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Oursler takes Grand Island experience to Robert Morris


Cassie Oursler
Photo by Harry Scull Jr.

By Aaron Mansfield

Cassie Oursler saw firsthand what it takes to become a Division I basketball player. During her first three years on the Grand Island girls squad, she played alongside Rhode Island guard Kallie Banker.

"She's a Division I player, and she had that intensity," Oursler said. "I learned a lot from her, how hard of a worker she was."

Now Oursler has reached the same level as Banker, as she prepares for her freshman season with Robert Morris University. Oursler, the 2012-13 Buffalo News Player of the Year, has spent this week on the campus of the suburban Pittsburgh, Pa., institution. She chatted with The News on the phone today.

"When I visited the team, everyone was very welcoming and the campus is beautiful," said Oursler, who will come back to Grand Island Saturday and move into her dorm at RMU at the end of August. "It's the perfect size. The coaches are awesome. The trainers are the coolest people ever. Everything just seemed to fit perfectly in what I wanted."

As for Oursler's training?

"A bunch of crazy stuff, but I enjoy it," she said.

Continue reading "Oursler takes Grand Island experience to Robert Morris" »

Crumpton latest to represent Falls as he prepares for Canisius basketball

Jermaine Crumpton
Forward Jermaine Crumpton sat down with The News today after a day of Canisius College basketball camp to discuss his transition from Niagara Falls High School into the Griffs' system.

By Aaron Mansfield

It's hard to believe it's been six years since Jonny Flynn was a senior at Niagara Falls High School. Jermaine Crumpton was 12 at the time, and his older brother, Michael, was a sophomore on Flynn's team.

"My brother, he's the reason I really started playing," Crumpton said. "I'd go watch him play. He got a chance to play his sophomore year with Jonny Flynn when he was a senior. I got a chance to go to his games and see how much fun he was having, and I just wanted to have fun, too."

Crumpton started playing basketball that year and has been a dominant force in the paint ever since. Now, after a distinguished high school career with the Wolverines, he is preparing to enter his freshman year with Canisius College. The 2012-13 First-Team All-WNY forward sat down with The News inside the Koessler Athletic Center press conference theater this afternoon, following a morning spent as a counselor at Canisius' summer basketball camp, and discussed his transition into the college game.

While fellow freshman Adam Weir (Canisius High School) has been with the Griffs for five weeks, Crumpton, who had a later high school graduation date, just joined the program this week. Keith Vinci, Canisius' head coach of athletic performance, is Crumpton's trainer.

"Crumpton has the body size; he just needs to grow into it," Vinci said. "He's still a baby in maturity level, still has the baby fat on him. He's kind of like Josiah Heath was … Crumpton has the frame so he can become a big, strong boy. He just needs to continue to work on it.

"Crumpton, in the three days I've seen him so far, he's given everything."

The trainer's goal for his newest project is getting Crumpton toned. Crumpton's goal for his game? Turning into more of a swingman rather than the low-post-bruiser role he occupied in high school en route to averaging 20 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks per game in his senior season.

Crumpton, at 6-foot-5, played the 4 or 5 in high school, but he's undersized to play power forward in the college game, even at the mid-major level.

"Right now, I'm still working on getting a good handle, still working on my jump shot more," he said. "I want to be able to step out and knock down shots. I want to get stronger, too."

The whole basketball team works out together, and they lift four days a week – an upper-body focus day, lower-body focus day, basic strength day, and full-body day, the last of which was on the slate for today. Vinci said Crumpton was working out with senior forward Chris Manhertz, one of the team's leaders, one day this week.

"Everything is circuit-based," Vinci said. "Because of the way [head coach Jim Baron] plays, these guys are constantly moving. So in the weight room, we're trying to replicate that while we're building some strength."

Vinci takes suggestions from Baron "every week or two" on focal points for each athlete in his training. Crumpton has only been around the team for four days now, but he knows at least one pillar of the Griffs' system.

"They're really up and down," he said. "They like to run, kind of similar to my high school. We liked to be a transition team."

While Crumpton is brand new to the weight-lifting side of training, he focused on his cardiovascular fitness before arriving at Canisius. Crumpton said he would either go play pick-up ball and train at gyms by his house – "just keep my body right," he said – or slide in his headphones and go for a jog. He enjoys listening to rap artist J. Cole when he runs, but he admitted he has not yet gotten a chance to listen to the rapper's red-hot new album, Born Sinner.

Crumpton is taking two summer classes – public speaking in the classroom, archaeology online - and plans to eventually earn his Master's degree in criminal justice from Canisius. 

The young man from Niagara Falls knew he wanted to become successful after watching James Starks and Flynn emerge from the area and thrive.

"The hardest thing was staying out of trouble, surrounding myself with the right people, staying focused and getting good grades in school," Crumpton said. "Basketball just motivated me to do that … [Starks and Flynn] put Niagara Falls on the map, letting people know where they came from. I was kind of young, but getting a chance to watch those guys, it was just amazing."

* * *

This interview is part of a story on Western New York’s four Division I-bound basketball players that will appear in The News within the next couple weeks. The Prep Talk blog will briefly highlight each interview before the full story appears in the paper. Here are links to the blogs about Canisius College guard Adam Weir, a Canisius High School graduate, and Harford University forward La'Trice Hall of Sacred Heart. Grand Island’s Cassie Oursler, who is headed for Robert Morris, has not responded to interview requests.

Follow reporter Aaron Mansfield on Twitter @aaroncmansfield.

Canisius' Ollison trims list of colleges to five: Penn State, Pitt, Rutgers, Syracuse & Wisconsin

By Keith McShea

Canisius' Qadree Ollison, who will be a senior this fall, trimmed his list of potential college destinations to five today via Twitter. 



A total of 15 Division I (Football Bowl Subdivision) schools offered scholarships to Ollison: Penn State, Temple, Wisconsin, Syracuse, Minnesota, Indiana, Iowa, Pittsburgh, Maryland, Cincinnati, Boston College, Rutgers, Connecticut, Nevada and the University at Buffalo.

Ollison's plan, according to Canisius football sources, is to verbally commit to a school on Sept. 4, two days prior to Canisius' season-opening game at McQuaid of Rochester. 

Ollison was selected (along with graduated senior Ryan Hunter) as The Buffalo News Player of the Year last season after he ran for a school-record 1,876 yards on 240 carries in the Crusaders' 11-0 season. 

The Niagara Falls native’s 25 rushing touchdowns were a school record, as were his 26 total touchdowns. With career totals of 2,679 yards and 35 total touchdowns, the junior is also now 401 yards and four touchdowns away from the Canisius records in both of those categories.

Sacred Heart's Hall prepping hard for Hartford


La'Trice Hall
Hartford-bound guard/forward La'Trice Hall does one-leg knee raises with weighted resistance on her shoulders as Cutting Edge Sports Training's Frank Colavecchia coaches.


By Aaron Mansfield

You wouldn’t know it's summertime based on La’Trice Hall’s demeanor. By 5:57 this morning, the time I arrived at Cutting Edge Sports Training in Amherst, Hall was halfway through her active-stretch warm-up routine.

The recently graduated Sacred Heart guard/forward is at midseason intensity right now, and her conditioning appears to be on the same level. Her work ethic should come as no surprise to Buffalo hoops fans who have seen her dominate on the court in helping the Sharks win back-to-back Monsignor Martin girls basketball championships as a starter.

Hall will move into her dorm at the University of Hartford July 7, and she wants to be in the best shape of her life when she arrives.

She allowed The News to sit in on today’s workout with trainer Frank Colavecchia, who has been working with her for two years. In that time, she has lost 18 pounds. The 5-foot-9 Hall was an All-WNY first-teamer after averaging a double-double last year.

The Cutting Edge philosophy is emphatic, followed by three exclamation points in its logo: “Revolutionize Your Game!!!” That’s exactly what Hall is trying to do.

Continue reading "Sacred Heart's Hall prepping hard for Hartford" »

Canisius' Adam Weir getting accustomed to college game in summer workouts

Adam Weir
James P. McCoy / Buffalo News

By Aaron Mansfield


As part of a story on local high school graduates preparing for their first year of college basketball, The News sat down with Canisius High School grad and Canisius College forward Adam Weir today. Weir is one of four Western New Yorkers who will play Division I ball this winter; Jermaine Crumpton (Niagara Falls, Canisius College), La'Trice Hall (Sacred Heart, Hartford) and Cassie Oursler (Grand Island, Robert Morris) are the others.

Weir has been making quite a few adjustments to his game; he was a small forward and power forward in high school and will handle the two-guard position in college. He said he is focusing primarily on improving his ball-handling and defense this summer, which are the areas in which he has struggled most to keep up in summer practice. Today, he was running five-on-five at Canisius' Koessler Athletic Center.

"I'm willing to do whatever we need," Weir said. "If they need me to play this year, I'll be more than ready, and if not, I'll do whatever we need."

Continue reading "Canisius' Adam Weir getting accustomed to college game in summer workouts" »

Canisius' Ollison to trim list of college suitors Monday

By Keith McShea

Canisius standout running back Qadree Ollison, who will be a senior this fall, will trim the list of 15 colleges which have offered him scholarships on Monday, Ollison told The News. 

The list expanded from 13 to 15 on Tuesday, when Penn State and Temple joined a list that had already included Wisconsin, Syracuse, Minnesota, Indiana, Iowa, Pittsburgh, Maryland, Cincinnati, Boston College, Rutgers, Connecticut, Nevada and the University at Buffalo. 

Ollison had planned to cut the list to four prior to recieving Tuesday's pair of offers. 

His plan, according to Canisius football sources, is to verbally commit to a school on Sept. 4, two days prior to Canisius' season-opening game at McQuaid of Rochester. 

Canisius' roster for the fall got a tremendous addition Tuesday when the Wheatley brothers, Tyrone Jr. and Terius, sons of new Buffalo Bills running back coach Tyrone Sr., officially enrolled at the Delaware Ave. school


Major football recruit Tyrone Wheatley Jr., and younger brother Terius, will attend Canisius High

By Keith McShea

The Canisius High School football team will have two major additions this fall. 

Tyrone Wheatley Jr., one of the most sought-after football recruits in the country, and his younger brother Terius, will play high school football at Canisius, The Buffalo News has learned.

It is one of the most significant arrivals in Western New York high school football history.

Tyrone Wheatley Jr. is a 6-feet-6, 250-pound defensive end and tight end who will be a junior this fall. He has already received scholarship offers from Alabama, Penn State, North Carolina, Syracuse and dad’s alma mater, Michigan.

Terius, who will be a sophomore, is a 5-11, 165-pound wide receiver and defensive back. 

Local high school fans have been awaiting the destination of the Wheatley brothers since their famous father, University of Michigan great and NFL standout running back Tyrone Wheatley, was hired as the Buffalo Bills running backs coach. Wheatley Sr. joined head coach Doug Marrone with the Bills after he was an assistant under Marrone at Syracuse University -- also as running backs coach. 

Photo credit:
Photo credit:
Both Wheatley brothers earned high marks at this past weekend's Sound Mind Sound Body Football Academy in Southfield, Mich., this past weekend.

At the camp, a picture was taken of Tyrone Sr. and his two sons. In the picture, published at's "Go Blue Wolverine" site (as well as other sites), Tyrone Jr. is wearing a Canisius T-shirt.  

When Canisius football officials were asked about the picture, they confirmed to The Buffalo News that the Wheatleys had completed their registration paperwork and put down a deposit for the 2013-14 academic year. Canisius coach Rich Robbins was unavailable for comment. 

While living in the Syracuse area, the Wheatley brothers attended Fayetteville-Manlius.

This transfer is at least on the level of that of Chad Kelly, who moved back to Western New York with his family from Pennsylvania during his sophomore year before beginning his St. Joe's quarterbacking career as a junior. While Kelly (nephew of Bills Hall of Famer Jim) would go on to receive many big-time college offers before committing to Clemson, he did not have them prior to his junior season.

The Wheatley brothers might be on the field with Canisius as soon as Saturday, when the Crusaders are schedule to participate at Lancaster's 7-on-7 passing league camp.

The Wheatleys are the second high-profile transfer for Canisius heading into next season. Brad Zaffram, a first-team All-Western New York selection as a sophomore for Sweet Home this past season, announced he would be transferring to Canisius in May.

Who's going where? College destinations of the Class of 2013

By Keith McShea

This is our working list of the college destinations of Western New York's student-athletes in the Class of 2013. 

"Working" means we are working on it and will be working on it. We've gathered a lot of names through our own research and the list is always being updated. Some sports have extensive lists because there are web sites ( and Niagara Frontier Volleyball) that keep track of these things.

Our list is based on signings reported to The News throughout the school year, as well as college press releases and other reliable sources.

Athletic directors, coaches, parents and athletes can help make additions to this list by emailing the information to or tweeting me at @KeithMcSheaBN.

We ask that submissions simply include: athlete, sport, college, competition level (NCAA Division I, II, III, NAIA, junior college) and any other pertinent information.

* * *


Mark Armstrong, Clarence -- Pittsburgh
Jonah Heim, Amherst -- Michigan State
Tyler Green, Williamsville North -- Vanderbilt
Kyle Zurak, Williamsville North -- Radford
Ben Haefner, Lancaster -- University at Buffalo
Brian Dudek, St. Mary's -- University at Buffalo
Chris Kwitzer, St. Mary's -- University at Buffalo
Jared Baldinelli, St. Joe's -- St. Bonaventure
Donny Kilian, St. Joe's -- University of Buffalo
Matt Matre, St. Joe's -- Canisius
Christ Conley, Lake Shore -- Canisius
Zach Trumpler, Iroquois -- Canisius
Kyle Liszewski, Canisius -- Canisius
Jack Trotman, Canisius -- UMass-Lowell
Damian Powers, Williamsville South -- Le Moyne (II)
Tyler Piasecki, Williamsville South -- Le Moyne (II)
Ian Allen, East Aurora -- East Stroudsburg (II)
Mario Bucolo, Amherst -- Tiffin (II)
Mark Materise, Clarence -- John Carroll (III)
Matt Michalski, St. Francis -- Cortland (III)
Salvatore Carroccia, St. Francis -- Hilbert (III)
Justin Crawley, Depew -- Hilbert (III)
Sean Driscoll, Depew -- Fredonia (III)
Tyler Wangler, Depew -- Fredonia (III)
Michael Prentice, St. Francis -- Fredonia (III)
Liam Kelly, Bishop Timon-St. Jude -- Fredonia (III)
Matt Connolly, Amherst -- Medaille (III)
Brandon Jewett, Frontier -- Medaille (III)
Tom Samar, City Honors -- Clarkson (III)
Chris Reid, Wilson -- Niagara CCC
Joey Colosi, Niagara Falls -- Niagara CCC
Lucas Schaefer, St. Mary's -- Niagara CCC
Austin Speaker. Starpoint -- Monroe CC

Continue reading "Who's going where? College destinations of the Class of 2013" »

Live from Championship Saturday: Hamburg, Frewsburg win softball titles; Fredonia wins baseball championship; Clarence, Will South fall in baseball finals (with video)

2013 Class B baseball state champion Fredonia Hillbillies. (Keith McShea/Buffalo News)
By Keith McShea

This is it. The last day of high school sports competition in New York State.

(Except if you are a golfer, some of you will play on Sunday :-) ).

I'm headed to Binghamton to monitor four Section VI baseball teams in the state final four: Clarence (Class AA), Williamsville South (A), Fredonia (B) and Pine Valley (D). Their semifinals are scheduled for 1 p.m. with state finals at 4 (Fredonia's have been pushed back to 3 and 6, respectively).

Also in action are softball teams from Hamburg (A), Frewsburg (C) and Pine Valley (D) at Queensbury, just north of Glens Falls. Due to rainy weather Friday, the start of some of the action has been pushed back to 11 a.m.

The state track meet is scheduled to go off in its entirety today after Friday's opening day was rained out. Reporter Aaron Mansfield is on hand from there and he'll have updates on a separate blog. 

If you happen to be hitting the road with your team, or monitoring their progress through a radio broadcast or someone texting from the game, be sure to tweet updates with the hashtag #preptalkscores. Those tweets will automatically appear in the live blog below.

I'll also be piping in Twitter feeds from reporters (as well as the NYSPHSAA and possible some team feeds) from throughout the state in the live blog below so you -- and I -- can keep tabs on all the action. The baseball games are in the Binghamton area, but Section VI teams will be playing at four different sites, so I'll be monitoring games that I'm not physically at to see if I can make it to multiple sites.

Check out our SCOREBOARD PAGE for today's complete schedule, which will be updated with results as soon as we have them.

Clarence's Armstrong taken in third round, Amherst's Heim in fourth, in MLB draft; with the history of WNY HS picks

By Keith McShea

Today was a momentous day for Western New York baseball as two high school players were selected in Major League Baseball's First-Year Player Draft. 

Clarence pitcher Mark Armstrong was selected by the Cincinnati Reds in the third round, 104th overall.

Amherst catcher Jonah Heim was taken by the Baltimore Orioles in the fourth round, 129th overall

Below are the Western New York players who were drafted as high school players, according to's database (the search is set for players from New York; many are from NY colleges).

This list includes last time a player was selected (Hoppy in 2009), the last time a player was selected as high as Armstrong (Rehbaum in the second round in 1979), as well as back to the last time a Western New Yorker was taken in the first round out of high school (Matt Winters, who is listed as being from Williamsville, in 1978).  

2009 Kyle Hoppy, Orchard Park; 28th round by the Orioles

2003 Ricky Brooks, North Tonawanda; 11th round by the White Sox

1999 John Andrianoff, Portville; 19th round by the Astros

1996 David Wesolowski, Williamsville North; 15th round by the Marlins

1996 Aaron Bouie, Albion; 33rd round by the Rays

1996 Gerald Perkins, Roy-Hart; 71st round by the Marlins

1989 John Vandemark, Lockport; 62nd round by the Astros

1983 Louis Monte, Bishop Turner; 29th round by the Yankees

1980 John Sullivan, Grand Island; eighth round by the Athletics

1980 Mark Gabriel, Niagara Catholic; 24th round by the Pirates

1979 Chris Rehbaum, St. Joe's; second round by the Indians

1978 Matt Winters, Williamsville; first round by the Yankees

Continue reading "Clarence's Armstrong taken in third round, Amherst's Heim in fourth, in MLB draft; with the history of WNY HS picks" »

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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 |