Posts Tagged ‘Mike Jones’

Markelle Fultz Is Number One

June 21, 2017

Markelle Fultz will go down in history as the first player from the storied DeMatha Catholic High School for Boys to be selected number one in the 2017 NBA Draft.  Peep how it all unfolded on my Twitter and also check the history of Markelle Fultz here, on this site.  DeMatha Stags are doing big things and DeMatha Basketball Head Coach Mike Jones couldn’t have asked for better publicity for the program there.  Markelle is certainly deserving of this high honor, and he is humble enough to keep God first in his life.  In a team preview for the 2014-2015 season, Markelle Fultz was the last person that I mentioned when listing prospects to help bolster college recruiting efforts.  Three years later, no wonder that Markelle Fultz is number one.

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]

Luminous Without Further Comment

April 6, 2015

Wonder how many Stags we shall see tonight in 'One Shining Moment'?

A post shared by DeMatha High School (@demathacatholic) on

Gonzaga Upsets DeMatha to Win the 2015 WCAC Basketball Championships in 2 Overtimes

February 27, 2015

“He dared the lightning in the lightning’s track,
And answered thunder with his thunder back.”

–  Paul Laurence Dunbar

DeMatha against Gonzaga would never be the rivalry that it is today unless Gonzaga won some games, and last night added another victory for the Purple Eagles.  Gonzaga earned their twentieth win of the season in the most important game, the 2015 WCAC Title,  and in storied fashion required two overtimes to dismantle DeMatha.

The drama could have played out differently for the Stags. DeMatha certainly had their chances to win as they entered the fourth quarter with a ten point lead.  Gonzaga would fight back like they always do and erase the deficit to put the Stags in a pressure situation at the line to win it in the final seconds of regulation.  DeMatha was unable to put the Purple Eagles away and it eventually came back to haunt them when Gonzaga eventually opened up a nine point lead of their own.

Sam Miller destroyed any hopes of a comeback with a tremendous effort hitting three-pointers and getting buckets in the paint late in the game.  Chris Lykes shone brightly for Gonzaga to that point, along with a host of guys that can only be filed under “never-heard-of” until this signature season win.  Gonzaga Head Coach Steve Turner must certainly be proud of his guys for fighting this epic game out until the end.  As a basketball fan, it was something to see.

As a DeMatha alumnus it hurt to watch but honestly the Stags have been sticking it to Gonzaga in the sports that draw a crowd as of late and the Purple Eagles sparked at just the right time.  DeMatha Head Coach Mike Jones is probably scratching his head on this one, and the Stags are going to have to find another way to punctuate this season.  I’m not exactly sure what the post-season plans are other than the Alhambra Catholic Invitational Tournament but the Stags should have revenge on their minds for all of the schools that stole the thunder from their otherwise outstanding season.

DeMatha VS Gonzaga for 2015 WCAC Basketball Championship, Again

February 24, 2015

There are a lot of great sports rivalries that get written about but DeMatha versus Gonzaga, in just about every sport, stands up to the test as one of the most exciting in high school sports.  Add basketball to the mix, a sport in which both schools take a tremendous amount of pride in, and you have a recipe for the greatest high school rivalry ever.  The Washington Catholic Athletic Conference is the toughest in America and the last two all-boys high schools in it have desperately clung to superiority complexes that often play-out on the national stage.

Gonzaga versus DeMatha is gigantic already, but the legend is still growing.  Soon they will meet for the 2015 WCAC Basketball Championship, again -and everybody that follows high school basketball knows the implications.  Gonzaga versus DeMatha is Washington D.C. against Maryland, “God is purple” disagreeing with “I believe”, Purple Eagles opposing Stags and so much more.  There may have been a different mindset that has shaped the destiny of each school, but they are seldom far apart.  DeMatha has been the high school basketball trendsetter ever since the Power Memorial game fifty years ago and the Stags also have six national titles to back that up.  Gonzaga has always been an excellent foil, at their worst, and occasionally plays the spoiler to DeMatha when their basketball team is at their best.

Today DeMatha is (27-3) and trying to end the longest championship drought they have ever had in the WCAC: three years.  Gonzaga (19-10) basketball has been on the precipice of being nationally formidable all year and they can finally do that if they can find a way to beat the most well-known team in the league for the championship and salvage another lackluster season.  Individually there is no shortage of star power on either squad, today or historically.  DeMatha junior Markelle Fultz is the 2015 WCAC Player of the Year, and sophomore Darren Harvey garnered First Team All WCAC honors.  Gonzaga has two players deserving of First Team All WCAC honors as well: sophomore Chris Lykes and senior Sam Miller.

The DeMatha Catholic High School for Boys is in search of their fortieth (40) league championship after their win over Saint John’s College in the WCAC semifinals.  This one is especially poignant for the Stags as they look to officially punctuate another incredible season and send the seniors out on a high note.  Seniors Thomas Bruce, Terrell Allen, Ahmad Clark would all love nothing more but I am equally certain that if Jaelin Grant wants any bragging rights in his family whatsoever -he needs a DeMatha win more than anyone.  Each of Jaelin’s three older brothers managed to bring home a conference title for the Stags, and this is his last year to add to the already spectacular legacy.  On a personal level, I want to see Jaelin holding up the hardware.  I am hoping that this isn’t one of those years where Gonzaga can pull off the ultimate upset after losing two games to DeMatha during the regular season.  So now you know the deal…

Go Stags!  Get 40!

DeMatha Stags 2014-2015 Basketball Preview

December 20, 2014

The DeMatha Stags (6-0) won big again against their second WCAC opponent Saint Mary’s Ryken (SMR) on Saturday.

If they can keep up their winning ways in Orlando at the Victor Oladipo Christmas Hoops Festival starting December 26th then we might really be in for something special.  Of course the event bares the name of DeMatha Catholic High School for Boys alumni Victor Oladipo, and you can follow the action here.  (He also starred in this video care of Stronger Team if any future Stags out there need any more inspiration.)

I don’t want to give anything away, but the last team to go undefeated at DeMatha was a really long time ago.  Much more on that, at a later date.  I’m not ready to say that this DeMatha basketball team can go undefeated, though.  The team includes ten players that could potentially play together next year and so I wasn’t surprised when they often looked sloppy against Ryken.  Another thing is that this DeMatha team is going to be facing some rather stiff competition down the road because Head Coach Mike Jones doesn’t duck anybody.

This isn’t exactly a recipe to finish number one in prestigious USA Today national poll but it could be enough to win the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference.

By now, everybody knows that Darren Harvey is an extraordinary sophomore and he is considered the number one prospect in his class.  Sophomore year at DeMatha is the toughest, and I would expect that even the best small forward in the United States’ class of 2017 is going to have some growing pains.  Developing a consistent presence is what will ultimately make him a standout, even by DeMatha standards.  While the kid with the feathery touch has already shown the tendency to hide in the stats sheets, he has already turned in some top performances that nearly had the Stags winning the championship last year.  Anybody with the alias of DJ Harvey is phenomenal, but he is far from alone on this team.

Point guard Terrell Allen, Forward/Centers Jaelin Grant and Thomas Bruce are three of the four seniors on this squad that will have to see significant minutes if a WCAC championship campaign is going to be successful.   DeMatha isn’t particularly tall this year but Jaelin Grant has shown a similar ability (as his three brothers before him) to be able to fill in the gaps.  As long as Terrell Allen can continue to play with poise and control games by hitting Thomas Bruce in stride, DeMatha will still be formidable in the paint.

Markelle Fultz and Nate Darling are two of the four juniors that I already mentioned and they sort of embody what this team seems to do best: slash and shoot.  Quickness can win a lot of games, especially if you can transform your team with defensive wizardry -and Mike Jones has done it before.  (We have already seen the athleticism of Markelle, and discussed the scoring abilities of Nate Darling -both videos care of Capitol Hoops)  Any talk of a championship with this team starts on the defensive end of the floor for this crop of Stags, in my opinion.  If these kids blossom and peak at the right time, there might be no stopping them in February.

Anyway here is the complete roster and schedule.

Enjoy all these links, people!

Merry Christmas!

Talking About The Word

December 9, 2014

Shout outs to Capitol Hoops.

Anyway, the word on the street is that the DeMatha Stags have a heck of a basketball team in 2014-2015.   Markelle Fultz is the guy dunking in the video against Eleanor Roosevelt but I’m throwing out the names Jaelin Grant, DJ Harvey, Thomas Bruce and Nate Darling for your consideration also.

The National High School Hoops festival is this weekend at DeMatha Catholic High School and the Stags are already 3-0.  There are national implications in this prestigious tournament, as usual, and not only because DeMatha is ranked #19 in USA Today Preseason National Poll.

You might want to check it out because Head Coach Mike Jones doesn’t over-hype his teams.

Bonfire

February 11, 2012

Gonzaga @ DeMatha February 10, 2012

So it went down sweet for the Stags on ESPN2 last night. It was beautiful.

Gonzaga’s coach looked horrendous. When I got home and saw him on my DVR in HD in all his disheveled glory I almost started to feel sorry for him. Then, at that moment, I remembered that DeMatha is totally awesome; like roasting marshmallows around a bonfire.

Referees disqualified our star player, and team leader, with two whack technical fouls but it didn’t matter. Mike Jones looked like that high school kid that won championships for DeMatha in 1991: cool, calm, and collected. The Stags rallied and poured on the gas.

The detention of derelicts that crowded DeMatha’s Kathy and Morgan Wootten Gymnasium basketball court on both ends reveled with their band and fashioned their hands like antlers on their heads.  Gonzaga was cooking on national television and the glow from the flames warmed the face of my soul.

That was the whole game.

bonfire

Prince George’s County Clash

January 19, 2012

The DeMatha Stags got their seventh conference win last night by defeating Bishop McNamara 90-75 at Kathy & Morgan Wootten Gymnasium. The game was a lot closer than it would appear, but the story of the night was the fact that DeMatha was able to bounce back after a tough loss at the Hoop Hall Classic in Springfield on Monday. There is no hiding the fact that this DeMatha team isn’t perfect, with their own unique set of problems and a blemish on their 16-1 record.

No one is aware of that fact more than DeMatha Head Coach Mike Jones and he has demonstrated as much with his willingness to experiment with line-ups in order to increase production. Brock Ruble, a 6’9” sophomore, got the start versus McNamara over BeeJay Anya after what many are calling a lackluster showing for The Cookie Monster against Bishop Gorman.

The Cookie Monster instantly became one of my favorite DeMatha players during his freshman year when he came into the game for the first time and promptly made two free throws. The big guy has struggled of late from the line: he went 0-2 against Bishop Gorman and the trend continued against McNamara. It is disappointing to see a kid struggle with his shooting mechanics when it appears to be a regression, but I understand that this is actually all a result of BeeJay’s hard work at transforming his body.

The rest of the DeMatha team can’t really make that excuse and whatever woes The Cookie Monster has been having from the charity stripe are the latest symptom of a greater problem. The Stags haven’t been shooting well from the free-throw line, as a whole, and McNamara was able to tie the game at 44. Granted, the Stags would end up winning the game by a fairly large margin but DeMatha isn’t going to be able to afford to allow teams to hang around.

Drunk off the Stags

January 18, 2012

Jagermeister BottleThe DeMatha Stags basketball took their undefeated record and #3 national ranking into the Hoop Hall Classic in Springfield, Massachusetts this past weekend but they came up a little short.

The Stags won the first game against one of the best schools in Connecticut that was previously undefeated on Saturday. The weekend didn’t go sour until Monday when the Stags faced #23 Bishop Gorman of Las Vegas, Nevada –a team that they beat last year in the final of the Les Schwab Invitational in Portland, Oregon.

The bitterness that the consensus number one player in the country, Bishop Gorman’s Shabazz Muhammad, must have felt after the loss last year only contributed to his stellar rematch performance against the Stags on Monday. Shabazz Muhammad was all over the court and had the most points against a DeMatha basketball team since Corless Williamson in 1990, with 37 points. (Corliss Williamson scored 43 of his team’s 56 points in a loss to DeMatha and then the Stags went on to an undefeated season in 1990- 1991.)* The differences between the two DeMatha teams from different eras still remain subtle in my estimation.

In the 73-65 loss to Bishop Gorman at the Hoop Hall Classic it appeared as though foul shooting and individual defense are two areas in which they will have to improve on in order to be compared with the likes of the last undefeated team at DeMatha. The zone defense that DeMatha started out in proved to be too slow during the rotations to Shabazz Muhammad, and he had 19 points in the first half of play alone. By the time DeMatha switched to man-to-man midway through the second quarter the damage was done, and Bishop Gorman took an eight point lead into the locker room.

Shabazz Muhammad began to tire when the Stags went to a four guard set on offense and tried to deny him the ball by filling in the passing lanes on defense, but the high school All American still came up with big plays in the second half. Marcellous Bell and Jairus Lyles helped DeMatha trim a 13 point lead down to 2, but that would be the closest that they would ever get. The Cookie Monster and Jerami Grant were both in foul trouble, and neither was particularly effective on the offensive end. Kelvin Howard also got a start for the Stags but he didn’t wind up producing any points.

DeMatha didn’t appear to have the right personnel on the floor in order to win the game and the Stags held the ball deep into their possessions and tried to force the issue down low. Bishop Gorman used a platoon of players to frustrate the Stags with a stifling defense, and their speed translated well with a lot of fast break points on the offensive end. The combination of strategies and executions proved that Bishop Gorman was the better team and they handed DeMatha their first loss of the season.

The brightest spots of the game for the Stags came when there were four shooters on the floor capable of dribble-driving to the basket. Instead of exploiting DeMatha’s deep guard play the game plan predictably focused on a methodical inside game that ultimately slowed down the works on both ends. Mike Jones is a great coach, but I’m wondering out loud here if he had to do it all over again would he stick with the zone defense against Shabazz Muhammad for so long? Mike is a friend of mine and I know that he can take the criticism, besides who hasn’t gotten drunk off the Stags?

Anybody that thinks that Shabazz Muhammad is getting stopped with a zone defense on ESPNU is clearly inebriated and using questionable judgment. DeMatha can hardly afford a hangover tonight at home against Bishop McNamara or Saturday on the road against Gonzaga –two league games that will show if the Stags have any resiliency.

More on that later, though. For now, Go Stags

 

*Statistics may be erroneous, false, or completely fabricated.