Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The good, the bad, the ugly – boys preseason edition

A quick look at some story lines for the upcoming boys basketball season.

The Good
Several of the area's top teams return a slew of starters. Peters Township, Monessen, South Fayette, Washington and Carmichaels all have top scorers back and each is excited about its chances for the upcoming season.

Coaches in Section 2-A aren't likely to be overly upset about California's move up to Section 5-AA. The Trojans have dominated the section after Monessen moved into 5-AA. The veteran lineups at Carmichaels and Beth-Center are the early favorites.

Wash High coach Ron Faust needs five wins to reach 50 in his career. California coach Phil Pergola has won 511 games. Carmichaels coach Don Williams has coached the Mikes for 33 years.

The Bad
It might be difficult watching a few teams in Section 2-A defend Beth-Center's Ryne Niemiec, a consistent 22-point per game scorer at the Class AA level and a Califonia University of Pennsylvania recruit.

Bentworth lost four starters from a team which reached the PIAA Class A quarterfinals. Inexperience may hurt the Bearcats early, but a move to Section 2 and the potential on a 19-player roster will keep them in the playoff hunt.

The Ugly
Avella lost coach Joe Johnson after he was arrested in early October. Assistant coach Joe Hough takes over the Eagles, who return three starters and should once again field a competitive Class A team.

The Odd
On Jan. 13, 2009, Chartiers-Houston travels to Burgettstown in a Section 5-AA contest. The Bucs are coached by Jerry Cypher. The Blue Devils are coached by Brenden Cypher, Jerry's son and a 1,000-point scorer at C-H. The two meet again in the regular season finale on Feb. 6.


Anonymous said...


Do you think Ryne Niemiec will ever see the floor at Cal U? The last few Cal U recruits from the area never got much time. The last few I remember is Troy Yonkers (Ringgold) and Rob Ramsey (BVA). Both were tough players but never got any playing time. Tim Tyree (Monessen) is just fresh. so its to early to tell there. It seems that Cal is always getting transfer players making it tough to get on the court.

What are your thoughts?

mike_kovak said...

It is tough for local players (other than the Hairston fella from Connellsville) to see time at Cal U. Part of it has to to with transfers and foreign players coming in.

The PSAC is some of the best Division II basketball in the nation, so it's not an easy place to get on the court.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the answer Mike. I have been following Cal U basketball when they had Jim Boone. They always get great recruits. I do believe the PSAC is one of the top sections in the country too. That is why I was party suprised Niemiec woul commit to play there. I have never seen him play but I kno it is a really tough school to get playing time.

Again though it is a great accomplishment for him to be recruited by a top tier division 2 school so congrats to him.

I played against Hairston and I still can not believe he didnt have a better college career. I remember reading an article when LeBron James was recruiting James Hairston to transfer to his high school. He could really sky and had a great jumper. Probably one of the best I have seen since Vinny Graham.

Anonymous said...

Just to add isnt it amazing how much time Phil Pergola and Joe Salvino have been coaching. It is great having people who are willing to dedicate so much of their time to the game. I really dont think you could thank those two enough.

mike_kovak said...

Phil Pergola and Joe Salvino are two great coaches indeed.

Anonymous said...

Tom Kelly is a local kid and is averaging around 16min @ slippery rock as a freshman.

R. Keith Taylor said...

I played against Ryne Niemiec in a pick-up game before. He is a very good ball player. But I do not think that he is Cal U material. Cal U always seems to pick a local boy just because they want to draw a little more people in the stands.

Hairston is a little older than myself. I remember him toying with the Ringgold varsity team that featured Troy Yonkers. I was only a JV player at the time. The reason he is not playing D1 is because of his SAT scores I beleive.

Rob Ramsey is a good ball player and a good person. I feel that he got a raw deal at Cal. Cal brought in a few recruits and just put Rob on the back burner.

Lastly, I played for Coach Pergola at Ringgold. He is truly a genious. He worked with me so much and I am very appreciative. But I think that his right hand man Jim Williams needs to get some love too, because he is another amazing coach.

Hans Christain Sanderson said...

After covering the Canon-Mac basketball tourney this past weekend, do you have any thoughts on the 4 teams that participated in it? I was really impressed with Wash High's comeback to beat C-M. In the season previews, the only CM players mentioned were their starters. Did Wash High's victory signal that CM has a thin roster and the starters were tired late in the game?

mike_kovak said...

Wash High looks like a very solid basketball team.

Canon-McMillan, like any team that relies on lot on perimeter shooting, will look great some games and struggle at times.

Trinity will be much better than it was a year ago. How many wins that equates to will be determined.

McGuffey needs more athletes but the work ethic is there.

Mailman said...

Cal is down quite a bit from the last few years. I think they'll be a middle of the pack to an above average team in the PSAC-west this season. Ramsey is now an assistant coach at Geibel Catholic.

Anonymous said...

Congrats to Niemec.. good program..Great Coach....Got a good shooter..