Saturday, July 10, 2010

NH/VT Rotary Basketball Recap

Just got back from Vermont. What a weekend. I've gotta say, I had a blast and I feel fortunate to have been a part of this year's Rotary Game festivities. In the girls game New Hampshire won it 60-56, and Vermont took the boys contest by a final of 88-73.

This post will have all kinds of good stuff. My recap of both the boys and girls games, my review of the Sheraton hotel I stayed in. Plus the story of how I got my heart broken Friday night at a bar in downtown Burlington called "Nectar's" (Just kidding on the last one! Well, not really. It did happen, I'm just not going to write about it).

Boys Game Recap
Ok, so Vermont won it 88-73. The buzz leading up to the game was about this kid Joe O'Shea for Vermont. O'Shea has a full ride to play hoops at Holy Cross...and he played like it today. The 6'5" O'Shea finished the afternoon with 21 points and 7 rebounds in just 23 minutes of action. He is a very tough matchup for any team to deal with. He has the size and strength to play in the post, but he can also step out and hit the outside jumper as well as put the ball on the floor and get to the rim. If NH put one of their bigs on him he drove right by them, and if they put a guard on him he took them down low. Plus he was a very good defender and rebounder.

As for the game itself, NH kept it close early, but Vermont really started to pull away towards the end of the first half to lead 50-28 at the half. The NH kids were playing their tails off, but they missed some easy shots early in the game which hurt. Early in the first half they missed some shots in close that were make-able, and later in half the pace started to pick up (which favored NH) and they started to get out and run. There was a 3 minute stretch there where NH got about 5 or 6 very good looks from 18-20 feet away but they just weren't falling from them. This was a team of shooters for the Granite State. Vermont's advantage was inside, with their size and strength on the post and on the boards. They played to their strengths VERY well. For NH their advantage was that they had more speed, more players who can handle the basketball and more players who can shoot the basketball. Based on that, when NH did get open jump shot looks, they HAD to cash in on them.

Another factor in the first half was foul trouble. NH was in the penalty halfway before the halfway mark, and in the double penalty. Rather than taking outside shots, Vermont was driving to the rim all game. That combined with NH being foul prone resulted in a total of 41 free throw attempts for the VT team. They were 33-41 from the line, while NH was just 9-14. Ouch!

The 22 point deficit was the largest of the game for the NH team. It wasn't however, insurmountable. If NH could pick the tempo back up, get out and press full court, force some turnovers, get out in transition and get some easy baskets and knock down some three's they would have a shot. Like I said, ball handling was not the strength of VT's team. So if NH pressed, and if VT did happen to get it across half court they extended their half court defense and really get out and pressure VT's guards they could take away the advantage on the glass that Vermont had.

So what happened? Well, for the most part NH coach EJ Perry did all of the things I just described. However to Vermont's credit they still held tough. NH was cutting into the lead, but not enough. When you're down by that many points, you can't just trade baskets. You have to make a run. Maybe a 10-2 or 8-0 run to really get the momentum on your side and get back in the game. NH cut the lead to just 15 with about 10 minutes to play. Just when it looked like the Granite Staters were making a run, VT answered back and pushed the lead back up to 20.

That's when NH made their run. They finally started to hit some outside shots, forced some turnovers and got some easy baskets on the other end. They shot 7-17 from 3 point range in the second half (41%). With about 8:30 left in regulation Vermont lead 73-61. It wasn't over yet, folks.

Unfortunately, 12 points is the closest NH would get to VT in the second half as they go down by the 88-73 final.

After the game, one player from each team was awarded an MVP award. Salem's Alex LaRosa won it for NH and O'Shea took the honor for the VT team. LaRosa netted a team-high 12 points, and was the lone member of the NH squad to score in double figures. LaRosa did a nice job of running the point, getting the team into its offensive sets, and distributing the basketball.

O'Shea was good, but he definitely had plenty of help. Adam Boyle (Brattleboro Union HS), Conor Merrill (Vergennes Union HS), Demir Smajovic (Essex HS) and Billy Boyd (Hazen Union HS) all came up BIG as well for VT. This Vermont team was loaded with big, strong, burly, tough, physical kids who controlled the glass and made it very difficult for NH to get any inside scoring at all and limited the amount of second shot opportunities that NH was able to get.

As for team New Hampshire, they have nothing to hang their heads about. They played their tails off the entire 40 minutes. They played with pride and they played with heart. They could have done a little better on the boards and they missed some shots they normally would make. But the effort was there. Vermont was just a better team. Not only that, but just playing in this game is a tremendous honor and something that all 13 players on the team should be proud of.

Two players from NH who stood out to me were Tommy McDonnell (Oyster River) and Sean Martin (Conant). Everyone for New Hampshire played hard, but these two played the hardest. They flat out gave it everything they had, and left it all out on the floor. Martin was taking charges, diving on the floor for loose balls, and just hustling all over the court. McDonnell played just as hard as Martin, as he showed that he could get up and down the floor faster than anyone in the gym. McDonnell was on a mission out there, doing literally everything in his power to help his team. I also learned at the banquet Friday night that McDonnell has a strange obsession with Justin Beiber.

I was also impressed by the play of Scott St. Lawrence (Bishop Guertin), especially in the second half. He played a vital role in the mini-run that NH made in the second half when they cut the VT lead to 12 with 2 big baskets in the span of a minute. St. Lawrence was also the team's top rebounder, with 8 boards on the game (5 of them were offensive rebounds).

Tom Poitras (Bow) also had a solid game for NH, finishing with 9 points and 6 rebounds. He was perhaps the team's best inside player, and also showed his versatility by facing up from 20 feet away and putting the ball on the floor and driving hard to the rim. Poitras is the only player in the state chosen to play in the NH/VT Rotary basketball game AND the football Shrine Game. The 6'6" Poitras is headed to Rivier College in the fall, where he will play on the school's hoops team alongside his older brother Greg who will be a senior.

Two other players who played extremely hard for were Jimmy Peard (Conant) and Alex Burt (Dover). Burt shot just 1-11 from the floor, but played hard on both ends of the floor ever minute he was out there, and made some strong drives to the rim. Peard brought the team a physical presence inside and also ran the floor hard on the break. Peard was one of 4 players on the team to foul out. Cormac Fitzpatrick (Manchester Memorial) hit 3 three's, 2 of which came during the second half run.

Congratulations to the entire team on excellent high school basketball careers. The rest of the squad that I haven't mentioned yet included Sheldon Benson (Pembroke), Kevin Cressy (Merrimack Valley), Cam Heffron (Kearsarge), Alex Pratt (Nashua North) and Sean Henriquez (Campbell). It should also be noted that all 13 players on the NH roster made it into the scoring column.

Not to take anything away from the 13 young men who suited up for New Hampshire yesterday, but one can't help but wonder what could have been. Jake Nelson, the state's top point guard, missed the game with an ankle injury. Zach Mathieu, who was the best player in the state this season, didn't play in this game either because he is off playing AAU baseball, and getting ready to attend Franklin Pierce University in the fall on a baseball scholarship. If Mathieu wasn't a Major League prospect in baseball, he would have been a scholarship player in basketball. Jordan Laguerre committed to play basketball at UMass this past week. Laguerre transferred from Trinity to the New Hampton School a year ago. If he stayed at Trinity, not only would he have played in this game for NH, but he would have been the best player in the gym. Then there's Carson Desrosiers. For those who don't know, Desrosiers is a Windham resident and would have played for Salem over the past 4 years but instead went to Central Catholic in Lawrence, MA. He's 6'11" and is headed to Wake Forest in the fall on a full basketball scholarship. If he went to Salem instead of Central, he would have also been playing in this game for NH...and HE would have been the best player in the gym. Then there's Scott King, another projected scholarship player. The 6'8" King would have been eligible to play in this game for the Granite State had he not left Pinkerton for the prep school ranks last summer and went to the Holderness School. Think about a lineup of Nelson at the 1, Laguerre at the 2, King at the 3, Mathieu at the 4 and Desrosiers at the 5. 2 Division I players, 4 scholarship players and a frontcourt that goes 6'8", 6'7" and 6'11". Now THAT's scary!

Lastly, on behalf of the NH basketball community, I say farewell to the 13 players who did play for NH yesterday. They might not have won the game, but they represented their state with pride. Farewell to them, and good luck in college and with all of their future endeavors.

Also, farewell and good luck to EJ Perry. Yesterday Perry coached NH players for the final team as he will now serve as the head football coach at Andover High School. In his time at Salem, he built a boys volleyball dynasty, and won back-back-to-back Class L basketball titles (including an undefeated season). There's no question New Hampshire is losing one of it's top coaches. He will be missed at Salem, and by the entire state in general. Best of luck to him at Andover.

Girls Game Recap
In the first game of the day yesterday over at the University of Vermont, the NH girls won it 60-56. The first half of this game was very sloppy on both sides, but it had a very good finish. NH was led by Tiffany Ruffin and Cammie Warner, who are 2 of the 3 players on the team who are going on to play Division I college basketball (Emily Siegart is the other).

Before this game the matchup folks were buzzing about was matchup between Ruffin (headed to Boston College) and Vermont's Abbey Lalime (headed to UMass). Both players are 5'7", strong, athletic guards. And the two were matched up quite a bit. The two of them really went after each other hard. There was some bumping, pushing and physical play between the two and at a couple different points Ruffin broke into a smile in the midst of all of the contact. You could tell that neither player wanted to be out-shined by the other. In the end however, there's no question that Ruffin got the better of the matchup. Lalime scored 0 points on the afternoon and went 0-7 from the field, while Ruffin lead all scorers with 16 points to go with 4 rebounds, 2 steals and 1 block.

Now like I said, the first half of this game was very sloppy. Between the two squads, there were 36 turnovers, 23 fouls and 13 missed free the first half alone! Now to be fair, both teams did play excellent defense. No basket came easy on either end and both teams extended their half court defense, really getting after it and pressuring the basketball. New Hampshire led Vermont 28-19 at the half. You got the sense that both teams were glad the half was over, and they were eager to get back out there and play some better basketball in the second half after regrouping in the locker room.

To open the second half, NH cleaned their play up, but VT dd not. They continued making turnovers, and the NH girls took advantage, turning them into easy baskets on the other end. Ruffin (Winnacunnet), Warner (Keene), Samantha Walker (Manchester Central) and Jordan Ferland (Fall Mountain) all played vital roles in this run as NH went up 37-22 (their largest lead of the game).

What happened next was an unfortunate incident. NH was on the fast break, the 5'3" Walker went up for a layup and was blocked from behind by a bigger VT player. Walker came down hard on her knee and was down on the floor in pain. She had to be carried off the floor by asst. coach Nick Hill and didn't return to the game. The last time I saw a play similar to this (a player going up for a breakaway layup, getting hit from behind by a bigger player and coming down hard on their knee and leaving the game) was when Trinity's Zach Stevens tore his ACL when Pinkerton's Ben Proulx fouled him from behind on the break. I can only hope that Walker's diagnosis isn't the same as Stevens'. If so, it would likely result in Walker missing her entire freshman season this year for the girls basketball team at Plymouth State.

Following the injury timeout is when VT started to clean up their sloppy play, and make a comeback. After trailing by as many as 15 points in the second half, VT tied the game up with under 3 minutes to play. Their comeback charge was led by guards Tonya Conley (little sister of UNH guard Tyrone Conley), Elizabeth Douglas, Brittany Pfaff and forward Kaitlin Geary. Surprisingly, Lalime was a non-factor in the second half for Vermont. Warner fouled out of the game with about 3 minutes left, and this also worked in VT's favor.

However, that is also when Ruffin asserted herself, making some big baskets and free throws down the stretch. The last 2 or 3 minutes of this game were very exciting, with both teams going back and forth trading BIG buckets. In the end, the NH girls made more plays and free throws when it counted, and they won it 60-56. Anna Prohl (Kearsarge) had a strong all around game for NH, and was especially effective down the stretch providing steady play.

Warner, who is headed to Quinnipiac on a basketball scholarship, won the MVP award for NH. She had 11 points and a game-high 13 rebounds, to go with 3 steals, 2 assists and 2 blocks. She did however, have 8 turnovers and she fouled out with 3 minutes left so she wasn't on the floor during crunch time. This is why some folks thought Ruffin should have gotten the award. Personally, I would have given it to Ruffin, but both her and Warner were both deserving of the honor.

Prohl and Ferland are a couple of players who are definitely underrated because of where they go to school, but I was impressed with both in yesterday's contest. In the fall, Prohl is headed to Bowdoin and Ferland will be attending Endicott.

Other players who performed well for NH were Siegart (Winnacunnet), Callie King (Londonderry), AJ Guidi (Pinkerton) and Rosa Drummond (Portsmouth).

I said it in my boys game recap, but I'll say it here as well. Each player on the NH girls team should be proud to be on this squad. They all worked extremely hard during their careers to get to this point. The rest of the team included Kyla Gustavson (Nashua North), Sara Peterson (Lebanon), Skyler Makkinje (Hillsboro-Deering) and Emily Pelletier (Groveton).

For the boys recap, mentioned some players who could have made their team better. It isn't quite the same on the girls side, but there are still 4 girls who would have certainly made a difference for NH. One is Christiana Bakolas from Manchester Central. Bakolas combined with Sammie Walker to form one of the best backcourts in the state. Bakolas has a full ride to play hoops at Bentley, and some "basketball people" have told me that they feel she's just as good as Ruffin. Then there's Karima Gabriel, an athletic 6'2" post player who went from Trinity High to prep school before last season. And two players who many would argue are 2 of the top 10 players in this class (Laura Pierce of Pinkerton and Lindsey Mahoney of Winnacunnet) were left off the squad.

Again, not taking anything away from the girls who did represent NH yesterday over at UVM. In fact it is even more impressive for the NH girls that they won the game yesterday without those 4 players I just mentioned.

Hotel Review
Ok, so I want to keep the discussion here about basketball, and about the 26 New Hampshire athletes who played in the games yesterday. But I know that I promised to review the Sheraton hotel that I (as well as the players, their families and the coaches) stayed I'll keep it brief. (I'll also keep it brief because according to statistics on Wikipedia, this post is already way too long for the average American's attention span!)

First, the positives. Very friendly, helpful staff. Plenty of available parking. Very convenient location, right in downtown Burlington. You leave the place, and you're about a 20 second drive from Patrick Gymnasium (where the games were played). You're also about a 20 second drive away from getting on route 89-South (which is the way to get home). Other positives, the inside of the hotel is very spacious, and also elegant. There is a nice lobby, as well as a heated pool and fitness center available. The rooms are very nice and well kept. The beds are comfortable. It's nice and cool throughout the hotel, especially in the rooms where you can pump the AC all you want.

Now for the negatives. I will keep these to a minimum, since I would like to be invited back again next year to broadcast the games and the hotel is very gracious to host all of the folks involved in the games. All I will say is tooth paste available in the rooms. If you want tooth paste you have to go up to front desk where they'll give you a tiny packet of it. I didn't bring any of my own, because I figured there would be some in my room. Also, there's no fan in the bathroom either. Because of this and the hot temperatures and it took me forever to dry off after getting out of the shower. The swimming pool could be cleaner. The bottom is a little dirty, and while I was working on my breast-stroke I ended up with a clump of a random person's hair on my hand (I know it wasn't my hair because I have a buzz cut). Lastly, no wireless internet available in the rooms. It is available in the lobby though. If you want it in your room you have to pay $10 a day, no thanks.

Ok, so that does it. All in all, a very nice hotel and a very memorable weekend. The folks who ran the event (Steve Gentile and George Benton, Jr.) run a first class operation. I was glad to be a part of it. hey took great care of me, and hope they'll have me back again next year to work the broadcasts. I also enjoyed working with George Commo, who was my broadcast partner. The banquet on Friday night was a real pleasure.

And as for my adventures downtown Friday night after the banquet was over...well what happens in Burlington stays in Burlington!


  1. We lost again to Vermont!!!???? Are you kidding me?!?!?!?

    A sobering thought to all the people in NH.

    Jeremy, we need details

  2. please tell us wat happened in the bar

  3. haha, sorry I have to try to be at least somewhat professional!

  4. LOL, what happens in Burlington, well, lets just say it wont beat Vegas.

  5. Jeremy, I thought you already had a girlfriend.

    Does this mean what happened at Nectar's was a case of blogging infidelity?

  6. No, I'm single. Ok, enough of this. Back to basketball!

  7. But, Jeremy, you are the one who opened up the can of lovable worms in downtown Burlington.

  8. Jeremy is smart. One in each state I say. lol

  9. Sounds like NH just bombed away with 3 points agian and the shots were not falling so they just shot more. Good idea to have Larosa.cormac and other gunners on team. EJ another great effort on part of NH basketball. Losing to Vermont is just wrong

  10. Blogging Infidelity? I believe we have a new 21st century buzz catch phrase.

  11. where is the review of the hoteel

  12. funny how people see things differently. new hampshire lost because they couldn't score or rebound. they had no offense because they kept running high screen sets for burt, larosa and fitzpatrick who missed many more shots than they took. every parent i talked to knew perry would live or die by those 3 players' perimeter shooting. larosa made a few baskets but did a very poor job of distributing the ball to open players except for one drive and dish in the 2nd half. don't think he's what you'd call a point guard. one example, within about a minute's time cormac hits 2 deep 3's in the 2nd half but then larose decides to dribble up and take the first shot instead of driving and kicking it out to the hot shooter. one and done. i'd like to see a box score to see everyone's shooting percentages. new hampshire had many good scorers besides the 3 class L kids that took most of the shots but they just weren't getting passed to and they were wide open many times where it was obvious something was going on with class warfare. for the most part cressy and poitras were just there to set high screens for the class L guards and then go get the rebound. secondly, perry's defense is all about extra-aggressive help and support from the weak side but vermont was making the skip pass or quick ball reversal and making their perimeter shots or getting offensive rebounds. why not try trapping and pressing more to speed the tempo up and get some turnovers/transition points? if it's broke, fix it. it was a poor effort by a squad and a coach who were both clearly outmatched. i guess there's always next year.

  13. most hotels don't supply toothpasete...

    Good game review thanks, was it broadcasted live? couldn't find it anywhere in NH...

  14. It was broadcasted on the Northeast Sports Network website Also, all 50 of the athletes who played in yesterday's games will be getting a DVD containing the broadcast of their game.

  15. Good recap Jeremy. I hope you don't have bad breath from lack of Vermont toothpaste.

  16. haha, I got a couple of those tiny packets of tooth paste from the front desk and used that.

  17. In the past few years, NH often does not have it very best on this team. This losing streak started in 2008 when Nh did not have Class I player of the year Casey Maue (6'5") who lead Hanover to the 07 title and back to the '08 title game. They also did not have Matt Carr (6'6") of St Thomas who missed the whole year with an ACL tear and may have been the best big man in the state.

    Of course, if you do not have a coach who believes in in the inside game, the end result would have been the same. The '08 team shot horrifically from 3pt land as well. Sounds like all this years coach wanted was screen setters and that also puts you at a serious rebounding disadvantage. Basketball is about matchups, and it seems some of the coaches do not fully grasp this. They also do not appear to very good at making in game adjustments when their primary plans fail.

  18. why do you think the big guys decided not to play? setting picks not alot of fun!! see why those players teams did not win during the season too much reliance on the three and selfish play.

  19. Nothing wrong with setting some picks, but you have to actually utilize the pick & roll to help you balance things. If you just use a big to set picks and not roll, you're simply inviting a good team to hedge the pick and double team your shooter.

    On nights when your not hitting your perimeter game, you had better have your bigs in position to get you some extra possesions via offensive rebounds. Having them crash the boards from the perimeter is just asking for a bunch of bad over the back fouls.

    Also, if your bigs are not working inside on offense, your not pressuring your opposition's bigs to really work on defense. Offensive-minded bigs LOVE to play a team where they can rest on defense.

  20. How does the coach get chosen?
    EJ Perry is a good coach it has to be more than just the coach, does he get to pick his team?

    Who is on deck for next year?

    I can't believe we have lost 3 in a row to Vermont

  21. YES the coach picks the team!

  22. Might be problems in the football game too. I heard that the Salem kids got in trouble and can't make it.

  23. As far as who did not play for NH, I have a feeling their have been similar stories on the VT side as well. I'm sure they have had years when their best may have moved to prep, been injured, or just simply decided not to play for personal reasons. It's not something unique to NH.

  24. dear 12:30 the salem players who are now off the team won t make a difference. vermont does not have it s best player playing so now they have no shot.

  25. VT does a much better job to promote this game then NH.

  26. Admit it...VT is doing a better job for this game then NH.

  27. Salems kids just had a graduation party gone awry, kid stuff, nothing major. No shrine though.

  28. Jeremy,
    did you cover any BST action last night?

  29. Next years coach will be Nate Camp of Kearsarge. It would have been Todd Kress of Pelham, but when he took the A.D. job in Pelham, and stopped coaching, he had to be replaced on the Rotary Team as coach, and Nate Camp was chosen. The asst. coach will be a D3(class M) coach chosen by Camp and the NHBCO. They then pick the team. The only automatics are the four POY winners in each division. Vermont practices a lot more for this game than we do. They promote it amongst their best players better than we do. It is considered an honor in Vermont to be on this team. NH is constantly losing top players to AAU commitments and other stuff. ( Casey Maui went hiking in Europe )

  30. I bet AAU will take some good NH players from the Rotary game next year.

    Another reason why AAU is not a good thing for these kids.

  31. Coach Camp played in the game and they won!

  32. Probably right about not promoting the game well. Not one kid from either of the two teams in the Class L final?

  33. I bet AAU will take some good NH players from the Rotary game next year.

    Another reason why AAU is not a good thing for these kids.


    Actually, it a very good real-life lesson. We all have to make choices in life and many of them are not always easy. Choosing to play in that game can be a great experience, but then again so might going to a particular tournament and facing off against a a very high end player. It is not any athlete's responsibility to satisfy your need to have him play in this particular exhibition game. Even hiking in Europe as an 18 yr old is fine choice. Whp are we to tell a kid it is a bad choice to pursue something like that instead of staying New Hampshire to play in the "great big game"...especially if you already know your own talents and abilities are not even going to be part of the game plan.

    Have the adult intelligence to respect the choices these young athletes are making.

  34. Hiking in Europe soundz fun, I would def rather do that!!

  35. Incorrect 9:54

    The problem is not with AAU it's with AAU coaches. Playing in the game IS a great experience. And to be honest there is a
    "Big" AAU tournament every weekend. But the AAU coaches who always are trying to make there programs as big as deal as possible don't schedule around it
    Then the kid feels obligated to go to AAU

    You can respect the choices these kids are making but they are getting some really bad advice from AAU coaches. History will show this

    Look at the 2010 List of players. That game WAS the biggest stage any of them have left. Same for 2011

  36. Biggest stage? Most of the kids that missed in Vermont did so to play in front of many coaches in Vegas and Florida? How many coaches were in Vermont?

  37. Why was the Rotary game the biggest stage any of them have left? Is it bigger than Nationals in Orlando this month? Adidas in Vegas? That is a bogus argument.

  38. Big" AAU tournament every weekend. But the AAU coaches who always are trying to make there programs as big as deal as possible don't schedule around it

    You don't much about AAU do you? These are the same weekend every year and this happens to be one of the biggest and most important tourney's of the year. You have college coaches from everywhere looking at you. So yes that is more important then a meaningless VT vs NH game.

    Look at the 2010 List of players. That game WAS the biggest stage any of them have left. Same for 2011.

    Wrong the top 2011 kids are looking to get into college and not some stupid VT game. I will give you an example VT's top AAU players play on a team called Lone Wolf the Jayhawks beat them by twenty plus last night and that without Madol and Holder from the rivals. So last thing these kids are worried about is missing a stupid VT vs NH game.

  39. 95% of the Class of 2011 WILL NOT be playing aau next summer AFTER they graduate unless they plan on doing a post-grad year or are an extremely young senior and would still be eligible to play on a U17 team. Get you facts straight. You sound foolish.

  40. 1:00 AM,

    We are not talking about a 14 or 15 yr old being led around by an AAU leash of promise. These are graduated high school players and they are making bigger decisions than playing or not playing in the Rotary game - Like what college to attend and field of study they are entering. If in their own minds the Rotary game is a priority, they will probaly choose to be involved. If not, it does not mean that some AAU coach, who at this point in most cases is no longer has that leverage you are alluding to because the player has made his collegiate choice.

    [Look at the 2010 List of players. That game WAS the biggest stage any of them have left.]

    Are you serious???? Ok, Lets just do that!

    Alex LaRosa -> Salve Regina
    Alex Burt -> Plymouth State
    Kevin Cressey -> Plymouth State
    Cormac Fitzpatrick -> Plymouth State
    Tom Poitras -> Rivier College
    Jake Nelson -> WPI
    Scott St. Lawrence -> Salve Regina
    Alex Pratt -> Salve Regina
    Sean Martin -> Springfield College

    Heading to Prep:

    Tommy McDonnell -> Bridgton Academy


    Cameron Heffron ->
    Sheldon Benson -> Prep ?
    Shawn Henriquez ->
    James Peard ->

    While it is always an honor to represent your state, this is just an exhibiton game. You have to only look to the fact that this game as a preset substitution pattern that must be adhered to unless injury or a foul out occurs. The best player in VT, heading to play D1 in college, played just 23 minutes! Name me one important game on the "big stage" where your stuck to a set of pre-arranged substitution rules.

    This is an exhibition game, try attending a college conference tournament with a berth in the NCAAs on line. The intensity is far greater than this cross-state game, even in D3.

    Even a regular season game against a rival school or a top ranked school is going to carry a tremendous amount of importance & intensity that is never going to matched in the Rotary game. Try attending one and then you may understand.

  41. Same for 2011

    LOL, I'm sure Mr. Mitchell would disagree with you on that one!

  42. Just to correct 2:48's post...

    Heffron -> Springfield College
    Benson -> Plymouth State
    Henriquez -> Wentworth
    Peard -> Not going to college

  43. Jeremy,

    Ty, so 13 of the 14 are going on to play very meaningful big stage games after the Rotary game.

  44. Sounds like we have alot of AAU coaches blogging today.

    It's not an exhibition the teams practice 25 hours for one game.
    99% of those blogging I guarantee have never been to the game.

    and yes it is a much bigger game than whatever game your team was playing in Vegas or Orlando (which no one will ever remeber in one month)

    Alot of AAU people are giving some seriously bad advice here. The two can coexist.

  45. As long as AAU people keep looking through their rose colored glasses, then.....

    ......... Good for them. They are kings of their own basketball universe.

  46. Easy way to fix this issue would be to have this game in August. I mean having it in July when every college coach is at the AAU circuit of big tourneys is what forces these kids to not play. I know almost every one of these kids and no doubt they would love to go play Vermonts best next year. All of these good players look for the opportunity to play with and against each other. So put it in August that way the July live period is over and the boys can do both. Having it in July is the issue.

  47. This blog is weird I am not sure what we are discussing and whoever is mentioning my name at 3:08 has me even more confused. What would I disagree with?
    I posted on the other blog earlier that the time frame is the biggest issue for this game. Kids that are doing a post grade year at a prep school could play if they made this game in August not July. That would be my suggestion but last night at Quinnipiac the NH kids that would make up this team for the most part next year were all playing in front of many college coaches. Now when you realize that as many as 5 or 6 of these kids could do a post grad year to me it is simple if you really want the best seniors make it in August.

  48. 7:56, to that I say this...Look at NERR's rankings of Vermont for 2010. Their top 10 is basically the exact roster Vermont had at the rotary game. All of them played, because they're all going to college in the fall. Joe O'Shea is a Division I scholarship player for Vermont, he played in this game. And even if you are doing a post-grad year you can still play in the Rotary Game. Look at Tommy McDonnell. He's doing a PG year at Bridgton. He played in this game.

    And 5:10 is right. Both Vermont and NH had a ton of practice time leading up to this game. They ran sets, they ran baseline out of bounds plays, they had gameplans, etc.

    The team was slected based on the Granite Games way back in March, then they had a tryout after that. Then they picked the team and had over 10 practices as a unit, all in preparation for this one game.

  49. Guys it is a fact that many of our kids will be using the extra year of high school to Prep and take advantage of the great basketball at the prep level as well as the extra year of academic balance before heading to college. So if the goal of this game is to really compete the best seniors of VT vs the best Seniors of NH then work around the AAU stuff and make it happen. The fact is if you made this game happen on August 15th or even April 15th you could get the kids that are the best ball players to take the time and represent the state. However when you talk about middle of Summer before going off to college or prep school during the live period for AAU all that will take it's toll. It isn't about AAU vs Rotary as much as it is Rotary game vs players who are at their busiest time of the summer on top of that.

  50. 99% of the kids in this game have either committed to a college or are going to PREP and will have 9 more months of being "seen" in things before picking a school.

    These are kids after there senior year. Bad advice is being given to these kids

  51. The Class L finals MVP and the Class I player of the year did not play because of baseball. I bet EJ would have enjoyed either of those two big bodies in Vermont. We don't get our best players, period. And moving it to August would just make it worse.

  52. Why would it be worse in August. You would increase the chance of getting the prep players who are involved so heavily in AAU in JULY.
    So why would it be worse?

  53. It's not an exhibition the teams practice 25 hours for one game. 99% of those blogging I guarantee have never been to the game.

    Yeah, you would probably think that. I have attended 4 of them in the last 10 years. I stand firmly behind my point. Check the NHBCO site, there are 3 documents there dedicated to the substitutions for this "game". This game is an exhibition. To think otherwise is simply foolish and stupid. 25 hours or 25 days of practice does not make it more than an exhibition game. The outcome of the game is meaningless (other than for "bragging rights"). If it were so "important", why would you go out of the way to specifically limit how the coaches can substitute. If its such a big deal to win this game, then it should be played like ANY other basketball game. This is not Little League with "mandatory" play rules.

    from those sunstitution rules:

    "All teams MUST have a minimum roster of twelve (12) available to play at game time to keep a level of fairness and parity."

    "To allow every Player 1-12 to play at least 4 minutes in both halves, Player 9 of the GREEN team will enter the game at the 12minute mark of the second half with the WHITE team."

    "Regarding Defenses: All coaches agreed to no INTENTIONAL trapping defenses (none will be coached) but to allow natural “help” defense within normal man-to-man defense. Run-and-Jump defense is prohibited. Previously written rules remain unchanged."

    Yeah, sounds like a REAL game to me....

    oh they did at least throw this in:

    "Coaches are free to play any Player 1-14 in the last 8 minutes."

    It is what is, a nice honor. No doubt at all, the bragging rights are fun as well. If the NH teams had won the past 3 years, no one be making anything of who played and who didn't. It does not seem like many kids are here complaining, just adults who seem to think these kids "owe" them or the state something. They do not! Just because a kid make a choice, it is NOT because he got "bad advice" from a coach. If a kid has other priorities, athletic or not, that is fine too. Who are we to pass judgement on thier choices? Are you going to make such a fuss over the choices they make for a career path?


    Pardon me, I tossed out your name in regards to this rather foolish statement made by Wednesday, July 14, 2010 6:01:00 AM EDT

    [Look at the 2010 List of players. That game WAS the biggest stage any of them have left. Same for 2011]

    I pretty sure you believe your son and others from Milford who will be seniors next year will play on a stage bigger than than Rotary game after the summer of 2011 fades away.

  54. I really at this point have no idea what the boys will do after summer of 2011. So that really has nothing to do with me or a post of mine. However I do not agree that this is that big a game for the boys. I mean it is an honor to play for your state but many of these kids feel they play for their state every day for AAU. I mean with there really only being one high level 17 year old team full of mostly NH kids most of these guys feel like they represent the state all Summer.

  55. Its too bad that all the current Milford people feel that AAU is the most important thing that can happen to their kids. The main question I have is that after all these incredible wins they have had this "AAU SEASON" how many offers do they have to go to a 4 year school? Not looks, which anyone can have but actual offers. Who cares if the Jayhawks would beat the Rivals, AAU is about "exposure" as many Jayhawk supporters have said; then where are the offers? Just an outsider with no affiliation to an AAU program asking a simple question.

  56. No scholarships but 3 solid offers to be on a roster next year including one offer of academic help in a small amount of money. On a team that was 24-5 last year as well. Still have visits from schools from as far as the Mid Atlantic. So the boys will be ok. Thanks for your concern.

  57. What is a "solid offer"?? It sounds like a coach might have said something in passing and you are taking it as an offer. Remember coaches send out hundreds of form letters with no real intent on following up on most of them. Seems like a lot of fanciful thinking 11:50.

  58. If htese guys are incoming seniors, how can they have solid offers to be on a roster next year? Won't they still be in high school?

  59. You guys are the funny ones, Do you think the college coaches are recruiting now for this years team? No they are recruiting for next years team. Keep in mind when you are talking D3 schools with certain financial and academic requirements when they see a player they know can afford to go and academically fits into their college they are much quicker to try to pull you in. One of the negatives to not being D1 is the financial burden but one of the positives is not as many can afford or get accepted academically. So my point remains that college will happen and that is not an issue.

  60. If you want to read about some offers go check out the Rivals website, and check it weekly. The boys are heading west and lots more will be coming in.

  61. Some may head south also.. from the Jayhawks.. Stay tuned

  62. Ever wonder why if you write anything positive about the Jayhawks a Rivals player or coach has to throw a Rivals quote in? Why is it that way?

  63. No scholarships but 3 solid offers to be on a roster next year including one offer of academic help in a small amount of money. On a team that was 24-5 last year as well.

    A solid offer to be on a roster? LOL, every time I read this stuff I have to laugh. ("The check is in mail!") Were these 'offers' D3, D2 or D1? If you going to toss stuff like this out, then just state who the 'offers' were from.

    News Flash, virtually EVERY school has money to give to just about EVERY kid on the basis of academics. Actually if you do not get some scholarship money (even if its just $1000), then either your a major academic risk, or your family is extremely well off. Many schools guarantee a certain level scholarship money if your in the top 10 in your class or valedictorian or salutatorian of your class.
    If you have filled out a FASFA and gone through the Financial Aid award process, you would know this.

    A 'roster spot' is a tenuous thing at best at this point in time. The schools are still recruiting heavily and a great many things will change. Especially in D3 where teams tend to carry more players. (few examples here in nh : Plymouth State - 17, Keene St. - 17, Daniel Webster - 16) The thing is, if you make the NCAA's you can only have 15 in uniform. Your spot may be that last seat on the bench and if your team makes the NCAA tournament, you may not have a seat when the music stops.

  64. I am not a Rivals player or coach, just a basketball fan.Comments were being posted about scholarship offers, and seeing how the Rivals website is one of the many that I read I thought others may want to see how some kids had solid offers coming in. Thank you.

  65. Yeah ok, but when the Jayhawks win we are told the team we played wasn missing someone or isn't that good. When we say the boys have offers we are told we are liars,when we say anything about the program someone involved with or a fan of that program tries to rain on the parade or do something to try and take away from what our boys are doing. You can read the negativity and it should be handled better. How about saying something like that is great and nice job. Then add something about your program. Not something negative and then try to throw doubt back at the post. Have some class.

  66. Ok, but the fact remains that the kids are talking to college coaches and being asked to be part of the programs as we speak. Sure the money is said to be academic but it is still help and it is not a secret that the coaches get academic money and are able to hand it out or use angles to help the players they need afford the program. So if you think it lessons the offer or takes away from what the boys are doing by saying it is academic money vs Athletic your just being silly. The money is not coming out of my parents pocket and the money is to help me decide that the school in question is the best option for me. Saying that academic help is not as special as athletic help is just your way of trying to make your offer special. The fact is if I get some money to go to Tufts or Bates and you get some money to go to SNHU at the end of the day I feel I will be in a better situation in 4 years even with some debt or school loans. But feel good about yourself if it makes you feel special.

  67. I watched the Jayhawks play at the NH State tourney this season and they looked good. A bunch of good size, solid young men. Do they have a website to promote the kids?? I have looked before and couldn't find any. If not you parents should see if you have some talent amongst yourselves to start one up. It is nice for the kids to be able to go online and read up about themselves.AAU has given my kids a chance to learn the game, play for outstanding coaches and travel with their friends and have a lot of fun. We happen to live in a district with probably the worst BBall programs in NH so AAU is a way to play and actually see a little success.

  68. 7:42
    The Jayhawk posts are very rarely if ever positive when talking about another program. Maybe if you practice what you preach people will stop chiding you and your posts.

  69. How would you know are you the only one writing good things about the Rivals?

  70. Hey 10:19 the website is

    You can also read about the boys in the prospects page of

  71. Say all you want about the NH AAU programs, but NH still lost to VT.

  72. Thank god for the ladies hoops!

  73. Fitzpatrick, Heffron and Cressy the only 3 players that shot 50% or better. I thought NH had great shooters?

  74. "Live By The sword, Die by the sword" : When you play a single-minded style, your players better step-up in the big moment. For the last few years, we have heard how great the NH shooters are. Until they do not shoot well in this game and then the team has no clue how to get offense from its other players.

    I have lost count how many times have I have seen a pick & roll play for NH where the player with the ball won't give it up, or worse than that - he does not even look to see if the screen-setter was open. This is especially true when the team is struggling to get a bucket. Shooters have to realize when its not their night and find other ways to help their team win. NH has been the poster child the the past few years for idea that shooters should shoot their way out a slump. Unfortunately, that is not a good prescription for victory in an all-star type of game.

  75. Zach Mathieu, who was the best player in the state this season, didn't play in this game either because he is off playing AAU baseball, and getting ready to attend Franklin Pierce University in the fall on a baseball scholarship.

    Mike Montville has chosen not to play in the Shrine football game because of his own situation of heading to college for baseball. It is not so uncommon that kids make a choice not to play in these kinds of games because another sport is more important. In the case of these two guys, baseball is helping paying the way to a college diploma. That is just a bit more important than playing the state in an exhibition game.

  76. vt only shot 4% better from the field. story was fta discrepancy nh only 14 (64%) and vt 41 (80%) and rebounds nh 44 v. vt 58. some of that may be reffs but also perry offense which runs high screen sets, not many players attacking the rim. also bigs are in a tough position to rebound. defensively needed to deny o'shea the ball and keep vt from the rim. 2011 prediction: nh 101 vt 89

  77. That offensive strategy never works well when your shooters are off. You have no secondary scoring!

  78. LOL, 17 of those 41 attempts came from VT's best player. What is hard to believe is that Poitras had NH's most FT attempts at 5.

    NH would rather bomb away than drive, take the contact and head to the line. Again I say adjustments were the key here. VT saw how the game was being called and took advantage of it. NH did not. Coaching & adjustments...

  79. NHBCO out coached by VBCO

  80. Why so many negative comments ? All noise !!!!!
    Our children played - and wether win or loss - they played with heart - capped off high school ball in a positive manner . People stop living your personal short comings by hitting on our childrens efforts !

  81. Christiana Bakolas and Tiffany Ruffin are best friends there is no competition between then ever, but Tiffany Ruffin outshines Bakolas in every aspect of basketball... There is NOT A SINGLE COMPARISON, Christiana couldn't have gone to a high level D1 probably a mid-major but jeremy nice follow-up i wish i could have been there.

  82. "Prohl and Ferland are a couple of players who are definitely underrated because of where they go to school"


  83. Because they didn't go to Class L schools or a Class I school that went far in the tournament.