By Mark Kitchin
Parsippany Season Review
In the history of late starts to the Morris Countybasketball coaching season, Parsippany High coach B.J. Hamby may have been giving the (dubious) honor of starting his season the latest. When it was clear the previous varsity boys coach would not be returning, the Parsippany Board of Education needed to call an emergency meeting just before the Thanksgiving holiday to hire Hamby, the former Bridgewater-Raritan and Kean University standout. Even after his hire became official, there were obstacles for hime and the Red Hawks.
“During the season things were kind of rushed,’’ Hamby said. “In the second week of the season I ended up catching pneumonia. The doctors were keeping me out so I wouldn’t have to go to the hospital. (This year) I have more time over the summer with them and that extra time makes a big difference.’’
Parsippany finished 5-18 after a not so surprising 1-9 start. Hamby took a fundamental approach that he has continued into the off-season. Now that he has been able to evaluate his young squad, they have been acclimated to him and his demands for thems.
“I just wanted us to play hard and play fundamental basketball,’’ Hamby said. “Just put some of the philosophies out there and get to know the kids. (Last year) I didn’t know them until the first day I got to meet the kids in tryouts so I had no clue. It’s been an enjoyable experience.”
Except for the losing part. Hamby wants the Red Hawks to be winners.
“I wasn’t satisfied with our record,” Hamby said. “I’m competitive and I wanted us to do well. It was a growing process. It could have gone better but I guess things could have gone worse.’’
There was only one game the Red Hawks really had to win last season. It was a 55-46 victory over Parsippany Hills on January 16, the only game between the crosstown rivals that play in different divisions of the Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference. The intensity of the contest was an eye-opener for its coach.
“It was like Auburn-Alabama with football,’’ Hamby said. “They really got the whole town out.’’
The game was part of a two-game winning streak, after the Red Hawks enjoyed a victory overDoverto go 2-9 on the season. They swept the season series with the Tigers and also enjoyed wins over Morris Catholic and Ranney Prep. Parsippany was eliminated by Hanover Park in the Morris County Tournament prelims and did not qualify for state play.
The Red Hawks only had four seniors on the team last season. Two of the seniors stood out in limited roles.
“Kyle Taraboccia helped us with his length,’’ Hamby said. “He was 6-foot-6 and he had some good length. He did a good job of rebounding and changing some (opponent’s) shots. … Sometimes (forward) Ricky Zamora gave us a big spark off the bench. He gave us some intensity.’’
Hamby started three sophomores and two juniors last season. Practically everyone should be back this season, stronger, more experienced and better prepared for the varsity season. Point guard Leonard Lee will be one to watch.
“He really showed some flashes last year,’’ Hamby said. “He can be a break out scorer for us. He was a sophomore. You could tell he put some time in the weight room. He was getting stronger. He has more confidence. His shot is coming along.’’
Lionel Chambers may not be the tallest post player in the county, but he plays big and his all-around game is improving.
He was a workhorse for us last year,’’ Hamby said. “He’s picked up right where he’s left off. He’s not the biggest post man in the conference but he’s effective at 6-2, 6-3. He’s a great track athlete and he’s been working hard in the offseason. He’s starting to get a little bit more comfortable catching the ball on the perimeter.’’
Tyler Cecere, Max Berns and a host of other Red Hawks have also been attending Parsippany’s open gyms and seem to be meshing well as a unit.
“They are looking more confident this summer,’’ Hamby said.
Parsippany has a team in the Morris Knolls Summer League. Red Hawks are doing open gyms and many of the players are already involved in weight training for other sports. Hamby likes the commitment the Red Hawks players have shown. The Parsippany team will have to become fundamentally sound and work together in order to take the next step. Hamby has seen improvement and the signs are encouraging.
“We just have to work on our fundamentals,’’ Hamby said. “Last year we really struggled just shooting the ball, handling the ball and making moves when we caught the ball in scoring areas.
“This group of guys I’m seeing they have a little bit more of an edge to them. They are hungry to be successful here.’’