Posts Tagged ‘USA Today’

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.

No. 2 Miami Central, No. 5 DeMatha find common ground for this weekend’s Super 25 matchup

August 27, 2015

Well what are you watching this Saturday (August 29, 2015) if not watching the DeMatha Stags attempt to break into the top five high school football national rankings?  DeMatha has a very strong team this year and they are attempting to come right through the front door.  Here is an article in the USA Today regarding this unlikely match-up of high school football juggernauts so early in the season and why this game, in particular, has the attention of so many.  You see, it isn’t just me.

USA Today High School Sports

Elijah Brooks has led the Stags to back-to-back WCAC titles. (Photo: DeMatha Football) Elijah Brooks has led the Stags to back-to-back WCAC titles. (Photo: DeMatha Football)

At first glance, DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.) and Miami (Fla.) Central wouldn’t seem to have a lot in common. DeMatha is a private, relatively pricey (tuition is $16,400 a year) school that doesn’t play for a state title in football but has won the past two Washington Catholic Athletic Conference titles. Miami Central is a public school where 65% of the students qualify for free or reduced-price student lunches and the Rockets have won three consecutive 6A state titles in football.

But DeMatha coach Elijah Brooks and Miami Central’s Roland Smith found common ground on one point. Outside of their conference and regions, they had a hard time finding opponents. That’s the biggest reason why Miami Central, the No. 2 team in the Super 25 football rankings, will travel 1,058 miles to play No. 5 DeMatha on…

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Super 25 in 25: DeMatha Catholic (Md.) at No. 6 in preseason football

August 11, 2015

There is a lot of hype in Hyattsville this year and DeMatha is in the hunt for a national title in football. USA Today breaks it down and favors the Stags with a #6 ranking. Peep the schedule and television coverage and you will understand that DeMatha has high expectations for years to come.  Thanks to USA Today it is hard to keep these kinds of secrets.

USA Today High School Sports

USA TODAY High School Sports will reveal the preseason Super 25 football rankings as part of “Super 25 in 25,” with one team revealed each hour beginning Monday at 8 a.m. ET and continuing through Tuesday.

Check out the 25 teams as they are revealed or teams that have already been revealed here.

No. 6: DeMATHA CATHOLIC

Elijah Brooks has led the Stags to back-to-back WCAC titles. (Photo: DeMatha Football) Elijah Brooks has led the Stags to back-to-back WCAC titles. (Photo: DeMatha Football)

Location: Hyattsville, Md.

2014 record: 9-3

Final 2014 Super 25: Unranked

The two-time defending Washington Catholic Athletic Conference champions have a roster loaded with Division I talent: OL Terrence Davis, an ALL-WCAC player who is 6-5 and 307 and being pursued by half of the ACC and SEC; DE Shane Simmons (68 tackles, 14 sacks), who has committed to Penn State; two four-star Maryland commits in WR Tino Ellis and DB-WR Darryl Turner; and junior RB Anthony McFarland (1,124 yards…

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DeMatha WCAC Mid-Season Basketball Fitness Report & National Title Push

February 10, 2015
DeMatha has an active team defense where everybody chips in.

Darren Harvey isn’t afraid to get down on the floor against SJC.  Links to the Washington Post article. Washington Post photo credit.

The DeMatha Stags baskebtall team has finally played every other team in the prestigious Washington Catholic Athletic Conference at least once, and they remain undefeated at 15-0.  Now DeMatha comes to the hard part.  The Stags will have to face a strong Bishop O’Connell team seeking revenge when they come into Hyattsville (today) and then win on the road at Bishop McNamara (2/13) -and then finally, again, at Paul VI (2/16).

There are no easy wins in the WCAC, and those three teams don’t have many years to research before they find evidence of their successes against DeMatha Catholic High School for Boys.  The Stags are always the most important game of the year for most opponents but with a #4 ranking in the USA Today poll the target on their backs has gotten bigger for WCAC teams looking to make late-season noise.  Right now all the clamor is for a DeMatha bid at an undefeated regular season in the toughest conference in America.

With an overall record of 24-1 the Stags have played great defense at times and despite some sporadic sloppy play on offense they have always managed to do enough since suffering their only loss to Sierra Canyon.  Their uptempo style can lead to unforced turnovers but so far, all of the risks have been outweighed by the rewards in WCAC games.  Terrell Allen has been masterful at times by improving his finishing touches while, somehow, still managing to find easy buckets for big man Thomas Bruce routinely.

When DeMatha is clicking in the half-court offense baskets in the paint are plentiful because Markelle Fultz, Darren Harvey, and Nate Darling all have a knack for keeping defenders off-kilter around the perimeter.  All of the WCAC defenses have succumbed to running DeMatha’s core players into their strengths which is why the Stags have dominated, so far.  Fultz and Harvey have been particularly generous in sharing the basketball and their prolific passing has allowed new Stags like Darling to get up to pace.

Even speedboats need an anchor and senior Jaelin Grant has been an unsung hero by neutralizing the toughest assignments in a conference loaded with national talent.  Grant was instrumental in both regular season wins against Gonzaga and is also a steady presence on the boards.  If the last of the Grant brothers can advance the inside-out mentality along with the rest of the Stags, their aggressive and attacking style on both sides of the ball will be hard to beat.

The DeMatha Stags’ basketball team also has to be mentally tough in order to deal with the pressure of playing for a conference championship that includes a single-elimination tournament after the regular season.  By clinching the regular season the Stags have also earned a berth in the Alhambra Catholic Invitational Tournament which could likely have them facing-off against top seeded WCAC teams for a fourth time along with other regional powers.  The winner take all rule is in full effect for this relatively young DeMatha basketball team and they will surely be in the National Title conversation should they remain undefeated for the remainder of the WCAC and extended season.

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!