St. Augustine Leads Strong Field

by Marc Narducci | Feb 27, 2015
St. Augustine Leads Strong Field St. Augustine Leads Strong South Jersey Non-Public A Boys Basketball Field

The South Jersey Non-Public boys basketball tournament may be the deepest of the six Groups. While there are several contenders in Group 4, the quality of challengers in Non-Public A rivals any in South Jersey.

St. Augustine is the top seed, and enters as the favorite. The Hermits began the week 22-1 and winners of 17 consecutive games. To date, the best win was a 66-60 triumph over serious South Jersey Group 4 contender Atlantic City.

Junior guard Sa’eed Nelson is a big play performer and one of the team leaders. He had 19 points in the win over Atlantic City.

St. Augustine has one of the top coaches in South Jersey history in Paul Rodio, and the Hermits' ability to play like a cohesive team is the best trait.

And while the Hermits will be difficult to beat, there are several other challengers in this deep group.

An example of the depth of Non-Public A is the fact that three-time defending champion St. Joseph Metuchen is now only the No. 4 seed. This is not the powerhouse of recent seasons, a team that was led by current University of Kentucky and expected NBA lottery selection Karl Towns, a 7-foot center-forward.

Even without Towns, St. Joe Metuchen has enjoyed a successful season. The Falcons are led by junior guard Breein Tyree.

If everything in the early rounds go according to form, St. Joe Metuchen could meet St. Augustine in the semifinals, which would be some matchup. Actually, the first round game between St. JoeMetuchen and No. 13 seed Bishop Eustace is an example of how loaded this Non-Public A field truly is.

Eustace began the week 12-12. The Crusaders were considered a potential Top 10 South Jersey team in preseason and while that hasn’t materialized, they have been highly competitive.

Eustace lost by just a 53-50 score to Camden Catholic and also owns a win over one of the leading contenders in South Jersey Group 2, Haddonfield.

Junior guard Mike Cohen has already committed to play at Auburn.

While winning at St. Joe Metuchen will be a tall order, Eustace has played the type of difficult schedule that will have the Crusaders ready for this challenge.

Another team to watch in NP A is Camden Catholic, the No. 2 seed. Camden Catholic began the week 20-3 and has spent considerable time this year at the top of the South Jersey rankings.

Brendan Crawford, a 6-6 senior forward and 6-1 senior Courtney Cubbage are the scoring leaders while 6-9 Demola Onifade is a defensive force.

Other teams to watch in Non-Public A are No. 3 seeded Christian Brothers Academy, No. 5 Union Catholic. There could be even another team that surfaces as there is no shortage of contenders in this impressive Group.

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Author: Marc Narducci


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