Sunday, February 13, 2011

Varsity leftovers

With Trinity senior Josh Valentic accepting an offer to play basketball at Division II Wheeling Jesuit after the Hillers' win against Wash High Friday night, it brings to mind a recent conversation.

Spoke with a few coaches last week and the subject steered toward Valentic and the consensus was the Hillers' all-time scoring leader was underrecruited.

At 6-3, Valentic has decent size for a shooting guard and he's a tireless worker. His range is the best I've seen since Dan Davis played at Fort Cherry, he needs little space to get his shot released and the release is quick.

Now, I'm not saying Valentic should be recruited by major college powers but I could see a player with his talents, shot and work ethic eventually making an impact at a lower-level Division I program. One of the coaches in the conversation likened Valentic to former Notre Dame guard Chris Quinn, whom the coach knew from his high school playing days.

Valentic isn't as strong as Quinn, who plays for the San Antonio Spurs, and not quite as quick, but some similarities exist.

* Speaking of Valentic, he's part of what I see as a two-player race for Observer-Reporter Player of the Year honors with reigning POY Mike Lamberti of South Fayette.

If I were to pick an all-district first team today my choices would be Valentic, Lamberti, South Fayette's Pat Zedreck, Burgettstown's Tyler Pavan and Fort Cherry's Nate Bellhy.

* Back to recruiting, it still amazes me that there has been one Division I boys player (Monessen's A.J. Jackson played at Robert Morris) from the area since I started working at the O-R.

* When Trinity Area School District canceled its special meeting scheduled for last Thursday and the lone item on the agenda was the hire of a football coach, did anyone else wonder if the board felt it didn't have enough votes to make a hire or another strong candidate emerged?

I'm raising my hand.

From what I've heard since, that's not the case and that former Hillers quarterback Mike Wall remains the most likely hire.

* The WPIAL basketball playoff pairings meeting takes place Tuesday and it's hard to imagine South Fayette not being the No. 1 boys seed in Class AAA no matter what happens Monday against Chartiers Valley.

It should also be interested in seeing where the Monessen boys and girls get seeded. Both had exceptional regular seasons but play in sections that aren't viewed as strong. If I did the seeding, I put both teams at No. 2 in their respective classes.

* A total of seven players from Trinity's senior football class have chosen a college program. Matt Friewald will play at Grove City and Chris Piatt will play for Westminster; both schools are members of the Division III Presidents' Athletic Conference.

* My favorite moment of the high school basketball season happened during halftime of the Trinity at Washington game Friday night when Prexies softball coach Courtney Grubich, a kindergarten teacher in the Washington School District, introduced the crowd to student Winnie Barfield.

Barfield is a 6-year-old student who wants to be a police officer and Wash High athlete. He's also battling leukemia. When Barfield briefly spoke to the crowd, smiled, waved and thanked everyone for attending, it was one awesome moment.


Anonymous said...

Sorry for the hijack:

Darrin McMillion, assistant PT coach, will be hired as the new head coach for PT.

Rumor on the street is the Superintendent has a stipulation of no current PT coaches are eligible to be on his staff.

Anonymous said...

Ditto on your picks for the all district team.POY Lamberti, he led his team to a 20-0 record and if they go deep into the playoffs how does he not get it. If would be fair to say if he took 30 + shots a game he to would ave 35 pts,but he not only plays well, he make all around him better, not that Josh os not a good player, but he does not elevote the players around him like Lamberti.

Anonymous said...

Mike Wall is too young be a head coach. Mike has no experience. I like Mike, but he is only 32 years old. They will eat him up. Is there no other candidates that are qualified?

If no current PT coaches can take job, why would the hire McMillion?

Anonymous said...

32 is not to young to be a head coach. if you want to say not enough experence ok, but the age has nothing to do with it. a lot of head coaches are younger than 32

Anonymous said...


I really like this blog and the observer reporter.

I just dont understand how players from outside the coverage area can be on this team?

It would be like the Pennsylvania All State team having players from Ohio and West Virginia. Also, another example would be if the Post Gazette had players from Philly on its Fab Five teams.

I agree that the South Fayette kids are really good players. I just dont think they should be on this team because they are not located in Washington or Greene County.

Mike I think you need to take a look at this. You might be leaving some kids off the list who should be making it for Washington and Greene County.

I think what you should do is put together two lists one for Washington and Greene County and then a separate one for all teams in the Pittsburgh area.

Anonymous said...

PT is an absolute train wreck! I know of at least 4 quality head coaches that applied for that job, including Nick Milcovich and they snub all of them in favor of an assistant with no HC experience. I don't live in PT and this infuriates me. What an embarrassement you are to all public institutions.
ABC or CBS should pay for the minutes from one of your school board meetings. This stuff would make great soap opera material

Sarcastic Sword said...

Matt Humbert is 25-26....Only had one year of being a coordinator prior to getting Ringgold job last June....They went 9-0...It can be done...

Anonymous said...

Is Mike Wall related to board member, Day ? I heard he is. I don't know if this is true though.

mike_kovak said...

South Fayette is in the O-R coverage area.

Back in 1999, my very first story for the O-R was a feature on SF quarterback Niel Loebig. The school appears in the pages of the paper as far back as the 1960s and they have received regular coverage at least since the 1980s.

So, yes, you will see SF players on all-district teams this year and in the future. It's not like SF players all of a sudden just started appearing on our all-star teams. It's been happening for decades, not sure why it's just now getting noticed.

Anonymous said...

32 is not too young, but Mike has never been a head coach. There is a lot more to being a head coach than the x and o's. Like community involvement, boosters, recruiting, etc. Mike will be in way over his head, wait and see the downfall of Trinity Football, so much for all the hard work of Dalton.

Darrin McMillion has no head coaching experience either. What are these schools thinking??? Maybe McMillion is in the same boat, the deal was done before the interview process even started. Like Trinity maybe he has dirt on an administrator

Mike Wall is related to a school board member, but does that surprise you with Trinity after what they did to Coach Dalton? The nepotism policy will be revoked, then put back into place once they hire him. What a crock!!!! But typical.

Anonymous said...

All-district team potential players you listed are all very good players. At this point as far as I have read in your columns only Bellhy has a full athletic scholarship at Seton Hill and Valentic has a verbal commitment with Wheeling Jesuit, both DII schools in the same WVIAC conference. Suspect Lamberti may get a DII scholarship offer soon. What about Pavan or Zedreck? I don't think there are any other DI-DII possibilities in the district. Maybe Cam Johnson from Monessen if you consider him in the district, play is average but has the height. What do you think Mike?

Anonymous said...

"Is Mike Wall related to board member, Day ? I heard he is. I don't know if this is true though."

something like 3rd cousin once removed and only by marriage. Let's get real, people.

Anonymous said...

Many players have asked me about the rumor that the school board is going to hire former Hiller football player Mike Wall as the next coach. I can only tell you what I personally know about Mike. First of all in my experiences with him he is a great young man. At Trinity Mike was a starting QB for three seasons his teams went 13 and 18 making the playoffs one time. Until our era he held most of the passing records he still holds the passing yardage record. He was a scholarship QB at Tulsa starting eleven games over his career, in 1999 he started the first 6 games going 1 and 5 before injuring his knee.
He then spent two seasons as a graduate assistant coach. He has coached in great program in Texas at Lake Travis a 4A state power in Texas, coaching various positions most recently the offensive line, he was also an assistant basketball and baseball coach. This past season he took a job as an offensive coordinator at a 5A school in Texas named Georgetown, they went 5 and 6 this past season and he also coaches freshman girls soccer.
The rumor was the Board was going to hire Mike last Thursday evening, when they do hire Mike you need to give him your full support. From what I know he runs a wide open 4 and 5 wide offense, throw every down high octane. He is from Amwell Township he was also a candidate for the athletic director position this summer, but he wanted to also be the football coach..

Anonymous said...

So Mike Wall has no head coaching experience and is going to change the entire system that made Trinity so successful by Dalton? Trinity runs a pro set, not a spread, they do not have the athletes to run a spread offense. What will happen to Yucca, Frey and McWreath? Out of a position in a spread offense. Also, you need the quarterback to run that offense. This just seems to keep getting worse.

Anonymous said...

I think you dont see many D-1 basketball players out of the WPIAL because all the top atheletes in the WPIAL focus on football.

There are more scholarships available in football and thats where there best chance of getting a fulle ride is at. Every year the WPIAL sends a bunch of kids D-1 in football.

Also just because a player averages 30 points a game doenst mean they are a D-1 player. You cant teach size or athleticism.

Valentic is a great high school basketball player. I believe he suffers from the fact the WPIAL has zero reputation for producting D-1 kids. Othere areas of the country you have kids who dont even start on their team going D-1. Take St. Joes in New Jersey. Travon Woodall was there sixth man and goes to Pitt.

Bottom line is though if a kid can get a free education they win in the end.

Dale Lolley said...

We've included Monessen players on our All-District team for years even though the school is not in Washington or Greene counties. Gina Naccarato was our player of the year four consecutive years. Nobody complained about that because we obviously covered them.

Same thing goes for South Fayette. We've covered that school for years. If the best player happens to be from there - or if they have several - so be it.

Anonymous said...

In response to 5:01....I believe the Valentic kid is averaging 18 shots a game. To the best of my knowledge, he played with Lamberti on a good AAU team this summer and also was the leader in scoring on that team as well. They both are really good players, but in different positions on two very differently skilled teams.

Anonymous said...

Valentic averages more than 18 shots a game.

Anonymous said...

Mike Wall has turned down the Trinity job. They are looking at a re-tread of a coach that in his last tenior as a head coach, he went 7-23 in his last 3 years at North Catholic I believe. Doesn't sound much like an upgrade to me.

Anonymous said...

if valentic is ave 18 shots a game he would need to shoot 65-70% from the field to ave 34 pts a game. no way he is ave 65-70 % from the feild, also if you are saying he only takes 4 shots a qt you never watched trinity play, i have seen him take 2-3 shots in a single posession. this is not to be a critic of him it is just a fact

mike_kovak said...

You don't have to shoot 70 percent to average 30 pts per game on 18 shots per game. Valentic gets to the free throw line frequently and probably makes 90 percent from there.

Anonymous said...

Is the head coach from Avonworth still interested? He has a winning record and head coaching experience. Or former Peters coach? Leader of Quad A program. Lets get the right guy in here. Anyone besides the North Catholic guy with a losing record?

Anonymous said...

Talked to someone close to the Trinity team, and the Valentic kid is averaging about 18 shots a game and 10+ free throws. With the way the kid shoots and having the 3 point line, its not suprising he's averaging 30+ a game.

Anonymous said...

I have no horse in this race, but....18 shots

assuming 50% from field is 9 makes (4-3's, 5-2's) thats 22 pts.

8-10 free throws

That's 30. Why are some beating up the kid for doing what very few have ever done around here?? I say good for him!!