Mike White's high school sports chat transcript: 3.8.16
March 8, 2016 1:51 PM
Josh Creach and Beaver Falls take on New Castle tonight at North Allegheny.
WPIAL Joey: Hey Mike. Which game will you be attending this evening?
Mike White: Joey, Beaver Falls and New Castle at NA. Should be great atmosphere. I expect might sell out.
Will: So WPIAL AA, still awesome
Mike White: What do you mean?
Mike White: It really is a shame that Beaver Falls-New Castle and Pine-Allderdice couldn't be at a place like Palumbo, but times have changed. Just not cost effective for both PIAA and Palumbo, I guess. I still remember days when a lot of the WPIAL tournament was played at Civic Arena.
Will: AA usually does the best in states and that was the case last weekend
Mike White: Yes, we're usually pretty good in Class AA. One of the reasons is I don't think the rest of the state is quite as strong in Class AA as other classes. Conwell Egan defending state champ but their best player Stevie Jordan transferred to one of those prep schools in Texas. Aliquippa is good, but I still stay probably not as good as last year. But they still might win the state.
WPIAL Joey: If you had to make a pick for WPIAL hoops Coach of the Year, who's your pick?
Mike White: I think you have to wait yet and see how plays out. I put the City League in there, too, and I'd put Buddy Valinsky up there. Contrary to what some think, he doesn't just throw out the balls and say play. And he has to coach some attitudes sometimes also. I think what Tyler Stoczynski has done at Highlands is terrific. They won one game three years ago. They get to finals and then he has to deal with this ridiculousness of two players transferring, and then not, and now supposedly they are. Yet he wins a state playoff game. Ralph Blundo another tremendous job at New Castle. I like what Dave Long did at New Castle. Jeff Ackermann at Pine-Richland, and I think you have to look at Buzz Gabos at North Hills, too. To WPIAL finals for first time. Two years in a row in semis. But have to wait to pick coach of the year to see how plays out.
D9 Dave: Any WPIAL hoops coaching jobs open that you know of?
Mike White: I know a few that will likely come open in next month that are decent jobs at bigger schools but I don't want to say yet until they happen.
Guest: Who do you like in Mars/ Strong Vincent?
Mike White: I know a little about Strong Vincent. Haven't seen them. But I know a few players. District 10 always representative. I suspect it might be close.
D9 Dave: How do you think the officiating has been in high school basketball this season? Any rule changes you would like to see for next season?
Mike White: It's been OK. And if you say it's OK, then that's good. The hand checking has been called more this year. My thing about it, though, from what I've seen, is it might be called by one official in the game, but not the other. Or they don't call it and then all of a sudden in the second half they call it. That was a point of emphasis this year and I think it needs to be more consistent.
D9 Dave: Do you like Hershey or State College as the venue for the PIAA hoops championship? Why?
Mike White: Like State College, cause it's a lot closer. ha ha. No, seriously, it doesn't really matter to me. As far as crowds, attendance was really dropping at State College. Philly schools are killing attendance, especially the charter schools. They have no following. Nobody cares. Some of those schools might not bring 100 people. I'll say again, the little schools in Philly are killing basketball attendance.
WPIAL Joey: Do you think the NA boys badly underachieved this year? I kinda think so.
Mike White: No I don't. Dave DeGregorio just made the title game years ago, he wins 20 games just about every year. They have a down year once and all I hear from out at NA is complaints. NA had some talent, but let's remember. Section 3 is pretty good as far as competitiveness. I will say NA didn't have people to defend like they have in past years and the times I saw them, they didn't shoot all that well, either. Offense struggled at times. There were, I think, some chemistry issues also among team. But please, NA should feel fortunate for the program they have. They could've very easily won two WPIAL's if New Castle and Hampton weren't in Quad-A for those two years.
D9 Dave: What is your take on Duquesne men's basketball?
Mike White: I think people need to quit talking about the glory days of Duquesne and returning to the glory days and focus on right now. I went to Duquesne and I think it's good for basketball in area when they do well, along with Pitt and RMU. Dukes definitely slid at end of year, but I think Jim Ferry has it going in right direction. I think they showed something by winning at St. Joe's Saturday. Bottom line is have to get good players. They have to get them. But about Duquesne, I'd like to give shoutout to Micah Mason. I don't think people around here realize how good of a college player he turned into. I think people thought he would just be a stand still shooter. He was really a nice all-around player. I mean 5th best 3 pt shooter in NCAA history. That says something. But he did a lot more, too. Best shooter I have ever seen from around here. And what he did in college proved it. I've seen Micah play since he was in third grade. Used to coach against him in younger years. A shooting machine. A son of mine worked out with Micah one time few years ago. I helped in the workout. One drill, I rebounded. Make long story short, Micah made 42 of 47 3-pointers during drill. Fun to watch.
Will: I could be wrong but I don't see Dice PR being all that close unless PR shoots lights out.
Mike White: Yes, P-R has to shoot well no doubt. Thing is they have guys who can shoot and have shot well. Guys besides Petcash also. But biggest thing is not letting Dice get on runs with missed shots and runouts, and turnovers that lead to runouts. But as I wrote this morning, Pine has averaged only 5 turnovers past three games. If they keep their turnovers to 12 or less and hit some outside shots, it might be interesting. How Phil Jurkovec plays will also be key.
Hoops Guy: Mike, how are the PIAA brackets made. Looking at the AA Boys' bracket it doesn't seem fair that the WPIAL has to "eat each other" where there were is a quadrant (in the West) that has the 6-3 and 10-3 seed left with no WPIAL teams in it. Seems like D-10 always seems to get favorable matchups. Like they only get 3 teams into the AA bracket, but 2 get 1st round home games. Any comment or opinion on this?
Mike White: Brackets and how many reps each district gets are determined every two years. It's determined on how many teams are in a class in the district. I have no problem with it. There are a lot of WPIAL teams left, so what's the problem? People always complain about where games are played. That goes way back.
Mike White: Something to look for. If Allderdice or a WPIAL team makes it to the Class AAAA semifinals, they could run into a kid who is ranked among the top junior guards in the country. Reading's 6-4 Lonnie Walker is ranked No. 50 in the junior class by Rivals. Reading is playing through the western side of the bracket.
Hoops Guy: Who is your favorite non-WPIAL/City League team to cover in a game?
Mike White: C'mon, man. I can't have a "favorite" to cover. But I will say this. Erie Prep basketball is often great to see in state playoffs because their student section is so great. Great chants. Everything. And I will always remember when Glen Mills, reform school from Philly area, made it to state finals twice. All of their students came to the arena and came into the arena in groups, with chaperones. I seem to remember in 2 by 2. But they had great chants and cheers. One I will also remember is them chanting "ooops, up side the head, ooops up side the head."
Hoops Guy: Ever any talk of bringing coaches back onto your "This Week in High School Sports" show? I thought that added something when you did that a couple years ago. I know it is probably tough to get them to come in though.
Mike White: Yes, we should more. Have dropped the ball on that. Plan to do more starting next football. It is hard, though, because we have to tape during the day and a lot of them have to work at school and can't get out for that long. But glad you brought it up. Will try to do more in future.
Bb fan: What's your take on the Highlands players rapid withdrawl?
Mike White: One of the most bizarre things I've seen. They told coach and players they were transferring to Gateway. Also bizarre conversation with mother when she called to say they weren't transferring and would be with team. Then they never show up for practice and don't play in Friday's game. And now I think they are transferring. But I really don't want to talk about them any more. They got enough publicity. I don't know whole situation. Like coach said, the focus should be on the players who are there now.
D9 Dave: How do you see the Quaker Valley vs Greensburg Central game going?
Mike White: Haven't seen Greensburg this year. They are intriguing team because they only have two losses. But you have to wonder a little about their schedule and section. Quaker Valley is good, but not great. I think it will probably be close.
Hoops Guy: Again, another odd question. You've been around the WPIAL for years and years (congrats on the recent Hall of Fame nod). Are there any high schools you haven't been to the WPIAL?
Mike White: Ha ha. Don Rebel at MSA Sports, longtime director there and good guy, sat down about a year or two ago and just for fun tried to make a list of places we haven't been. I've been covering games for P-G since early 1980s. I seem to remember there was around 20 or so that I've never been. Honestly, most of those ones in Greene County, although I was once at a Jefferson-Morgan game and had to send my story through phone line in middle of town at 10:30 at night. It was like Sam Drucker phone line (I know I'm dating myself). But somehow it worked. Ha ha
D9 Dave: Who do you think should play a bigger role in a high school prospect's recruitment: HS coach or AAU coach & why?
Mike White: Definitely the high school coach. But that's not reality today. For big time players, it is often the AAU coach because that's where players are seen most often nowadays. I say the high school coach because most of the time, not all of the time, he doesn't have an agenda and is often times maybe a teacher, and not some of these AAU coaches at big time AAU programs who are .... Well, I'm not going to say what they area. For past 3-4 years I watch games all weekend at Pittsburgh JamFest at North HIlls and have to deal with these AAU coaches. There are some that are OK and good. But so many of them are, to put it bluntly, a joke. I just shake my head so often watching some of them. I don't know how good guys, good coaches, on the college level, deal with these people. I could never do it. But there aren't big-time AAU programs around here so you don't see it as much. There is some good in AAU basketball. College coaches like it because they can see many, many kids in one weekend or one week at one tournament. Lot of bad things about AAU hoops, but it's not going away.
D9 Dave: Do you think there is a need for a shot clock in high school basketball & if so, how long?
Mike White: I go back and forth on this one. At times I say yes, and at times, no. I wouldn't mind it though. I don't think it would hurt. I'd say maybe 35-40 seconds. One problem, though, is money. It will take some money to set up clock system at every school. And then you have to pay someone every game to run that. That might not sound like much. But so many athletic departments and so many schools are getting their budgets cut drastically. This is just another cost. So I don't see it happening, although I wouldn't mind it.
Mike White: Back to the AAU comments. I coached AAU basketball for a number of years. Like I said, it can be good. There are good people involved. But geez, some of the character involved and coaching at some places .... wow. That's why I said I don't know how these college coaches can stand dealing with some of these people so much. I've talked to college coaches about it off the record. They do hate it, but it's a necessary evil today. And it's too far gone for NCAA to pull it back. What has amazed me over the years is why parents would let their kids go away on weekend trips and be around some of these people. It's mind boggling to me. The other thing mind boggling is the money spent. Tens of thousands of dollars some teams spend to travel the country. And you know the big time programs that have a number of kids who come from poor backgrounds, the kids aren't paying. But for some parents, they just will allow anything to happen because they just want their kid to possibly get that scholarship.
PittsburghKid: What is the reason that the number 1 ranked team in the state, Allderdice has to play a "play in game". Its better to finish 4th in the wpial then ranked number 1 in the state? From the outside looking in it just looks funny and awkward. Reason, thoughts?
Mike White: The state brackets have nothing to do with state rankings. Rankings are meaningless. Like I said before, brackets are set up every two years. The reason Allderdice has a play in game is because there are only a few Quad-A teams in the city. Districts that have maybe only a few teams in a class, they will go into what is kind of like inter regional games. For example, Obama went into Triple-A inter regional because there are only a few City teams that are AAA. WPIAL has a lot of teams so they don't have to go into play in games. Make sense??
Mike White: Hey that's about it for now. Going to grab something to eat and then maybe catch some of Maverick Rowan and NC State in ACC tourney. Game at noon. Let's talk next Tuesday at 11. That's the day of state semifinals.
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