Well today is just the worst. Sunday’s without football— and no I’m not considering that abomination called the “Pro Bowl” football— just leaves you feeling empty inside.
Luckily we have another basketball-based college notebook to keep you all occupied. This one focuses on Orangeburg-based Dominican, a team that has found some success thanks to players right in their backyard. New Rochelle’s A.J. Burton (pictured above) and Pearl Rivers’ Joe Clinton (pictured below, right) have played key roles for the potentially tournament-bound Chargers.
I also have some updates on everyone’s favorite Bearcat Sean Kilpatrick, and fellow Tiger alumni Ra’Shad James (pictured below, left)
James is an interesting story. His Division I dreams seemed to be dashed early, as his grades did not reach the NCAA minimum. James would spend two years at St. Thomas Aquinas where he was named East Coast Conference Co-Rookie of the Year in his first year and second-team All-ECC honors as a sophomore.
James piqued the interest of Tim Cluess, who had coached against him while with C.W. Post in the ECC. When Cluess left the Pioneers to take over the Gaels in April of 2010 he offered James a spot.
After sitting out the mandatory one year due to transfer rules, James was unhappy with his playing time during the 2011-12 season with Iona.
This past summer James transferred to NAIA Division II Northwood (Fla.), the 2012 national runner-up, where he would be able to immediately play.
Despite the fact he hadn’t played a college game since the spring of 2010, James showed no rust. He re-introduced himself to collegiate athletics with a monster dunk in the Seahawks second game, an exhibition against Kentucky, that would earn him a spot on Sportcenter’s “Top 10”.
James is averaging 24 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.8 assists on a Northwood team that is currently 21-2, and appears primed to make another appearance in the national championship game.
I’ll have more about James story— I’m literally only scraping the surface— in the coming weeks.
In the meantime, if you’re wondering if the 6-foot-1 James has lost any of the hops that made him famous at White Plains, look no further than this video from Northwood’s Midnight Madness…
A trio of locals have helped the Dominican men’s basketball team to the top of the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference standings with only seven games remaining in the regular season.
Head coach Joseph Clinton, an Albertus Magnus graduate, his son Joe (pictured below, right), a Pearl River graduate and New Rochelle’s A.J. Burton (pictured above) are all part of a Chargers team that has posted a 15-3 record as of Saturday.
Burton, a sophomore guard, has been a jack-of-all-trades coming off the bench for the Chargers. Considered by Clinton to be the best sixth man in the conference, Burton is third on the team in points (9.5) and assists (1.6) per game and second in rebounds (5.2).
“The sky is the limit for him,” Clinton said. “His minutes are getting longer because he makes plays for us.”
The younger Clinton, a freshman guard, has allowed his father the luxury of resting senior guard Leon Porter, the team’s leading scorer. Clinton, who was originally considering redshirting this season, has averaged 2.5 points and 16.3 minutes a game.
“He doesn’t score a lot, but he does everything else,” Clinton said. “He puts the ball in the right position. He’s a coach’s kid.”
While Nanuet’s John Brezovsky and Brandon Day, a Saunders graduate, both have seen limited time as freshmen, Clinton says that’s more a product of the team having six seniors.
In his 22nd year with Dominican, Clinton has never had a team make the NCAA tournament since the school joined in 2002, moving from the NAIA. This year he feels things could be different.
“If we can continue to win we probably can sneak in and get an at-large bid even if we don’t win the conference tournament, so that’s why every game is important for us,” Clinton said.
Player of the week honors: Cincinnati’s Sean Kilpatrick and Northwood’s Ra’Shad James, both White Plains graduates, were named Big East and NAIA Division II player of the week in men’s basketball.
Kilpatrick scored a career-high 36 points, including the eventual game-winner, in the Bearcats’ 71-69 overtime win against No. 25 Marquette. James averaged 27.7 points and eight rebounds as the Seahawks went 3-0 last week.
Iona Prep graduate Brinsley Johnson, a swimmer at Mount Saint Vincent, was named Skyline Conference men’s rookie of the week after winnning the 100-yard butterfly and 100 breaststroke in the Dolphins’ meet with Old Westbury.
Woodlands graduate David Haughton, a junior forward at Purchase, was named Skyline player of the week after averaging 14 points and eight rebounds as the Panthers went 2-0 last week.