Brooklyn Boro

Scholastic Roundup: Rick Pitino is used to these showdowns

January 28, 2022 Andy Furman
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Rick Pitino and coaching in big games goes hand-in-hand.

The Hall of Famer is the only basketball coach to lead three different schools – Providence, Kentucky and Louisville – to a Final Four.

His Iona College Gaels have won 16 of their first 19 ballgames this season – with a perfect 8-0 mark in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC).

They host the Peacocks of St. Peter’s College at their New Rochelle, N.Y. home Saturday. St. Peter’s has won five of seven MAAC league games – good for second spot behind Pitino’s Gaels.

Senor Tyson Jolly at 6-4, tops the Gaels with a 14.7 points-per-game average — and Iona boasts a Brooklynite on their roster – 6-1, sophomore Ryan Myers from Christ the King High School.

Myers started for the Middle Village, New York school and averaged 21.3 points-per-game, 5.2 rebounds and 4.5 assists for the Royals in 2019-20.

As a junior, he was second-leading scorer with a 16.3 points-per-game average. He earned MVP honors as the Royals earned the 2019 CHSAA AA championship for the first time in five seasons with its win over Archbishop Stepinac.

“We’re excited to have Ryan as part of our program,” Pitino was quoted as saying. “He’s a local player; he can score, drive and pass and has a great future ahead of him with our program.”

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KC Ndefo is a 6-7 senior at St. Peter’s College, who was a four-year letter winner at Lincoln High School. He served as team captain both his junior and senior year and helped the team win a State Championship in 2016. In 2017 he helped the team earn a Nassau Championship. He’s averaging 9.4 points-per-game and 6.1 rebounds this season.

He was the nation’s best shot-blocker as a St. Peter’s junior – becoming the program’s first NCAA individual statistical champion in blocked shots. He was a unanimous MAAC Defensive Player of the Year – becoming the fourth player in league history to win multiple DPOY honors.

He was also unanimous choice to the All-MAAC First Team, while being selected to the Lefty Driesell All-American Team, NABC All-District Second Team, and MAAC All-Championship Team.

He led the Peacocks in scoring – 13.7 points-per-game – and blocks (3.6 per-game) and steals (1.4 per-game), while posting averages of 6.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 25 games of action. His 91 blocked-shots are the program’s single-season record – and he became the only player in program history to record over 100 career block and 100 career steals. His 22 points against Rider College was his career high.

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Emptying the Scholastic Roundup e-mail bag:

Leonard Valenti, a retired physical educator with Seattle Public Schools graduated Brooklyn College in January, 1975. “Back then,” he writes, “we were the Kingsmen.”

Brooklyn College’s nickname now – The Bulldogs.

“I ran cross-country during those years under Coach Howard Shapiro, who was also an adjunct professor at the time – just a great individual,” he continued. “I was wondering if you had any results of those cross-country runs at Van Cortlandt Park. I have looked at some BC archives but unfortunately they do not go back that far. I thought perhaps you might have access to BC newspapers from back then.”

This from Bruce Filosa, Director of Athletics at Brooklyn College: “Unfortunately, the library and archives don’t have anything from 1971-75,” he writes.

More from Valenti: “The Physical Education program was absolutely amazing. I had the opportunity to have Professor Donna Lopiano for some classes, and they were great.”

Lopiano served as Assistant Athletic Director at Brooklyn College, where she also coached basketball, volleyball and softball. In 1975, she became the first Director of Women’s Athletics at the University of Texas. She remained at the University for 17 years.

She’s a six-time National Champion, nine-time All-American and three-time ASA Softball MVP. In addition, she is a member of 13 Halls of Fame, including the National Sports Hall of Fame, the National Softball Hall of Fame and the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame. She was named one of “The 10 Most Powerful Women in Sports,” by Fox Sports and The Sporting News has also listed her as one of “The Most Influential People in Sports.”

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Better late than never – The 67th Annual Bishop Loughlin Games at The Ocean Breeze Sports Complex in Staten Island – late December – was a two-day event with more than 3,500 boys and girls from Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware.

The Lions walked away with 17 medals – seven gold, two silver and eight bronze.

The Varsity Boys 4×4 A Team of juniors N’Namdi Porter, Jelani Johnson, Wesley Noble Jr. and freshman Rashaun Euche ran a 3:25.3 – a New York State first.

The Varsity Boys 4×4 B team of senior Gaud Charles, juniors Massai Sauel, Kareem Clarke and sophomore Kyaire Lawson was clocked in 3:48.5 and medaled.

Wesley Noble was the Ed Bowes MVP winner – he ran a personal best and a U.S. No. 1 in the 600, and a split of .48 on the 4×4 meter relay.

Senior Brinesha Derrick-Bain ran a personal best which was a CHSAA first in the 300-meters. Junior Morgan Middleton ran a personal best to achieve a first in the CHSAA 600 meters; Kyaire Lawson’s had her personal best in the 55-meter hurdles – she is the No. 1 New York State sophomore and a CHSAA second-place finisher in the hurdles.

Freshman Rashaun Euche ran a New York State No. 1 in the 300-meters in his first high school meet. Freshman Lillian McConnell and Brooke Sheppard medaled in their first meet as well.

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Lenny Herskowitz, after reading Monday’s Carlton Screen story in the Brooklyn Eagle: “I loved it! Coke (Cannon) – a Screen teammate at Erasmus – played baseball with Screen,” he writes. “I was playing left field for Gravesend. I was about 350-feet away at Dyker Park. Coke hit it at least 100 feet over my head. The ball went across Dyker – and I think it’s still rolling.”

Andy Furman is a Fox Sports Radio national talk show host. Previously, he was a scholastic sports columnist for the Brooklyn Eagle. He may be reached at: [email protected] Twitter: @AndyFurmanFSR.

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