Random Thoughts and Second Thoughts
While in Phoenix for the Nike Tournament of Champions there was a rare day off. Some high School federations do not allow teams to play on three consecutive days. This off day happened to be my birthday so of course a celebration was in order. While checking into the plush Arizona Grand Resort the clerk noted my address and told me he was from West Chester Pa. He asked me if I was an Eagles fan. I replied..duh yes, of course. He informed me of a place in nearby Scottsdale called the Upper Deck where many Philadelphian exiles meet to cheer on their beloved “Birds”. I recruited my friend from Tennessee, Memphis Central Assistant Coach John Dawson to be my DD on my birthday. John is one of the true gentleman in girls high school and club basketball(he also helps with the TN. Flight program) Not knowing what to expect, but always prepared to show my Eagles colors anywhere,(I have attended 7 games at Giants Stadium) I popped my Eagles shirt on and headed out with JD. When I strolled into the place I thought I was in Philly, place was packed, both floors, with every type of Eagles jerseys you could imagine. E-A-G-L-E-S cheers were frequent, the “fly eagles fly” fight song was played after each Eagles score. The few San Francisco 49ers fans in attendance were treated with typical Philly courtesy, although no one threw a beer on them. Eagles won 27-13. A great way to spend my 22nd celebration of my 29th birthday..
Lots of time spent busting chops with the other talent Evaluators in attendance at the TOC. Especially New York Yankee fans, Dan Olsen + Vince Catanzaro ok so the Yanks beat the Phillies, but at least I won a steak dinner bet from Nike TOC director Steve Kozaki who happens to be a Dodgers fan. At times the evaluators outnumbered the college coaches, even the top bracket. I believe the reason to be twofold, first, half the country was buried in a major snowstorm, so many could not get out lf they wanted too, second many schools athletic departments have cut travel budgets(even the BCS schools).
Can UCONN be beaten this year? They are clearly the #1 team, and demolished the #2 team Stanford on Dec. 23rd. It was a close game at half, but Auriemma makes great halftime adjustments, and they buried the talented Cardinal. I still think Stanford is the only team with a chance to beat UCONN for the title.(however slight). A bunch of things have to go their way. They have to get Tina Charles in foul trouble, when she is in the game UCONN’s defense and rebounding is formidable. Without her, UCONN’s frontcourt will have matchup problems with the Appel,Ogwumike, and Pederson post lineup. I have mentioned the best player in college basketball. Maya Moore is that player. I have had allot of upfront and personal interactions with Maya, my Philly Belles teams were 0-4 against her club team Georgia Metro’s in 2006 , including a one point loss in the AAU National Championship game, an overtime loss in the semi-finals of Boo Williams and another defeat in the championship of the US-Junior Nationals in Washington DC. My team was very good, with great kids and parents, but like Auriemma said about Taurasi, they had Maya and we didn’t. Maya was a special player then, and is even better now. Maya is very gracious in victory, I just don’t know if we will find out this year if she is as pleasant in defeat.
OK so I did not get assigned to the Naples FL. Tournament. Instead I will have to watch Philly local teams Germantown Academy and Cardinal O’Hara play in the Scholastic Play by Play Tournament at Archbishop Carroll on Jan. 16th. I just don’t think I will be wearing shorts for this game. Here is the rest of the schedule for Jeremy Treatmans tournament. The marquee game is the matchup of defending Pennsylvania State Champions AAAA Mount Lebanon of the Pittsburg area versus AAA State Champions Archbishop Carroll. Some of the top players to watch in this tournament are Penn Charters Brianna Butler and Alesha Powell, Notre Dames Meghan McCullough(Penn), St. Basils Jackie Thompson and Jill Lynch(my personal favorite), O’Hara’s Natasha Cloud(Maryland) and Marykate Gardler, Germantown Academy’s super shooter Maggie Lucas(Penn State) Tory Theiroff(Drexel) and Alexa Gallagher . Mount Lebanon starts 5 D-1 players led by Madison Cable a junior whose stock has risen with her All Tournament performance at the Nike Tournament of Champions in Phoenix. Carroll is led by Erin Shields (St. Joe’s) a perpetual motion player who is an tough as they come. Council Rock-North’s Sarah Keily(American), Chester’s Karen Flagg ,Friends Central’s Talia East(Penn State) Peddie School boasts another in a long line of All-Americans in the versatile Haley Peters(Duke). Shipley’s 8th grade guard Tamiesha Alexander is exciting to watch, Abington boasts Emily Leer(Villanova), finally the 6pm gym 2 matchup pits two Division One post players against each other, Eastern’s Genevieve Okora (Richmond) vs Ryan’s Jess Koci (LaSalle).
10. JAN 16, 2010-10th ANNUAL GIRLS PLAY BY PLAY CLASSIC AT ARCHBISHOP CARROLL HIGH (PA)
Archbishop Wood PA-Penn Charter PA 12:00
Mt. St. Joseph’s PA-Spring Ford PA 1:30
Notre Dame PA-St. Basils PA 3:00
Cardinal O’Hara PA-Germantown Academy PA 4:30
Mt Lebanon PA-Archbishop Carroll PA 6:00
Council Rock North PA-Harvest Prep 7:30
Central PA-Chester PA 12:00
Friends Central PA-Radnor PA 1:30
Peddie PA-Shipley PA 3:00
Abington PA-Lower Merion PA 4:30
Archbishop Ryan PA-Eastern NJ 6:00