Friday, January 14, 2011

Varsity leftovers

A record-keeping snafu will keep Monessen boys basketball coach Joe Salvino from picking up career victory No. 500 for a little longer than originally thought.

It was believed that Salvino had 498 career wins heading into the Greyhounds' game tonight. After some extensive record checking, Salvino has 489 wins. The way Monessen - the No. 2 team in the Observer-Reporter Class AA rankings - is playing, Salvino should pick up his 500th win sometime in February.

* We've reached the halfway point of the regular season in basketball and candidates for player of the year have certainly emerged.

In boys basketball, it looks like a three-player race between South Fayette teammates Mike Lamberti and Pat Zedreck and Trinity sharpshooter Josh Valentic. Fort Cherry's Nate Bellhy can make a push if the Rangers contend for the postseason. So could Canon-Mac big man Dylan Berger.

Canon-McMillan's Emily Hansen, Monessen's Geena Shrader and Avella's Amanda Temple are in the middle of outstanding seasons.

The boys team at Monessen and the Fort Cherry girls - both teams capable of extended playoff runs - are so balanced it's difficult pinpointing a Player of the Year candidate.

* Finally got a chance to watch the Ringgold boys team this week when the Rams played at South Fayette in a game between two of the top teams in Section 5-AAA.

South Fayette won handily but there were definitely some things I liked about the Rams.

One was the play of forward Zack Smith, who finished with 12 points and nine rebounds. Smith had his hands full trying to guard all of South Fayette's big men as teammate Michael Beveridge was plagued with foul trouble, but he gave it full effort. With about a minute remaining, Smith gasped his way toward the Rams bench, looked at Ringgold coach Pete Logan and said, "I'm so tired." He looked it, but that kind of effort is one of the reasons why Ringgold is 8-2 and 3-1 in section play.

I've seen a few teams already this year that could learn a few things from watching tape of Smith's effort.

I also liked the quick release of shooting guard Andrew Stine. If Stine has a tiny window to get off a jumper, he's taking it. I can't recall seeing a quicker release for a jump shooter at the high school level the past couple years.

* As I sit here typing this, Channel 11 noon news is on and they are doing a live remote from the Steelers pep rally at the courthouse in Pittsburgh. Who are they interviewing? South Fayette's Josh Patterson, who attended the rally with several members of the Lions football team.

Patterson had surgery this week on a broken nose suffered in a basketball game at Wash High.

* According to a source with knowledge of the situation, Nick Milchovich is one of five candidates to make it to the second round of interviews for the Peters Township football coaching position.

Milchovich, the Indians coach the past four years, had his job opened in December. At the time, it appeared to be a move to oust the coach, who guided Peters Township to 10 wins the past two years.

* As for the other four candidates, if I can confirm names, I'll let you know. I can put to rest at least one rumor that I heard multiple times from a few high school football coaches, Thomas Jefferson's Bill Cherpak is not believed to be among the candidates.

Every time I heard his name mentioned with Peters Township, it just seemed hard to believe for obvious reasons. The only one I could come up with was maybe he'd be interested if Peters Township combined the football and athletic director positions.

Peters Township wants to keep those positions separate.

* Another coaching rumor has Washington's Mike Bosnic headed to Connellsville for the vacancy there. Bosnic attended Albert Gallatin, which is not far from Connellsville.

* It's mid-January and the fall sports varsity coaches at Peters Township don't know if they'll be hired back for next season. There is a school board meeting next week.

* Count me among the many who believe that Pitt can not thrive as a football program by concentrating on recruits from Pennsylvania, and Western Pennsylvania in particular.

Sure, it's nice to keep some local products at home but the WPIAL and City League hasn't been fertile recruiting round for years. True, every Super Bowl has had a participant from the Big 33 Football Classic but how many elite NFL players call the WPIAL home?

I can count one, Darrelle Revis.

Pitt's challenge will be keeping the occasional elite recruit from the WPIAL home. Players like Terrelle Pryor haven't thought about playing for Pitt in some time. That's where Todd Graham needs to make a difference.

* One player who'd be willing to listen to Graham and Pitt if it needs to fill out the recruiting class in South Fayette's Christian Brumbaugh.

Brumbaugh committed to Division I-AA William & Mary two days before South Fayette beat Forest Hills in the state semifinals. At one point, Brumbaugh had three Division I offers - Akron, Bowling Green and Buffalo.

After watching Brumbaugh in seven games this season, the only thing I can see that kept him from fielding more offers was foot speed. Funny, I don't recall Dan Marino being a burner, not that I am comparing the two, I'm just pointing out how recruiting is more about shuttle runs, vertical leaps and bench presses these days than it is production on the field and knowing how to win.

I asked Brumbaugh last Friday if he'd be willing to listen to a recruiting pitch from Pitt and he answered yes.


Anonymous said...

Glad to hear coach Nick is still in the running for PT. Last year in PT, the Fall coaches were voted upon at the January school board meeting. In 2007 the rehiring was addressed by the school board in February.

Anonymous said...


The only reason you are stating that the WPIAL doesn't have enough elite talent to help Pitt is just you copying what Mike White had said. Their is enough talent if every single elite player from the WPIAL chose Pitt they would definately be a contender in my opinion, if you don't think so I would be open to hear your side of the story.

mike_kovak said...

Sorry anon, I've been saying that for years, on this blog and in print. So have many others.

It's a fact.

First, how is Pitt going to get every single elite player from the WPIAL? Just not possible.

Second, how many elite players are in the WPIAL right now? Even if Pitt did build a wall around WestPa, I'd say it's only protecting maybe two or three elite prospects. It takes a lot more than that to compete.

Anonymous said...

Well for the 2010 and 2011 recruiting classes if we got every single kid in western pa, which I know isn't possible but for argument say we did. This is what it would look like.

QB-Paul Jones-Sto Rox-PSU
RB-Dom Timbers-Woody High-Syracuse
WR-Brendan Felder-Gateway-UNC
WR-Kevin Weatherspoon-Clairton-Pitt
TE-Rob Kugler-NA-Purdue
TE-Paul Lang-Mount Lebo-Mich ST OT-Tom Ricketts-NA-PSU
OG-Luke Grahm-Penn Trafford-PSU
C-Miles Dieffenbach-Fox Chapel-PSU
OG-Bernie Sarra-GCC-NAVY

This is just the offense and is not including the 2012 class that is very, very strong.

Anonymous said...

All of those kids above are rated as high as all of the "elite" kids are that they are getting already from OH and FL, and I'm not just making this up why would Pitt have offered all of those kids I just listed with the exception of Sarra from GCC if they weren't "elite" enough to play there

mike_kovak said...

Anon, do you truly believe that Pitt would contend for a Big East championship with the starting offense you just listed? Many of those players are still in high school.

I understand that there are Division I players coming out of the WPIAL, I just don't believe very many of them end up being top-notch players at the college level.

For every Sean Lee, it seems like there's 10 kids who end up transferring to Cal U or IUP.

There is no way you can win in a BCS conference with Western PA providing almost all of your recruits. There just aren't enough anymore.

What Pitt needs to start doing is making sure the top players stay.

Anonymous said...

How about Gronkowski in New England he is a wpial kid

mike_kovak said...

After growing up in the Buffalo area, he did play one year at Woodland Hills.

Anonymous said...

So where is the Palko kid now hiding?

Anonymous said...

To a basketball coach who made the players be a team, they are struggling right now, but their attitude is not feeling the team is based on one player. I am not a parent of any of them but, have seen B-Town play for years. Coach Cypher I see you play them all. That is what a sport is about, you are up by 15 or so you weave another player in. I understand winning is important for section but, confidence for later is important.

Dale Lolley said...

There is no way that the top skill players in the WPIAL can make Pitt an elite football team.
You might be able to fill the trenches with offensive linemen, but there's not enough at the skill positions to compete. Anybody who thinks otherwise is living in 1950. There hasn't been a player from Washington or Greene counties in the NFL in over a decade.

Anonymous said...

I saw a stat the other day that had the most players from one high school currently in the NFL, and that high school was Woodland Hills. Get your facts gentlemen.

Anonymous said...

Sorry I guess I should have listed those players: The New York Jets’ Jason Taylor, Arizona’s Steve Breaston, New England’s Rob Gronkowski, Pittsburgh’s Ryan Mundy, Miami’s Lousaka Polite and San Francisco’s Shawntae Spencer played at Woodland Hills.

Anonymous said...

dale lolley there is more to the wpial than just Washington and Greene county... Maybe it's you who should start living in the present

Anonymous said...

Granted I know pitt can't survive on wpial talent alone mike, I agree with you on that one but do you honestly believe that if we got all of the best recruits in the area and the state along with some of the kids we get from Ohio and jersey that we couldn't compete. I think that's a pretty bold statement. And to sales comment how about allegheny and westmoreland county?

mike_kovak said...

Now you're changing the argument a little anon. You're including all of PA, Jersey and Ohio.

mike_kovak said...

And again, I see no way that Pitt will always get the best recruits in Western PA and the state.

Penn State, West Virginia, Ohio State, Michigan etc. recruit this area and are at least as successful, if not more successful, at taking the top players.

Anonymous said...

yeah well mike, your argument stated that if we put a fence around western pa we couldnt compete, so it is you who is changing your argument as well..because now you are saying there is no way we could get evvery recruit. All i am saying is if pitt got every recruit we wanted in western pa we could easily compete with other colleges, i never said we couldnt take people from other states, show me where i said that all i said was that we have enough talent in this area, the wpial dale lolley not just wash and greene counties, to compete with others

mike_kovak said...

I'm not sure where you think I changed my argument. The sentence before I stated even if Pitt built a wall around WestPA, I said it's just not possible.


Yes, there are quality players coming out of the WPIAL but not as many as there used to be and certainly not enough to build enough depth to contend for championships.

Anonymous said...

Have either you or Dale Lolley ever played football?

Dale Lolley said...

While that is true about Woodland Hills, it's a grand total of five players. The list includes Jason Taylor, who is in his 15th year in the league and Rob Gronkowski, who is in his first and spent all of one season at Woodland Hills.
That's a lot of time in between players. Big deal.

And Western Pa. is more than just the WPIAL, I might add.

I stand by my original statement.

Anonymous said...

This argument is going nowhere... If all of the great athletes in the Wpial went to Pitt they would be competitive..I agree with that statement to an extent...I don't think they would ever be able to make a BCS bowl game or go anywhere big...That being said every good player from the Wpial does not want to go to Pitt for whatever reason and that is why you must recruit out of state... There is enough talent here yes, but you can never get all of that talent. You have to recruit out of state to get the players because you will never get all of the players in PA...