Vol. LXIV, No. 50
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
(Photo by Bill Allen/NJ SportAction)
HOLLIDAY TIME: Princeton High boys basketball star Davon Holliday-Black brings the ball up the court in a game last season. PHS is depending on junior guard/forward Holliday-Black to have a big year as the squad deals with the loss of five key players to graduation. The Little Tigers, who went 12-10 last season in making their third straight trip to the state tournament, tips off the 2010-11 campaign by playing at Hightstown on December 17.
Over the past few years, the Princeton High boys basketball team has utilized its athleticism and an up-tempo style to become a force in local hoops circles.
Under head coach Jason Carter, PHS has made three straight trips to the state tournament, including a stirring run to the Central Jersey Group III sectional championship game in 2008-09.
As Carter looks forward to tipping off the 2010-11 season this Friday at Hightstown, he acknowledges his team will have a different look.
We have versatility; I am a little unsure about style, said Carter, who guided the Little Tigers to a 12-10 record last season.
We dont have guys who can run like Dunlap [Brian Dunlap] and Quan [DeQuan Holman]. We might be a little taller but a little slower. We may not press as much. We play more 5-on-5 with a halfcourt offense and defense.
With the loss of such key players as Skye Ettin, Thatcher Foster, Jordan Metro, Devon Holman, and Josh Gordon to graduation, PHS will be relying heavily on junior star Davon Holliday-Black to run the show.
Davon has to carry the weight, asserted Carter. We lost a lot of scoring two years ago and we lost even more scoring from last year. He needs to take ownership of the team. He needs to create and finish plays. We need him to be a role model in terms of work ethic. We need him to show vocal leadership on and off the court.
Junior guard Eric Shorter must take a lead role as well. I heard from football that Eric was still competing even when the team was having a tough season, said Carter of Shorter, who is a star receiver for the football squad and a track standout in the spring.
He is fantastically fast and he can jump. He is developing his shot. For him it is more mental than physical; we need him to keep his head in the game.
PHS has two heady guards in junior Matt Hoffman and sophomore Scott Bechler.
We will have Hoffman and Bechler at the 1 and 2, said Carter. Hoffman has been working hard. He had a good cross country season; he is a three-sport athlete. He is fast and his shot is coming along.
If the Little Tigers are to have a shot at a big season they will need 67 senior Eamon Cuddy to bounce back from a series of leg injuries.
Cuddy has some tendinitis in his knee; we are hoping that he makes it on the court for the opener, said Carter. He may have to play through pain this season. He has a good shooting touch. He can draw big guys out to him on the perimeter and open up lanes for the other guys to drive.
One player who could take advantage of some room in the paint is 66 sophomore forward Lior Levy, the son of former Princeton University hoops star and current Mercer County Community College basketball coach Howard Levy.
Lior has been working hard; when he gets past the nervous stage, he can be one of our smoothest players, said Carter.
He is smart. He can handle the ball and he may be our best passer. He has a good basketball IQ and savvy. He needs to work on the physical stuff; he needs to get faster and stronger and get more endurance.
The Little Tigers should get some strong play inside from junior forward Ben Harrison.
He is 61 but he plays like he is 63, maintained Carter, who will also be using 62 junior Ian Finnen in the frontcourt.
He contests every rebound and he bangs inside. He is a lefty so he mixes things up on offense. He has a good mid-range jumper and he can hit the 3-pointer. He has developed confidence in his shooting.
Carter is confident that his squad can develop into something special with the right blend of chemistry and grit.
We need to learn from our mistakes quickly; the guys need to develop a sense of confidence, said Carter.
They need to trust each other more on and off the court. We need to be healthy and have a little bit of toughness and play through some things. Everyone has aches and soreness throughout the season. When everybody is healthy and playing together, the potential of this team is high.
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