One of the beauties of the Hamilton Park Summer League is the outdoor court location. Summer is the time to play ball outside which makes the league special. To keep the schedule moving however and avoid dreaded rainouts, games are moved inside.
The past Friday games were staged at McNair Academic High School, a long three pointer (plus) from the outdoor court. McNair has great air conditioning. On a humid Friday, we had none. In its infinite wisdom the Jersey City Board of Ed. decided to test the unit, not April, but May during a heat waver. It didn't work. With a month of school left, the board and city decided not to repair. Go figure. Just another part of the 'lore and legend' of the Jersey City schools.
Back to the games. Two were on tap officiating wise. They were grammar school games. Both contests the winners were the Junior Friars. They are eighth graders headed to prep power St. Anthony's in the Fall.The two games were closely contested as the Friars defeated the Jersey Jayhawks then Bayonne.
To no surprise St. Anthony's is very talented. There is a post player, about 6-8 and a left handed shooterwith a nice move on the blocks. Overall, the Junior Friars have speed and athleticism as well as a sense of what is expected on both ends of the floor and a willingness to learn. They weather serious challenges from the Jayhawks, a good AAU program, and local team Bayonne, an impressive unit in their own right.
Why is St. Anthony's so powerful through the decades ? Talent is a certainty. Add coaching, as expected, plus a quality of playing hard on both ends of the floor. Hall of Fame coach Bob Hurley directs a program where each of his assistants share and teach his philosophy. The freshman coach is directing the Junior Friars in the Summer. Again, he is in a teaching mode and even with a game in hand the final minute, fundamental errors will not be tolerated.
Post game the Junior Friars are instructed to gather all their water bottles, clean up and "leave their bench the way they found it." High school begins in three months for the Junior Friars but already their St. Anthony's education has begun.