Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Jackson to Penn Hills

According to the Post-Gazette, Darche Jackson has transfered from Wilkinsburg to Penn Hills for her senior season. Jackson led the WPIAL in scoring as a junior, netting 33.8 points per game.

A 5-7 guard, Jackson is drawing minor Division I interest.

Jackson's transfer won't impact Class AAAA and Penn Hills as much as it impacts Class AA and Wilkinsburg. The move essentially removes Wilkinsburg as a potential power and makes Double-A a little more wide open.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Thomas draws rave reviews

Take notice area Steelers fans: Not only are the Cleveland Browns a trendy pick to win the AFC North, there's a chance a local product may impact the division.

Travis Thomas, a former Notre Dame running back and the 2002 Observer-Reporter Co-Offensive Player of the Year, is receiving rave reviews for his work in the Browns backfield.

According to reports, Thomas is vying for a spot on the practice squad. His main competition is former Penn State runner Austin Scott.

Next time you're on Google.com, do a news search for Travis Thomas. The Cleveland Plain Dealer has nothing but nice things to say about the former Prexies standout.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Ten to watch

With the 2007-08 school year more than a month behind us, the time to think about 2008-09 is here. With that, the following is a list of 10 area student-athletes (in alphabetical order) the Varsity Letters expects big things from this year.

Emily Correal, Peters Township
The 6-3 Correal is the WPIAL's top senior girls basketball player according to ESPN and the two-time O-R Player of the Year has eight scholarship offers to date. A big senior year could make Correal the first player in Wash Co. history to reach 2,000 points during a high school career.

Jocelyn Floyd, Washington
Floyd displays athleticism, toughness and uncanny defensive abilities on the basketball court and the senior should have her choice of schools this year.

Alex Frey, Trinity
Frey is an underrated football player. He started at receiver and defensive back as a junior for the Hillers. Plus, he's one of the better left-handed pitchers in the area and could carry the Hillers to another deep postseason run.

Chad Hagan, Canon-McMillan
Word is the multi-talented Hagan, a junior, will return to the Big Macs football team and, if he does, you can bet Division I coaches will take note. As for basketball, Hagan's first love, his role will change dramatically with the departure of Charles Murphy.

Austin Hancock, Peters Township
Many believed Hancock was good enough to start at quarterback last year for Peters Township as a freshman and with Tyler Porco on the roster. This year figures to be Hancock's year. He also played a strong first base for the baseball team and could develop into one of the WPIAL's premier power hitters.

Mike Hull, Canon-McMillan
Hull finished as runner-up in voting for the 2008 O-R Boys Athlete of the Year. This year, the award is his to lose. Hull is one of the top two-way football players in Pennsylvania. He also is a PIAA medal-winning wrestler in addition to being the leadoff hitter for the defending state champion baseball team.

Jack Jamerson, Trinity
Jamerson may not be as well-known as others on the list but he could be the area's most highly recruited senior football player. A big, tough defensive end, Jamerson is drawing DI interest. Also, look for Hillers junior Kenny Wilkins to make major contributions.

Joby Lapkowicz, Carmichaels
Lapkowicz broke an ankle during the PIAA Class A baseball semifinals and his chances of returning in time to be the Mikes starting quarterback this fall look bleak. Still, Lapkowicz could contribute to the boys basketball team and the senior has one more year on the baseball team.

Rachel Rohanna, Waynesburg
Rohanna, currently tearing up the competition in various national junior golf tournaments, returns for her senior year and a chance to become a three-time PIAA and WPIAL girls golf champion. Plus, people forget she'll be a four-year starter on the girls softball team.

Julie Stroyne, Peters Township
In two years as a member of the Peters Township girls tennis team, Stroyne helped the Indians win a state team championship two years ago and she, along with Emily Palko, won state doubles gold last fall. This year, Stroyne will be among the favorites at the WPIAL and PIAA individual tournaments.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

A matter of time

When the NBA decided future prospects must play one year of post-high school basketball to be eligible for the draft, it opened the door to the one-and-done player. The past NBA draft included several one-and-dones – O.J. Mayo, Kevin Love, Michael Beasley and Derrick Rose among them.

Brandon Jennings, a recent high school grad, came up with a new idea, and it was only a matter of time before it happened.

Jennings originally committed to the University of Arizona. After failing to reach academic standards for entrance, Jennings has opted to play a year of professional basketball in Europe.

Jennings broke down the door. I'd expect many to follow.

Here's an interesting take on the situation from ESPN.com's Jemelle Hill: http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=hill/080710

Monday, July 7, 2008

Correal drawing national attention

Peters Township senior-to-be Emily Correal is the two-time Observer-Reporter Girls Basketball Player of the Year in addition to leading the Indians to the 2008 WPIAL Class AAAA title game. Correal also earned all-state honors as a junior.

Heading into her senior year, Correal is one of the nation's most highly sought-after recruits.

According to ESPN.com, Correal is the nation's No. 70 recruit and the No. 13 forward in the country. She's Pennsylvania's fourth-best recruit and the best in the WPIAL. Looks like Correal will be the most recruited player in this part of the state since Monessen's Charel Allen, who went to Notre Dame and now plays in the WNBA.

For more on Correal, click here.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Majerus assistant leaves for ESPN

Looks like the U of St. Louis must not pay its assistants very well. Check out this story from the Associated Press:

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Saint Louis assistant coach Paul Biancardi left the program on Tuesday to become ESPN’s national director of high school and college basketball recruiting.
Biancardi was head coach at Wright State from 2003-06 before joining Rick Majerus last season. He also was an assistant coach at Ohio State for six seasons, including the final season as associate head coach.
Saint Louis was 16-15 last season.
“Coach Majerus established the foundation for greatness in the Saint Louis program this past season, and I know firsthand that the Billikens are heading to the top of the Atlantic 10 Conference under his tutelage,” Biancardi said. “It was rewarding to be a part of that process.”