Weekly Notes From Around The Area & In NY

Some notes to reflect upon after some great basketball that was played in the New York City area...and a note on a player from the upstate portion of New York ...

It's been a busy couple of weeks here in the New York area. The Westchester Elite held a terrific event three weekends ago while Big Apple Basketball held another great three days of basketball during the Martin Luther King holiday.

Providence College, Connecticut, and Virginia were just a few schools in the stands this week at Hunter College in New York City to attend the Big Apple High School Invitational. They were on hand to watch several players, including Rice High School guard Kemba Walker, a 2008 prospect. Walker is an exciting guard who can defend any player in the country from the backcourt position.

Walker's skills and defensive abilities helped Rice crush Niagara Falls, 70-49, despite a great effort by Syracuse recruit Johnny Flynn. Walker does a nice job also of directing the offense. He has most Big East schools recruiting him hard right now but could propel himself into a national recruit very soon because of his play.

Walker told reporter Brian Towey that Memphis has offered. Kemba, a 2008 prospect, seemed intrigued with the offer. But Walker also spent his Sunday afternoon this week watching St. John's upend Syracuse at Madison Square Garden... Johnny Flynn is an outstanding player and should receive consideration for the McDonald's All American game. Walker stated that Flynn was tougher to guard than Simeon's Derrick Rose, who is considered a top ten player. Syracuse has a terrific high school guard coming in next season in Flynn... Is it possible for a player of 7-foot-4 to fall under the radar screen. According to Albany City Rocks program director Jim Hart it is possible. Hart is referring to big man Jameson Keefe from Troy High School in Troy, N.Y. "He didn't play any AAU ball last summer," said Hart. "He had surgery on his ankles so no one saw him play."

Hart isn't claiming that Keefe is a McDonald's All American. But he does believe that Jameson is quite capable of making a contribution to some division one program down the road. "I think there may be only four schools that know about him," said Hart, who wanted to keep quiet about those four schools. "So the rest of the 300 plus coaches I think don't know much about him."

Keefe is also a very good student. "Ivy schools should at least take a look," Hart said. "Some coaches have told me maybe he can take a prep year or redshirt to give him another year to develop."

Hart feels Keefe, 295 pounds, is mobile enough too. "He has good hands," Hart said. "He's getting better each week. He had a triple double already this year (17 points, 14 rebounds, and 12 blocks). He will come out when the pace of the game is very high."

And Keefe has a familiar name in his family. "He's the cousin of Brad Sheehan (Georgia Tech)," Hart said. "I think he was always in the shadow of Brad up there. But Jameson is worth a look."...

Some may be surprised that St. John's offered a scholarship to Mike Cavataio, a 6-foot-4, 175-pound swingman from St. Francis Prep in Fresh Meadows, N.Y. Mike made a verbal commitment to St. John's University late Sunday night. However, his name has been mentioned by several coaches at the recent Big Apple event as being a player to watch over the next couple of months.

His improvement and progress in his game convinced Red Storm head coach Norm Roberts to make the scholarship offer. Apparently, St. John's is confident Cavataio is skilled enough and athletic enough to play in the Big East.

Another Big East coach who attended the Big Apple event claimed Cavataio was good enough to play in the league and would be a contributor to a school wherever he went.

Reporter Brian Towey had previously spoken to Cavataio before his decision. According to Towey, Cavataio impressed coaches with his deceptive athleticism at the live event at Holy Cross High School during the evaluation period last July.

Then, according to Towey, in West Virginia, playing with the Long Island Lightning at the Triple S Harley Davidson Jamfest, he had that moment when coaches said, "Whoa".

"He had a breakout tournament down there, " said Joe Walsh, who coached Cavataio with the Long Island Lightning in West Virginia, and is also an assistant coach at CHSAA rival All Hallows.


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