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Wednesday, June 21, 2017: Ludden star Adams-Woods leaving for prep school

   Leading off today: One of next season's top returning New York boys basketball players won't be returning after all.

   Bishop Ludden's Mika Adams-Woods, a fourth-team all-state selection in Class AA, will play next season at New Hampton (N.H.) Prep and reclassify to the Class of 2019, reported.

   Adams-Woods, a three-year starter at point guard for Ludden, already holds offers from a slew of mid-majors including George Washington, St. Bonaventure and UMass. The move to New Hampton could raise his stock with ACC, Big East and Big Ten programs.

   "I think once I get into this program (New Hampton) some of those bigger ones will come," he told the website.

   A special ceremony: Speaking of athletes leaving their high school early ...

   Sachem East racewalker Lauren Harris, who has set four national high school records in her senior year, is scheduled to compete at Junior Nationals in Sacramento on Friday -- which will cause her to miss her graduation ceremony.

   School officials went the extra mile Monday by conducting a special graduation ceremony for Harris on a stage at the football field on Monday, with administrators, coaches, family and many classmates on hand to watch.

   Coaching news: Nigel Whitaker, an assistant varsity coach the past two seasons, is expected to be appointed head football coach at Poughkeepsie during Wednesday's school board meeting according to Hudson Valley Sports Report.

   Whitaker will be the Pioneers' third coach in as many seasons and fifth in six years. He will replace Matt Relyea, who was dismissed at the end of last season amid questions about whether he allowed a concussed player to participate in a game.

   Poughkeepsie opens the season Sept. 1 vs. defending NYSPHSAA Class A champion Somers.

   The Poughkeepsie Journal has more about the uphill battle Whitaker faces.

    • Katherine Stackel has retired from Copenhagen girls soccer after 17 years as head coach and 29 years overall of coaching high school soccer.

   Stackel, who coached the Golden Knights to the 2015 NYSPHSAA Class D championship, said being able to watch her daughter Claire's games at LeMoyne College was a factor in the decision to step down.

   Stackel was named the National Coach of the Year for girls soccer by the National Federation of State High School Associations Coaches Association last January.

    • Mike McCarthy, unexpectedly dropped as the varsity coach at Mount St. Mary's after four seasons, will be a girls basketball assistant at Cardinal O'Hara next season.

   McCarthy's daughter will be a freshman in the fall, reported.

   "Mike is a forward thinker, we look at basketball the same," O'Hara coach Nick O'Neil said. "I know what he wants to do and he knows what I want to do."

    • Haldane boys basketball coach Phil D'Amato is leaving after six seasons to become head coach at Greenwich (Conn.) High.

   More changes: John Giametta, most recently a middle school assistant principal after a stint in coaching, was appointed AD at Beacon this week, replacing the retiring Marty Nemecek.


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  •     • Tom Cunningham is expected to be approved Thursday as the new AD at Hyde Park FDR. Long-time Beacon AD Eric Romanino has been serving as the interim AD.

       Romanino replaced Amy McArdle-Rausenberger, who with her husband was charged with second-degree grand larceny in September 2016 in connection with the disappearance of more than $50,000 of equipment and other items from the district over a seven-year span, The Poughkeepsie Journal reported.

       Welcome home: Long Island Lutheran held a party Monday to welcome home Celeste Taylor, who helped Team USA to the gold medal in the 2017 FIBA Americas U16 Championship in Argentina. The final game was a 91-46 rout of Canada.

       The 5-foot-11 guard was in the starting lineup for all five tournament games.

       Interesting read: For all the basketball talent that exists in New York, there's not enough to go around. Maurice Wingate, publisher of, took on the subject a few days ago.

       Wingate took note that it wasn't so long ago that the "iS8" based in South Jamaica and "Rumble in the Bronx" tournaments were huge late spring events that attracted most of the elite metropolitan-area talent.

       That's no longer the case. The top programs that used to be fixtures are often otherwise occupied. When they do show up for local events, it's increasingly with "B" teams because the best players are away at shoe-company league tournaments.

       "One thing everyone seems to agree on as to why NYC tournaments have suffered in recently years is the advent of sneaker company leagues as opposed to camps," Wingate wrote. "Originally Nike, Under Armour, Reebok and Adidas held one weekend per summer camps. Now they have leagues with national pool play events that last the entire summer and sneaker sponsored teams are required to participate in most of its events. This leaves less time and budget for teams to participate in local tournaments."

       Said Jim Hart, director of the Rumble in the Bronx: "Grassroots basketball -- it shifts. Twenty years ago, there were (only) seven power teams and there were no other teams. Now there's 300 teams in New York so its over-saturated. there's too many teams."

       Hart is optimistic the situation will solve itself.

       "Eventually someone will say, do I need to pay $500 to go lose by 40 points for three games (in the iS8 or Rumble) or should I stick with my local league so you'll see some of these smaller teams go away?"

       Next blog: There apparently were a few more Division I football commitments this week that I'll try to run down Thursday or Friday.

       Also, Division I basketball players across the state have a potential new suitor. I'll tell you which out-of-state school has suddenly taken an interest in some of New York's better girls talent.

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