Nazareth hoops prepare for season

It would not be long before the balls are bouncing all over the courts in elementary, intermediate and senior schools. The colleges, both four- and two-year will also be playing their games. However, the professionals-Knicks and Nets are already in action with exhibition or pre-season games.

Practically, all over the country, the rules in each category are the same.

College recruiters come out to look at their next crop of basketball players in the high schools. They must abide by NCAA restrictions, regulations and rules especially in recruiting.

Catholic high school athletes started their season by saying ‘come out and look at me.’ New York City athletes staged an open period of two nights for their prospective students in a pre-season camp.

However, the event was not for NCAA Division I coaches and recruiters because they are not allowed to watch their future stars at this time. Junior college and Division II and Division III recruiters are allowed. The high school athletes with players mixed schools staged two halves in front of many recruiters. No student stood out as a super star this time around.

Recently one student coach sat relaxed in the stands of the Christ The King gymnasium to watch his players as well and rival ones for two hours.

Todd Jamison, varsity coach at Nazareth High School, was able to give a brief analysis about his players as they prepare for another season in the Catholic High Schools Athletic Association. Too bad, a decent school from Brooklyn, New York closed its doors because of financial reasons during the off season.

Over the years, Tolentine and Rice closed their doors in the Bronx and Manhattan, respectively, and more recently Bishop Ford of Brooklyn did the same after they put together decent hoop teams in past years.

Jamison seems to be very optimistic about this season, and is looking forward to improve on the team’s record during th upcoming season.

“A majority of my players come from a Caribbean (background),” said Jamison, while trying to watch some of the action. “Two are playing now and another two are playing in the next game.”

Last year, Nazareth turned in a decent season posting a 21-5 won-lost record. As in many cases year after year, teams lose players through graduation. Nazareth was no different and they must replaced those players, especially on the offensive end. Jamison must replace the scoring that they had last year.

The players on the court at CTK were 5-9 Mike Williams, 5-9 George Cristatt, 5-6 Cyiad Alkhuaidi. And 6-l Jeremy Jean. George is the ,one returning starter from our school. Williams is the only player from Bishop Ford moving over to Nazareth, and as a junior he started.

“He’ll help us in the backcourt,” said Jamison, because he defends very well.

Williams found the transition from Ford to Nazareth not very hard.

“I knew some of the kids from the AAU circuit,” he added. “Now I have to work to be a starter.”

Williams’ father is part-time assistant coach for an AAU team. When the student athlete was younger he played for the New York Panthers, an AAU team.

“The coaches there helped me to develop my skills,” he recalled. “After playing AAU ball, I went to Bishop Ford where the coaches continued to develop me until they closed down.”

Williams, a backcourt player, considers himself a good shooter. If he starts or doesn’t start really doesn’t matter. He still has to work on his ball handling.

Most importantly, he still has to develop himself at a new school with different teammates if he and the entire team are to be successful.

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