Edito Letter From The Editor
Ultimate Athlete Magazine
Letter from the Editor Dear Fans,
Paul Corace N.J. Comanzo
PUBLISHER/CEO EXECUTIVE EDITOR
Welcome to the New York City winter volume II edition of Ultimate Athlete Magazine’s New York City! It’s that exciting time of the year where the winter sports season is wrapping up and we’re here to feature the teams that have either clinched their coveted championship title, or are well on their way. This issue may be a short one, but the included teams are more than deserving of their feature coverage. Under the leadership of Coach Oliver Antigua, we are proud to feature the St. Raymond’s boys basketball team on our cover, a team that made headlines early in the season and now have their eye on the City Championship. The Christ the King boys basketball team entered this season as defending NYS Federation Class “AA” champions, and they tore through the playoffs in hopes of defending that title. With just a few games left, the team, led by star guard Omar Calhoun, are close to repeating. On the girls basketball side, we feature Nazareth High School, the NYC Federation “AA” Champions, and Wings Academy, the ofﬁcial PSAL Class A girls basketball champions! You’ll also ﬁnd in this edition a football follow-up on our New York City Fall Vol. I cover star, Ishaq Williams, as he announces his college commitment, and we will also highlight the determined athletes of McKee/Staten Island Tech track. As always, thank you to all of the athletes, coaches, schools and families for their support of Ultimate Athlete Magazine! We hope you enjoy our feature coverage, and continue to check back at www.ultimateathletemagazine.com all year round to see if your school is featured, or if you’d like to suggest a team to feature, simply e-mail me at email@example.com.
SENIOR PRODUCER/EDITOR SPORTS EDITOR GRAPHIC EDITORS
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Jessica Peters Joes Luis Covarrubias jeyathas ponnuthurai Adriana Kijko Kaitie Monda Dion Tulloch Richard Brooks
Jason Donders Dr. Tom Ferraro MIKE MEIJA joe pietaro Ken Ryan James Vacey Matt Zylbert
renee keller robert brewer jerry delpriore
daniel s. burnstein Andrew Adler William Thomas
William Thomas Kaitie Monda
Enjoy! Jessica Peters
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ultimateathletemagazine.com Ultimate Athlete Magazine (ISSN 1931-5295) is published 12 times a year by Ultimate Athlete, Inc., 40 Woodbine Avenue, Northport, New York 11768. All contents copyright 2009 by Ultimate Athlete, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction or use in whole or part of the content without the prior written consent of Ultimate Athlete, Inc. is strictly prohibited. All logos and trademarks are the properties of their respective owners. Although the writers and the publisher have exhaustively researched all sources to ensure the accuracy and the completeness of the information contained in this publication, we assume no responsibility for errors, inaccuracies, omissions, or any inconsistency herein. The opinions expressed in all materials are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of Ultimate Athlete, Inc or Long Island’s Ultimate Athlete Magazine.
NYC WINTER 2011 Volume II
nts Featur CO N
18 McKee/Staten Island Tech Boys Indoor Track
23 Christ the King Boys Basketball
28 Wings Academy Girls Basketball
Football - Ishaq Williams Chooses Notre Dame
46 St. Raymond Boys Basketball
50 Sport Psychology Pep Talks
54 UA Training Tools of the Trade
60 Pro Corner
Knicks - Long Term Effect
>>> Photo by William Thomas
SEven when being double teamed, the St. Raymond offense forces their way to the basket.
>>> Photo by Daniel S. Burnstein
McKee/Staten Island Tech gains an advantage in the relay as their relay teammate gives it all he始s got.
The 2010-11 basketball season has had more subplots than a soap opera for the Nazareth girls basketball team, which has endured health issues (coach Apache Paschal), star players being benched for showing up late to a game (Bra’Shey Ali, Darius Faulk and Brianna Sidney), an investigation (alleged recruiting violations), and the suspension of Paschal by his school (for speaking about the ongoing league investigation).
Paschal was not there. He was sitting out a suspension for violating a school-imposed gag order regarding the investigation. Paschal’s absence was noticed by the players who rallied behind their beleaguered coach. “We felt we had to win this game for him,” said Nazareth junior Darius Falk, a native of Hempstead who had 10 points. “What happened to him really motivated us a lot.”
Through all the adversity, Nazareth still plays basketball, and the girls do it quite well. Last week, they ended Christ the King’s 27-year regular-season league championship streak by beating the Royals, 45-33, to win the Brooklyn/Queens division of the CHSAA.
Faulk added, “We just feel that everyone is out to get us.” It is that us-against-the-world attitude that has served Nazareth well during this roller-coaster season of emotions. Here is a rundown of some of the highlights and many lowlights – that has marked the Nazareth program, even before the season began: May 2010: After Manhattan-based St. Michael Academy announced it would close its doors after 136 years due to financial problems and declining enrollment, the 14 members of the very successful girls’ basketball team – coached by Paschall – looked for a new home. They landed at Brooklyn’s Nazareth, which had closed its doors on basketball seven years ago.
November 2010: During a pre-season meeting with league coaches, normally a time of banter and minor business like completing schedules, Paschal angered CHSAA coaches by assigning an assistant to do his work. According to New York Daily News sports writer Mitch Abramson, Paschall sat back while assistant coach Ron Kelley approached Christ the King’s
“Bob Mackey”Bob Mackey to work out a date. “When they decided on Dec. 4 in Middle Village, Kelley glanced back at Paschall for confirmation,” Abramson wrote. “Paschall nodded his approval, and they repeated the scene several more times.” December 2010: Coach Paschall is hospitalized with congestive heart failure. December 2010: Paschall is being investigated for alleged recruitment violations and could face the cancellation of his team’s season and next year’s if found guilty, a revelation first reported by the Daily News. (The CHSAA prohibits coaches from recruiting studentathletes or providing any financial incentive for them to attend a school. If found guilty of violating the rules, Nazareth could forfeit its season and Paschall could be suspended for up to a year.)
January 2011: Four key players arrive late for a game (they arrived after pre-game warm-ups). Paschall benches them for the entire first half. The players, who said they were stuck in traﬃc, understood the penalty. That did not placate Paschall, who wondered what would happen if this took place before a key playoﬀ game. “It’s better that they learn this lesson now, and for the rest of their lives. You gotta be held accountable for some of this stuﬀ.” February 2011: Nazareth wins for the suspended Apache, as they knock oﬀ Christ the King to win the CHSAA B/Q division. It was the first regular-season loss for the defending state federation champ Royals since 1999. March 2011? The season – and saga – of Nazareth basketball will continue. It is likely that Nazareth will again meet up with Christ the King in the playoﬀs as both pursue a federation state title. The only thing certain is that no one knows what will happen on – or oﬀ -- the court for Nazareth in the coming month. Chances are, however, it will not be boring. Stay tuned.
When most people on Staten Island think of McKee/Staten Island Tech, they usually think of academics, or in recent history their basketball team, but most people never have the cross-country/track & field team on their mind (and they should). Their success has always been prominent, usually either in contention or winning many borough & city championships throughout the three seasons (cross-country, indoor, and outdoor) for a very long time.
Led by Coach Scott Crabbe, MSIT always trains hard all year round to stay successful. After talking with Coach, I learned more about the teamâ€™s recent history and the significant success of his former freshmen and now sophomore class. The sophomore class, which includes Javier Viruel, Kevin Trimmer, Keith Newman, Ryan Moumblow, Anthony Macchia, Fanghua Lou, Ciro Improta, Edward Brancale, Patrick Blancero, Christopher Andersen, and Jagan
Abraham, placed 2nd in the Sophomore PSAL City Indoor Championships earlier this month, 1st in the Sophomore PSAL City Cross Country Championships, and 2nd as freshman in the Freshman PSAL City Indoor Championships. With a young crew like the one they have and with the leadership they have from the upperclassmen, this team will can be successful for a long, long time. I spoke with Coach Crabbe and got to ask him a few questions about his coaching, his team, and their future.
Written by Jason Donders Photos by Daniel S. Burnstein 19
interview with coach crabbe Jason Donders: MSIT has always been in competition with the island and city every year - if they are not on top, they are always in the mix. How do you keep the team so competitive year after year?
Scott Crabbe: I have to give the credit to the team and the captains year after year. There’s a dedication & drive that has just become part of the team, and each year the captains make sure that it gets instilled in the new freshmen. It is very easy to create a successful team when they are willing to work hard. JD: What are your tactics as a coach that you use for training your athletes? Is there anything new you have learned in your tenure, and anything you saw that didn’t work?
SC: This is my 9th year coaching and I am still making adjustments to my coaching tactics. I know how important it is to make sure my athletes trust me and believe in what we are doing, but they are willing to put their heart and soul into everything if they understand what they are doing and why they are doing it (i.e. training, racing techniques, etc.). I have learned to couple that with as many fun and unique workouts as possible. JD: Your sophomore team has been dominant, finishing in the top 2 all three seasons as freshman and during this past XC and indoor seasons. Is it an overall team talent or do a few certain carry the load? How have they kept this success? SC: As far as my sophomores go, they are an awesome bunch of guys with a work ethic like I have rarely seen before. Of the 18-20 sophomores on the team there is a core of 8-10 that consistently have been performing above and beyond. There are some that have natural talent, but the most important ingredient of their success is their dedication. They are consistently asking what they can do to get better, and always go all out with full force on workout days. JD: You had mentioned that you have no standouts
this year, as opposed to years past (Brancale, Cassidys, Improta, etc). A standout athlete is usually the one taking on the leadership role. Do you have any specific leaders this year that you can count on to give the team motivational input?
SC: When it comes to standouts, I might have spoken too soon when I said I didn’t have any. I have one athlete - Kevin Trimmer - that is making a name for himself. He had a great cross-country season and even led the team a few times, but on the track, there is no one on the team that can match him. His race confidence is unprecedented, and just when you think he’s given his all, and will be settling for a 5th place finish for example, he’ll unleash a devastating kick that leaves everyone in awe (including the guys he’s passing).
JD: Lastly, I know from running & throwing in high school when you were the assistant coach that you are a great coach and have always had success. What gave you your start as a track & field coach and how have you not only been able to stick around at MSIT, but be successful as well? SC: I ran in high school & had a coach that was pretty uninspiring, but I still loved the sport. I spent four years on the team and barely ran faster by senior year. It wasn’t until college that I realized why I wasn’t able to PR (personal record), and it was the involvement – or lack thereof – of my coaches. My college coach was very involved & invested in myself and the rest of the team, and by my senior year I was captain of the team and running times I never thought possible. My coaches’ belief in me helped me believe in myself, and as soon as I became a teacher I knew I had to find a coaching job. I was lucky to find a spot as the assistant at MSIT 9 years ago, and I can’t imagine coaching anywhere else. JD: That’s really inspiring to hear. Thanks again Coach for taking the time out to speak with me. SC: You’re quite welcome Jason; it was good to hear from you.
MSIT Track & Field will definitely continue to thrive and prosper as long as Coach Crabbe is around. With his personal running experience, desire to coach, and the care and effort he puts into every single member of his team, there is no way MSIT could not be successful. The sophomore class has been exceptional with its own hard work and talent, but we can see that the sophomores are not the only ones succeeding, as the varsity team finished in the top 10 in the PSAL Cross Country Championships and the top 20 in the PSAL Indoor Track & Field Championships. The full squad, from sprints to distance running and all of the throwing & field events, MSIT has always been a very versatile and dynamic squad, and this is something that I noticed not only when I was a member of the team, but also before I joined when my brother was a student at Staten Island Tech. If this can continue (which most people in the track circle think it will), MSIT will become an athletic program known for much more than its basketball success.
Story By Robert Brewer Photos by Andrew Adler
hen talking about Christ the King basketball and their notable alumni, Lamar Odom, Chamique Holdsclaw, Speedy Claxton, and Sue Bird should all come to mind. However, there is a basketball phenom who is currently adding to the legacy of Christ the King basketball. His name is Omar Calhoun.
The six-foot-four inch swingman from Brooklyn has already received interest from elite college basketball programs such as North Carolina, Arizona, and Pitt to name a few. According to Rivals.com, Calhoun is ranked within the top 75 players in the nation for the 2012 high school class regardless of position. While Calhoun enjoyed a very good sophomore season, averaging 15.6 points per game which was tops on the team, he now boasts a 20 point per game scoring average as a junior 24 which has helped to catapult his
name among the elite high school players in the nation. Christ the King Head Coach Joe Arbitello believes that the increased production is a product of hard work during the off-season. “[Calhoun] has become a much more aggressive player this year. He has the ability to get to the basket and absorb contact and get to the foul line. I also think he’s gotten a little bit bigger and stronger and it has really added onto his game.” Although Calhoun is a prolific scorer, it is just one of the many aspects to his game that has division one programs drooling for his services in 2012. Coach Arbitello notes that Calhoun’s versatility is what makes him such a unique player. “[Calhoun] can do so many different things for us,” Coach Arbitello said. “He is an effective passer, he can rebound the basketball, he can
create off the dribble, he can also defend the perimeter and he opens up opportunities for teammates to get into the flow of the game.”
Through all the hype that Calhoun has earned for his stellar play, he has managed to maintain a level head and has continued to work on his game. Although Calhoun admits to being a North Carolina Tar Heel fan growing up, he hasn’t even thought about his big decision on which college to attend yet, instead focusing on his current season with the Royals. “All of the hype and the talk is really out of my hands,” Calhoun said. “I’m just focused on becoming a great player and the rest will fall into place. I have a great support group with my friends and family behind me, so I know that I can count on them for help.” Calhoun isn’t the only player making his mark for the defending state champion Royals basketball program. T.J. Curry, the six-foot-
According to Rivals.com, Calhoun is ranked within the top 75 players in the nation for the 2012 high school class regardless of position
team that we can lose a player of Corey’s caliber and still maintain our good overall record,” said Coach Arbitello. “Corey is an excellent passer and he can create shots for himself as well so we are very happy to have him back in the lineup.”
one senior reserve has impressed Coach Arbitello in the absence of their starting point Corey Edwards, who missed the first month of the season with a foot injury. “T.J. held down the fort for us until Corey was able to come back. He really elevated his play and kept our team on schedule while Corey was out. Now that we have both Corey and T.J. in the lineup, I think it will really help us down the stretch because we have two great ball handlers and two great leaders as well.”
As for Edwards, the six-footone inch senior point guard from Middle Village has already shown flashes of why he was considered a top point guard in the city. According to Arbitello, Edwards, who has already committed to George Mason University, is a great decision maker with the basketball and provides great leadership for the younger players. “It was tough not to have Corey, but it speaks volumes to our
With regards to the Royals’ team goals, they currently have a record of 9-5 as of January 31st and are in the hunt for another championship. Calhoun understands that each time they take the court, every opponent will bring their top effort since Christ the King is the reigning city champions. “I’m really excited about defending our title, I think the challenge brings out the best in all of us. There are no days off because everybody is gunning for us. It’s a little bit different because we are use to being the hunters, but now we have to adjust because we are the hunted now,” said Calhoun. corey edwards
T.J Curry with Coach Arbitello
Wings AcAdemy girls VArsity
Wings AcAdemy VArsity BAsketBAll By Renee Keller | Photos by Daniel S. Burnstein
“I run a college program so they know what to expect when they get there,” said the coach. “Conditioning is key.” The Lady Wings of Wings Academy are set to fly
away with a borough championship this year as they soar though an undefeated season of 20-0 (26-0) overall
in the PSAL Bronx A division. They have already clinched the division championships and earned first
seed status - pretty impressive for a team that started just seven years ago without a junior varsity team.
Since Wings is a small school with approximately 500 students, there are currently just three sports offered
to the students: baseball, basketball and indoor track. There is however, a junior varsity team for the boys basketball team.
Juan Gonzalez has been the head coach of the Lady
Wings for seven years. His rigorous training program
includes calisthenics and running, “I run a college program so they know what to expect when they get there,” said the coach. “Conditioning is key.” All of that hard work paid off last year when Wings Academy
made history by becoming the first team in professional, collegiate, and high school sports to come from behind
a 19 point deficit in the second quarter to beat their
opponents by outscoring them by 17 points and going on a 51-15 point run to win the semifinals against the West 50th Street Seahawks. Unfortunately, they lost to Medgar Evers in the finals.
The lady wing This season’s roster of players is strong and prepared, even though they lost four seniors. “We had seven to eight returning players and more freshmen this year,” noted Coach Gonzalez. There are 15 active players including three top seniors on the squad: Aquillan Hayes, Rykema Stone and Ashley Goodlow.
Aquillan Hayes is a 5’9, 150 lb. combo guard/wing. A three-year starter, she is being recruited by several Division 1 schools including
De Paul, James Madison University, Jackson State and the University of New Haven. “She can do everything well,” said the coach. Aquillan averaged 2 points, 14 rebounds and 6 assists this season.
Rykema Stone, a small forward/center can shoot, dribble and block well,” said Gonzalez. The 6’1 160 lb. senior has been accepted to the University of New Haven. She has a 90% grade-point average. She averaged 17 points, 14 rebounds and 3 assists this season.
Ashley Goodlow’s solid frame makes her a strong post player. She is 6’1 185 lbs. She is very interested in attending the University of Missouri in the fall. This season she averaged 9 points and 9 rebounds a game.
The Lady Wings are just as talented academically as they are physically. “We emphasize the student-athlete in this school,” said Gonzalez. “All of my players have gone onto college,” said the coach. “We have high standards. The school won the Bronx Medal for Education,” he added.
s baskeTb a l l “So far, we’ve beaten every undefeated team this season,” noted Gonzalez, confidently looking ahead to the playoffs.
Already assured of a topseed playoff spot, the team looks forward to facing off against top rivals Bronx High School of Science, South Bronx and Taft, which just entered the “A” division this year. “So far, we’ve beaten every undefeated team this season,” noted Gonzalez, confidently looking ahead to the playoffs, as he watches the Lady Wings close in to win a championship for the first time in the school’s history.
In any given football game, it’s fairly common for a defense to build its game plan around containing one specific offensive player, in effort of limiting their damage. But for an offense to etch its schemes primarily to avoid one defensive player on the other side of the ball? Well, that’s pretty far from common. And that’s just one reason why Ishaq Williams, ESPN’s No. 42-ranked football prospect in the nation, was recruited by storied football program Notre Dame. “I feel real comfortable with my decision,” the prized defensive end told the New York Post. “I felt Notre Dame would be the best place for me.” Williams, playing in his last high school game at Lincoln, endured this unusual treatment this past December in the PSAL Championship against Fort Hamilton. The Tigers mostly ran plays in the opposite direction of where Williams was stationed, thus neutralizing his potential impact. As a result, they were able to just outlast the Rail Splitters in winning 8-6 to secure the title.
“It was a great game plan by Fort Hamilton,” said Lincoln head coach Shawn O’Connor after the game. “They ran away from our best defender and executed down the stretch.” Despite coming up short of winning their first championship since 1993, Williams’ impact to Lincoln High School was unprecedented. Long known for being a basketball powerhouse, having churned out superior talents like Stephon Marbury and Sebastian Telfair, Lincoln finally got its football program on the map with Williams leading the defensive unit. The Rail Splitters established themselves as a legitimate upper echelon team, bouncing back from a 1-8 season in 2008 to become a perennial contender. They finished 7-4 the following year before going 12-1 in this past campaign with a birth in the finals. “From the first time I saw him play,” O’Connor said, “I knew we had something special in the works.” Indeed they did. Aside from dominating opposing offensive lines throughout the season, en route to winning 2010 Gatorade New York Football Player of the Year honors, Williams appears to have all the necessary tools to succeed at the higher level. He’s very physical and quick for a man of his size, as proven when his 40-yard dash time clocked in at an impressive 4.65 seconds. In addition, he’s very versatile. While the All-American star was recruited primarily as a defensive end, he also has the ability to shift over to linebacker, or even play on offense as a tight end, a position O’Connor utilized him in every once in awhile due to his remarkable athleticism.
Interestingly enough, it took a last-minute visit - at 4:30 a.m. on a Friday morning to be exact - from Notre Dame defensive coordinator Bob Diaco that made things clear for Williams. Despite also mulling offers from Syracuse, Penn St., Miami, and Alabama, it was the ensuing 90 minutes spent with Diaco that sealed the deal. “That was the moment I felt Notre Dame was right for me,” Williams proclaimed. “He said a lot of things that hit home, but just him being there meant a lot. Most people are still sleeping at that time. I would’ve still been sleeping.” With its rich tradition, it’s no secret that Notre Dame is arguably the class of college football. While not as powerful in recent years, the Fighting Irish still boast the most Heisman Trophy winners in history, not to mention while owning the second highest winning percentage of any NCAA team. That shouldn’t be surprising given the greats of Notre Dame’s past - in fact, you could easily build a tremendous all-star team just from their alumni alone. Some of the great defensive lineman to have donned the gold and navy include Art Donovan, Alan Page, Bryant Young, and Bertrand Berry. “It’s a great honor to be able to go there,” said Williams. “And I feel I need to do what I can to put it back on the pedestal it once was on.” If Williams can help initiate a turnaround for Notre Dame football similar to what he did with Lincoln High School, South Bend will be rocking for years to come.
The Outback Steakhouse Empire Challenge promises to be loaded with all kinds of new surprises in 2011. The annual all-star football game, which was created in 1996 to help raise money for the Boomer Esiason Foundation and its fight against Cystic Fibrosis, has always been a dynamic event. Everything from a huge tailgate party presented by Outback Steakhouse, “Jets FanFest,” an interactive theme park that included inflatable rides, and capped oﬀ with a world-class football game featuring the best high school football players from Long Island against the best from New York City, the Outback Steakhouse Empire Challenge has always been an action-packed event. This year, the highly anticipated event will be transformed into an all day spectacular on June 21, at James M. Shuart Stadium on the campus of Hofstra University.
The game and its surrounding events will keep the same traditions but will feature an exciting new twist. For the third time in the game’s 16 year history, Ultimate Athlete Magazine will be presenting a multidimensional Sports Expo dedicated to showcasing all of the newest and hottest sports equipment and apparel in the sports world, as well as the ever-popular action sports arena. The UA Sports Expo, which will be free for all ticket holders, will include sports fashion shows, a live music stage, and a wide range of other activities sure to keep the whole family entertained. Fusing together all of the successes of the Outback Steakhouse Empire Challenge with the many exciting new aspects of the UA Sports Expo will surely make this two-day event a point of destination for all families and football fans alike.
John F. Kennedy Girls Basketball
The hero of the medieval age, armored with brilliant metal plating and wielding a magnificent blade, has always been identified as the knight. Standing before an army of thousands or a creature of such incredible ferocity, a normal citizen would cower before such obstacles. The Knight however displays the utmost bravery and precise skill to vanquish any foe. Though the knight has been synonym with men, there is an incredible influence of warrior woman. Rising above the oppression of men and their status, women such as Catherine of Aragon and Joan of Arc regularly rode into battle, conquering their opposition. In Greek mythology goddesses such as Athena and Hippolyta were revered as fierce and cunning warriors. Aminatu, a Nigerian princess gained impressive wealth and power from her contributions during battle. Much like the warrior predecessors, 38 the John F. Kennedy Lady Knights Girls Bas-
Story By James Vacey Story By James Vacey Photos By Daniel S. Burnstein Photos By Daniel S. Burnstein
ketball team, epitomize the iconic image of the heroic knight as they enter the battlefield of the basketball court. These powerful ladies put the knights of Camelot to shame as they storm their way into the playoffs. Coach Glenn O’Neil, the Assistant Principle for JFK High School, has coached the Lady Knights for twelve seasons. Coach O’Neil’s strategy has always been to focus the team’s efforts on making the championship game. “We lost some tough games this season but, as we move forward we get better.” Coach O’Neil commented. He adds, “The girls on the team have been playing together for almost three years, there is a strong cohesion.” The JFK Lady Knights’ roster is filled with a raw and aggressive talent. To maintain efficient performance during the season, players must exhibit the skills necessary for victory. With an impressive ten wins during this season, the Lady Knights are armed to the teeth and ready for battle. Joyaleverne McFarland, (#2) guard and standing at 5’6,” exhibits an impressive 126
points this season, 10 rebounds and 13 assists. As a junior at JFK, McFarland is a product of Coach O’Neil’s veteran coaching. When asked about McFarland’s game Coach O’Neil commented, “She shoots three pointers really well and is a good athlete.” McFarland’s stats however speak for themselves as she leads the team in scored points. Coach O’Neil also commented on McFarland’s incredible attitude as a player, “She can be a bit of a prankster, but she is a good kid. Joyaleverne has a great spirit and she is always saying she loves her Dad.” With strong emotion and athletic prowess, McFarland serves as an incredible asset to the Lady Knights. Leshauna Phinazee, (#24) playing forward and standing at 5’5,” exemplifies the 39
strength of a Lady Knight. With 96 points this season, Phinazee averages at 69 percent of her overall free throws and an astounding 78 rebounds. “Leshauna is a tough player and a great rebounder,” commented Coach O’Neil, “She is also very bright academically, she wants to be a doctor.” As a Junior, Leshauna is currently being contacted by a couple Ivy League schools such as Dartmouth and Brown University. No basketball team would be complete without a great shooter. Chelsea Custodio (#15) a forward standing at 5’10” offers an incredible offensive game for the Lady Knights. Totaling 50 rebounds and 56 points this season Custodio’s skills rank high. Custodio is considered a confident player and makes a tremendous contribution to the team. Averaging 7.27 points per game, Shaquaya Daniels is an aggressive player. Daniels, (#21) 5’5” point guard has 26 assists this season and has an awesome rebound total of 37. “Shaquaya is a tough player and plays very hard.” says Coach O’Neil. As a Senior, Daniels will have to deliver all of her aggression this season to see the Lady Knights go into the playoffs and into the championship game before graduation this year. Deaisia Acklin, (#20) 5’8” forward, averages at 8.25 points per game and has an average of 69 percent in free throws. “Deaisia has an incredible knowledge of the game. She is incredibly athletic and exhibits a strong basketball IQ,” comments Coach O’Neil proudly. Acklin’s comprehension of the game and strong physicality will bring her incredible success for the upcoming playoffs and as a basketball player. Coach O’Neil believes that his pregame talk to the Lady Knights is important when expectations are high. “If you play tough, maintain a strong defense and play smart basketball, then you can be successful.” The JFK Lady Knights’ progress demonstrates Coach O’Neil’s philosophy as a working stratagem. “It is all about preparation. If you focus and buy into
what we as a team have been doing, you will be successful. What is most important is obtaining a diploma over everything else, apply what you learn on the court to your everyday life and you will be successful.” Coach O’Neil had mentioned that he owes his coaching technique and leadership to Principal Rashid F. Davis of The Bronx Engineering and Technology Academy. Principal Davis’ support and guidance has served Coach O’Neil as a tool to become a better leader and a better person; special thanks from Coach O’Neil and the JFK Lady Knights as they approach the playoffs in full armor and swords held high.
>>> Photo by William Thomas
St. Raymond始s offense scores a basket to help lead the team to victory against St. Francis Prep.
A high jumper from McKee/Staten Island Tech makes it look easy as he soars over the bar with plenty of room to spare.
Photo by Daniel S. Burnstein
RAVENS By Renee Keller Photos By William Thomas
For some, the ending of the Ravens’ season must have seemed like an instant replay form last season when they lost to the Christ the King in the semifinals. But this year’s loss was different because the St. Raymond’s Ravens put a lot of their competitors on notice through their skillful play. This season the Ravens upped the level of competition in the AA division of the CHSAA varsity boys basketball division with their hard work, diligence, aggressive defense and strong offense. They finished first in the league with a 17-11 record. Oliver Antigua has been the head coach of the Ravens for 11 years. He played basketball for Pitt University. He graduated in 1998. (His brother is an Assistant coach to John Calipari, the head coach of the University of Kentucky). In Antigua’s first and second year as the Ravens’ coach, the team won two championships. This season the team has proven to be a true championship contender. It was a reloading season for the Ravens. All of the players from last year returned. “I encouraged the kids to work hard, play hard and play together,” said the coach. In between practices the players exercise six days a week with individual workouts in weight training and running.
There were several key players who contributed to the strong, offensive front for the Ravens: Daniel Dingle, Nqereuwem “Kerwin” Okoro, Shane Rector and Larry Graves. Team co-captain David Dingle played forward this season. “The 6’7” 220 pound junior does it all,” said his coach. “He is a great passer and averaged 17 points a game, 11 rebounds and 5 assists this season,” said Antigua. Dingle is already being highly recruited by universities at the Division 1-A level, including Rutgers and Geogetown.
scored a career high of 25 points against Rice two weeks ago. Rector is a sophomore and an honor student. Larry Graves is called the “three-point specialist” by coach Antigua. The 5’10” guard is relentless on offense and defense. “He is extremely strong going to the basket and can shoot well,” added the coach. “Anytime we’re down he gets us back into the game with big, big shots.” Graves is a junior and an honor student.
Nqereuwem “Kerwin” Okoro is the Ravens’ other captain. Like Dingle, Okoro is also a junior. He played guard/forward and averaged 14 points and 8 rebounds a game. Shane Rector’s solid frame makes him a strong point guard at 6’1”, 180 pounds. He
There were a few standout games that set the tone for the Ravens’ season. Early in February the Ravens made headlines when they beat Rice High School for the first time in six years. Besides Christ the King, Rice is the biggest home rival of the Ravens. A short time later they suffered a minor setback when they competed in the Prime Time Shootout at Kean University in Union, New Jersey. They ended up losing to the Lincoln Railsplitters (Brooklyn) after coming within 47-43 with a three-point shot by Larry Graves. Kerwin Okero scored 15 points and David Dingle added 7 during the game. With that loss behind them, Antigua said the team had to play smart and play hard to reach the finals. ”I’m proud of our guys. We worked hard to take the next step to get to the city championship,” he said. The Ravens managed the unthinkable by defeating Christ the King earlier in the season, but later fell to the Royals in the semifinals, ending their season. Fortunately, with so much returning talent on the team, the third time will be the charm for the Ravens to win it all next year.
The dictionary will define a pep talk as “a speech of exhortation meant to instill enthusiasm or bolster morale”. This rather dry definition doesn’t come close to explaining the importance, complexity or value of a good pre game pep talk. Every coach must face the challenge of presenting a clear motivational message that will focus, inspire and instill courage in their players who are about to enter battle. The most riveting pep talks in film are invariably about the game of football. Hands down the most inspiring is Al Pacino’s “inch by inch’ speech given in the Oliver Stone football film, Any Given Sunday. Pacino is speaking to a team which has been divided by petty rivalries all season. He talks about healing and how crucial it is to fight for every inch. “Either we heal now as a team or we will die as individuals… I’ll tell you this it’s the guy who is willing to die whose gonna win that inch,” says Pacino. He ends the speech with the question, “What are you going to do?”
Another stand out moment in pre-game pep talks was Billy Bob Thornton’s “Perfect” speech in the film Friday Night Lights. This film is about big time high school football in Texas. In a state championship game the team is losing at half time and he gives a three minute speech for the ages. He says among other things, “to me being perfect is not about that scoreboard out there… it’s about you and your relationship to yourself, your teammates and your community.Being perfect is about being able to look your teammate in the eye and tell the truth about your effort. It’s about saying I did everything I could do for you and I could do nothing more. That’s being perfect. If you can do that you will live in this moment with a clear eye and with love in your heart.” And it is not only in film that coaches give inspirational talks. Bill Parcells is famous for giving his ‘boxing speech’ where he tells the story of the champion fighter who kept trying. It is not just in football that players need some last minute guidance and inspiration. In fact, in every sport the athlete seeks and needs some secret and personal message that will give strength, direction and focus. Figure skaters turn to their coaches before going onto the ice to perform.
So do gymnasts and golfers and hockey players and tennis players. This is so because in every sport the athlete must face real danger and the possibility of injury. They must also face fierce competition and the possibility of loss and of shame. This is why it is so crucial to provide them with a message that they can hold onto and organize around as the game begins.
image or y e k a r e e play ke the a m n a “Giving th c focus on o t t g and h n g i u n o n i th w n e betwee t key.” h g i r e h t differenc vided it’s o r p … g n losi
And this is why the coach must be able to provide the team with a special and meaningful message. Virtually every athlete I work with as a sport psychologist expects and is given a pre-game and pre-shot routine which will contain both a strategy and a way to manage fear. And, we drill this mantra into their head either with hypnosis or with self talk so that it is the only thing they will think during the game. Every sport is diﬀerent. Football players need something that is very diﬀerent from a swimmer or a golfer but they all need something. Follow this template which may be a good guide as you develop your pep talk for your players. Create an image which relates to the strategy you hope they will adhere to during the game. For each sport there will be a differing strategy. Swimmers use ‘easy speed’ as a mantra during the race, golfers use ‘target awareness’ during the swing. Each sport requires a diﬀerent strategy. The pep talk needs to also instill a sense of which emotion you want them to hold to. Football players may need aggression, tennis players and batters may need anger control and distance runners need determination and pain control techniques. The art of great coaching is to know the team and to give them an image that guides and supports them during competition. If done well the player will use this image to keep them focused and keep them calm. You will know it is working if they refer to it from time to time and if they perform better during the game. The coach’s job is multifaceted and knowing how to give a useful pep talk is good to know. It is one of the subtle elements in managing team chemistry. I hope this article is some help in your eﬀorts to pep your team up and to keep them focused.
P ro Co Point guard will need an upgrade, possibly later than sooner. Billups, 34, will in all likelihood be retained and should be. It is difficult to replace his intangibles, such as the ring he won in 2004 with the Detroit Pistons, a series in which he also won the MVP of the NBA Finals. He also made the All-Star team five times and is an intelligent court general. But the free agent class of 2012 may include two younger point guards who have reached stardom and are in their prime. Twenty-six year old Deron Williams was traded from the Utah Jazz to the Nets but can opt out of his current deal after the 2011-12 season. New Jersey is going to make a huge push to sign him to an extension before then and probably will be able to get it done. Chris Paul is only 25 and will command a huge payday when his current contract with the New Orleans Hornets expires. He may have been looking into the future when he made a toast at Anthony’s midtown wedding reception in July of 2010 that he, Brooklyn native and Syracuse product Anthony and Stoudemire (who had recently signed with the team) should form their own “big three,” a reference to the Miami Heat’s trio of LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh. Well, two of the three are now here. But before we get ahead of ourselves, there’s a lot of basketball to play between now and then. Playoff ball, for sure, but patience is a virtue when it escalates to championship caliber. Even in New York.
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