Blogs > Gettin' Schooled

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

Thursday, October 22, 2009


For hoop-heads like myself, it's always good to see a story like the one that appears in Friday's Daily Times.

Sports editor Rob Parent takes a look at Chester's Laquan Robinson and Mo Nelson (pictured) - basketball players at heart who are suiting up for their school's football team, too. Robinson and Nelson, who represent the backcourt for Clippers coach Larry Yarbray, are expected to carry Chester High beyond the PIAA Class AAAA basketball quarterfinals.

Parent also caught up with Penn Wood junior Shawn Oakman, a huge (and we mean huge) piece of football coach Sam Mormando's team. Oakman, who measures to 6-9, was the starting center on hoops coach Clyde Jones' PIAA Class AAAA state-championship team last winter. On the football field, he lines up at tight end and defensive end.

It's an interesting look at how, in an era that pushes student-athletes to specialize in one sport, several players are taking a pass on the norm. ...Only in Friday's Daily Times.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009


An unfortunate incident plagued the Chester Clippers basketball team this winter. One of their players - freshman reserve Kareem Robinson - was wounded in the lower back by gunfire Feb. 10.

Robinson, who missed the remainder of the Clippers' season, spoke to the Daily Times for an exclusive look into his recovery process.

According to Robinson, it won't be an arduous one for the 5-7, 125-pound point guard, who is already back in the gym shooting and has a tremendous support system behind him. Fans, coaches and teammates met Robinson in his hospital room the night of the shooting, and have been by his side ever since.

Kareem's big brother Laquan Robinson (pictured, background) misses playing with Kareem. So did the rest of the Clippers. "Because I couldn't play," Kareem Robinson said, "we talked basketball all the time. That's all we could do."

Kareem Robinson was on the bench for the Clippers' seven playoff games (five district, two state), including their season-ending 62-49 loss to Williamsport March 11. Who knows how far the Clippers could have gone with their sparkplug freshman in the rotation? He posted some strong numbers in his first season at Chester. Here are his per-game averages: 6.1 points, 2.8 steals, 2.2 assists, 2.0 rebounds.

Robinson is on his way to a complete recovery.

"We missed him a lot," Chester coach Larry Yarbray said, "but he'll be back for us next year. He's still smiling. ... The important thing for him was understanding that he's in the Chester Clippers' family. Once you're in the family, you're always in the family."

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Saturday, January 31, 2009


The Class of 2010 might as well be dubbed 'the class of the point guard'. As this reporter sees it, five of the county’s top-10 juniors play the point. And three more handle the No. 2 slot, which limits the number of post players to two.

Here are a few observations of Delaware County’s top juniors:
1. Tyree Johnson, PG, Penn Wood: A smart, instinctive No. 1 who can turn heads with his passing ability, Johnson, pictured, also has the ability to score in bunches (when needed).

2. Soutiri Sapnas, PG, Marple Newtown: A scoring, jumpshooting machine who is on his way to becoming his school’s all-time scoring champ, Sapnas is the focus of every team’s gameplan.

3. Maurice Nelson, SG, Chester: Like his older brother, he does a little bit of everything. Nelson has found a niche with the Clippers with his scoring (14.5 ppg).

4. D.J. Irving, SG, Archbishop Carroll: An unassuming player who looks for his teammates first, it’s a wonder how a player with that selfless mindset averages 14 ppg.

5. Jack Roberts, C, Strath Haven: His rebounding and shot-blocking skills are well advanced. His scoring touch is not there yet, but at 6-7, it is on the way.

6. Andrew Radomicki, PG, Penncrest: A gritty, hard-nosed point who does the stuff that doesn’t appear in box scores: gets everyone involved, takes charges, makes the extra pass.

7. Omari Grier, PG, Episcopal Academy: He can slash or hit a pull-up. Grier works his best in catch-and-shoot opportunities and he possesses some dangerous size on the wing.

8. Jamal Melvin, PG, Monsignor Bonner: An undersized guard who can bob and weave his way to the bucket, Melvin can also dish to his bigs if nothing is there. He is fun to watch.

9. Ben Mingledough, SF, Archbishop Carroll: Long and lean, he’s a terror on the perimeter. Mingledough has put scoring on the backburner for now because of his skills on defense.

10. Laquan Robinson, SG, Chester: A role player and a selective shooter, he chooses his opportunities wisely. On any given night, though, Robinson can go off for 15.

Others to watch: Radnor G Kyle Hammonds; Ridley C Cameron Gunter; Penncrest SG Rodney Duncan; Haverford School SG A.J. Jones; Chichester G Brian Parker; Springfield C Wally Rutecki; Glen Mills G Lavander Johns.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009


By now, you probably know that Penn Wood pulled off the upset of Chester Tuesday night. (Junior point guard Tyree Johnson, pictured, was the hero. He scored 26 points, hauled in six rebounds and dished out six assists in the 53-52 win.)

But what you don't know is what else went down before, during and after the game. Here are some observations:

1. Chester's Laquan Robinson must like Beyonce, because he was singing the words to 'Single Ladies' in pregame warmups as the top-40 hit was being played in the gym.

2. The DJ manning the table slipped up, then made up for it. In bad taste, he let some expletive-laced songs play in a gym filled with children. Later on, though, he had the Penn Wood fan base in stitches as he played music over the Chester cheerleaders.

3. As Chester's Learon Pray lined up for the playing of the national anthem, there was one small problem: there was no flag in the gym. He mouthed to Chester coach Larry Yarbray, 'Which way do we face?'

4. According to a couple sources, only 250 presale tickets were made available to Chester fans. Which made for a mess at the front door, as a couple hundred more were turned away before the game.

5. I'm a big fan of high school mascots. Who isn't? But Penn Wood's version of the colonial patriot was weak. The person in the costume had rhythm and energy but the shabby suit was too big and the giant head kept falling off. Thumbs down to that.

The Daily Times was there Tuesday, with columnist Jack McCaffery turning in a great piece on the level of trust Penn Wood coach Clyde Jones has in Johnson. I handled the game story duties, and photographer Julia Wilkinson grabbed pictures and some video footage.

(Photo of Tyree Johnson by the Philadelphia Daily News)


Marple Newtown's Soutiri Sapnas needed 13 points Tuesday to break the 1,000-point plateau for his career. He scored that much in the first quarter.

Sapnas, on the fast track to becoming the school's all-time leading scorer, became the third player in Delaware County this season to crack 1,000 points. The others were Sun Valley's Tom Brennan and Strath Haven's Calvin Newell.


From the night's crazy-upset file, Harriton (6-13, 3-11) knocked off Penncrest (15-4, 10-4), 47-43. The loss to Harriton, a Class AAA team, does serious damage to Penncrest's hopes of attaining a top-10 seed in the District One Class AAAA bracket, which is announced Feb. 8.

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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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