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Tuesday, June 18, 2019: Former Saugerties star is on the move again

   Leading off today: I was going to joke that Dior Johnson is starting to evoke memories of President Ronald Reagan, he of "Well, there he goes again" fame.

   More appropriately, however, he's starting to remind high school basketball observers of Lloyd Daniels. And that's not a compliment.

   Johnson carries none of Daniels' associated baggage along the lines of illiteracy and involvement with drugs, but he has become every bit as preposterously nomadic. Daniels attended five New York City high schools by the time he exhausted his eligibility (I can't bring myself to say he "graduated") and moved on to college (I can't bring myself to say he "attended").

   Johnson is on pace to have five schools on his transcript by the end of his sophomore year next spring.

   Once a prodigy at Saugerties, where he rolled up more than 1,000 varsity points while still in junior high, he has already attended IMG Academy in Florida and -- after a brief return to Saugerties -- announced his intention in February to transfer to Findlay Prep in Nevada.

   Then officials of that school announced in May that it was shutting down, prompting Johnson to say he would attend Hillcrest Prep in Phoenix in the fall.

   As Hillcrest officials will now tell you, "Well, there he goes again."

   USA Today reports the enormously talented guard now plans to attend Fairfax High in Los Angeles. It was not immediately clear whether his brother, Shyquan Royal, will join him there. Fairfax was 27-2 last season, losing only to suburban rival Centennial.

   I don't know who is guiding Johnson at this particular time in his life, but someone needs to give this kid much, much better advice.

   On the other hand: Park School senior Noah Hutchins, a four-year-starter and two-time selection to the all-state first team in Class A, is putting college basketball on hold for a year to attend IMG Academy in Florida.

   Hutchins is coming off a stellar year that led to more than 20 Division I scholarships, but he battled foot injuries and a partial groin tear during the season and feels that a healthy post-grad season will be a ticket to more offers from power-conference colleges.

   "The training facility will help me become faster and stronger," he said. "Being at IMG, all of the (Division I) schools come and watch you play, work out so they can see what you can do."

   Not how it was supposed to work: When last I mentioned the newly devised June recruiting events for Division I basketball prospects some five months ago, the concept that was supposed to help clean up the college sport was dead on arrival in New York.

   The Basketball Coaches Association of New York and the New York State Public High School Athletic Association rejected guidelines developed by the National Federation of State High School Associations at the behest of the NCAA because the NFHS insisted that only one organization per state could conduct the June camps. They vowed to take a fresh look in 2020, but BCANY and NYSPHSAA opted to sit out this year.

   Their reasoning was that since the NYSPHSAA is the only governing body in the state that would have been eligible, the rules left players from the state's other sanctioning bodies for high school sports locked out for all practical purposes because the CHSAA and NYSAIS have only affiliate status in the NFHS and the PSAL is not at all involved in the organization.

   Well, imagine my surprise when I saw this tweet last night:

   I do not know the dynamics of the situation at the moment, but my gut tells me that whatever has transpired recently isn't consistent with an all-for-one-and-one-for-all mindset that was intended to keep players from any of the four major organizations from being excluded.

   I can't say I fault the CHSAA for proceeding with an event that could boost the college options of its own players. The real problem appears to be that the NFHS insists that players from its member associations cannot participate alongside athletes from non-member associations.

   Considering that teams from the NYSPHSAA, CHSAA, PSAL and NYSAIS regularly schedule games against each other during the regular season and then send their champs to a season-ending tournament, this policy of Hoops Apartheid is idiotic.


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  •    Track and field: I didn't get a chance to blog on Monday, so here's the rundown of highlights from Sunday's final day of the New Balance Outdoor Nationals in Greensboro, N.C:

        • In boys relay races, Penfield (1:32.25) edged Rush-Henrietta (1:33.04) in the sprint medley and Shenendehowa (10:22.04) captured top honors in the distance medley. Huntington ran 3:16.01 for second place in the 1,600 relay, one spot ahead of Newburgh Free Academy, and Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake (17:26.98) took second place in the four-mile relay.

        • Anthony Brodie of Christopher Columbus in the PSAL ran a :48.88 for second place in the boys 400 dash, and Jaheim Jones (20.82) of Our Lady of Lourdes was third in the 200. Ramapo's Anthony Harrison took third in the discus at 189-6.

        • In individual girls finals, Spencerport senior Vanessa Watson placed third in the 400 hurdles in :59.12.

        • Girls relay champions included Huntington (1:45.07) in the sprint medley ahead of No. 2 Walt Whitman and No. 3 Half Hollow Hills West, Bronxville (3:55.76) in the 1,600 ahead of No. 2 Warwick Valley and No. 3 Tappan Zee, and Saratoga (20:31.67) in the four-mile relay ahead of No. 2 Ursuline and No. 3 Shenendehowa.

        Paul Robeson was second in the 400 relay in :46.62, and No. 2 Ursuline and No. 3 Shenendehowa ran 12:09.97 and 12:17.95, respectively, in the distance medley.

       New job: After 13 years of coaching in several sports as Ellicottville, Dave McCann is adding the title of athletic director. He replaces Chad Bartoszek, who left the school to teach, coach football and work as assistant AD in Salamanca.

       McCann said he plans to continue coaching basketball for the Eagles.


       More reading: I don't think we have a problem yet, but I can envision a day down the road when administrators and/or fans around the state start asking questions if 2018-19 proved to be the start of a trend.

       In compiling this year's data for the Kerr Cup All-Sport Championship, I found 29 instances of combined teams either reaching the quarterfinals of NYSPHSAA tournaments or finishing in the top eight of championships such as cross country or girls golf.

       That's a rather sharp up tick from the average of 20 over the past three years. The bump may simply reflect an increase in the number of combined teams, in which case there's relatively little reason to be concerned. But if it's a case of combined teams getting better for whatever reason, then I can see people taking issue with the rule that allows most combined teams to not have to count their full enrollment numbers for the purpose of classification in the postseason.

       I dive into the broader topic in my weekly column for the Press & Sun Bulletin.

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