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Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017: Amityville newcomer off to flying start in soccer

   Leading off today: Kymani Hines's debut in high school soccer has to be graded as a success.

   Hines, who moved from Jamaica (the country, now the community in Queens) to Amityville with his mother in December, scored three goals Saturday in a 7-2 boys soccer victory over Chaminade.

   The junior forward who told Newsday he'd previously played with the Jamaican National under-17 team is an obvious boost to the lineup for the two-time defending Long Island Class A champions, but it's not as though the cupboard was bare. Oscar Hernandez added three goals and an assist against the two-time defending CHSAA state champions.

   "This was a huge challenge," Amityville coach Mike Abbondondolo told the paper. "(Chaminade) was ranked No. 4 in the nation (by USA Today). The boys were ready."

   Said Hines: "It's amazing playing with these guys. I can't describe it."

   Slow start under new rules: The NCAA took a step earlier this year toward regulating lacrosse recruiting. Though it's still a bit more of a Wild Wild West landscape than many of the "minor" sports because of various loopholes, college coaches cannot initiate contact with prospective recruits until the start of their junior year.

   That moment arrived at 12:01 a.m. Friday, and an unscientific query by indicates it was largely no big deal to college coaches.

   "Haha I think kids realized that they would rather sleep!," one coach messaged. "I reached out to a handful of kids via text and didn't hear back from them until around 8 am. Maybe its just my opinion, but I think the kids that may have had conversations last night were very close to committing to an institution (in April), or were told that they would be receiving a call at midnight."

   The website's Terry Foy summarized with a few observations, including noting that next Sept. 1 may bring about more activity at the opening bell. The truth of the matter is that a high percentage of top-end talent in the current junior class is already committed and unlikely to be swayed. Not quite as many top sophomores are locked in thus far; those who aren't are probably less likely than their predecessors to commit.


   Well, that didn't take long: Basketball player Sid Wilson is headed to UConn, a decision revealed just three days after the incoming freshman received his release from St. John's.

   Wilson was an all-state selection as a St. Raymond's junior in 2016 and attended prep school last year. St. John's UConn and Texas were regarded as the finalists for his services.

   The New York Post reported there was a suspicion of tampering, but the St. John's staff doesn't plan to make an issue of it in large part because Wilson has been dealing with some personal issues the past two years and did not seem comfortable while taking summer classes.

   Alumni news, Part 1: True freshman QB Jack Coan, who rewrote the Long Island record book at Sayville, took snaps in the last six minutes of Wisconsin's rout of Utah State on Friday.

   Coan is No. 2 on the depth chart. With the game well in hand -- the Badgers won 59-10 -- he didn't get a chance to throw, but that didn't make it any less exciting for his family. football site

   "The people in the stands around us started high-fiving me," said Mike Coan, the player's father. "It was just awesome seeing him out there, playing in the Big Ten in his first college game. It was one of the happiest moments of my life."

   Alumni news, Part 2: New York does better in some sports than others when it comes to producing top-notch college and professional athletes. The number is sufficiently high that I generally don't mention them much in blogs.

   Still, some names have stuck with me through the years. It often has to do with a sense of satisfaction in knowing that I recognized their potential early on. The example I often cite to friends is a New Jersey kid rather than a New Yorker: I remember watching true freshman Marvin Harrison at Syracuse University in a couple of summer workouts -- even before the upperclassmen were officially back on the field -- and I could tell he was headed for success.

   More recently and more relevant, I remember venturing out to Lancaster on a fall night in 2009 to get a look at David Fluellen, who was then a senior running back on his way to first-team all-state for Lockport.

   Recent rain had made the field soft, and even muddy in spots, but I was blown away by what I saw. Fluellen showed several gears and an impressive ability to change direction on short notice. He was better than any back I'd seen in the Rochester area in iterally decades. So when he officially signed with the University of Toledo, I knew that MAC school was getting a steal.

   Fluellen was slowed by injuries at times, but twice earned all-conference honors with a career total of more than 3,300 rushing yards and an average of 5.9 yards a carry. He went undrafted in 2014 but caught on with a couple of teams as a practice-squad player and even made it onto the Tennessee Titans' active roster for a month last fall.

   On Saturday, Fluellen moved his career ahead by making the Titans' opening day roster. He's not likely to see much action beyond special teams because he has running backs DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry ahead of him. Still, it's a victory for him and for Western New York football.

   Earlier today: You can catch up on Saturday's football highlights with a blog I posted Sunday morning.

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