Collin Stewart of Mekeel Christian Academy has made a verbal commitment to play basketball for four-time NCAA Division I tournament participant Monmouth University and new coach King Rice.
The 6-foot-7 all-star narrowed a large group of schools down Army, University at Albany and Monmouth before choosing to play at the New Jersey institution. Monmouth competes in the Northeast Conference.
“They’re looking for him to contribute,” said Mekeel coach Chad Bowman. “They want to see him on the court right off the bat, where Army and Albany wanted to red-shirt him. That was an appealing thing.”
Stewart was named the Western Athletic Conference Southern Division Most Valuable Player and earned a spot on the Section II Class BB all-tournament team as a junior. He averaged 20.7 points, 8.2 rebounds and 2.6 assists and 2.2 steals from his point guard spot while leading then-Schenectady Christian School to an 18-2 mark.
“Collin is an intriguing player,” said Bowman. “He has a perimeter skill set, but he’s 6-7. Not only can he shoot from 25 feet, he can go inside and dunk it. That combination is rare.”
Stewart scored in double figures in every game as a junior, including 29-point efforts in wins against Mayfield and Duanesburg. He made seven three-point hoops and totaled 27 points in a win over Sharon Springs.
“He [Rice] went after him hard. He saw Collin and liked him,” Bowman said. “The nice thing is, when Collin goes in, he’ll be one of his guys.”
Stewart will receive a full athletic scholarship from Monmouth.
“We’ve had several scholarship players, but he’s the first Division I kid,” Bowman said. “I’m extremely proud of Collin. He worked hard to improve his game and really progressed.”
Pats to host Hilliard
Schenectady High School will be hosting its Arthur Hilliard Memorial Basketball Tournament for the first time since 2008, with Green Tech, Albany Academy and Newburgh Free Academy joining the Patriots for the event’s revival in December.
“I wanted it back,” said second-year Schenectady coach Eric Loudis. “It’s good for our school. It’s good for the community. It’s good for our whole area.”
The Hilliard has showcased numerous star players, from Pat Riley and Lew Alcindor, who led their Linton and Power Memorial teams to championships in 1961 and 1963, to Jimmer Fredette and Jordan Stevens, who spearheaded title runs for Glens Falls and Saratoga Springs in 2006 and 2008, respectively.
Schenectady strung together 10 straight championships from 1996-2005 behind such standouts as Willie Deane, Rashawn Freeman, James Thomas, Jason McKrieth and Andy Robinson.
“Back in the day, it was the area’s premier event,” said Loudis.
The boys’ varsity-only tourney at the Pat Riley Sports Center will begin Dec. 29 as Albany Academy takes on NFA at 6 and Green Tech meets Schenectady at 7:45. Game times are the same for Dec. 30 for the consolation and championship.
New look at Niskayuna
Niskayuna High School will have a different look on the basketball court and on the bench this season, with first-time varsity coach Ian McShane leading the Silver Warriors.
McShane was hired last spring to replace Mike Black, and inherits a team that graduated seven seniors, including scoring leaders Kyle Bayly, John-Michael Fragnoli and Peyton Houghtaling.
“I’m looking forward to getting started. There are certainly some challenges ahead, but I can’t wait,” said the 29-year-old McShane. “Come Nov. 7, we’re going to hit the ground running.”
McShane wants his team to do that often as it strives to improve on last season’s 8-8 Suburban Council and 8-11 overall records.
“I want the kids to be aggressive at both ends of the court. I want them constantly attacking,” McShane said. “I want them to go up and down. Get out in transition and get into people on defense. It’s a fun style to teach, and the kids enjoy playing that way.”
McShane will be working with several first-time varsity athletes and several others who saw limited action last season. Chris Giglio is the only player back who saw significant time, and scored as many as 12 points four different times.
“They did a really good job in the spring and summer committing themselves. We’ve got kids who really love being in the gym,” said McShane. “They’re willing to be coached and to be taught. They want to be good.”
McShane learned the coaching craft from some good ones, starting with a four-year stint as Bob Montana’s assistant at Union College. He was the junior varsity coach at Schenectady for three years when Mark Sausville ran the varsity, and last season was a varsity assistant at Shenendehowa, working with Tony Dzikas.
“I feel very fortunate to have worked with those guys,” said McShane, who teaches social studies at Oneida Middle School in Schenectady. “I learned a lot from all of them.”
Pool records set
Niskayuna swimmers set three pool records, and the host Silver Warriors defeated Shenendehowa in a dual meet for the first time in eight years on Wednesday.
Rachel Wurth, Grace Matuszyk, Maggie Jordan and Kina Zhou joined for a pool record in winning the 200-yard medley relay (1:50.84) to start the Suburban Council meet, and Niskayuna never trailed in outscoring Shenendehowa, 100-86.
Zhou set pool records in the 200 individual medley (2:08.08) and in the 100 freestyle (52.97) as the leadoff swimmer on Niskayuna’s 400 relay. Olivia Samson of Shenendehowa set a pool record in the 200 free (1:53.34).
Niskayuna improved to 6-0 in the council while Shenendehowa dipped to 5-1. Niskayuna edged Shenendehowa for the Division I team title at last season’s Section II championships (399-398).
Here and there
Greenwich senior Dani DeGregory scored four goals, including the 100th of her career, in a 9-0 non-league field hockey win over Hudson Falls Monday. DeGregory is Section II’s career goal scoring leader, and single-season record-holder with 49 as a junior. She has 26 goals this year. . . .
There will be no admission charge at Fonda-Fultonville Saturday for the 1 p.m. Braves Class C football game with Coxsackie-Athens. Spectators will be asked to donate at the gate, though, with proceeds going to Breast Cancer Awareness and Section II Coaches vs. Cancer.
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Categories: High School Sports