With the high school season recently finished and the AAU season just starting
, I figured it was never too early to fire up some emotions and publish a
“very” Pre-season (8 months before opening day tip) NJ Girls Hoops top 20 for the ’17/’18 season.
At this early date, I am DEFINITELY not factoring any incoming 9th graders
nor an rumblings of transfers in or out.
I’m simply basing my rankings assuming all freshmen, sophomores and Juniors
are returning and staying at their current high school.
#1 ST JOHN VIANNEY – How the heck do you graduate 6 players to play college
hoops a year ago and have another another 5 heading off to play college
ball this fall and still deserve such a ranking. The Lancers return
legitamatly 6 young ladies that can play D1 ball and all 6 got lots of
playing time this year. These ladies can seriously play and Coach
Karpell is as good coach in the state and beyond
#2 MANASQUAN – TOC mainstay (4 years in a row) have an excellent shot to
return to the final 6 team season ending showdown. They return the NJ POY
(Dara Mabrey) 2 other excellent starters in Miss Masonius (high D-1
player) & Miss Mullaney (arguably last years 6th Man of the Year in NJ).
And their coach, “Oh my Wow”.
#3) RUTGERS PREP – has to be shaking their heads. No doubt, each of the
last 3 years their seasons ended with with emphatic loses (yes to
very very good teams but still emphatic). They have 2 legitimate 1st team
all staters in Miss Knight and Miss Correa and will be supported by 3
excellent starters in Miss Mullins, Tibbitt and Lyles.
#4) FRANKLIN – I know I’m going to take a lot of crap for putting the #1
team in the state at #4, especially when they graduate only 1 starter. If
you follow my blogs/tweets over the last several years, you will know I’m
an active Franklin Warrior/Coach Taylor supporter. However, you lose a
true big and simply don’t have another big on the roster, you are going to
have some trouble. 6’3″, 1st team all stater Diamond Miller simply is a
wing/guard. She is going to kill that role at a college and no way she is
going to play the post this year…they need her size. They will miss Mo.
#5 RED BANK CATHOLIC – they return 2 premier starters and 2 highly
important reserves who got tons of minutes (and will immediately start.
Those 4 alone can really make some noise throughout the state. Plus they
had several underclassman that really couldn’t get any varsity minutes
this year due to a very talented team but will open eyes next year. Add
in 500+ win and 2 time TOC winner Coach Montano and RBC will be a power
for sure next year
#6) NEWARK TECH – were pretty darn stealth like this year and lived in the
top 10 most of the 2nd half of the season. Had formidable battles (loses)
to top 5 ranked RBC and Manasquan this year. Next year they return all but
1 starter and 7 players that all got big, important minutes led by 6’3″
Mariah Perez who has already gotten Power 5 offers. I’m sure Coach Jefferson
knew they were gong to step up this year but I don’t think the girls did
till they played the big dogs. Still have a ways to go to become one
but this year they will be a big year for them.
#7 GILL ST. BERNARD – has had the blackest of black injury clouds over
their heads the past 2 years. Seriously never haver seen anything like it
since an RBC team like 10/12 years ago. They return the best backcourt in
the state in Miss Caldwell and Santiago. If big Miss White can blossom to
potential and the role players who got lots of minutes this year put in the
work over the summer, the Knights can really shock folk (if they stay
#8 ST. ROSE – tough to put this team this low after living in the top 10
for a good 5/6 years. Lost 3 starters to D1 schools and return 3 hoopsters
that have already verbaled to D1 schools. Those 3 can compete with an 3
in the state. St. Rose will have a new coach this year (unannounced) and
that always makes things exciting.
#9 SADDLE RIVER DAY – is a team that finally started to grow on me this
year, their 1st year as an independent school, as they played a prime time
schedule of lots of excellent teams. Yes scoring Machine and play maker
Miss Sidor gets all the media love, but 6’2″ big Miss Jordan has the
potential to blow up and dominate. Also they got a mid season transfer
in last year who be a significant piece this year.
#10 QUEEN OF PEACE – A 1st year independent like SRD, they too played a
very serious schedule after playing endless cream puffs the year before.
Coach Fontan is the real deal and folk point guard Miss. Alexander (missed
the entire ’16/’17 year with knee injury) is a game changer and is the
missing pieceat the point. Besides her, they will return 4 players that played
last year (the Lady Griffins only carried a 7 player roster all year) and
need to find some size.
#11 RUMSON FAIR HAVEN – Point Guard Tori Hyduke is a All State offensive
and defensive player. The Bulldogs have some nice returning players but,
at the moment, just nice. Those “nice” players are really going to have to
find some real inner passion and step up big time to hold RFH’s to Bulldog
lady hoops standards of the last 2+ decades.
#12 EWING – soared in recognition and success the 2nd half of this year
once 2 transfers became eligible. Ewing graduated just a few and big/agile
and active power Miss Grimes is a match up nightmare. Miss Jackson is really
going to open some eyes and they some other nice players. Watch them and hope
they leave the confines of western NJ and start playing some primetime NJ teams.
#13 NOTRE DAME essentially returns 5 starters led by 6’3 ’19 Miss
Porter who has the tools to be most special. Again, essentially returning
5 starters is impressive and like Ewing, they need to leave the warm and
cozy nest of western NJ hoops and play some big dogs north, south and
#14 IMMACULATE CONCEPTION LODI A.K.A. Team potential for the last 5 years.
Lots of talent but generally hit a bump in the road late and stumble and
fall. Lots of returning excellent guard talent this year. Both players of
size have graduated and heading to mid major D1 schools Lack of size and
relentless chemistry issues are the obstacles A & B. After that, they are
quite good and well coached.
#15 – UNVERSITY – returns 4 starters from a formidable Group ! Final team.
Have a fun and loyal group of fiery fans (adult and student) of any school
in the state. Their work in the dark (over the summer) needs to be huge to
shock the world when they come out in the light for the regular season.
The FIANL 5 is a total toss up and most likely will be battle some mix of the
following (message to allstart playing some real competition if you
want to navigate the promised land called “States”
In No Particular Order:
PASCACK VALLY – Lots of Experience..return a ton of starters
WATCHUNG HILLS – Miss Cunningham is a 1st team all starter and already has a Big 10 offer.
MAINLAND – ’20 big Kylee Watson lived up to all the hype and team did a lot
better then I expected. Have new coach coming in and if they get 1-2 real
deal players to take the spotlight off Mis Watson, they can surprise some
MANCHESTER TWP – Had one shockingly impressive post season run and their
top 4 return. They can pull a Mississipi State with off season hard work
led by ’20 sensation Miss Reynolds.
SECAUCUS – Another off the grid group 1 school but Miss Ulrich and
FDU bound Miss Mack can play.
ALLENTOWN – the Mom/Daughter act of Coach and Miss Weise have some serious
hoops scruples and talent.
THE PATRICK SCHOOL – graduate 7 fine players and return only 3 led by 6’2″
wing Miss Dorsey. They seriously need bodies then players.
EAST ORANGE – 6’2″ Miss Jordan is a true center and scrappy Miss Mills is
a true guard.They are a heck of a duo.
PAUL VI – had a real breakout season and visited the Prown’s Poll top 20 a
few times. Lots of players return and a terrific coach.
MIDDLETOWN SOUTH – no doubt had as disappointing season with plenty of
talent as any better team last year. Return 3 key starters and decent bench.
DONOVAN CATHOLIC – return at least 4 starters. There is something in this
team. They have talent…need to find the piss and vinegar to make some
noise and play better teams.