2014-2015 Cape-Atlantic League Boys Basketball Year in Review
Another great Cape-Atlantic League boys basketball season is in the books.
We saw some great teams, memorable moments, great teams and set up some great storylines for the 2015-2016 season.
First it was the year of the Hermits. St. Augustine went 25-2, won the National Conference and the overall Cape-Atlantic League title by knocking off Holy Spirit at Stockton University. While their run in the NJSIAA non-public A tournament ended against Christian Brothers Academy, they have a ton of talent coming back with Sa'eed Nelson (17.1) and Justyn Mutts (14.6) among the returning players.
While the Atlantic City Vikings didn't make it to the finals of the CAL tournament or win the group IV title, they did win the American conference, finishing the season 21-6 and with some key wins and young talent returning. Leon Daniels, who transferred from Holy Spirit, came in and led the Vikings in scoring and will be a senior. Also back are Lamar Thomas and Jamir Prevard giving the Vikings three of their four top scorers back next season.
One team that will have a different look next season will be Holy Spirit. The Spartans ended the year 18-8, playing one of the toughest schedules in all of South Jersey. They finished second overall in the CAL, falling to St. Augustine in the CAL title game and won a first round playoff game against a very tough Gill St. Bernard team. However of the top three teams Holy Spirit might have the most different look next season, losing the second leading scorer in the CAL John Middleton, who scored 19.4 points per game and Jordan Taylor who averaged 11.7 points per game. Coming back is big man Tyler Jones who scored 12.9 points, CJ Barnes and a pair of freshman Andrew Gallagher and Travis Stoll.
While those were the top three teams, Wildwood Catholic made local basketball fans open their eyes. Led by a pair of juniors, D.J. and Trey Smith, the Crusaders finished 21-8 and won the United conference and a pair of non-public B playoff games. The team should be fun to watch next season with Ryan Legler and the Smith brothers, plus freshman Caleb Fields some of the best three-point shooters in the CAL.
Those were this year's final four teams, who will be next year's top four teams? There is a good chance the same four teams could be right back at Absegami in the CAL final four.
Here are my picks for first and second team All-CAL:
- John Middleton, SR, Holy Spirit - Middleton was the league's second leading scorer at 19.4 points per game, one of the top players in the CAL led the Spartans to an 18-8 record and to the finals of the CAL tournament.
- Sa'eed Nelson, JR, St. Augustine - One of the most explosive players in South Jersey averaged 17.4 points per game but lifted his game to another level in the CAL playoffs and the Non-public A playoffs. He will be one of the top players in the state next season.
- B.J. Mitchell, SR, St. Joe's - The league's top scorer, led the Wildcats to a 15-11 record, scoring 20.8 points per game. Mitchell scored his 1,000 points back on January 12th in a game against Buena.
- Justyn Mutts, SO, St. Augustine - Maybe the most exciting and athletic player in the CAL, the sophomore scored 14.6 points per game with exciting dunks and the ability to get up-and-down the floor like no other player in the CAL. Paired with Sa'eed Nelson, they will be the top returning pair in the CAL.
- Kevin Allen, SR, Atlantic City - While the numbers weren't always flashy, the hard-working Allen was the heart and soul of the Vikings during his four years at the school. In the group IV playoff loss to Cherry Hill East, Allen played his heart out, throwing up twice during the game, playing sick. That's the type of player he was, scoring 11.4 points per game
- Connor Laverty, JR, Ocean City - One of the top returning scorers in the CAL, Laverty scored 18.7 points per game, leading the Red Raiders to the semi-finals of the Group III tournament. He will be the top returning scorer in the CAL.
- Leon Daniels, JR, Atlantic City - While he might have played only half the season for the Vikings after transferring from Holy Spirit to Atlantic City, he made a huge impact on his new team. Daniels led the team in scoring with 15.5 points per game, and will be one of the top returning players next season.
- Lamar Thomas, JR, Atlantic City - One of the top three-point shooters in the CAL, Thomas has made a habit of hitting big shots, deep shots and last second, buzzer-beaters in his three season in Atlantic City.
- Corey Greer, FR, Middle Twp - The freshman came in and made an impact almost right away for the Panthers, scoring 11 points per game as a rookie. Once his older brother Trey Greer went down for the season with injury, the younger Greer was asked to shoulder more of the load and responded helping Middle to an 18-10 season and a pair of group II playoff wins.
- Nazir Williams, SR, Bridgeton - The 6-4 senior, scored more than 1,000 career points and was one of the top players for the 20-9 Bulldogs.
- Dean Deveney, JR, Mainland
- ChaQuan Hargrove, SR, Pleasantville
- Steve Ferebee, SR, Absegami
- Ty'Trel Stubbs, SR, Bridgeton
- Tyler Jones, JR, Holy Spirit
- Trevor Little, SR, Oakcrest
- D.J Smith, JR, Wildwood Catholic
- Trey Smith, JR, Wildwood Catholic
- Jordan Taylor, SR, Holy Spirit
- Jamir Prevard, JR, Atlantic City
2014-2015 Cape Atlantic League Player of the Year:
- Sa'eed Nelson, St. Augustine (see above)
2014-2015 Cape-Atlantic League Coach of the Year:
- Dave DeWeese, Wildwood Catholic - DeWeese took the defending CAL champion Crusaders with just one returning players back to the final four. The Crusaders were one of the top teams in the area in 2013-2014, but completely changed their style of play to fit their new personnel at 21-8 they won the United conference.
2014-2015 Team of the Year:
- St. Augustine Hermits (See above)
2014-2015 newcomer of the year:
- Corey Greer, Freshman, Middle Twp.
Congrats to all the teams, we're looking forward to more CAL coverage in 2015-2016. So basketball fans, who will be the top team next season?