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Q&A: All-WNY basketball 2010

There were 63 comments on the "The 2010 All-WNY boys basketball team: How'd we do?" as of Monday afternoon, and here's an attempt to answer them.

Here we go, starting from the first comments made. Click on the link to see the original comment in its entirety.

Have more questions? We'll be online live for a chat at 9:30 p.m. Wednesday.

* * *

First off, thanks to very good responses to questions by Prep Talk Nation regulars:

* jackherlan, who had a great response concerning this year's all-Catholic team;

* McShea Is God (hey, I didn't make up the name, but I don't mind it :-) ), who made a simple but a great point lost on many protesters: If we added all the players that people wanted us to add, the team would be 30 or 40 players instead of 20;

* From the front row, who made several good points.

* * *

Hoops100 (bonus points for being the first comment on the blog): "How did Domonique [Jackson of East] get selected for 2nd team when he missed at least 5 games maybe more for academic reasons."

A good comment. This is the All-WNY basketball team. It's not the All-WNY academic basketball team or the All-WNY no-mistakes team. It's about basketball first and foremost.

Now, if a player is suspended for so many games that it adversely affects his team, as it did with Jackson, that certainly will affect a player's candidacy.

Several East players were suspended late in the Yale Cup season but Jackson missed the most games. That did affect his candidacy. I have said (and written) many times that there are almost always six or seven candidates for the first team but only five spots. Jackson was definitely a first-team candidate.

* * *

Regular season: "Looks like the regular season doesn't mean much as players from Nichols, Maple Grove, St. Mary's, and Middle College all moved up the charts because of TEAM playoff runs. A little disconcerting considering the lower level of competition played against by all but Nichols in the postseason. In some cases it's almost like comparing Division III basketball to Division I basketball in the NCAA."

OK. A lot of wrong-headedness to straighten out here. 

The regular season certainly means a lot. But the All-Western New York team has always honored outstanding postseason performances, as well it should. Yes, the teams made those runs, but why are those teams so good? Pardon the tweak of an expression, but "It's the players, stupid."

Disconcerting considering the lower level of competition? There are five different classes in the state (and much different leagues, and much different schedules, and much different calibers of competition, which is very much like comparing NCAA Division I to III), and every year we have to balance things out, but ultimately the All-WNY team is the best players who had the best seasons. If we only rewarded teams that played Nichols' level of competition, this year the All-WNY team would be extremely small -- because absolutely no team's schedule came close to Nichols'. 

The first sentence is not true on different levels. Of course the regular season means something. In addition, several players were in the All-WNY mix no matter what happened. Chris Secky was a first-teamer last year. Postseason had little to do with where he ended up. Vince Kazmierczak and St. Mary's won one game in the state playoffs -- how could that be a make-or-break situation for All-WNY? Answer: It wasn't.  

* * *

Title: "The regular season means absolutly nothing. ... Canestro 2nd team???? C'mon now, he was hurt for 11 games!! The news just looks that he made 3rd team last year so he certainly has to be at least 3rd or better this year. ... Don't get me wrong, Ron is a good player but he took a back seat on that team this year when Wier came in. I'd have him 4th team."

We just look at last year and move players up? Wrong. Dead wrong. There were several cases this year where players did not move up; it was just a circumstance of a very good year of basketball.

Canestro was an extremely important part of just the second large school team from WNY to win a Federation title. That can not be underestimated. Nichols is one of the very best teams from WNY in the last decade. It proved itself against a superior schedule.

Canestro missed 11 games, but he played 20. In his absence, Nichols was a far different team. He may have taken a back-seat to Wier scoring-wise, but his game is among the most well-rounded in WNY. 

* * *

CougarSzal: "3rd team for Troy Nowak? Should have been 2nd. ... He was the only reason OP won Div. I and beat Jamestown twice. ... What I don't understand is how a certain guard made 1st team while being suspended for breaking team rules and that suspension cost his team at least a co-championship. One of the best post players I saw this year was Moore from Olean and he was nowhere to be found."

We'll go backwards with this one:

Alex Moore of Olean was an honorable mention.

So Nowak was the only reason OP beat Jamestown twice (including at Jamestown), but a certain guard's suspension (Rivera missed the home game against OP) cost his team at least a co-championship. You have to pick one of those, because you can't have it both ways. And even if you pick one of them, they're both wrong.

Nowak is an excellent player who had an excellent season. I would differ with the claim that he was the only reason OP beat Jamestown twice.

In the second game at OP, he had a terrific shot, but the entire Quaker team was part of one of the most amazing comebacks I've ever seen (Joe Lombardo was all over the place stealing the ball, Dan Nesci was among other teammates making plays as well). 

In the first game at Jamestown, Rivera did not play (along with several other Red Raiders) due to suspensions. Rivera missed two games, as did several of his teammates, so I don't think it's accurate to say that Rivera's suspension alone cost them at least a share of the league title. Jamestown was decimated by the suspensions. 

Like I mentioned above, this is the All-WNY basketball team. Rivera (and many of his teammates) made a mistake and they paid for it during the regular season. In the playoffs, he -- as he has done his entire career -- was the go-to guy for Jamestown, and he led the Red Raiders to an AA championship. In our opinion, he was a special talent in Western New York, he put together a tremendous resume both individually and team-wise, and he was rewarded for it. 

* * *

Jared: "First of all Nichols is an average team without Regan. Middle College, no matter how you slice the numbers, has a collection of some of the best city players playing in Class-C, dominating their way to a state title, blowing out everyone on the way. These two teams take up 7 of the 20 All WNY team honors. They are all good players, but only a couple could have carried these teams on their own."

Nichols is an average team without Regan. Duh. He's the two-time Player of the Year and he's going to Virginia. With Regan -- and, very importantly, with Wier and Canestro (not to mention MacKinnon and Vandegriff), Nichols is one of the best teams to come out of Western New York in a long time. That's because Wier and Canestro are very, very good.

Middle College stormed through the Class C playoffs, sure. Like that's a bad thing? They also were the Yale Cup champions and many consider then the second-best overall team in Western New York.

Only a couple could have carried these teams on their own? I'm not sure what that even means. Might be time for another "duh." We take into account the teams that players are on and they help they have. Some teams went far in the postseason because they had several top players, some teams didn't go as far because they had one, and those different kinds of teams are all represented on the All-WNY team.

* * * 

Lopez: "I agree no way they should have split player of the year, complete bailout by Keith and the news. Regan is an ACC player Secky going DII. Sure they both had great seasons, however one is playing in the MMA and one is playing in class D. Both should be first team, but no way should they have split."

A worthy and fairly popular sentiment. But please, it wasn't a "bailout." Of course Regan is an elite player and he has elite credentials. In our opinion, Secky, despite being in Class D, is one of the best players we have ever covered, is also an elite player, and accomplished tremendous things as a high school player.

It made more sense to us to name them both Players of the Year than just one. We do not like naming more than one award-winner (it is extremely rare with our football and basketball awards), but after much deliberation we thought both were worthy of the honor. Also, while some may think differently, naming both players to the honor is not a knock in any way on Regan and it should not be viewed as such. Regan had as good a season as he could have in what was a fantastic, championship senior year -- and we think the same thing could be said about Secky.  

* * *

GoodcallBuffNews: "Secky deserved POY honor; congrats to him and to Regan; right call and good call Keith."

Whoops. Somebody pleased? How that get in here? :-) 

* * *

Yikes: "This is why alot of people (including coaches) take the All-WNY selections with a grain a salt. Its totally based on postseason and not on what players actually had the best overall seasons. The funny thing is Canestro and Wier didn't even make 1st team MMA yet they are 2nd team ALL-WNY. Davis from NT and Helton from Canisius got the shaft big time, they should have been 2nd team. The coaches in the MMA collectively voted Helton over Wier and Canestro 1st team MMA yet they are both ahead of him All-WNY. Keith and the news must believe they are a better judge of talent than the MMA coaches. The process of selecting players to All-Wny needs to be re-evaluated. Each coach should get a ballot to vote and the teams should be picked based off all the coaches in WNY votes. Not based on the opinions of 1 or 2 people at the news. That would be a fair and unbiased way to do it."

We've taken on the only-postseason claims above, and we've also cited jackherlan's good response concerning the all-Catholic team. 

The All-Catholic team is picked before the postseason, which obviously we think should rightly have a lot of weight in All-WNY honors. Plus, all-league teams are selected in various methods and they end up being determined by votes by coaches. On many occassions you will see deep teams penalized in all-league voting because either the votes would be split (which I think probably happened with the All-Catholic vote, especially since Wier is a sophomore and Canestro had returned just before the postseason -- I could see coaches not voting for either for those reasons) or just because there are only so many votes to go around. If there is an obvious singular choice, especially a senior, on a team like Canisius or St. Francis or Timon (which there were this season), those players will often past the second or third players from another team.

We don't think we know better than coaches, we're just trying to pick the team as best we can.

The All-WNY process needs to be reevaluated? Shockingly, we disagree.

The All-WNY team, as has been the case since its inception, is published by and selected by The Buffalo News (or the Courier-Express before it). We try and come up with the best team we can.

Every coach gets a vote and we add them all up and everything is perfect? I don't think so. We ask for ballots from all coaches, and we don't get all of them back. Of those that come back, some are very good ballots, some are incomplete, some are obviously skewed by what league or class a particular coach is in.  

Even if you came up with a magical nonexistent formula for the perfect, fair, unbiased All-WNY team, as soon as it was released you'd have someone complaining about it. Just like you did, and just like happens every year. 

* * *

ron: "Kind of shocking scarcello didn't at least make 4th team when canestro and weir are on 2nd team..those 2 guys didn't make first team all catholic"

The All-Catholic thing is addressed above, but I can say that Mike Scarcello was one of the toughest "cuts" from the top 20. He is a terrific player and simply played like a warrior in the postseason.

* * * 

Thinking About It: "As far as POY selection, maybe it is about advancing post season or writing a nice story with a happy ending for two deserving players. Hard to make an argument that it was about the regular season. Take a look at the 3 games they had with a common opponent, for example. Secky's team lost to Olean by 16, St. Joes by 28, and St. Mary's by 6. Will's team beat Olean by 26, St. Joes by 7 and 22, and St. Mary's by 35 and 27. Congratulations to Will Regan, POY."

The most important thing about high school sports is perspective. This person obviously has none.

Maple Grove does a great job to play a tough schedule despite being a Class D team. Nichols is a loaded Class A team. Nichols is a much, much better team than Maple Grove, which noone is arguing. Common opponents used for a comparison of two players on drastically different teams. You've got to be kidding me.

* * *

Joe: "Postseason awards are for the best outstanding individuals, not teams. Now obviously alot of the best individuals are going to be on the best teams, but the point is the news goes completly overboard. Check out when the NCAA honors all americans, Evan Turner was POY, Ohio State wasn't the best team in the country. James Anderson of Oklahoma St made 2nd team and his team didn't even make the NCAA tournament! If Keith were picking all-americans Gordon Hayward from Butler would have been 1st team all-american. Keith you always like to write disclaimers, next year you just write a disclaimer that All-Wny selections are based solely on the postseason. There is no way Briggs is not one of the top 5 players in the area, that is a travesty. Also its laughable that the news feels the 2nd and 3rd best players on Nichols are better than Canisius (4th ranked team in WNY) best player who averaged 21 per game."

Here's a disclaimer for you: Some comments on the blog are ridiculous.

I'm throwing your overboard claim overboard. The NCAA comparison is a decent one, but it is apples and oranges. All-Americans are based on a much longer regular season and are separate from the NCAA Tournament. High school players play fewer games (even fewer this year than last), and their seasons are defined by the playoffs. Do something exceptional in the postseason, like Nichols players did, and that will certainly help your case. 

Let's reserve the word "travesty" for when it really applies.

Briggs was a first-team caliber player and was part of an extremely difficult decision.

Scoring averages are interesting to look at, but just because one player averages a lot for one team doesn't automatically place that player ahead of others. Helton was obviously Canisius' top player, a two-time All-WNY honoree and part of a difficult decision. 

Nichols proved to be at a completely different, much higher level than Canisius -- it proved it late in the Monsignor Martin Association season (twice) and then continued to do so against some of the best programs in the state in winning the Federation title. That led to us making the selections we did.

Again, Nichols was one of the best team WNY produced in the last decade. There is a reason for that.

* * *

Olean Snub: "Olean ranked ahead of Middle College all year in Small Schools Poll. Arguably their best player gets hurt and they still cruise in Class B Sectionals, but don't make it to Glens Falls. They get 1 player on 4th Team. Middle College gets 4 players in the Top 20 (all good players by the way). But where were these voters who had Olean as the better team all year when Alex Moore and Ryan Carney end up only HM?"

Couple of different things going on here. In the final small school poll, Middle College had nine first-place votes and Olean had one. I had Olean at No. 1 all season but, as you can see on my final ballot, Middle College showed me (and almost everyone else) that they were superior. That gave their players an edge.

Olean was tremendously difficult to figure as far as the All-WNY team goes. Joe Palumbo (our fourth-team pick), Ryan Carney and Alex Moore all are standout players. On our All-WNY ballots, there was support for different players. Palumbo was the league player of the year. Moore was the BCANY's top honoree. Carney was on many ballots as well. But in a season like this, real estate was limited in the top 20. If Olean goes farther in the postseason, they probably get another pick. If Moore doesn't get hurt (a heartbreaker for he and the Huskies) and plays the last two games, Olean probably goes further and he is more in the All-WNY mix.

* * *

Funny: "I laughed about the comment of a Butler player being MVP of the tournament or whatever because that is just how the ALL WNY is however deep you go in the playoffs voola you're guarenteed a spot even if it's a mediocre player."

I'm glad you're not overreacting. There are no mediocre players on the entire All-WNY list, all 60 of them.

* * *

fan: "really question some of the picks for these teams and how some great players didnt even make the list thats to bad for all the work they put in"

This may sound harsh, but here we have one of the most laughable protestations by critics of high school sports coverage. "But they work hard, too." This is not the All-Diligence team. If it were, we would need 1,000 spots to honor all the players that make high school hoops the great sport that it is. 

* * * 

HoopFan: "Its obvious Keith has his favorites,Nichols and St.Marys among others.Which clearly explains a few of the selections.As far as the MMA all-league selections I believe they are made before the playoffs begin.With that said,Stan and Ron should both be on 2nd team b/c their regular season was not better than those selected.Stan had a fine playoff run but does that mean 2nd team,according to Keith,yes.Ron averaged 10 points and game and had a big game in the final of the year,does that mean hes 2nd team,according to Keith yes.Again,he has his favorites.There will always be kids disappointed thats just how it is.Briggs is a 1st teamer no matter how is team ended up,his "team" beat one of Keith's teams, OTC on OTC's homecourt late in the season."

Regarding the last sentence -- to quote Dwight Schrute: "False!" Sweet Home beat OTC in mid-January (not late in the season) at the MLK Classic, which was OTC's only loss and cited as a learning experience by the Kats for the rest of the season.

I know that information, of course, because OTC is one of "my" teams. Along with Nichols, St. Mary's ... and the other 90 or so in Western New York. 

I think you forgot Maple Grove as one of "my" teams, because then that would make "my" teams the four state champions from Western New York. The weakest argument is one that's not an argument at all, one that just howls bias.

Certainly not everyone is going to agree with our All-WNY decisions, but there was logic behind them.

* * *

Keep it 100: This guy numbered his questions so we'll go one-by-one:

"1st question: How did Coppola make 1st team over Briggs? Is it because Will South beat Sweet Home this year? The numbers that Briggs put up for his team are ridiculous. I believe 3 40-point games. It has to be solely because his team didnt make it to Buff State."

It does not and was not. Coppola is an exceptional and unique player who was in the first-team running all season along with Briggs. Briggs put up great individual numbers indeed and he is a first-team caliber player. To be fair, the 40-point games were not against great competition. Coppola's case was helped by his team's success, not limited to the Sweet Home victories. As with Rivera, he and Coppola are first-team caliber players who had outstanding seasons on their resumes, and yes, that did help.

"2nd question: How did Domonique Jackson make 2nd team after missing at least 5 games during the season because of academic reasons. If the coach would not have brought him back for sectionals at Buff State, he would not have made it to 2nd team."

Ah, hypotheticals. And if Jackson's East team beat South, maybe he would have made first team. But that didn't happen either. There's more on Jackson's All-WNY selection above.

"3rd question: How did Canestro make 2nd team when he missed about 11 games injured? Is it because they went to Glens Falls?"

Answered several times above. In short, because he's a great player and he deserved it.

"4th question: How does Chris Holland not make at least the second team when he almost averaged a trible-double this year? Thats rediculous. Is it because his team got knocked out early at Buff State? He's clearly one of the best guards in the area and he'll hands down make 1st team next year. I also dont believe Weir shouldve been 2nd team, he shouldve been 3rd if anything."

We'll just agree to disagree on this one. Holland is a superb multi-dimensional player and was a slam-dunk top 15 player.

"5th question: this is not even a question, there is no way that Nowak shouldve been selected above Davon Marshall, ok his team had a disappointing year but he's still one of the top 5 guard in wny."

I'm not sure you'll get a lot of support on that one. Nowak had a tremendous year and is an excellent player and this year there were just too many good players that had good years for too few spots.

* * *

Tim: "ITS NO WAY KERON BRIGGS SHOULD NOT OF BEEN ON 1ST TEAM CUM ON NOW PPG: 26.0 Assts.: 8.0 Steals: 5.0 SWEET HOMES OFFENCE NO FAREAL HIS WAS SWEET HOME THIS YEAR AND HE SCORED 1321 POINTS N HIS CAREER N WEN SWEETHOME LOST HE GAVE HIS ALL WITH 32 POINTS & MORE THEN A COUPLE 40 POINT GAMES. I NEVER SAW THE KID FROM JAMESTOWN PLAY BUT I HEARD HE WAS A PURE SHOOTER. ID PUT MY $$ ON BRIGGS SHOOTING AGAINST ANY1 OF THE 2010 ALL WNY TEAM AND HIS GAME IS WAY MORE THEN JUST A JUMPSHOT!!!!"

Key phrase in that comment: "I never saw the kid from Jamestown play.

As Drew Rosenhaus said, "Next question."

* * *

KY: "Keith just gave it to Secky as well to take the easy way out so he didn't have to hear it from all the southern tier people."

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner for Most Ridiculous All-WNY Theory.

* * *

Still Thinking About It: "Hats off to Secky. He had an excellent high school career. Still think Regan earned a singular POY award. Watch the Glens Falls game against JD and the 6'9", 270 pound Coleman, who the night before had some 31 rebounds and about the same number of points. Have to think that a match up between Nichols and Maple Grove would have produced a similar result."

Comparing Nichols and Maple Grove as teams in this argument is ridiculous. Of course Nichols would have blown out Maple Grove. Keep thinking.

* * *

Regular Season: [Click for the whole post - picked up halfway] Point totals are eclipsed that would not have been reached against better competition, allowing for some serious name dropping (Alcindor and Laettner - come on) and previous talk on here of a Division I quarterback and Division I basketball player fades. A great career no doubt, legendary stuff at a small school, but I guess Will Regan is lucky Maple Grove did not beat St. Mary's or McKinley, or he may not even be sharing Player of the Year honors after making Nichols one of the best teams in the whole state (not just Class C/D) for 4 years and earning a scholarship to Virginia.

The situation is what it is, but would the best player on 10-8 Hutch-Tech be WNY co-Player of the Year?

Like I already said I think Secky is a very good player, but I'm trying to offer up the idea behind some of the views that people on here have about the shared player of the year honors as a slight to Regan, and that's without getting too much into Will's outstanding resume.

The Hutch-Tech comparison is unnecessary and off-base. There's no need to bring in comparisons. Let's just talk about what is in front of us. Regan was The Player of the Year last year and he is again this year. Let's not be ridiculous and talk about if Maple Grove won some more games Secky would have the honor to himself. 

If it makes anyone feel any better, which I'm guessing it won't, barring injury or something unforseen, there was never a chance that Regan was not going to be the Player of the Year. We chose to also designate the honor to Secky because he had an exceptional season to cap off an exceptional career. He reached a level of excellence that we thought was worthy of him also receiving the honor. It's not a slight at all to Regan, and I don't think most people see it that way.

But here is the real issue. The person posting as Regular Season doesn't come off as pro-Regan, that comes off as anti-Secky. Why else bring up all the "talk on here?" 

We're all well aware what level of competition Secky played and what classification he's in. It definitely would take a lot for a Class D player to be named the Player of the Year along with a Class A player who has committed to an Atlantic Coast Conference school -- that's the point. It did take a lot. That's how much we think of Secky, his accomplishments and the type of player he is.

* * *

Mark Jones: "HOW DO YOU POSSIBLY PUT KERON BRIGGS ON 2ND TEAM KEITH??? I THOUGHT THAT THIS WAS YOUR JOB TO PICK THE BEST BASKETBALL PLAYERS IN THE AREA. KERON BRIGGS BY FAR IS BETTER THAN CARLOS RIVERA AND HE AVG 26 PPG. THE LAST GUARD I SEEN DO THAT WAS JONNY FLYNN AND HE AVG 27. YOU GUYS DONT GIVE ANY KIDS CREDIT. I GUESS THAT IF CHEEKTOWAGA WOULD OF WON STATES ,DEMARIO RHODES WOULD OF GOT IT OVER HIM EVEN THO BRIGGS IS A BETTER PLAYER...THATS A TERRIBLE CHOICE TO PUT RIVERA OVER HIM, THIS ALL WNY IS POLITICAL. BEST OF LUCK TO WHERE EVER HE GOES."

First of all, MAN THESE KERON BRIGGS FANS LIKE THE CAPITAL LETTERS.

Hey, I love Keron Briggs. I love him as a player and as a young man SO MUCH THAT I ROCKED THE CAPS LOCK FOR THE END OF THIS SENTENCE. He was outstanding in Sweet Home's loss to North Tonawanda. Almost scored at will.

Again, it was a tough decision and, as there are every year, there are too many first-team players for first-team spots.

But here is our main issue with this comment. We're actually glad we didn't hear this word earlier.

"THIS ALL WNY IS POLITICAL."

There we have it. The most short-sighted, ignorant word to use when disagreeing with the All-WNY team (that goes for football, too). The All-WNY team doesn't include my favorite player (or the player on my team, or the player I'm related to), so it must be political. It must be some who-you-know or The-News-must-like-some-coach-over-another or some other conspiratorial reason. It's ridiculous. Drives me nuts. Can you tell? :-)

Tell us our picks are wrong. Tell us our picks are insane. Tell us that McShea wouldn't know a basketball if Clarence's Tyler Funk dunked it on me. 

But don't cry politics.

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About Prep Talk

Keith McShea

Keith McShea

Keith McShea has covered high school sports at The News since his hiring in 1999. The 1995 University at Buffalo graduate and Long Island native (North Babylon Bulldogs) covers — and live blogs — everything from scrimmages to state championships & helps head The News' All-Western New York selections.

@KeithMcSheaBN | kmcshea@buffnews.com

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