With a shot clock and without zone defense - that's how basketball is meant to be played. Let's get a a shot clock in NH high school basketball and eliminate zone defense - it would make the game 10 times better. Whatever happened to all of the shooters in NH? Local high school teams spend too much time working on all of these zone defenses, complicated offensive sets and elaborate game plans that they will have to scrap the next game when they play someone else. Why not spend more time on ball handling, shooting and skill development? Maybe then we wouldn't have so many low scoring games across the state. And while we're at it, let's eliminate hand-checking calls too - c'mon officials, let them play!
Here's an idea - make it a rule that when schools play a girls/boys double-header, the games should be at 6:00 and 7:30. It shouldn't be allowed to have them at 5:00 and 6:30. It's great when rival schools play a girls/boys double-header to generate interest and draw bigger crowds, but you're defeating the purpose here. By having the first game at 5:00 (or even at 5:30), most people are just getting out of work then so this will actually decrease the amount of people in the stands. Let's eliminate 5:00 start times for any varsity game on a weeknight. Let's have more boys/girls double-headers, but move the start times back so more people can see the first game. And yes, the fact that the Nashua North vs. Nashua South girls/boys double-header tonight starts at 5:00 may have had something to do with me writing this.
Often people around NH wonder, "what if all these kids weren't going prep?" Well, here is what last season's boys D-I Final Four would have looked like:
Londonderry - they were the undefeated champs, but they would have been even better with point guard Caleb Green. Green would have been a sophomore for the Lancers, but instead he was at Proctor Academy. Green has a slew of D-I scholarship offers. Starting five could have been Green, Cody Ball (now playing at Saint Anselm's), Jake Coleman (POY candidate this year), Marc Corey (now playing at St. Joe's) and Joey Kwiatkowski.
Pinkerton - the D-I runners-up, but they would have been even better with 6-foot-7 forward Luke Rosinski (committed to UNH). Rosinski instead was at Kimball Union Academy. Imagine a starting five of Rosinski, Geo Baker (over 10 D-I scholarship offers), Matt Rizzo, David Faulks and Drew Green. Plus a bench that would beat most team's starting five (Caleb Godin, Thomas Olson, Ben Olson, Brennan Morris, Thomas Romick).
Manchester Central - Central missed the Final Four but all season long they were one of the top 2-3 teams in D-I. They would have been even better if they had Brett Hanson, a scholarship player who instead was playing at the Tilton School. Central could have started Hanson, Joey Martin, Jaylen Leroy, Oumaru Kante and Evan MacDonald/Jonathin Makori.
Trinity - it sure is fun to wonder how good Trinity could have been last year. Wenyen Gabriel, a legit NBA prospect, a top 10 national recruit and committed to the University of Kentucky - he would have been a senior at Trinity last season if he didn't leave for Wilbraham & Monson Academy. Gabriel would have obviously been the best player in the NHIAA last season. Who would have been next? Ian Sistare, who now holds a boat load of D-I scholarship offers. Gabriel and Sistare would have been teammates at Trinity last season if they didn't go the prep route. That's a scary thought! Trinity could have had a starting five of Gabriel, Sistare, Luke Testa, Connor Walsh and Justin Trickett.
Imagine UNH rockin' with those four squads going at it?!
And how about Memorial? Another kid who has a handful of D-I scholarship offers is Tshiefu Ngalakulondi, now at Proctor Academy but would have been a junior at Memorial last season if he had stayed there. Oumaru Kante also used to play for Memorial before transferring to Central. Last year's Memorial team could have had both Tshiefu and Kabongo Ngalakulondi, plus Kante, Trevon Maughn, Wade Gop, Craig Preston and Brandon Scott. They could have averaged 90+ points per game.
Many people were probably surprised that the Dover girls basketball team beat Londonderry the other night. Not this guy. Things are really starting to get wide open in girls D-I, and Dover head coach Dan Casey is the most underrated girls coach in the state - he does a great job every year of getting the most out of his teams.
Lastly, the favorites for girls basketball Player of the Year at this time are: Meg Knollmeyer (Winnacunnet) in D-I, Libby Underwood (Portsmouth) in D-II, Madison Springfield (Conant) in D-III, and Lexie Hamilton (Sunapee) in D-IV. It's much more wide open on the boys side, where D-III is the only division where there is a clear cut favorite and that's Keith Brown (Pelham).