Josh Verlin (@jmverlin)
Back up at the Mayfair Rec Center (2990 Saint Vincent St.) for another night of the Northeast Basketball League.
Here’s a notebook from the night’s action:
Truman focusing on sharing the rock
Last year, Truman was a one-man offensive show, with Tyquan Laws leading the way at over 20 points per game and several players filling in around him.
Now, with Laws having potentially played his final game in a Tigers uniform, head coach Alan Munford is focused on a much more team-based approach for his squad in 2015-16.
The most common phrase coming out of Munford’s mouth as Truman battled Neshaminy was “make the extra pass,” which can be tough to do in an offseason league with a young group of players. But more often than not, his Tigers did a good job of moving the ball and getting open looks, even if they weren’t all falling in a 49-41 loss to Neshaminy.
“It’s been really hard to teach, our individual workouts and our voluntary workouts, it’s been tough just trying to get the kids to understand that swinging the basketball is very important because you get the defense to move and gaps open up because of that,” Munford said. “Once they start to see success, then they fall in love with it, but that’s how kids are in general.
“I liked what I saw tonight,” he added. “I thought they moved the ball well tonight, they swung the ball a lot, they knocked down some big 3-point shots. I thought down the stretch we didn’t take care of the ball the way we wanted to take care of the ball, so turnovers hurt us.”
Laws is appealing for an extra year of PIAA eligibility, but his hearing isn’t until August. So Munford isn’t counting on having his leading scorer back from that a team that went 7-15 last year, including a 5-9 mark in Suburban One National play.
The leaders of this group look to be senior James Clowney, a 6-4 power forward, and 6-2 junior wing Danell Snelling; Snelling had 13 and Clowney had nine against Neshaminy, while four other players hit shots for the Tigers.
Seniors Satchell Simpson and Maurice Jackson have both scored at a decent clip this spring, and a few others have chipped in as well.
It’s certainly a guard-heavy group, however, and where they struggle could be against teams that can pound them inside and get Clowney and Snelling in foul trouble.
“I think every single one of the kids has opened my eyes in terms of their progress,” Munford said. “Danelle obviously has done a very good job, James Clowney can rebound his tail off...our problem is we’re not that deep, we don’t have any big men coming off the bench.”
--Neshaminy benefitted from the return of rising senior Francis Robles in downing Truman in the battle of Suburban One schools. The 6-foot-1 guard dropped 23 points as he looks like he’s all the way back from a concussion suffered during his junior year, and he was certainly impressive in getting his buckets on this evening. He had his mid-range pull-up game working, and the solid athlete also had a very nice block to close out the first half. He still has to work on getting stronger, but there’s definitely some upside here.
--Another impressive performance for C.B. West’s Cal Reichwein, who had 25 points to lead his team to a runaway win over New Foundations in a game that was close up until the final eight minutes or so. The senior guard isn’t a true point guard but has tremendous court vision and passing skills, putting the ball right on the money in a variety of tough looks that certainly open up the court for his good set shot.
--Father Judge certainly had the numbers advantage on Bishop Shanahan, with 15 Crusaders showing up against what at tip-off were just five Eagles. And a dozen of them scored in what was a rout for the Catholic League squad, as the guard-heavy group took advantage of Shanahan’s slow attendance night. Sean Tait might not have the most individually talented group in the Catholic League, but his usable depth will be an asset this season, and program wins like this only help a team feel good about itself this time of year.