Blogs > Gettin' Schooled

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

Friday, January 30, 2009


Two days after seeing the best game of the season - Penn Wood 53, Chester 52 - I was treated to another gem Thursday when the same Penn Wood team took down Glen Mills, 61-57, in double overtime.

And when sophomore forward Aaron Brown was picking apart The Mills in overtime, it got me thinking about who are the top underclassmen in Delaware County.

Here's this reporter's list:
1. Juan'Ya Green, So., PG, Archbishop Carroll: Green, 6-3, can make something happen from anywhere on the floor. He's getting high Division I recruiting interest (understandably so).

2. Aaron Brown, So., PF, Penn Wood: The Roman Catholic transfer, 6-5, is a converted center who is finding a home on the wing. His outside game is improving day by day.

3. Isaiah Baker, So., C, Episcopal Academy: The third-leading scorer for the Churchmen is 6-7 and is learning how to play within the body with which he's been blessed. Keep an eye on him.

4. Shawn Oakman, So., C, Penn Wood: A starter last year as a freshman, the 6-8 Oakman (pictured) is a talented rebounder and shotblocker. A boost in his scoring average (7 ppg.) will come with time.

5. Chazz Fisher, So., SG, Strath Haven: He started the year at JV and continues his quick ascent through coach Steve Lewis' system. Fisher is a jumpshooter with good skills around the glass, too.

6. Kurt Johnson, So, SG, Marple Newtown: Johnson, a JV call-up due to injury early on, is one of the best up-and-coming 3-point shooters in the county.

7. Montrail Talford, So, PG, Upper Darby: He is learning more and more. This is his second year of varsity experience with an upperclassmen-laden lineup.

8. Kareem Robinson, Fr., PG, Chester: The Clippers are grooming the 5-10 guard, the younger brother of two-time All-Delco Nasir, as an heir apparent to the point.

9. Rahmir Jefferson, Fr., SF, Chester: Imagine Rahlir Jefferson three years ago, except maybe just a tad more polished.

10. Norm Donkin, So., SG, Ridley: A pure shooter with decent range. He's a building block toward the future at Ridley.

Anybody I left out, shoot me an e-mail or leave a comment here.
Coming up Saturday: the top juniors in Delco.

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Wednesday, December 31, 2008


At Temple, where I graduated from, underclassmen are taught this one, very simple expression: "Temple Owls are everywhere." And it's the truth - no matter where my career has taken me, I always seem to run into a Temple alum.

Well, Delaware County products are everywhere too. Here's a quick rundown of how some of them are doing on the college hardwood:

***Kevin Egee (Ridley): At Penn, has three starts in nine games; shooting 45 percent; averaging 9.7 ppg.
***Steve Egee (Ridley): At Columbia, has four starts in 11 games; averaging 13.7 minutes per game as a freshman
***Nasir Robinson (Chester): At undefeated Pittsburgh, has appeared in 11 of the Panthers' 12 games; averaging 10.5 minutes, 1.9 points and 1.8 rebounds.
***Noel Wilmore (Chester): At George Washington, averaging 9.3 points off the bench as the team's third-leading scorer.
***Kenny Tribbett (Chester): At Drexel, has started eight of nine games; averaging 2.6 points.
***Charlie Swiggett (Chester): At Wisconsin-Milwaukee, averaging 1.6 points in limited time off the bench.

***Numbers weren't available for Dan Robinson (Ridley/East Stroudsburg) or Kevin Green-Germany (Chester/Delaware Tech).
***Sitting out: As for Chester grads Karon Burton (La Salle) and Russell Johnson (Robert Morris), they are red-shirting in order to straighten out their academics and will play next season.

I know I left a few out. Let me know who, and I'll post a follow-up in the near future.

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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Chester's Johnson picks Robert Morris

Russell Johnson, a 6-6 forward from Chester, announced Wednesday that he has committed to Robert Morris University.

Johnson, who averaged 12 points and 11 rebounds, emerged as the Clippers' third-leading scorer during their run toward the District One and PIAA Class AAAA titles.

Unsure whether he has met NCAA Clearinghouse standards, Johnson awaits the call to ensure his eligibility next season. He said he'd like to improve his SAT score by another 100 points, and he's registered for the standardized test next month.

"I'm waiting for the NCAA to call me back," Johnson said. "If they say it's OK, I'll take some summer classes to get ready for the season."

Johnson became the Clippers' second Division I commit from this year's recruiting class. Teammate Nasir Robinson gave his word to Pitt last season.

"High-caliber Division I schools were after Russell," said newly-retired Chester coach Fred Pickett. "He's going to have a good career. I've said it before - I think he'll get his team to the Big Dance. I just know it."

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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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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

News and Notes for tonight's game

A couple news items regarding tonight's semifinal game:

TICKETS. Tickets are still available for purchase. Interested spectators can pick up $6 general admission tickets and $3 student tickets at Chester High School between 12 noon and 2:30 p.m. today.

PARKING. If you're heading to the Palestra tonight, be advised to make a carpool, take public transportation or get there early. With a PIAA Class AAA girls basketball semifinal taking place at 6 p.m., parking undoubtedly will be limited. And the streets around the Palestra will be chaotic. Plan accordingly.

PREVIEW SECTION. To help wait out the start of the 7:30 p.m. Chester-Pennsbury game, bring a copy of the Daily Times to the Palestra. Included within are the latest stats and information, projected starting lineups, a feature on Nasir Robinson and what Pennsbury is saying about tonight's game.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Robinson's hopes high for state title

Nasir Robinson didn't take a page out of Joe Namath's book. There will be no guarantees coming from Robinson's mouth, but the senior forward is optimistic Chester will beat Pennsbury Wednesday, then go on to win the PIAA Class AAAA state championship.

Before Monday's practice, I asked Robinson if all of the games the Clippers have won would be for naught should they not win the state crown. His response:

"It's definitely been worth it, all of it. Even the hard losses," he said of his time at Chester. "It's my pride for Chester — playing here and being from here — that keeps me going. It would hurt not to win it, so I don't even want to think about not winning it."

For a feature story on Robinson and preview coverage of the Clippers' matchup with Pennsbury, pick up a copy of Wednesday's Daily Times.

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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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Sunday, February 24, 2008

Chester defends district crown

The Chester Clippers successfully defended their string of District One Class AAAA championships Sunday to take home their seventh in a row.

The Clippers (28-1) handed Norristown (28-1) its first loss of the season in a 61-47 decision at Villanova's Pavilion.

Karon Burton finished with team highs of 20 points and 7 assists while Nasir Robinson (pictured) had 18 points and 12 rebounds. The senior duo connected on three alley-oop dunks in the win.

In the PIAA Class AAAA state playoff bracket, Chester will take on Williamsport (19-8), the second seed out of District Two, in the first round. That game will be played next Saturday at 2:30 p.m. at Norristown High School.

...pick up a copy of Monday's Daily Times. Included will be a game story; a sidebar on Burton's rebound from a sloppy first quarter; a column by Terry Toohey on Chester coach Fred Pickett; and another sidebar by Chuck Smith on Norristown's take on the Clippers.

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Chester marches toward title

There were plenty of juicy subplots to watch for in Tuesday's District One Class AAAA semifinal between Chester and Penn Wood:
  • Would the underclassmen of PW usurp the senior-laden Clippers?
  • Would Chester sweep a three-game set with the Patriots?
  • Would their familiarity play into the game's outcome?
In the end, none of that really mattered. It was simply a case of Chester being Chester in a 74-52 win at Norristown High School. Nasir Robinson and Karon Burton (pictured) were big as usual in the win.

Check out my game story as well as a column by Jack McCaffery on the head-scratching of Penn Wood coach Clyde Jones that went into preparing for Chester.

With the win, that makes 35 straight victories for Chester in the district tournament, which matches Lower Merion's 35 from 1930-46. The Clippers have won 35 in a row from 2002 to the present, while the Aces reeled off that many in a time when the district tournament was only three rounds.

***In other boys basketball news, Wednesday's Daily Times includes a profile story on Delco Christian's Jake Godino and Jon DeShields --- two great kids with great back stories who are leading the Knights into an all-important playoff game tonight. Check it out.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Central League sets fundraising record

The Central League has "set the standard for District One" by collecting more than $17,000 this season for Coaches vs. Cancer, according to charity spokesman Bill Campo.

Campo sent an e-mail to the league's coaches and administrators to announce that collective fundraisers generated $17,300, a record for a high school sports league. Just how big was this year's tally? "Last year, the Central League might have raised $8,000, and that was considered a great accomplishment," Campo said by telephone Monday.

Credit for the more-than 100 percent jump from 2007 to 2008, Campo said, is due to the league's relationship with its referees.

"The fact that game referees donate their checks is something that isn't as common," Campo said. "That's $65 per referee and $130 per game that we wouldn't have had donated."

The one and only playoff game of local interest tonight is No. 5 Penn Wood vs. No. 1 Chester in the District One Class AAAA semifinals. The game is set for 7:30 p.m. at Norristown High School. Here's a breakdown of the two regular-season meetings between these Del Val League foes:
  • Dec. 11 - Chester 76, Penn Wood 40: Both teams entered the game unbeaten, but the Clippers (4-0) blew past the Patriots (5-1) in the league opener for both squads. Despite the big offensive showing, the Clippers' leading scorer Nasir Robinson scored just 14 points.
  • Jan. 22 - Chester 82, Penn Wood 70: Between games, the Patriots narrowed the gap and played to the slimmest margin of any of the Clippers' league games. Chester's Kevin Green Germany scored 27 points and Penn Wood's Duane Johnson countered with 29.

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Saturday, January 26, 2008

Friendship first, basketball second

For 32 minutes, Academy Park's Anthony King and Chester's Nasir Robinson (pictured) played like a state title was on the line. Loose balls were pounced on. The glass was cleaned after clanged shots. But after the game, though, the two shook hands and smiled at one another as if they hadn't just done battle.

"I've known Nasir since he was four, so I can't be mad at him for winning," King said of Chester's 87-63 win. "He lived around the corner from me when we were kids. I've known him all my life."

Robinson, who has given his word to Pittsburgh, and King remain good friends to this day. Thus explaining all their pleasantries after the game, which is written about in detail in today's Daily Times.

"When he patted me on the back, he was saying 'Keep doing what you're doing,'" said King, the Knights' leading scorer who has narrowed his college choices to Penn State and Bloomsburg.

In other hoops news:
...Chester native Mark Medley scored 10 points in Delaware-based Tatnall's win over Delco Christian Friday.
...A crazy finish in tonight's only Delco Catholic League game. Archbishop Carroll snuck into a second-place tie with Monsignor Bonner by beating the Friars in overtime on two free throws with three seconds to go by Kasheef Festus. That's good, solid basketball right there.
...Ridley stayed in a tie with Lower Merion for first in the Central League with a win. The Green Raiders own the tie-breaker over second-place Conestoga, which they've beaten twice.
...My alma mater - Holy Ghost Prep - improved to 18-3 Friday. So for fans of any Class AAA teams, look out. Ghost will be a force in the district playoffs.

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Friday, January 25, 2008

The latest from the hardwood

A TON of boys basketball material made the newspaper today. Be sure to check it out. Here's just a taste:

  • A feature story on J.J. Rapczynski and Tim Lang (pictured), the Garnet Valley seniors approaching the 1,000-point plateau.
  • A note on Springfield, which has fought through a tough season. The Cougars, plagued by injury, have been steadied by Lou Meindl, Paul Mooney and Sean Mulkeen.
  • No surprise here: Chester takes yet another leap in the USA Today rankings. Nasir Robinson and Karon Burton likely have something to do with that.
  • Sun Valley's Tom Brennan, only a junior, is closing in on 1,000 points. Keep an eye on him.
  • For the rest of the boys hoops notebook, check it out here.
Tonight I'll be out at game. Thursday night, though, I took a break from covering boys basketball, and got a chance to hang out with the boys track and field stars of Delaware County at the Indoor Championships. Be sure to check out my account from that meet.

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