Posts Tagged ‘ESPN’

DeMatha Stags Basketball 2016-2017 Team Preview

December 10, 2016

The DeMatha Stags are looking like they are in fine shape for the 2016-2017 basketball season.  They were ranked #12 in the USA Today expert poll before they even played their first game on December 6 against Cardozo.  The win against the Clerks was a home opener blowout that showed the new talent that is on the horizon for the all-boys Catholic school in Maryland.

Darren Harvey is unquestionably the leader of this team.  Affectionately known as DJ, Harvey is headed to Notre Dame next year which has drawn comparisons to DeMatha great Adrian Dantley.  The two have similar styles, although Dantley put up more impressive numbers during his four years as a starter on the varsity.  If DJ Harvey can hover around 20 points per game this DeMatha team will find it easier to navigate a challenging schedule.  Seniors Josh Carlton and Ryan Allen are poised to provide stability at the center and point guard positions, respectively, and the emphasis on team basketball is obvious in their chemistry.

The trio must share the responsibility for putting up the points in order to remain competitive.  A stingy defense that relies on production from everybody is the foundation that DeMatha basketball has built upon successfully in the past.  You can follow most of the home games for the Stags on DMStagsTV (sign-up required) but also look for them on regular television.

 

Cardozo was the first to find out that DeMatha is a squad oriented for play inside the paint that is also long and deep in the front court.  Josh Carlton is going to have help at the center position during his first year as a starter because the Stags added Freshman Hunter Dickinson and Sophomore Jordan Wilmore.  The Cardozo Clerks found it difficult to score around the rim and only managed a measly six points in the second and third quarters on their way to 95 – 29 loss.  (Watch the full game in the DMStagsTV link above.) The stifling defense paved the way for other underclassmen like Sophomore Justin Moore to shine and the entire healthy roster got playing time in the game.

Head Coach Mike Jones is still on his quest to bring DeMatha their fortieth league title but he still recognizes that he has the balance to compete with anyone in the country.  With scheduled games against Joseph Wheeler (GA), Roselle Catholic (NJ), Bishop Gorman (NV), Greenforest (GA), and The Patrick School (NJ) the Stags’ ambitions are also focused on national achievement.  Alumni and fans would probably expect nothing less but there is something more to this team than meets the eye.  There is a tremendous upside to this basketball team because youth will inevitably be served with a 16-man roster almost evenly split between upperclassmen and underclassmen.

For the first time, in what seems like a long time, DeMatha basketball opponents aren’t focused on the current projected number one draft pick Markelle Fultz.  This team has a tremendous potential to grow together and the reshuffling of roles has created new opportunities for lesser known players.  Senior John McRae and Junior Devin Richmond are two such players that show some of the depth that DeMatha has amassed by maintaining a successful program at every level.  While the supernatural scoring ability of a star player will certainly be missed, there are others that are prepared to contribute.

DeMatha still has players on the junior varsity that would start on varsity at schools with less talent.  Eleanor Roosevelt high school fell to the Stags on December 8 to give DeMatha (2-0) their second win of the basketball season.  (Highlights from that win are from Capitol Hoops below.)  Even in a more evenly matched game DeMatha players that are invested in heeding the genius of Coach Jones just seem to fare better. [Bonus: watch Victor Oladipo double-pump smash on Dwight Howard courtesy of my new friend, Ximo Pierto.]  The best coach in the league country is known for getting the best out of his players as well as helping them reach their full potential.

Student-athletes that paid their dues will have the chance to earn their rewards with the Stags this year.  Senior guard Jhabari Humbert is looking for chance to end his DeMatha career on a high note and he may just get his wish.  The USA Today computer rankings have the Stags at #9 in the country and a national title isn’t unreasonable if the team goals that were set at the start of the season are met.  Juniors Justin Gielen and Xavier Mabry are both juniors fighting for respect by winning their first Washington Catholic Athletic Conference title.

DeMatha hasn’t won the championship in six years but the future looks bright for the Stags.  Sophomores Jamel Melvin, Bobby Carson and Carsten Kolgenik are expected to develop well this season.  Mark Fidelis and Paul Smith will also see time over the next few months of what is sure to be a season packed with action.  Coach Jones might have taken a cue from the nationally ranked football team this year and built a formidable team.  The DeMatha Stags basketball team will be tested early in the National Hoops Festival later today (December 10) as they open their national schedule at home with other elite Nike teams.

[Featured image from Associated Press / Gregory Payan]

National Focus on WCAC Football in Final Weeks of 2016 Season

October 30, 2016

We are coming up on the football regular season finale in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC) but before can we just acknowledge that the DeMatha kids from years’ past are doing alright?  DeMatha football had a bye-week in the last weekend of October but the Stags that won championships over the previous three years were hard at work this Saturday.  Lorenzo Harrison is up to his old tricks now with the University of Maryland and he has played his way into All-Freshman team talk.  Lorenzo has been nothing short of sensational and professional scouts have already taken notice. Fellow Stag turned Terrapin teammate Tino Ellis just started his third game and is impressing in college, as well.  John Lovett is busy setting records at Princeton for scoring touchdowns.  Ju’Whuan Bentley and Mark Allen took a photograph at the Purdue versus Penn State game and contemplated the bond of excellence that ties all of these gentlemen and scholars together.

We could easily go on.  All those guys were extremely good, but none of them were playing for a national title this late in the football season.  As much success as the recent key performers had in DeMatha uniforms and beyond, there is even more excitement surrounding the 2016 squad.   There are new players ready to make a name for themselves and they could do it in rare style.  (There will be more on those athletes in The Chronicles of Six very soon.)  DeMatha football players today have the chance to go undefeated and subsequently launch head coach Elijah Brooks into the pantheon of legendary Stags. Of course, they would also do the same for themselves because the 2016 team is also in the hunt to be the best high school football team in the United States.  Coach Brooks was an outstanding DeMatha football player and he understands the high stakes that his kids are playing for.  The team is sitting at a perfect 9-0 and they are ranked #6 in the USA Today expert poll and #9 according to USA Today computers.

If DeMatha football remains undefeated in 2016 they will go down as one of the best sports teams that the school has ever had.

The groundwork for this kind of campaign is grueling and has taken decades of trying to finally materialize.  DeMatha has been on the cusp of greatness for a while and the evidence has always been on the field.  With a multitude of suddenly famous players as precursors and WCAC football championships from 2013, 2014, and 2015 this year could be considered a continuation of sorts.  The pressure has been slowly mounting for years and thoughts are now drifting towards capping the season in a way that has seldom been done in school history.  An unblemished record could also mean a measure of vindication for the national aspirations of the football program at DeMatha but first they are going to have beat two of the top four teams in the league, twice.

For the first time since coach Brooks took over the program this DeMatha football team is in control of their own national destiny heading into November. First, the 2016 football Stags need to take care of business in the conference to close the regular season and then again in two playoff games.  Good Counsel is a familiar WCAC foe standing in their way and the presumed fourth playoff seed is likely to face the Stags two weeks in a row.  The first meeting this season between the two will be broadcast on ESPN in their finale of the annual high school football showcase of the top teams in the country on November 4.

The Falcons haven’t enjoyed much success against DeMatha in recent years and are playing to retain respect in a league that has seen some changes in the top echelon of competition that they once dominated.  Gonzaga and Saint John’s College have both beaten Good Counsel already and will play their own storied rivalry between themselves on the same weekend to determine the second and third playoff seeds.  Some of the best and most-watched high school football is going to be in the WCAC and eyes have finally shifted from powerhouse states like Texas and Florida to the DC Metropolitan area.

Such a change has been a very long time coming.  None of the WCAC superlatives would have been possible in a league that simply settled for just being mediocre, and the top four teams have all played a significant part.  DeMatha football is poised to stand out from even this elite few but it will take a complete group effort to get the job done.  (The Stags have previously won national titles is wrestling, soccer and basketball.)  DeMatha Catholic High School for Boys is no stranger to the added attention but the 2016 football players could really capitalize on it in a very political sport.  Football rankings that are produced over multiple seasons are almost impossible to climb but we might all be witnessing something special.

Stay tuned because whatever happens next is guaranteed to be newsworthy.

2016-dematha-football

The 2016 DeMatha Football team is attempting to make history in November.

DeMatha Football Dedicated in 2015

September 20, 2015

DeMatha Football is already off to their best start ever in 2015 and we are only four weeks into the season.  The Stags beat two nationally ranked opponents from Florida and a tough LaSalle team from Philadelphia after a bye-week to hang on to their own coveted #4 national ranking.

I’m going to let that sink in.

The DeMatha Stags need a clean sheet in the upcoming WCAC schedule and they are automatically in the national championship discussion but with a little luck they could theoretically be a clear choice, too.  And why not?  I have had the pleasure of seeing all three games because the DeMatha Stags football team hasn’t exactly been shy about their chances. The Stags opened the season on ESPN against power house Miami Central in a dominating performance.  This team has a lot of ability –even by DeMatha standards, and good enough to overcome the long odds for a high school in Hyattsville, Maryland.

#1 Darryl Turner, Jr. DeMatha Catholic HS Class of 2016

DeMatha football players are dedicating the 2015 season to Darryl Turner, Jr. after a season-ending injury.

DeMatha Football Head Coach Elijah Brooks has been building up to this for a while.  There are three All American selections on this year’s team to add to a wealth of experience.  Despite losing #1 Darryl Turner Jr. to a fractured ankle in the opener against Miami Central the Stags are still laden with senior leadership.  Those guys went to the University of Maryland commit’s home after the season-ending injury and have dedicated the season to the student-athlete described as the heart and soul of the 2015 DeMatha football team.

DeMatha has one more guaranteed game on ESPN against Gonzaga but local television might want to pick up the rest of their season if they manage to go undefeated.  I can’t think of another Washington DC area metropolitan school that has ever been in the hunt for a national title in football.  This is history in the making and uncharted territory for the Stags.  I hope that they can pull this off because wouldn’t that be something?

Super Sophomore Championship Goodness

November 23, 2014

What year would be complete without a recap of the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference Championship? DeMatha was able to overcome a 14-0 first quarter deficit and eventually defeat Good Counsel, 24-20 for their 22nd league title. By all accounts, it was a great contest and the Falcons fought to the end but were unable to prevail. The defending champions of the WCAC were underdogs mainly because they were considered to be too young to compete for the title in 2014 but a class of super sophomores had something to say about all of that.

The class of 2017 is loaded. Quarterback Beau English won the starting job earlier this year and matured markedly during a WCAC regular season campaign that only included one loss to Good Counsel. Beau English scored on a third quarter quarterback sneak and managed the game superbly for the Stags. Sophomore running back Anthony McFarland caught one touchdown pass from English and sophomore Khory Spruill completed the class of 2017 trifecta by rushing for a score.  Good Counsel Coach Bob Milloy was named the 2014 Coach of the Year for his undefeated regular season campaign, but DeMatha Coach Elijah Brooks might have done a better job in the end.

It is worth mentioning that Good Counsel was also counted out at the beginning of this season and they definitely didn’t get the respect that they have earned at the beginning of the year in almost everybody’s poll. (It probably isn’t worth mentioning that one of the reasons why Gonzaga sucks is that they hijacked the polls in 2014 and barely made the WCAC playoffs –despite possibly being the best football team within the confines of Washington D.C.) The Falcons will likely find themselves near the top of the WCAC field of football competitors next year, but they will have to contend with a lot of the same names from DeMatha that are only sure to get better in Coach Brooks’ system. DeMatha will return 15 bona fide starters according to sources.

DeMatha also has four juniors on the ESPN 300 list and will likely get a fifth when cornerback Brenton Nelson transfers from his school in Florida. The catalyst for the game happened to be one of the very talented juniors that was snubbed.  Darryl Turner, Jr. wears #1 at DeMatha and he caused the fumble that robbed Good Counsel of a critical possession late in the game which helped the Stags seal the victory.  The cupboard is just about full of Division 1 student-athlete prospects, again.  This is largely why hardcore Stags who are in-the-know believe that DeMatha is preparing for an epic run at a national championship very soon.

DeMatha Stags Tople Florida Power Godby Cougars 26-9 On ESPN

September 2, 2013
Links to Prince George's Gazette article on the game.

Senior Defensive End #9 Deonte Holden comes up big with a sack.

DeMatha took care of business in the Under Armour Fallen Heroes Classic at College Park, Maryland -effectively holding down home turf against a defending Florida state (5A) championship team.  The Godby Cougars found it extremely difficult to move the ball against a stout DeMatha team defense.  The famous speed of Florida high school football only seemed to burn DeMatha once on a 89 yard kick-off return for a score, but the game was already out of reach.

DeMatha was able to run the football between the tackles on a consistent basis.  Given the Stags’ history they have a 95% chance of winning games in which that scenario plays out.  In the case of the ESPN match up honoring recent alumni killed in action, it was done strictly by committee.  Of course a whole lot of credit has to go to the offensive line, being the collective heavyweight chairmen of the running committee.

DeMatha used size and strength to over power and straight up bully in the trenches and at least three different running backs for DeMatha were able to capitalize with big runs over the course of the shortened game.  DeMatha dominated in time of possession despite turning the ball over multiple times and giving the momentum back to the Godby Cougars at crucial times.  Click the picture above and get more in-depth game coverage from the Prince George’s Gazette.

Brendan Looney DM '00

LT Brendan Looney USN SEAL wore #10 at DeMatha

This DeMatha team is obviously young and inexperienced, but they are also obviously talented at all of the impact positions in football.  There are simply too many Stags to name here in this missive so I won’t single any of them out.  Today’s showing on ESPN was very much a team effort, anyway.  The mistakes that were made revealed that the DeMatha Stags have a lot to work on.

Fumbles and goal line interceptions cost the Stags more than points but luckily the game was never in doubt.   After giving up a field goal early in the first quarter the Stags reeled off twenty points to go into halftime with the lead.  When the DeMatha football team played well, which was most of the time, the Godby Cougars looked over matched.  However when DeMatha didn’t play well the entire team suffered enough to offer glimmers of hope to the weary visiting Florida team.

For DeMatha this game is an important win on the road to perhaps what could be a High School National Championship in Football.  A win over a Florida team by Maryland creates a pairing point in national rankings.  DeMatha travels to NJ next in a bid to consolidate the East Coast football landscape and focus it in on Maryland for the first time in a decade.

All of this is happening before the grueling WCAC season even begins for the Stags.  They haven’t won the title in four years and yet this summer DeMatha had the highest ranked football team in the Washington DC metropolitan area.  The Stags will have to make good on all of this early season promise in order to best the competition in the finest conference in America regardless of what happens in New Jersey.

Stags are getting fat right now on that good summer grass that sweeps over begging to be devoured.  Pretty soon the Stags are going to stop feeding their faces long enough to rub the itching velvet off of their racks.  And I think you know what happens after that…

Bedlam in Hyattsville.

GO Stags!

Stags Set to Play Florida’s Godby Cougars on ESPN

August 29, 2013
Serious Florida Competition

The Defending 2012 FHSAA Class 5A Champions

Some of you may recall that when DeMatha plays sports on ESPN, I have a tendency to completely relapse into my Stag fanaticism.

Here is a reminder: https://dicooper.wordpress.com/2007/09/01/a-culture-of-winning-the-big-game/

OK.

I’m just going to breathe right now for a second.  Ok.

I’ve kind of collected myself, so I am just going to write it now alright?  Ok.   The DeMatha Stags are playing on ESPN on Labor Day (September 2nd) at 3PM Eastern Standard Time.

Yes, I am aware of what actually transpired the last time that DeMatha played football with national title implications on ESPN.  I’m just going to try and be really subdued and cool like it’s a regular everyday thing because I guess it really is.  My high school alma mater plays on national television on a regular basis.  Ok.  Right?  We’re itching for a title again.

I really need us to win this game though.  Ok.  I can root for my team, right?  Ok.  I’m not getting too weird.  Last time I got into that whole cult of Kenny Tate thing.  In 2013 the DeMatha Stags don’t have that type of dynamic player but they are in the hunt for a national title just the same.  Taiwon Deal, Brock Ruble, Ju’Whuan Bentley, and Cameron Phillips are all Stags that we should know.  Ok, agonizing antlers man the Stags better not lose any games!  Breathe.

DeMatha is going to play the Florida 5(A) Champions, Godby Cougars.  Ok.  They are really good.  I saw them on ESPN last week and they demolished the team that they were playing against.  Alright and now I am imagining myself in a happy place, counting down from six…  Godby Cougars had this tremendous Outside Linebacker #16 Jacob Pugh that had some poor quarterback running for his dear life.  It looked scary.  Well, back to my happy, non-fanatical place.

If the DeMatha Stags win this game there will be bedlam in Hyattsville.

Do my antlers still look fuzzy and like velvet?

Ups & Downs + Rivalry Week

February 8, 2012

Tonight basketball aficionados all over the country will have their eyes glued to ESPN to watch two of the greatest rivalries in the college game today: Georgetown vs. Syracuse and Duke vs. UNC. It is officially Rivalry Week on the premier sports network and the saga continues this Friday on ESPN2 when Gonzaga plays DeMatha at the Kathy and Morgan Wootten Gymnasium / Convocation Center. I’m going to let that sink in for a minute.

In two days DeMatha will play a regular season home game on ESPN2.  Before we get ahead of ourselves let’s recap what has transpired in the WCAC so far because the drama has been thickening quickly, of late. For starters there is a good chance that when Gonzaga and DeMatha play this Friday that it will only be for second place in the WCAC. That would be due to the fact that Paul VI is currently undefeated in league play. Let’s get down to the get down…

January 21, 2012 Gonzaga edges out DeMatha 76-74 at Bender Arena on the campus of American University in their first meeting of the WCAC season. The good news is that the Stags came all the way back from an eighteen point deficit to tie the game. The bad news is that DeMatha missed out on their opportunity to stick it to Gonzaga and the cause was the familiar nemesis of free throws.  Kris Jenkins had one of the most outstanding games I have seen a Gonzaga kid play. It wasn’t a good day for the Stags to come out flat but again, at least the slide would be short lived.

The Stags cruised to their second win against Archbishop Carroll on January 24, winning the contest 78-66 in what would turn out to be the last home game for super sophomore Johnnie Shuler in a DeMatha uniform. The backup point guard that dazzled college scouts with expert ball control transferred to the DCIAA public school Theodore Roosevelt amid rumors and speculation. I, for one, hate to see him go out like that but I wish him well. Never let it be said that sophomore year at DeMatha is easy which I suspect is the reason for the blazer color change to red/maroon for the junior year: you have to earn it.

The first place Paul VI Panthers proved that their early national ranking and successes were justified when they defended their home court against DeMatha on January 27th. DeMatha, again, didn’t make enough foul shots and let a spirited crowd rush the floor when Paul VI made a last second shot to win the game 64-62. The Panthers made things even more interesting in the WCAC when they also beat Gonzaga 66-53 in a command performance at home four days later to take firm control of first place.

Just to show you that this phenomenon of even the top echelon of teams losing in tough regular season WCAC match-ups isn’t isolated it is wise to note that Paul VI was the second team to beat Gonzaga this year. The Purple Eagles fell to rival St. John’s College Cadets 56-54 on January 29th. DeMatha took care of business on January 31st winning at St. Mary’s Ryken, 92-62 in the two teams’ second regular season meeting. I wasn’t at that game, but I was told that DeMatha looked sharp.

The Stags continued their winning ways against St. John’s College 76-54 on February 3rd to close out the Cadets for the regular season. While the Cadets have shown marked improvement, I was more impressed with how DeMatha Head Coach Mike Jones was able to tweak his line-up to best St. John’s. With Johnnie Shuler gone it almost seemed like DeMatha was having back-up point guard auditions. Not to fear, Stag faithful, the cupboard is full and next year some will be surprised that newly promoted players from Junior Varsity can be great.

Last night Our Lady of Good Counsel lost to DeMatha for the second time 64-37 –this time at home in a game promoted by Coaches Against Cancer. DeMatha has one more home game tomorrow night against Bishop Ireton before the nationally televised game on Friday, and I hope that they can keep up the good work. I wrote a little while ago that I was drunk of the Stags but now it is finally time to get to the sobering work of winning a WCAC Basketball regular season by hitting free throws and defending our home floor. It isn’t rocket science.

Mike Jones already knows this stuff and we have guys that have been here before. James Robinson is just starting to get into his highest gear. The Cookie Monster has worked the kinks out of his mechanics. Jerami Grant is starting to play more responsibly –like an All Star should. Marcellous Bell is still killing teams, slowly, three points at a time. The kids are going to be alright.

I believe that we will win.

Nicknames & Crazy Talk

January 8, 2012

The Cookie Monster

Svelte Anya 06DEC2011 Svelte The Cookie Monster Why? I call BeeJay Anya that now because, quite frankly, he’ll take your cookies.  Plus The Cookie Monster is gangster. 

Seriously try to put something up around the rim and see (click his name or the picture) what I’m talking about here. Despite his recently publicized weight loss the svelte BeeJay Anya has a knack for cleaning the opposing players’ plates. The Cookie Monster blocks the shots of those players foolhardy enough to serve up the round sweetness. 

Those same opposing players’ fans are what gave me the idea to give BeeJay Anya a nickname like I did for Marcus “The Long Ranger” Coker. Fans from other schools would chant “Shrek” whenever BeeJay touched the ball and I felt that it was a little derogatory. Even though Shrek is basically benign, if he isn’t seen as benevolent, but Shrek is a pussy green.

Anyway, DeMatha won the game against the Philadelphia team Neumann-Goretti in the Cancer Research Classic 62-47 and BeeJay “The Cookie Monster” Anya had 17 points, 7 rebounds, and 9 blocks. I’m giving The Cookie Monster credit for even more rebounds because Jairus Lyles didn’t do his part in creating opportunities as he was 7-8 from the field while hitting 3-4 from behind the arc for 17 points, as well.

Jerami Grant chipped in 14 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 steals. I could go on but give me something to write about tomorrow. Let’s stick to the nickname story and the Cancer Research Classic results. Paul VI fell down to St. Raymond of the Bronx earlier today 68-61 without the help of their leading scorer because he was late attending class and was penalized a game. Gonzaga won their game against Whitney Young of Chicago after trailing in the first half and let’s just say it was interesting.

The WCAC has two teams vying for a national title now and television announcers are getting a little crazy. Now Dave Telep (ESPN) is on record as saying that a certain player at a certain school other than DeMatha resembles DeMatha great and Basketball Hall of Fame honoree, Adrian Dantley.

No.

Not even a little bit.

Stop playin’.

With Adrian Dantley on the floor DeMatha had a 57-2 record and won multiple titles.  The player in question has nothing to compare to that due to the fact that he is a junior and DeMatha has won the last three years…

Well, I think you know where I’m going with this. The bottom line is Dave Telep (Twitter) said some ol’ disrespectful crazy talk on ESPNU and I think that he owes Adrian Dantley and DeMatha an apology.  At least harass him about it.