the only way these two will see each other again is in the PIAA Class AAAA championship. (One can dream.)

In the District One ninth-place game:
Glen Mills did it. The Bulls pulled off the impossible, improbable, unbelievable route to their first state-playoff berth since 2004: they beat Central Bucks West, 60-57, in double overtime to secure the district's ninth and final slot.

Reggie Miles was huge, stepping up with a team-best 23 points. Aaric Murray had 16 more, and Lavander Johns had nine in the win. It seems like a different player is stepping up each night for the Bulls this postseason.

What really bites about this whole process is that the Bulls - as a "reward" for winning three elimination games in a row - are required to play a play-in game this Tuesday just to get into the PIAA first round, which is held next Saturday. That's where the PIAA screwed up. This needs to be fixed, because the Bulls (or any team that follows them as the No. 9 seed) does not deserve that.

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009


From 15 teams, only five Delaware County teams remain in the hunt for the PIAA playoffs. (It's hard to believe that so many teams - 15 of the 24 in Delco, or 63 percent of the schools I cover - advanced to the postseason, but it's been fun.)

Two teams have assured themselves of Class AAAA state-playoff berths - Penn Wood and Chester. Here's what it'll take for the remaining three to move on.

Record: 13-11.
Next up: Wednesday, vs. Holy Ghost Prep, at Wissahickon.
Scenario: A guaranteed state slot from District One Class AAA, with a win.
Notes: Senior Calvin Newell (pictured) and the Panthers have handled the tests. This is a big one, against the No. 2 Firebirds. A win puts Haven in states for the first time since 2003, when it was a Class AAAA school. A loss puts the Panthers in a third-place game, with a state berth on the line.

Record: 21-3.
Next up: Wednesday, vs. Simon Gratz, at Archbishop Ryan.
Scenario: The third-and-final Class AAA slot from District 12 is up for grabs.
Notes: Win and the Patriots are in, and in their first year of state-playoff eligibility. They are the best Class AAA team in Southeastern Pennsylvania - other than Catholic League champ Neumann-Goretti - but the Pats can hang with the Saints.

Record: 17-7.
Next up: Tuesday, at West Chester Rustin.
Scenario: Ninth-place playback in District One Class AAAA.
Notes: The Bulls lost in the second round, one win shy of a guaranteed state spot. But they - with the help of All-Delco center Aaric Murray (pictured) - kept alive their slim playoff hopes with a win Friday in a playback game. They need to beat Rustin and win again later this week to make states for the first time in five seasons.

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Friday, February 20, 2009


Something happened Friday that hasn’t happened in seven years: the Chester Clippers lost a District One Class AAAA playoff game. A bit of Southeastern Pennsylvania royalty, the Clippers were dethroned by No. 8 Norristown.

The Clippers last dropped a district game February 2001, losing in the semifinals to eventual PIAA champion Coatesville.

Friday’s loss snapped a streak of 38 consecutive district playoff victories. On their way toward winning their school's sixth state championship last year (at right), the Clippers extended their own record to seven straight district championships.

Those numbers are flat-out unprecedented and it’s hard to believe any team will ever accomplish such a streak. To put it into further perspective, here’s a smattering of what has happened since the Clippers last lost a district playoff game:
  • A Philadelphia professional sports franchise won a championship (2008).
  • The Clippers won two state titles (2003-04, 2007-08).
  • There have been two presidential elections (2004, 2008).
  • The United States launched a war on Iraq (2003).
  • Facebook, the uber-popular networking site, is founded (2004).
  • Two U.S. presidents pass away (Reagan, 2004; Ford, 2006).
  • More than 959 million births have taken place globally.


Penn Wood 38, Lower Merion 35
: Duane Johnson (pictured) scored 10 of his team-best 12 points in the first half. The Patriots avenged a regular-season loss to the Aces by doing what Johnson told the Daily Times most people thought they couldn’t do: “We want to prove we can win a 40-point game.” They did. Tyree Johnson scored 11 more for the Pats.

Glen Mills 78, Owen J Roberts 65: Lavander Johns, who scored zero points in Tuesday’s second round, poured in a team-best 23 to keep the Bulls’ season alive in the ninth-place consolation bracket. Aaric Murray scored 20 more for The Mills, which led 22-5 after one quarter.


OK, here’s what we’re looking at for the Class AAAA semifinal pairings, which will be held next Tuesday at Temple University’s Liacouras Center:
  • No. 3 Penn Wood vs. No. 2 Conestoga, 6 p.m.
  • No. 8 Norristown vs. No. 4 Pennsbury, 8 p.m.

According to Kevin Cooney of the Bucks County Courier Times, fans should be warned to hit the MAC machines before going to the games. Reportedly, ticket prices are $10 and parking at Temple will be $12. (Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.)

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Thursday, February 19, 2009


There will be no Delaware County representation at this year's McDonald's All-America Game.

Roman Catholic's Maalik Wayns (pictured), a Villanova signee, was Southeastern Pennsylvania's only choice for the game, which will be played April 1 in Miami, Fla.

Four players from Delco had been nominated for entry in the game: Glen Mills' Aaric Murray, Penn Wood's Duane Johnson, Strath Haven's Calvin Newell and Chester's Rahlir Jefferson.

Dominic Cheek, a 6-6 guard from St. Anthony in New Jersey, was Villanova's second selection to the prestigious game. Villanova, with two recruits selected, has more representatives in the game than all schools except North Carolina, which has three.

Delco was vying for a representative in the game for consecutive seasons. American Christian's Tyreke Evans made last year's game, and earned MVP honors. Archbishop Carroll's Barry Bekkedam is the county's only other rep in the McDonald's showcase.

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Thursday, February 5, 2009


Two of last year's All-Delco boys basketball selections - Aaric Murray of Glen Mills (pictured) and Duane Johnson of Penn Wood - were among those chosen as candidates for the McDonald's All-America Game.

Calvin Newell (Strath Haven) and Rahlir Jefferson (Chester) also were named nominees. They are among the 1,500 nominated players who are vying for 24 roster spots.

On the girls side, three Delco players were nominated for spots on the McDonald's teams: Notre Dame's Devon Kane, Cardinal O'Hara's Stephanie Holzer and Archbishop Carroll's Kerri Shields. They are three out of 1,000 who are vying for only 24 roster spots.

The teams will be announced later this month. The games will be played April 1 in Miami.

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Friday, January 23, 2009


The losing hasn't worn on Tom Brennan. It affects the Sun Valley senior, of course. He'd be lying if he said it didn't.

But the 6-3, 195-pound forward has kept his head up. He averages 23.3 points per game this year, nearly identical to what he did on a game-to-game basis as a junior.

His future looks bright, too, with either a collegiate career in either basketball (his first passion) or baseball. (Editorial Note: Brennan was the last player left off the Daily Times' baseball All-Delco team last spring. He had a stellar season in which he saved five games on the mound, batted better than .330 and knocked in 19 runs for the District One Class AAA champs.)

But I digress. Brennan is an interesting subject, in that he succeeds while his team flounders. Get a glimpse into his life on the hardwood.


Glen Mills 60, Academy Park 38: The Battlin' Bulls (12-4, 4-2) went up by 40-18 at halftime and never looked back. They got 19 from All-Delco Aaric Murray.

Penn Wood 86, Chichester 50: Sophomore forward Aaron Brown, a Roman Catholic transfer, had his second 20-point game in the last seven to boost the Patriots (14-1, 5-1). All-Delco Duane Johnson had 16 as did super sub Will Brown, the lastest in a long line of talented bench players at Penn Wood.

Chester 69, Interboro 42: Twelve different Clippers (that's an unreal number, folks) scored at least a point to keep Chester (15-1, 6-0) undefeated in league play. Erikk Wright and Rahlir Jefferson led the way with 12.

For all the rest, check out Friday's Daily Times.

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Sunday, January 18, 2009


The subject comes up everywhere I go: Who's the best? When I give my answer, it usually comes with some rebuttal: Why them?

Here's a chance for me to make the best argument for the top six teams in Delaware County (in no particular order):

Record: 12-1 (4-0 Del Val)
Key Wins: Penn Wood, Norristown, E&S.
Key Losses: None.
More: Take a look at most of the preseason picks in Southeastern Pa. - they all had Chester out of the No. 1 slot. But the defending PIAA Class AAAA champs have rebounded and are perfect (except for a 2 OT loss vs. Reading). I still don't think we've seen the best of senior Rahlir Jefferson.

Record: 12-1 (3-1 Del Val)
Key Wins: North Catholic, Glen Mills, Bartram.
Key Losses: Chester.
More: Once nationally-ranked, the Patriots took a step back (in the league standings, too) with the loss to Chester. But they have beaten the best of the Catholic League and previously 12-0 Bartram, of the Pub. Behind junior point guard Tyree Johnson, the Pats are on course for a deep run in states.

Record: 13-1 (9-1 Catholic Blue)
Key Wins: Archbishop Wood, La Salle, Camden Catholic.
Key Losses: Neumann-Goretti.
More: The Main Line Patriots are deep. They usually employ a six-man rotation, but they can use as many as eight or nine, with all of them contributing. I like their backcourt, with D.J. Irving and Juan'Ya Green. If those two are on target, these Pats are hard to slow down offensively -- they have scored fewer than 54 points only twice.

Record: 10-4 (2-2 Del Val)
Key Wins: University City, Holy Ghost Prep.
Key Losses: Chester, Penn Wood, Frankford.
More: Senior center and La Salle commit Aaric Murray had his second career triple-double Saturday ... in a blowout win, which goes to show that as he goes, so go the Bulls. There is a nice supporting cast around him, with guards Reginald Miles and Tyrik Gass, but they need to slay some of the Del Val's big guns to be taken seriously. They have an upset (or two) in them.

Record: 12-3 (9-2 Central)
Key Wins: Lower Merion, Penncrest.
Key Losses: Springfield, Conestoga.
More: It's easy to justify losing to Conestoga, the unbeaten titan of the league. But when you drop a decision to a Springfield team that is a step below in the PIAA classifications (after Springfield had lost to a one-win team only two days prior) it raises serious questions. Forward Chase Peterson and guard Khayri West need to carry the load if the Royals are to rebound.

Record: 12-3 (8-3 Central)
Key Wins: West Chester Henderson, Radnor.
Key Losses: Conestoga, Lower Merion, Upper Darby.
More: After 10 straight wins to start the year, the Lions' three-game slide had everyone fearing the worst. Senior center Marvin Holman-Little, who is averaging 14 points per game, has been a steadying force for a young, green crew. They lack big-game experience, but it has not come back to get them thus far. Don't sleep on the Lions.

Of course, if I let a team out that you deem worthy, let me know. As for which team is No. 1, that's yet to be sorted out. But these are definitely the big guns in Delco through the first half of the season. There's no argument there.

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Sunday, January 4, 2009


Two of Delaware County's three undefeated boys basketball teams won again Saturday night, but their perfect seasons face serious threats this week.

Penncrest pushed around Unionville, 58-28, and Penn Wood subdued Central, 76-46. The challenges ahead will be covered by the Daily Times.

Tuesday: The Lions (10-0) take on fellow unbeaten Conestoga (12-0) Tuesday night in a game between the only loss-less Central League teams. Count on a solid low-block matchup with the Lions' Marvin Holman-Little (a physical 6-6 forward) and the Pioneers' Jake Cohen (a 6-10 Davidson commit).

Thursday: The Patriots (9-0) have to get past Chichester Tuesday before they can look ahead to an early-season game of the year candidate against Chester. In Thursday's meeting, look for the backcourt play of Penn Wood's Tyree Johnson and Aaron Brown to be on full display against the Clippers' talented duo in Kareem Robinson and Laquan Robinson.


AROUND THE CORNER: No Delaware County teams has Pennsbury on its schedule, but they should keep an eye on their foes to the North.

The Bucks County-based Falcons (6-2) are fresh off an impressive showing in the Beach Ball Classic in Myrtle Beach, S.C. Behind senior West Virginia commit Dalton Pepper (pictured), they beat two teams that recently fell out of's Southeast Region top 10.

They were drubbed by St. Patrick's (N.J.), the fourth-best team in the nation, and lost in a close one to an unranked Martin Luther King (Calif.) team.

Pennsbury resumed Suburban One play Saturday by whalloping Abington, 67-44. Look out.


BULLS KEEP ROLLING: Around this time of year, the students at Glen Mills get a lengthy break to go home and enjoy the holidays with their families. So you'd think a two-week layoff would hurt the Battlin' Bulls, right?

Wrong. The 14 days since beating Downingtown West Dec. 20 had no effect in the Bulls' 16-point win over Bensalem Saturday. Aaric Murray scored 23 points, and Reggie Miles contributed 10 points, 11 assists and a solid defensive showing.


MY RESOLUTION TO YOU: The infrequency with which I've posted lately is due to a couple things, namely though it was the holidays. Now that we're in the New Year (and I've resolved to not have another three-day week until July), I'll be posting with more regularity. So stay close to Gettin' Schooled.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008


While covering the Villanova-La Salle game Sunday, I caught up with two Delco players who will be pivotal in La Salle's resurgence - Aaric Murray and Karon Burton.

Burton, the reigning Daily Times Player of the Year, is a redshirt freshman at La Salle who is working toward becoming academically eligible for the 2009-10 season. The Chester product's point guard skills are needed desperately by the Explorers, who had 15 turnovers to nine assists Sunday.

Daily Times: What are you up to right now?
Karon Burton: Nothing right now with the team, but it’s all individual workouts and weight training and everything. I’m just working on my grades right now and I’m getting good ones, too. I have to keep waiting. After next semester, I can start practicing with the team. I have to wait for the summertime to practice, but I’m getting stronger and quicker.

DT: Do you like what you see in this year’s team?
KB: Yeah, we just have to be more patient and capitalize I guess. We look good, but we’ve got to be patient.

DT: What’s the hardest part of college life?
KB: The hardest part? It’s being on your own. You’ve got to hold yourself accountable. It’s all about time management.

DT: What’s your workout plan like?
KB: I lift weights everyday and then I come in here (Tom Gola Arena) and shoot after I lift. Sometimes I come in here later on at night and shoot something like 1,000 shots a day. Some of the trainers, they have me on resistance ropes and have me working on my quickness like that.

DT: What does coach John Giannini say about all of this you’re doing?
KB: Well, I think he’s just excited to have me. He’s looking real forward to next year.

DT: Have you been back to Chester to see coach Larry Yarbray?
KB: I worked out there (Saturday). I went to their first game, too. I think people are underestimating them. We’re 3-0 right now and we’re beating people by 20.

DT: You’re saying ‘we’ as if you’re a part of the team.
KB: I’m an alumni now. I’m always going to be part of the team.

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Monday, December 15, 2008


While covering the Villanova-La Salle game Sunday, I caught up with two Delco players who will be pivotal in La Salle's resurgence - Aaric Murray and Karon Burton.

Murray, pictured, signed his National Letter of Intent last month. The 6-10 senior at Glen Mills is averaging 20.1 points per game along with nine rebounds and six blocks. Here's what the 2007-08 All Delco had to say:

Daily Times: Have you been to any other La Salle games this season?
Aaric Murray: Only one, when they played here against Morgan State. (A 65-61 La Salle win on Nov. 15)

DT: Can you see yourself in this uniform next year?
AM: Yeah, yeah. I can't wait. I think I can come in and make an immediate impact.

DT: It looks like they have a couple decent big guys who you can learn from.
AM: Yeah, I'd like to play with Vernon (Goodridge, a 6-9 junior). I think working with him would be like working with a coach in a way. I think it'll be fun.

To see what's going on with reigning Daily Times Player of the Year Karon Burton, a redshirt freshman at La Salle, check back with Gettin' Schooled on Tuesday.

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Saturday, December 6, 2008


The basketball season kicked off Friday night with a flourish. There were high scorers abound, some upsets and some high expectations that were given foundations for the rest of the season.

For starters, Chichester upended host Ridley, 50-39, behind 12 points and nine rebounds from Dan Clapp and 11 from Malik Carter (pictured).

The Eagles, who have just two wins in their last six openers, desperately needed to get off to a good start. In the always-competitive Del Val, their toughest tests are ahead of them.

Marple Newtown's Soutiri Sapnas scored 13 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter of a win at Harry S Truman.

Strath Haven's Calvin Newell dropped 28 on Carlisle, the hosts of a tipoff tournament and losers to the Panthers.

Glen Mills' Aaric Murray lived up to all the hype, tossing in 32 points.

And Archbishop Carroll escaped a three-overtime thriller over La Salle, 86-84, behind 21 from D.J. Irving and 19 from Juan'Ya Green.


Daily Times reporters are scattered about the East Coast today, covering some bigtime games. I'm taking a day off from the high school beat to visit Lincoln Financial Field and the 109th Army-Navy Game. A lifelong Philadelphian, it's hard to believe that I've never covered one of these games. In fact, I've never even attended one. Today should be a treat.

Terry Toohey is in Harrisonburg, Va., for Villanova's second-round FCS playoff game against top-seeded James Madison. And Anthony SanFilippo is down in Carolina for a Flyers-Hurricanes game.

It's a big day for sports, certainly, so pick up Sunday's Daily Times for all the latest.

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Boys Soccer teams off and running

This week marked the first installment of the boys soccer notebook, which will print weekly every Thursday in the Daily Times.

You can always count on the Super 7, which has Thomas Arkue and the Upper Darby Royals, pictured, at the top of the county rankings.

In this week's notebook, we take a look at Penn Wood's Menuh Wiah, a Liberia native who leads the county with 12 goals in the early going. There's also good stuff about Haverford coach Jorge Severini, who notched his 200th win, and much more.

Keep an eye out every Thursday for the latest in Delco boys soccer.

There are plenty of intriguing matchups to keep an eye on tonight, Week 4. (Can you believe it? We're already a quarter of the way into the season.)

For starters, the Central League game between Strath Haven and Garnet Valley has the makings of being the game of the week. Haven needs a huge game from Lonnie Richardson, a running back/safety, if it is to upset the Jaguards.

For the rest of the games, here are the quick-hitters and our expert panel's picks. (Note our loose use of the word 'expert'.)

The Daily Times was the first to report on the college commitments of Chester's Rahlir Jefferson and Glen Mills' Aaric Murray to Temple and La Salle, respectively. Here are the official stories, found only in Friday's edition of the Daily Times.

Have a good weekend and check back next week for more.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Glen Mills' Murray picks La Salle

Glen Mills center Aaric Murray wasted no time, announcing his college choice well before his senior season got underway. Murray will attend La Salle next fall and continue his career with the Explorers.

A full report on Murray's verbal committment will appear in Thursday's edition of the Daily Times. Here are some the extras from my interview with him:

On his choice:
"Basically I was comfortable with everything there. Coach (John Giannini) was real with me. Everything he said to me was the truth and I got a good feel for the players. The campus itself, I liked that. I liked the population there. I liked everything. It was a great feeling. The teachers can actually help you individually because there's only 30 per class. I don't know. I felt it in my heart."

On when he had made up his mind:
"I was at home for the weekend and before I left for school, I told Coach G I wanted to go there. When I saw my coach (Glen Mills coach Craig Mellinger) Monday morning, I guess Coach G must've already told him. He was smiling real hard."

On Mellinger's help in the process:
"He was there for me, but he didn't want to influence me into going to one of the schools. He let me decide for myself."

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

All-Delco Teams Unveiled

As previously announced, Chester point guard Karon Burton is this year's All-Delco boys basketball Player of the Year.

Burton presented the obvious scoring average and additional statistical evidence to validate his selection as Player of the Year, but he also demonstrated the intangibles (i.e. vocal leadership) necessary to Chester's winning its sixth big-school state title earlier this month.

Right now you might be asking: Aside from Burton, who else got a nod? Here's the rest of the First Team:
  • Steve Egee, G, Ridley
  • Tyreke Evans, G, American Christian
  • Aaric Murray, C, Glen Mills
  • Nasir Robinson, F, Chester
  • Duane Johnson, F, Penn Wood

There's far too much in today's edition of the Daily Times to recap here. Check it out for final standings, an extensive list of the scoring leaders in the county, bios of each of the First Teamers, a huge feature on Burton and who made the other teams.

Evans, who made the All-Delco team for a third straight season, had a big night at the McDonald's All-American Game. The unsigned senior scored 21 points and had 10 rebounds.

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Thursday, February 28, 2008

All-league teams unveiled

The Central and Del Val leagues announced their all-league honors Wednesday. Here's the rundown of the first-team nominees for each league:

Co-champions Lower Merion and Ridley were rewarded with two representatives each on the first team. For the Aces, Greg Robbins and Carl Johnson were honored, as were Steve Egee and Dan Robinson (named the league's most valuable player) for the Green Raiders.

Rounding out the Central League's First Team are Soutiri Sapnas of Marple Newtown and Jake Cohen of Conestoga.

PIAA Class AAAA tournament qualifiers Chester and Penn Wood each garnered two first-team nominations. The Clippers' Nasir Robinson and Karon Burton (pictured) got the nod, as did Duane Johnson and Tyree Johnson for the Patriots.

Also earning top honors in the league were Glen Mills' Aaric Murray and Academy Park's Anthony King.

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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Tuesday night: By The Numbers

A couple things I saw Tuesday night at Marple Newtown got me thinking about doing a 'By the Numbers' post. First, the Tigers' Soutiri Sapnas knocked down five 3-pointers. For being a slasher who drives the lane, that's an unreal amount. Second, there was a time in the third quarter when Marple had more 3-pointers as a team (7) than 2-point field goals (6).

Here are some of my other findings from a night of Delaware County boys basketball action:
2 - Wins Ridley needs to clinch the Central League crown, after beating Upper Darby tonight.
5 - Number of Haverford High scorers to reach double figures. That's NBA caliber, right there.
7 - Number of games (and losses) for the Haverford School in Inter-Ac play.
10 - Blocked shots recorded by Glen Mills' Aaric Murray, who posted a triple-double in the Bulls' win over Penn Wood.
10 - Consecutive Del Val League crowns won by Chester High. Kudos to the Clips for maintaining their reign of the league for the past decade.
14 - Conestoga's biggest lead over Marple Newtown, which overcame the deficit only to lose to the Pioneers.
26 - Points scored by Ridley's Shamar Harris, posting a new career-high in the process.

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Friday, January 18, 2008

Boys basketball notebook

There's an assortment of topics covered in this week's boys basketball notebook, so be sure to pick up a copy of today's Daily Times:

  • A feature story on Penn Wood and the junior with the hot hand, Duane Johnson.
  • An update on Chester's national ranking.
  • A piece on Delco Christian's top two scorers, Jake Godino and Jon DeShields, who have been scoring in bunches lately.
  • Something on the three seniors (Michael Barrett, Dave Kerzner and Seth Cartmell) keeping Interboro afloat during a rough season.
  • A recruiting item on Glen Mills junior Aaric Murray.
  • Games of the week, the Super 7 and so on.
Every week, I pick the three biggest games of the week. If there's a game coming up that I should have my eye on, let me know. I always take reader feedback and suggestions.

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