MetroSports Magazine

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MetroSports Magazine New York’s NBA D-League Rivalry Westchester Slam Dunk Basketball

January-February 2017

NYC City Legendz Basketball PBR Bull Riding Returns to MSG


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January-February 2017

4 Knicks vs Nets A new rivalry begins in the NBA D-League with the Start of the Long Island Nets 10 2016 City Legendz Classic A NYC classic returns to the Gauchos Gym in the Bronx highlighting the east coast’s best high school basket ball players 16 2016 Westchester Slam Dunk Sixteen years and counting, West chesters high school showcase re turns to the Westchester County Center 22 NYC’s Running of the Bulls Madison Square Garden hosts the 2017 season kick off of the Profes sional Bull Riders Built Ford Tough Series 29 Athlete of the Month Andra Espinoza-Hunter Jess Lockwood 29 Sports Photo Tip Shoot with two eyes open

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Train Like a Champion. Train with a Champion. MetroSports Magazine’s former Athlete of the Month and cover of our May-June 2015 issue, Keisher “Fire” McLeod, a former NY Golden Gloves Champion, current NYS Flyweight Champion and current WIBA World Flyweight Champion can now be your personal boxing trainer at the world famous Gleason’s Gym. 2 | January-February 2017

MetroSports Magazine (MSM) is published six times a year by the New York Sports Photo Group. MSM is available online and can be downloaded in electronic format for viewing on tablet and hand-held devices, laptop and desktop computers and purchased as full-color glossy print editions. Founder, Editor-in-Chief, Art Director: Warren Rosenberg Publisher: New York Sports Photo Group: Features Editor: Warren Rosenberg Director of Photography: Clark Thompson Social Media: Clark Thompson Photo Contributors: Clark Thompson, Warren Rosenberg Proofreader: Melissa Tougas Contributors: Eric Jones Advertising: For rate card contact Please direct all inquiries to: Visit us on the web at:

MetroSports Magazine accepts and welcomes photos, short articles, opinions and letters from our readers. There is no guarantee that unsolicited contributions will be published and MetroSports Magazine assumes no responsibility for failure to publish or for editing published contributions. The Contents of MetroSports Magazine consist of copyrightable and/or copyrighted material and cannot be reproduced without the express written consent of the publishers. MetroSports Magazine | 3

Knicks vs Nets - A New Rivalry Begins Since their founding in 1966, the New York Nets, now the Brooklyn Nets, have been suburban, then interstate and now cross-river NBA rivals of the New York Knicks professional basketball team. Once again, but this time in the NBA’s D-League Eastern Division, the Nets have established a franchise to challenge the Knicks dominance in New York metro area professional basketball.


he Westchester Knicks, the official NBA Development League affiliate of the New York Knickerbockers, now well into its third season, is being challenged in the New York Metro marketplace by the Long Island Nets, the NBA Development league affiliate of the Brooklyn Nets. In their two meetings this season, one a preseason game in November and their first regular season battle in December, this great rivalry stands even at 1 and 1. The teams will meet three more times during the regular season to see who

will claim bragging rights as the D-League’s premier NY Metro team on March 14th at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center and at the Westchester County Center on March 16th and April 1st. In his return to Westchester County for the inaugural contest between these two teams at the November 9th pre-season match-up, John F Kennedy High School standout Donnie McGrath made his professional debut in the NBA D-League at the Westchester

Above: Kevin Capers (4) and Damien Inglis of the Westchester Knicks square off against Beau Beech (9) and Austin Freeman (4) of the Long Island Nets in the teams’ first ever meeting.

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Above: Marshall Plumlee (99) of the Westchester Knicks defended by Austin Freeman of the Long Island Nets. Plumlee, a roster player for the NBA’s New York Knicks, has been on assignment to the team’s Westchester D-League squad.


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Former John F. Kennedy High School standout, Donnie McGrath, makes his professional debut with the Brooklyn Nets D-League affiliate Long Island Nets in a preseason contest against the Westchester Knicks at the Westchester County Center in White Plains.

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County Center. A respectable crowd of Donnie McGrath fans was on hand to welcome the Journal News 2002 High School Player of the Year back to his home county. McGrath followed-up his high school career playing college ball in the Big East with the Providence College Friars where he established the following school records: minutes played (4,128), games started (117) and 3-pointers scored (274). McGrath also played AAU basketball with the New York Gauchos. In this preseason game won by Knicks 107103, McGrath was the high scorer for the Nets with 15 points. In their second match-up, this one a regular season game at the Barclays Center on December 26th, the Long Island Nets prevailed in a 118 to 114 win over the Westchester Knicks.

In addition to getting to watch exciting high quality basketball in a family-friendly venue, D-League fans get to watch and rub elbows with a number of NBA players who, on occasion, are temporarily assigned to D-League affiliates. Playing with the Westchester Knicks this season have been New York Knicks center Marshall Plumlee and guard Ron Baker. Last year’s Westchester Knicks team included the assignment or future call-up players from the New York Kicks, Thanasis Antetokounmpo, and Cleanthony Early, and Jimmer Fredette of the New Orleans Pelicans. The Westchester Knicks 2014 squad included Langston Galloway who was subsequently called up to the New York Knicks.

Above: Devondrik Walker(7) now with the Delaware 87ers, driving to the basket against Gary Forbes (0).

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Queen’s NY native Lasan Kromah (9) sinks one over the head of Long Island’s Gary Forbes(0). Kromah, picked up by the Westchester Knicks in October 2016. After finishing his college career at UCONN, Kromah briefly signed on with the Brooklyn Nets for the 2014 NBA Summer League. He has now moved on to play for Melbourne United in Australia.

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2016 City Legendz New York City Basketball Classic nce again the world famous Gauchos Gym played host to the ever growing City Legendz Basketball Classic. In this, the sixth annual edition of the Bronxbased NYC classic, 17 teams from up and down the east coast showcased their skills in front of New York’s sophisticated basketball fans. College coaches from Division I programs across the country were on hand to look at prospects as they showed their stuff in the tournament, including premier programs from as far and near as Stanford, UC Berkely, UVA, St Louis, Rutgers, Seton Hall. This Bronx-based NYC Classic has become a major east-coast showcase for talented high school athletes from Connecticut down through South Carolina. It has become one of the City’s nationally recognized basketball tournaments joining the Orchard Beach Hoops in the Sun, the Dyckman Summer Basketball Tournament, the Pro City Tournament at Baruch College and the Rucker Park Entertainers Basketball Classic. Photography by Clark Thompson 10 | January-February 2017

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2016 City Legendz Classic Participants School Location Coach Abraham Lincoln High School Brooklyn, NY Dwayne Morton Archbishop Stepinac High School White Plains NY Patrick Massaroni Believe Prep Academy Post Graduate, Rock Hill, S.C. Kevin Jackson Costal Academy U.S. Post Graduate Neptune, NJ Ian Turnbull Miller School of Albermarle Charlottesville, VA Danny Manuel Monsignor Scanlon High School Bronx, NY Dwayne Mitchell Mount Zion Pep High School Baltimore, MD Rodrick Harrison Our Savior Lutheran High Scool Bronx, NY Pete Wehye Our Savior Lutheran Post Grad Bronx, NY Darryl Jones Queens High School of Teaching Bellerose, NY Michael Shelton Rucker High School Bronx, NY Reginald Howard Saint Francis Academy Baltimore, MD Nicholas Myles The Robinson School Irvington, NJ Vincent Robinson Thomas Green Tech Charter School Albany, NY Jamil Hood Sr. Thurgood Marshal Academy NYC Abdu-Allah Torrence Weaver High School Hartford, CT Reggie Hatchett Wings Academy Bronx, NY Billy Turnage

Traveling the farthest were athletes from The Believe Prep Academy located in Rock Hill South Carolina. Believe Prep is a nationally-ranked post-graduate program tailored to preparing students for entry into college study and college-level basketball programs. In addition to their grueling 50 game national basketball schedule, Believe Prep Academy student athletes take college-prep and college-level courses at nearby York Technical College. Although more than 680 miles from NYC, Believe Prep fields a team that includes NY Metro area students Luiz Machadeo, Jr., from Jamaica Queens, Dimitri Yates from Waterbury, CT, Joseph Branch from Amityville NY and Arafat Shaibu from NYC.

Closer to home were a number of New York City and surrounding area basketball powerhouses including Archbishop Stepinac H.S., Costal Academy, Our Savior Lutheran, Rucker H.S., Thurgood Marshall Academy and Wings Academy. All of these highly accomplished programs competing in the City Legendz Classic are listed above. Directing the City Legendz Basketball Classic is Eric Jones, a former member of the Harlem Globetrotters and currently a player, coach and road manager for the Harlem Wizards. Jones gives us his take on some of the Classic’s marquee players on pages 14-15.

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Aaron Sanchez is a 6’3 swing man at Rucker High School that has a motor that never turns off. Now a junior Sanchez has been thrust into a leadership role as a three year varsity letterman. This could be a coming out party for Aaron as a rhythm scorer that can put points up in bunches. He plays above the rim and is tough as nails. Sanchez has division 1 interest from Florida International and Hampton and this stage could definitely increase his recruitment.

Player Profiles by Tournament Director Eric Jones Every so often you get players that pop on the scene out nowhere and just take the city by storm, and Obadiah Toppin is the storm, the lightning and the the thunder. Toppin is a 6’8 do it all swing man for Mt.Zion prep in Maryland. He was a standout student athlete at Ossining HS where he made a name for himself amongst league and local competition. After his high school season the spring and summer was like a whirlwind where we saw his name pop up everywhere in news articles, college recruiting boards and highlight dunk videos that left people asking who is this kid they call Obi. I’ll tell you who he is, one the nation’s most underrated talents, at 6’8 he can shoot with range, block shots, handle the rock, score in the post and has freakish athleticism. 14 | January-February 2017

John Wilson the younger brother of West Virginia standout Darryl Truck Bryant is a crafty ball handling wiz that can get to any spot on the floor. He can knock down the 3 ball and has great court vision. Wilson has a Chris Paul type feel to his game because he is a tough competitor and is willing to take over games in the clutch. You can check this dynamo and his Lincoln Railspliters on Saturday Dec 17th

Our Savior Lutheran High School’s Jared Rhoden is a 6’7 wing transfer from Baldwin high school that is receiving heavy division 1 interest. Rhoden is the complete package that can shoot, slash and finish through contact. He is physically built and projects out as a high major player. Posh Alexander (Poshh Buckss) is a 6’1 freshman pg that shoulders the load of running the show for OSL. Straight out of Brownsville (never ran never will) Alexander embodies that Brooklyn toughness on both sides of the ball. He is on the attack on October and picks up 94 feet on defense. He is a top 20 talent in the class of 2020 and will lead the charge going forward. Ismael Valdez is a 6’8 Junior that is the teams rock. He is the quarterback of the defense and always makes the right play with the ball in his hands. He is the consumate leader and will be the glue to this teams success. Ricardo Dominguez is a 2018 transfer from Bishop Loughlin and is the wild card for this Falcon team. He can score in bunches and is a very capable shooter. If he can give the team consistency and leadership this young team could make some noise nationally.

Stepinac High School’s Payton Hudson aka “The Recipe”. Why the recipe because alot of teams have the key ingredients and all the skills but they always need that one player when it comes to winning time that has that know how to get it done. Hudson who has helped get the White Plains School off to a 3-0 start with big wins over St.Frances Baltimore and St.Raymond. This crafty point guard is a throw back player that plays both sides of the the mode of Joe Dumars at 6’ 175 he is ruggedly built with a division physique already. After a great summer the likes of Brown University, Vermont, Samford and Florida International are involved in the recruiting process. Also a bright student he has maintained a avg above 3.2 academically to go with his basketball talents. MetroSports Magazine | 15

Westchester Slam Dunk Tournament The 2016 Slam Dunk Tournament concluded its four day run at the Westchester County Center on December 29th.Twenty-four of the top high school teams from across New York State competed, with Cardinal Hayes and Iona Prep taking the boys championships and Monroe-Woodbury and Baldwin taking the girls championships. Day four of the 2016 Westchester County Slam Dunk High School Basketball Tournament finally gave Ossining High School head coach Dan Ricci something to smile about. Although unable to repeat as Tournament Champions as they did in 2010 and 2012, the Ossining Pride girl’s basketball team claimed a decisive win over rival Bishop Loughlin High School for third place honors in the Tournament and established senior Andra Espinoza-Hunter as the latest torch-bearer of the Ricci-era Ossining dynasty. Slated to join 2012 graduate Saniya Chong on Geno Auriemma’s UCONN squad next year and following in the footsteps of 2014 graduate Shadeen Samuels now playing under Tony Bozzella at Seton Hall, Espinoza-Hunter became only the twelfth female player in New York State Section 1 history to score 2,000 or more points in her high school career finishing the game with a total of 2,014 points. Chong, who preceded her at both Ossining High School and UCONN is currently number one on that list with 2,988 career high school points. In addition to scoring her 2,000th point during the game, Espinoza-Hunter was also named the Tournament’s Player of the Game.

Photography by Warren Rosenberg

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Above and Facing Page: UCONN bound Andra Espinoza-Hunter (#2) being awarded the ball for her 2,000th career point and laying one in agaist Bishop Loughlin’s Lynette Tait (#5) in December 29th action.

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Baldwin’s Kayla Brown (#3) goes airborne against Ursuline in Baldwin’s run to the Championship title.

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Spring Valley’s D’Aveaaun Whittle (#2) separating Rye’s defense in one of three boys’ Challenge Games.

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Uniondale’s Kobe Howlett (10) driving against Byram Hills Willy Samsen (3) in Thursday afternoon action

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The PBR in NYC New York City’s Running of the Bulls Returns to Madison Square Garden


ew York City’s investors and stock traders love a good bull market and the City’s sports fans sure do love their bulls and bull riders. For the eleventh year in row, NYC’s Madison Square Garden – The World’s Most Famous Arena – has hosted sell-out crowds for the annual kick off of the Professional Bull Riders (PBR) Built Ford Tough Series (BFTS) national tour. Co-branded as the Monster Energy Buck Off, the event brings together 35 of the best professional bull riders in the world and around 100 of the best bovine athletes, many of whom are also ranked among the top in the world. While nothing is to be taken away from the brave Bull Riders who get and deserve their fair share of media coverage, our coverage of last year’s event in MetroSports Magazine focused on the role of the Bull Fighters, formerly referred to as Rodeo Clowns, who risk life and limb to keep the Bull Riders safe. This year our focus is on the bulls. Not more than one mile south of Madison Square Garden, beginning at the corner of 9th Avenue and 16th Street, the City’s now upscale Meatpacking District was once home to approximately 250 slaughterhouses and meat packing plants where countless numbers of cows and bulls met their demise. On the weekend of January 6-8, 2017, on the corner of 8th Avenue and 33rd Street, the bulls got their revenge. Photo: 2017 New York City PBR Built Ford Truck Series Champion, Jess Lockwood, holding on for an 8-second ride atop Naughty List. (Clark Thompson,

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At Friday night’s Round One opening, two-time World Champion and perhaps the biggest name in professional bull riding, J.B. Mauney of Statesville, North Carolina, went up against Auctioneers “Dew Rag Dan” from Muldoon, Texas, a yet-unranked bull who now stands unridden in his past three rides. “Dew Rag Dan” bucked off J.B. Mauney in 4.82 seconds in Round One of the PBR-BFTS and had previously bucked off Tye Chandler and Reese Cates in less than 2 seconds each in December 2016. The bulls continued to take their revenge on Mauney in Saturday’s Round Two when “Big Tex Rocks the Shoot” bucked him off in 3.21 seconds. Mauney finished the 3-day BFTS Championship event in 8th place among the human competitors.

stayed aboard “Gucci Galore” for an 8 second ride, scoring an 86. Davis finished the BFTS event in 9th place among the humans.

Also going down to the Bulls was Defending World Champion, Cooper Davis of Jasper, Texas, who drew a ride on “Pneu Darts Captain” and was bucked off in 4.99 seconds. “Captain”, from the ranch of Mark Miller Bucking Bulls in nearby Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania, has compiled an impressive record, being unridden in his last seven contests. Cooper’s 4.99 seconds was the longest anyone has stayed on the “Captain”. Davis had better luck on Saturday in Round Two when he

The Tournament’s top bull was “Hey Jack”. Other notable bovine athletes included, “Gravedigger”, “Dennis the Menace”, “El Diablo”, “Crazy Horse”, “Gentleman Jim”, “Ace”, and “Tooth Fairy”.

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In Sunday’s final Championship Round of action, the top 15 riders from rounds 1-3 went up against the PBR’s best bull athletes. The first 8 riders didn’t fare well at all, with the bulls taking an 8-0 advantage. Ryan Dirteater was the first finalist to hold on for an 8-second ride. Nineteen year-old BFTS rookie Jess Lockwood, standing 5’5” tall and weighing in at 130 pounds did manage to get the best of his rides and ultimately took home the winning purse of $117,183.33 for his weekend of work in NYC.

The boys and the bulls then packed up for their trip to Chicago for next weekend’s event. The BFTS tournament concludes in Las Vegas in November.

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1,600 pounds of bull leaping almost 3 feet straight up shows the power of these bovine athletes.

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Sports Photo Tip Sponsored by Hunts Photo & Video

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MetroSports Athlete of the Month

Andra Espinoza-Hunter With her accomplishment of surpassing the 2,000 point mark, Andra EspinozaHunter joins an elite group of fewer than 25 New York State girls high school players to join the 2,000 Point Club dating back to 1994. It is because of this high honor that MetroSports Magazine names Andra Espinoza-Hunter our MetroSports Magazine Athlete of the Month for January 2017.

Jess Lockwood Although not a New York Metro Region athlete, his performance at the 2017 PBR Built Ford Tough Series, Monster Energy Buck Off at the Garden, electrified New York’s Madison Square Garden crowd for three consecutive days. For prevailing over four 1,600+ pound bovine adversaries, MetroSports Magazine names 19year old Jess Lockwood our MetroSports Magazine Athlete of the Month for February 2017.

Sports Photo Tip of the Month Shooting With Both Eyes Open

Photographing fast-moving sports is hard, particularly when the action is cutting across your field of vision. While most photographers, particularly non-professionals, keep one eye open to look through the camera viewfinder and squeeze the other tightly shut, sports photographers are well-served by keeping both eyes open. Keeping both eyes open allows you to better see on-field action and to better anticipate where your next important shot will be. This may not be an easy task to master at first but, with practice, it will become more natural. MetroSports Magazine | 29