Daily Gazette all-star Joe Cremo of Scotia-Glenville has made a verbal commitment to play basketball for coach Will Brown at the University at Albany.
Cremo, a 6-foot-3 junior forward, will follow the paths of several former area standouts who wore the Great Danes’ purple, including Jason Graber of Schalmont, Todd Cetnar of Amsterdam, Lucious Jordan of Colonie and Barry Cavanaugh of Rensselaer.
“He had two specs that had to be met,” said Tartans coach Jim Giammattei. “He wanted to play Division I basketball, and he wanted to be local so people could come see him play. Albany offered, and there you have it.”
Cremo finalized his college plan Wednesday with a phone call to Brown. Later that evening, he attended UAlbany’s 73-72 double-overtime America East Conference win against Maryland Baltimore County at SEFCU Arena.
“I knew it would be a great for me,” said Cremo. “I went to the school and had a meeting [with Brown], and after I left, I talked to my parents and my coaches, and I called him back.
“Now I can just focus on playing and leading my team.”
Cremo will receive an athletic scholarship, and join a UAlbany team that won AE championships and advanced to the NCAA tournament in 2005, 2006 and last season.
“I’ve seen them play and I’ve been to some of their practices. I love the way they play, and I think it will be a great environment for me,” said Cremo. “They want to get rebounds and go, and in the halfcourt, they run their sets.”
Cremo averaged 21 points, 12.4 rebounds and 4.2 assists last season for the 22-1 Tartans, who won the Foothills Council title and their second straight Section II Class A championship. Aside from his Gazette All-Area first-team nod, Cremo earned league and Section II tournament most valuable player honors. He also made the all-state third team.
“Joe has so many different skills. He’s great with the ball. He’s a fantastic passer. He can shoot and penetrate,” said Giammattei. “You put five guys on the floor who can do that, and you’re going to win a lot of games.”
Cremo was averaging 28 points, 11.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists through nine games for the state’s No. 3-ranked team. He scored a career-high 33 points when Scotia-Glenville beat Newburgh Free Academy in the opening round of the Arthur Hilliard Memorial Tournament at Schenectady, 79-65, and clinched the event’s MVP award with 31 the next night in a 75-68 victory over the host Patriots.
“People project him as a guard, but it’s too early to tell. He’s going to put on 20 pounds of muscle and he could be an inch, and inch and a half taller,” said Giammattei. “I’m sure Will Brown will find a use for him, but where is to be determined.”
“I have no problem wherever they want to play me,” said Cremo.
Cremo has never had a problem with hard work. That’s what got him to the varsity as a freshman and made him an all-star performer.
“Some people work hard to get a scholarship. Joe will continue to work hard,” said Giammattei. “He’s going to be relentless now and do everything he can to be the best he can.”
“I can’t stop now,” Cremo said. “I’ve reached one of my goals, to play Division I basketball, but it’s a new level and I’ve got to get better and stronger.”
An honor roll student with a 93 career classroom average, Cremo will study business administration at UAlbany. Princeton, Columbia, Elon and New Jersey Institute of Technology also expressed interest in Cremo.
“I had other schools look at me, but no other school had as much interest,” he said. “I felt the same way.”
What they’re doing
Former Bishop Maginn wide receiver Derrek Thomas has accepted a full athletic scholarship from Temple University and will be eligible to play spring ball with the Owls of the American Athletic Conference.
The 6-foot-4, 180-pound Thomas played for Milford Academy in New Berlin this past season and caught 15 passes for 446 yards and four touchdowns. His Milford teammates included former Schenectady quarterback Kwame Jarvis and former Shenendehowa receiver Kyle Buss.
Thomas led all of Section II with 856 receiving yards during the 2012 season. The two-time Class A Southeast Division first-team all-star had 39 receptions that season and scored seven touchdowns, and added another in the Section II senior game.
Fresoni up for award
Brian Fresoni, a longtime high school assistant and director of football for the Scotia-Glenville Junior Tartans, is a national semifinalist for the Positive Coaching Alliance’s Double-Goal Coach Award.
PCA anually honors 20 youth and high school football coaches from across the nation who strive to win, but moreover, excel in teaching life lessons through the game, emphasize maximum effort and improvement, employ proper motivation techniques, and stress sportsmanship and honor.
Fresoni was nominated by board members of the Scotia-Glenville Junior Tartans.
“It’s nice to be appreciated in your own back yard,” said Fresoni.
Fresoni played quarterback for Larry Mulvaney at Mont Pleasant from 1974-76, and later competed at Southern Connecticut and with the Metro Mallers semi-pro team. He began his coaching career with Belmont Pop Warner in 1978. He’s had stints with high school teams at Mont Pleasant, Mohonasen and Schenectady, and this past fall completed his first season as an assistant coach at Scotia-Glenville.
“I can’t say enough about what Carm DePoalo did for me as far as coaching,” said Fresoni, who first worked alongside DePoalo in Belmont Pop Warner and later joined him at Mohonasen and Schenectady. “He instilled in me how I look at kids and how I teach kids. I owe him a great debt of gratitude.”
Fresoni has been involved with the Junior Tartans for three years as its director and a coach.
“When I got back to the youth level, it took me three practices to realize this is not all about winning,” he said. “There’s so much teaching involved. There’s so much more than football.”
The Junior Tartans organization serves as a feeder program for the Scotia-Glenville High School teams.
“There’s a good feeling going around here for football. We’ve gone from 30 to 100 kids over the last three years, and we have three levels now,” said Fresoni. “We’re building for the future.”
The PCA will announce its Double-Goal Coach Award finalists next month, and they will be honored at the PAC’s annual banquet in April at Stanford University.
Bethlehem senior Gunnar Zemering is the only Section II swimmer to crack 22 seconds in the 50-yard freestyle this season, and the reigning state champion has done it three times.
The Eagles tri-captain went 21.93 Tuesday in a meet with Saratoga Springs, and also clocked a 21.62 against Niskayuna and a Bethlehem pool-record 21.34 against Guilderland/Voorheesville which currently stands as the No. 2 time in the state.
Zemering won state public school and Federation titles as a junior in an incredible swim from lane 8 when he posted a school-record 21.10. Zemering became only the second Bethlehem swimmer to win a state title following Ken Neff (100 backstroke) in 1979.
The Section II 50 free record of 20.65 was set by Niskayuna star Mike DeRocco when he claimed the state title in 2006.