My first day as a reporter at The Journal News was April 1, 1999 (seriously). I was a free-lance reporter the previous fall — just weeks after graduating from high school — and have covered a football game every fall Saturday, and been in 75-100 gyms each winter watching boys basketball, ever since.
So I feel qualified to tackle this monster of a project.
In the next 10 days, I’ll be selected the All-Decade teams for football and boys basketball. There will be a first- and second-team on the football side, with 25 selections in each, and will pick five teams in basketball, with five players on each.
Here’s the criteria I’ll be using:
— Players in both sports had to participate in games between Jan. 1, 2000 to Dec. 31, 2009. So a football player who graduated in 2000 won’t be eligible because he technically played in the 1999 season.
— The eligible players must have played in: Section 1 (including Dutchess), or any of the local CHSAA or private schools.
— Players who attended schools outside of the coverage area (ie Don Bosco Prep, Brunswick, a school in Florida) will not be taken into consideration.
And this is the most important:
— What the player accomplished AFTER THEY LEFT HIGH SCHOOL WILL NOT BE FACTORED INTO THE DECISION. There are plenty of examples of kids who were very good in high school but were great in college, and vice-versa. The high school resume will be all that is counted in this process.
With these teams, I’ll also be selected a Player of the Decade, a Coach of the Decade, a Team of the Decade in each sport.
Of course, I’ll need your help. Please offer your nominees here. Don’t feel obligated to nominate Ray Rice or Ben Gordon. I’ve got them marked down already. What I want is for you to refresh my memory of somebody, perhaps, in 2001 that ran for 1,500 yards or scored 1,200 points.
I have already produced a rough draft for all teams, which I’m sure I’ll revise countless times of the next week.
Please, spread the word to family, friends and, especially, former players who might be in line to land a spot. Knowledge and expertise will decide who is picked. But Heisman-like hype definitely helps, too.
Good luck (to me).