By Mark Kitchin
When West Morris Coach Wayne Shapiro talked about the Highlanders’ Tom Cabarle, he quoted part of the Band of Brothers speech from Henry V. Mountain Lakes’ coach John ByDook described Ethan Lubowitz as a kid who never stopped smiling even when he was yelling at him.
There were plenty of stories and praise to go around at the Morris County Boys Basketball Coaches Association season-ending luncheon at Bretton Woods Inn in Morris Plains.
Mendham’s Tore Vicarisi gathered his plaque for Player of the Year and Roxbury’s Jon Deeb accepted his Coach of the Year honors on Thursday.
All 16 players selected on three teams were there to enjoy a meal and swap stories. Most of the seniors at the event will be on display on Monday when they compete in the Morris-Sussex Senior All-Star game. The exhibition was rescheduled because of Wednesday’s snow and will be played at Hopatcong High School in a 7 p.m.
Vicarisi will be playing in the game. The senior forward is anticipating his acceptance to Emory University just outside of Atlanta, Georgia and is looking forward to playing basketball there but he is appreciating his final days playing high school hoops.
“I never really want it to end,’’ Vicarisi said. “By playing high school basketball I have memories that I will carry with me forever. It’s great to go out as Player of the Year with such a talented group of seniors surrounding me. Just to play with the kids I competed against in the four years of my high school career — I think it’s going to be a great way to top it off and leave the county on a high note.’’
Mendham’s Tore Vicarisi and Roxbury’s Angelo Mangiro both earned honors on the All-Morris team chosen by area coaches.
There have been times over the years when the luncheon would have a guest speaker but this year just the coaches, players and their parents. Usually the best parts of the luncheon are hearing the coaches talk about their players and interact with each other. Mendham Coach Jim Baglin and Mountain Lakes coach John ByDook are fun speakers in their own right and don’t mind teasing each other about present and past successes.
When one coach praised Baglin for coaching his Mendham team’s record four consecutive MCT tournament titles, Baglin praised his players instead.
“You could have the greatest jockey in the world,’’ Baglin said. “But if you put him on a jackass, you are going to get poor results.’’
Shapiro is especially entertaining because of his eclectic references. One never knows whether he will be quoting Marcel Proust or the Beach Boys when taking the podium. While talking about his point guard James D’Angelo, he referenced Bob Dylan’s song “Forever Young”.
Most of the brief speeches were less about points and rebounds or wins and losses and more about the intangibles of the game. Deeb praised Roxbury standout Angelo Mangiro’s loyalty to the Roxbury program. The Penn State-bound lineman had an exceptional year on the court but was given high praise for his leadership and unselfishness. Delbarton coach Dan Whalen also talked about Dean Brierley’s leadership qualities and how they are making a difference — on the lacrosse field. The senior came out for the sport for the first time at the high school level and is making a difference on the team this spring with his attitude and work ethic.
Coach of the Year Roxbury’s Jon Deeb, left, and the Gaels had a season to remember.
The final speech of the day was Jon Deeb’s low-key acceptance of Coach of the Year honors. The honor was a long-time coming for the Sparta alumnus and Roxbury coach. Over his last nine seasons Deeb turned a program with no history of success to one that consistently battles with Morris County’s best.
“When you are rewarded by your peers it’s a tremendous honor,’’ Deeb said.
Morris County Boys Basketball Coaches Association Team
Player of the Year – Tore Vicarisi – Mendham – Senior
Angelo Mangiro – Senior – Roxbury
James D’Angelo – Senior – West Morris
Dean Brierley – Senior – Delbarton
Niko Kotoulas – Junior – Morris Knolls
Chris Jenkins – Sophomore – Morristown-Beard
Brian Bartner – Junior – Morristown-Beard
James Pisciotto – Senior – Morristown
Aaron Fant – Senior – Madison
Jimmy Boyhan – Senior – Mountain Lakes
Stephen Boyd – Senior – Pequannock
Ranell Bell – Junior – Morris Hills
Jake Meister – Senior – Madison
Tom Cabarle – Senior – West Morris
Ethan Lubowitz – Junior – Mountain Lakes
Andrew Jacobs – Junior – Mendham