Friday, March 6, 2009

More on recruiting

Some of the more interesting, intelligent conversation in recent weeks on the blog concerns the topic of recruitment at the high school level. As I stated before, I'm not as passionate as most but I see both sides of the argument.

Anyway, the following is a column I authored following the 2008 WPIAL basketball playoff pairings meeting. It focuses on the girls basketball teams at Washington and Monessen. I think there are some relevant points to current discussion.

CORAOPOLIS – It's become tradition. Make the WPIAL playoffs and make a T-shirt for team members. Printers from Aliquippa to Woodland Hills are preparing for the blitz.

Here's a couple suggestions for the girls basketball teams at Washington and Monessen:

"Washington, the 2007-08 WPIAL Class AA Girls Public School Champions" and "Monessen, home of the WPIAL Class A Girls Public School Champions."

Can't blame the Prexies and Greyhounds, the No. 2 seeds in their respective brackets, for wanting more. Washington and Monessen each share legitimate championship aspirations.

History, however, is not on their side, or the side of public schools attempting to win girls basketball championships in the two smallest classifications.

Since 1976, when the first girls WPIAL Class AA champion was crowned, public schools have won just 13 titles, and only two since 2000.

In Class A, the numbers are equally skewed. The first WPIAL Class A championship was contested in 1978. Public schools have won 12 times. Monessen, the only undefeated basketball team out of the 264 in the WPIAL, won titles in 1995, 2004 and 2006.

"I don't look at it as a public-private thing," Monessen coach Major Corley said Tuesday night. "We realize there are a lot of private schools playing in Class A."

Despite a 23-0 record, Monessen isn't the favorite to win a fourth WPIAL championship. That honor goes to powerhouse North Catholic, which won back-to-back WPIAL Class AAA titles in 2003 and 2004 before opting to play in Class A.

A year ago, North Catholic won its 14th WPIAL championship and it reached the PIAA Class A title game. This year, the Trojans own wins over Mt. Lebanon, Moon and Greensburg Central Catholic.

Of the four section winners in Class A girls, Monessen is the only public school. Despite the obvious advantages private schools have, the Greyhounds are a consistent championship contender and are in the postseason for the 19th time in Corley's 21 years.

"The key is, over the years, we've had good players," Corley said. "The girls have always practiced hard and played hard. They don't worry about who they're playing."

Washington takes the same approach.

Like Monessen, the Prexies are the only Class AA girls school to win an outright section championship. Four of the six sections were won by private schools.

"If you look at the state rankings, in the top five or six (in Class AA), we're the only public school. The rest are all private or Catholic schools," first-year coach Mike Maltony said. "We're used to seeing the same teams over and over. Usually, the teams in our section don't change that much. The private schools can bring in that one player and, from where we're at, it's such a disadvantage."

Washington, with an impressive 22-1 record, isn't the favorite in its bracket. If the Prexies win their first WPIAL championship since 1992, when they played in Class AAA, they'll likely have to defeat top-seed Our Lady of the Sacred Heart.

OLSH, like North Catholic, would be a tough out in the Class AAAA tournament. The Chargers defeated Hopewell, McKeesport and Blackhawk convincingly.

Anyone else having a hard time calling North Catholic and OLSH small schools?

Though the fight isn't as difficult on the boys side, it's still a daunting task and one that South Fayette coach Rich Bonnaure knows well.

For years, the Lions competed in the same section with Washington and other local public schools. When they were moved to Section 3-AA, South Fayette competes against Seton-La Salle and Bishop Canevin.

"It's definitely tougher because, obviously, we're dealing with the hand we were dealt," said Bonnaure, who guided the Lions to the No. 7 seed and a potential quarterfinal matchup against Jeannette.

"It's also made us a better team. And, as a coach, I have to do my homework and try to keep up with who plays on those teams."

Some coaches, like Corley, don't mind competing against the private schools for titles.

Others believe the playing field needs leveled.

"I'm a proponent of splitting it up," Maltony said. "Why should some schools recruit players?"

It's a situation in need of tweaking but one that is unlikely to change.

There's no shame in being second best but there's great satisfaction in overcoming tremendous odds.

Maybe Washington and Monessen should hold off on those T-shirts.


I'd like to hear what your solutions would be. The one I believe most in is making private schools play up one classification.

32 comments:

Clairton Alum said...

Mike you know my stance. They absolutely need to play up...minimum of AAA.

I'm throwing this question to anyone out there that might know somoene on the board of the WPIAL, PIAA, or anyone that knows any major news organization.

WHY WONT THE WPIAL OR PIAA DO ANYTHING ABOUT THIS AND WHY WONT ANY NEWS ORGANIZATION INVESTIGATE THE WPIAL, THE PIAA AND/OR THE PRIVATE SCHOOLS THAT CONTINUE TO RECRUIT?

I have tried to get answers for months and no one will return a call or email...

Anonymous said...

The WPIAL tried to change the transfer rule. The league put quite of bit of time into it. However, there are certain parts of the state that, put simply, do not care and do not think it is a problem.

The measure failed to pass final reading and then certain districts just stalled it enough that it died.

Unfortunately, we suffer here in the WPIAL, particularly the Class AA and A schools.

It truly is sickening.

Anonymous said...

How about if the WPIAL investigates how many players that have played at CLairton and not truly lived in the area? How about if the WPIAL investigates how many of Clairton's players are actually attending school and passing their classes. How about if the WPIAL investigates the percentage of Clairton players that become drug dealers?

Get off of your high horse, Catholic schools don't recruit, if they do they are subject to sanctions that are not worth the risk. Don't be angry if kids and parents choose to go to private schools to avoid the thugs and drug dealers at your public schools.

Anonymous said...

Excuse me, but my kid did go to a private aschool and if you think there are no drugs there you are out of your mind. Yes, there are dealers and those who use have more money to buy the drugs.

Anonymous said...

Catholic schools would get romped in AAA and AAAA. Small schools may have 1 or 2 players that can control a game and at that level, that is enough to win. At larger schools, they have 7 players who can get it done.

Deal with it said...

Having played at a Private school I can say we are afraid to play up. Small schools especially in Class A are limited by geography unlike the Catholics and Privates in Class A. An obvious advantage to us. The result we end up with 3 or 4 high caliber players instead of the 1 or 2 that are on a typical Class A public school team. Our supporters (parents) act like we do not have an advantage. We clearly do period. If we were as good as our coaches and parents want to believe, why not play up a class? Jeannette and Aliquippa do. Those schools want to challenge their teams, not take the easy way out. Private schools like Serra, OLSH, and Sewickley Academy are soft. We would rather play down from our ability than play up. This way we can feel like we are better than we really are. We can live with the illusion that we are awesome because we avoid playing our athletic equals. And you public school supporters cry about it.....too bad.

Clairton Alum said...

Hey anon, investigate away. I PROMISE you that you will not find one illegal thing done at Clairton in terms of athletics/sports. For you to suggest that is ridiculous. As for calling all of us and all of our kids drug dealers, why dont you come over to the City of Prayer and say that in front of us...I'd love to see you do that. Give me your name and number and address, ill send you an invite. Just another mis-informed racist talking about things that he has no idea about. The one thing you can say to me to get my blood boiling is to call everyone from that town a bunch of low life drug dealers. Clairton has issues, but no more than any area...fact. You dont know me, my family, my background or what I do now...

And if you think that the catholic schools dont recruit you are an idiot. I am very good friends with a guy very close to the central catholic program...he brags to me about how they do it, would you like his name and number? The only thing i can say about Central is at least they play in AAAA. Also, how do you explain Serra getting Chris Morgan out of Duquesne in the mid 90's when him and his family couldnt afford spaghetti? I played against Chris and knew his dad...his dad told me Chris was recruited. How about North Catholic girls winning 15 championships? Is that a coincidence? How about Schramm coming from KNOCH to play for SWAC? Another conicidence. Talk about high horse? Get off of yours along with the rest of you catholic school supporters. Ill meet any of you anywhere at anytime to discuss this issue with enough facts and instances to choke a horse with...

For the other anon that said catholic schools would get romped in AAA, you obviously didnt see SWAC play this year. That team would have been at least in the semi's if not the finals. For them to compete in A is absurd. I will agree with you that not all of the privates do it...but enough of them do to cause concern.

If you guys are so good, why do you have to play single A ball? Just to rack up some titles and banners to hang on the walls? Play up then see what happens...you'll actually have to play some equal competition...we'll find out how good your programs are then...

Anonymous said...

Speaking of playing up, why doesn't Clairton? Jeannette, Alliquippa, Seton Lasalle, all play up every year. Lucky for Clairton, because if those teams played in A ball like they could easily do Clairton would never see the finals in any sport.

Just sit back and enjoy your fortune that the REAL single A teams don't come and give you the beating that you deserve.

Clairton Alum said...

Why do we play in single A? Because we are the 8th smallest school in the WPIAL thats why. While Aliquippa and Jeanette do play up, they are still considerably larger than us. Know your facts before you speak.

And as far as getting romped if we were to play up, I believe North Catholic's last loss this year was to Clairton...and they were your AA champs...not Aliquippa or Jeanette or Seton LaSalle. That should make you wonder right there...Clairton beat North Catholic, the AA champs but we lost to SWAC twice this year? But oh yeah, SWAC belongs in single A...

Instead of bashing me or any other single A program why dont you private school, secret handshake dipsh*ts just play in the class you belong in? Whats so wrong with that? Afraid of getting exposed?

Anonymous said...

you cam`t play down you sound like a as% small catholic scools dont win championships every year as far as clairton kids go they all live in clairton how would they get to there if fhey didnt live there oooh thats right there drug dealers and they have there own cars you sound like a racist who`s kids get beat by the bears every year.I`m sure clairton school is watched more than any school in the W.P.I.A.L.

Anonymous said...

The last anon is clearly a Clairton grad, nice spelling.

Without government support Clairton would go away just like Duquesne has. It won't be long until you lose your school district just like you lost your police force.

You want to make up stories about recruiting, the truth is that parents chose to pay their way for their kids to have a better education, PERIOD. The athletics are part of it, people want to win, but the shear reality of the complete lack of civility in some districts are what feed the success of private schools, NOT RECRUITING.

Clairton Alum said...

Anon what in the f*ck are you talking about? Lost our police force? You obviously havent been to Clairton anytime in the last 2 decades. Clairton has one of the bigger police forces in the Mon Valley. My buddy is the chief...

Ok then hot shot, explain to me serra pulling kids out of duquesne that have no money that just happen to be good athletes? Explain Peter Schramm who's AAU coach just happens to be on the staff at SWAC and Peter going to SWAC from KNOCH. You might be the only one on this board in denial over the fact that private schools recruit.

And as far as government assistance, you truly have absolutely no idea what you are talking about do you? Clairton doesnt get squat from the state, nothing. And, like i have said many times on this blog and in other places, Clairton has more money in the bank than any district in the area...and that includes the likes of Thomas Jefferson, Elizabeth Forward and others. I'm sorry to disappoint you but Clairton isnt going anywhere.

Anon, im just curious and be honest, where are you from? Where did you graduate from? What college did you go to? What type of degree did you graduate college with? Where do you live? What do you do now? Im just curious to see how much better THIS Clairton boy is doing than you...

Anonymous said...

My son attended a catholic school and though the school itsself doesn't recruit, parents put their athletic kids in catholic school because they believe the sports programs are better. I know this as a fact because my son played three sports in catholic school and all the good athlets were there because of sports. The education was definitely secondary. If the sports sucked and their home town sports were champs, they would have stayed in public school.

Anonymous said...

believe all catholic schools should compete in their own division. this would only make it fair.

Public School Defender said...

The last thing we need on this place is more private school defenders. Are you that blind to see this? Is it a coincidence that Serra Catholic is a contender every year? No of course it isn't, it's because the range of kids they have to choose from is SO and i mean SO much bigger than what Clairton or any other private school has.

15 championships for North Catholic? Are you kidding me? And what is sick about them is the fact that they moved down to single A this year when they were playing AAA and AA for a while. Really? Thats what you consider a fair playing field?

And have you people forgotten about Hosack from Lincoln Park? He decided to go there because he didn't like the coach from Hopewell. Well someone finally had some sense and ruled him ineligible but still, another school trying to beat the system.

You losers that come on here and defend the private schools need to get some facts right before coming on here. CLass A public schools get players in waves because of the numbers, its just a fact. If that was true of Serra and SWAC wouldn't they have down years? Think about that. And stop with the drug dealer comments you just sound like a fool at this point.

Go ahead Serra and SWAC go play with the big boys. Love to see it.

Clairton Alum said...

I guess if the private school supporting racist anon isnt spewing racists remarks he doesnt have anything to say.

Maybe some big bad Mon Valley drug dealer got a hold of him...

Anonymous said...

Or, maybe he is through discussing an already overbeaten horse with a mental midget!

You figure it out, in between crying about your poor disadvantaged town.

By the way, you are the racist. By calling someone a racist when they simply point out the fact that your town is full of drug dealers, when anyone with any common sense knows its true, makes you the racist.

I'm from the Mon Valley by the way and knew my fair share of drug dealers, I chose to move away and a I also choose to send my kids to private school, because I worked my butt off and I can afford to. I don't want to rely on "no child left behind" types of policies to educate my kids, thats just me, but I prefer my kids learn to excel at a young age and not wait on government checks like you and most of your neighbors do.

Have a nice day.

Anonymous said...

Clairton Alum

Your jealousy is nothing short of sad. Try as you might to hide the fact, its obvious that you wish you could afford to send your kids to private school.

It really is very sad, you should seek some counseling to deal with your envy.

Public School Defender said...

Why does this have to get personal?

We are talking about a sports issue and you Anon people have to make it a personal matter.

We are making points about the sports scene not about academics or demographic area and you make it about that. Do you Anon's really think there isn't recruiting or are you in denial?

Listen if you want to send your kids to a private school for the education then by all means do so. But when people start transferring before their Junior and Senior years that isn't about academics and you know it.

And do you really think it is jealousy that Clairton Alum is dealing with or do you think he just makes some valid points and you know at this point you are wrong? SOmething needs to change becuase the playing field isn't fair, you know it and i know it so quit being a "mental midget" and calling people racist and drug dealers when you sound like a pompous arrogant a**hole. But since you are defending a private school that all just comes with the territory.

Clairton Alum said...

lol...i love you anon's...i really do...

The definition of racism is making sweeping generalizations and showing obvious bias towards a group of people or race based on demographics. Everything you have typed here supports that definition. Every time you called everyone in Clairton drug dealers or low lifes or what have you, you were making racist statements. Even though i only went to a public school i can figure that one out (and also graduated from Penn State, but thats not relevant right now...).

Whats with all of the attacks on me? You do realize this all started because i was pointing out an obvious flaw in the WPIAL by allowing private school programs to compete in single a and double a...this is how all of this started.

And whats with statements like "but I prefer my kids learn to excel at a young age and not wait on government checks like you and most of your neighbors do" and "Try as you might to hide the fact, its obvious that you wish you could afford to send your kids to private school". Is that really necessary when we are talking about high school sports? Seriously...

You know, I hope your private school is teaching your kids about right from wrong and showing compassion towards your fellow man...because its obvious he/she is not getting that at home. And you call me a mental midget? Who is the mental midget here? You people are the ones spewing hatred and lies...you people are the ones making personal attacks here...not me.

Are there problems in Clairton? Absolutely. It is by no means a perfect town...but no place is. Everywhere has problems. Do we have more problems than most, maybe. Do our problems get spread more on the news? Absolutely. But for you to sit here and say some of the things you are saying is just flat out wrong? Is that what you are teaching your kids? That people from distressed communities and african american communities are drug dealers and low lifes simply because they grow up in those towns? Growing up in that town made me a stronger person. It made me a better person. I wouldnt trade it for any fancy private school you have to offer me...

And as far as "wishing i could afford to send my kid to a private school"...lol...lets just say my family and I are doing just fine. We recently built a home about 15 minutes or so outside of Clairton and I go and visit every day...some of the best people in the Mon Valley and in the region live right in that city. But you wouldnt know that, because you have already written them off as soon as you hear the word "Clairton".

You tell me to get off my high horse? Listen man, I was born in a blue collar home and worked since i was 13 for everything i have now. Sure some others didnt amount to anything, but a lot of them did and are prospering right now.

People like you scare me. Dont be so narrow minded...I can only hope that your children dont end up a product of their home environment.

Mike, on a side note, can we somehow keep this thread on the front page so people can see the type of arrogant, narrow minded people these "private schoolers" are?

Public School Defender said...

Thank you Clairton Alum.

Be proud of where you are from....

Anonymous said...

The PIAA establishes classifications. It also is the only entity that could force private schools to play up. The WPIAL doesn't have the authority. Place the blame at the feet of the PIAA, not the WPIAl.

Clairton Alum said...

Thank you, a statement about the topic. Thank you very much.

Anonymous said...

Is Monessen really single A playing AA basketball? I watched them a few times this past year and if this is so, I think they will be able to make some noise the next few years. I believe they have several sophmore starters and many on their bench. if this is the case, they should be pretty powerful the next few years. Im from another school district but like to watch Monessen play when I get the chance-I've always liked their style....

Anonymous said...

Anon,

yes with 132 boys Monessen is Single A playing up. They're actually the smallest public school in the state playing AA basketball. Mohawk (who Monessen beat in the WPAIL playoffs) is the largest with 261 boys. You're right they have some really talented sophomores - and at times during the playoffs Salvino had all 5 on the floor at the same time.

Anonymous said...

Monessen will be really good, and could make a run at the WPIAL in the next few years.

GO PUBLIC SCHOOLS!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I hear the coachsb blew the game against central cambria. The tallest man who is the 6th man wasn't even in the game when monessen had the ball, down by one with 3 seconds left in the game. Was anyone there who can give me some info. on the game?

Anonymous said...

I hear the coachs blew the game against central cambria. The tallest man who is the 6th man wasn't even in the game when monessen had the ball, down by one with 3 seconds left in the game. Was anyone there who can give me some info. on the game?

Public School Defender said...

Class A Western Semifinals.....4 private schools....is this a coincidence? I think not.

Clairton Alum said...

PSD, just a coincidence man...just a coincidence. Remember, all of those kids only went to those private schools to get an education and compete in the math league...i suppose they just happen to play basketball as a hobby. Nothing fishy about that at all...

Public School Defender said...

Right. The great education they recieve is what takes them to Serra, Kennedy and SWAC. The b-ball teams just "happen" to always be good.

Anonymous said...

Mike Maltony to replace Ron Faust?