Editors note: This blog was updated Monday at 9 a.m. with additional information on the first item.
Leading off today: In a move sure to shake up the dynamics of New York City boys basketball, Dwayne "Tiny" Morton is leaving Abraham Lincoln to become the coach and AD at Nazareth High in Brooklyn according to multiple reports that began leaking out late last week and peaked Sunday evening.
Morton has won roughly 500 games in two stints at the Brooklyn PSAL school separated by an appointment to the Seton Hall staff in 2014-15.
There are numerous significant aspects to the story, not the least of which are:
(1) Morton, whose resume at Lincoln includes four federation crowns, spent the past season under fire on several fronts.
The PSAL declared three Railsplitters players, including coveted senior K.C. Ndefo, ineligible in mid-January over concerns that have never been detailed but reportedly are related to transfer issues. It contributed to Lincoln slipping to also-ran status in its highly competitive league and a 19-8 final record.
In addition, Morton's name shows up in documents related to the ongoing FBI probe into illicit payments to college basketball recruits. There is an allegation Morton was paid $9,500 by former NBA agent Andy Miller and his agency, ASM Sports, though Morton has consistently maintained he has done nothing wrong.
(2) The story out there for public consumption -- and repeated by Morton to at least one basketball outlet -- for now is that longtime Nazareth coach Todd Jamison had opted to step down in the aftermath of a 21-6 season that ended with the Kingsmen falling one win short of playing in the Federation tournament in Glens Falls.
People familiar with the situation assure me that the more likely scenario last week was that regardless of whether he'd been pondering retirement during the season, Jamison was pushed out the door after 21 years on the job. How the timing of his awkward departure fits in with the retirement of AD Rick Dolan after 30 years is less clear, but Morton takes over both positions this week.
(3) It's hardly news that numerous Catholic schools across the state have closed over the past 30 years due to shrinking enrollment. If the mindset of school administrators is that they can boost the size of the student body via sports, I guess I would note that soccer teams generally have larger rosters than basketball. Ditto for lacrosse. Adding either of those sports rather than giving basketball a makeover would seem to make more sense.
Stated another way, families do not choose a school for their children based upon the potential entertainment value of watching basketball games there.
(4) It's too soon to tell who'll end up landing the coveted Lincoln job, but interest will be intense. There was skepticism about whether the Lincoln position would be a temp job for someone after Morton left for Seton Hall, and Kenny Pretlow never got a chance to establish himself at Lincoln before Morton resumed working there.
The odds of Morton returning for a third stint at Lincoln at some point would have to be considered nil, so this time someone will get the job for keeps.
Boys lacrosse: Matt Grillo scored three first-half goals to help build a five-goal lead that started Ward Melville on its way to an 11-7 boys lacrosse win over Chaminade on Saturday.
Dylan and Ryan Pallonetti and Malachi McAvoy added two goals apiece and Zach Hobbes chipped in with three assists as Ward Melville improved to 5-0. Sophomore goalie Collin Krieg made nine saves.
"Our offense played really well early. We were poised and moved the ball," Patriots coach Jay Negus said. "Then they peppered us with shots. We had to absorb their energy and the adversity. Our defense locked it down. It was a complete team effort."