By Mark Kitchin
Morristown-Beard 2012 season review
Morristown-Beard had a lot to be happy about during the 2012 season, but it may be awhile before it can reach those heights again. The Crimson finished with a 21-5 mark and an NJAC Division crown to its credit. Now with some graduations and defections, and a change in its Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference division, Crimson coach Eddie Franz will have the challenge of starting over with a brand new group of players.
There were a lot of them. Morristown Beard was 20-1 at one point before swooning at the tail end of the season.
“Winning 18 straight games is not something that happens often,’’ Franz said. “It was just unfortunate that we got such a tough draw in the counties.’’
The top-seeded Crimson ended up playing eighth-seed Randolph in the Morris County Tournament. Many felt the tournament wasn’t seeded properly and the Rams deserved to be seeded higher and since Randolph hosted the quarterfinal round, the Rams were essentially given a home game. Morristown-Beard lost to them in a 71-62 overtime game which ended the team’s victory streak.
However, the Crimson captured their holiday tournament and enjoyed victories against Madison, Whippany Park, Hanover Park and Mountain Lakes among other winning programs. They also toppled Morris Hills in the opening round of the MCT.
The long season took its toll on Morristown-Beard and after their MCT loss it felt like a struggle to finish. The Crimson ended with a three-game losing streak, falling to Mendham and Newark Vocational in tune-up contests and Hudson Catholic in state tournament play.
Brian Bartner is one of several players the Crimson are going to miss in the upcoming season. Photo by Mark Kitchin
A solid trio of seniors helped the Crimson capture the Liberty division. Harrison Rosemond averaged 13 points, seven rebounds and three blocked shots a game. At times, the 6-foot-2 athlete that seemed to play much bigger, could dominate a game. One of his best was a 22-point game against Madison with the help of five 3-pointers. A good student, Rosemond is headed to Syracuse and will make some intramural hoops team extremely dangerous.
“He was our best player,’’ Franz said. “He had a legitimate ability to score. He wasn’t just a jump shooter.’’
Shooting guard Brian Bartner averaged 18 points a game and knocked down 58 treys and was always a threat on the offensive end. He had 23 double-digit games in all. His offensive skills will be put to good use at Wesleyan in Connecticut.
Point guard Tyler Terens battled through injuries but he often came through when it counted.
“He pushed the transition game,’’ Franz said. “He was very unselfish and great at playing defense in the lane. He put a lot of his soccer skills to good use on the basketball court.’’
Harrison Rosemond had some exceptional games as a member of the Crimson. Photo by Mark Kitchin
Franz has liked what he has seen from 6-foot-3 Steven Sangree.
“He has a good perimeter shot and he’s really long,’’ Franz said. “He’s just beginning to catch up with the rest of his body. He was a very committed kid and he played well in the summer.’’
Point guard Ben O’Connell will be challenged this season. Last year he had a number of good targets to go to while handling the ball on the offensive end. He will not have that luxury now and will have to make himself a threat as well as dish the ball.
Franz also likes Mark Abouyound’s toughness. He believes that he can develop into another good player for the Crimson.
“He’s 6-foot-4 and he’s a junior,’’ Franz said. “He’s another athlete who could be a big asset when his body develops.’’
Malik Valentine is the only starter expected to return. Although he didn’t play much during the summer, Valentine has terrific quickness and often creates turnovers on the defensive end.
What will make next season more difficult for Morristown-Beard is the loss of Chris Jenkins, who by all indications will be playing at Gill St. Bernard’s next year. Jenkins was the only junior on the All-Morris first team. He averaged 17 points and seven rebounds a contest.
Franz has a tough time hiding his disappointment in losing the talented player, who even with last year’s efforts may not have scratched the surface of his talents. It would have been a terrific challenge for Jenkins both physically and emotionally to take on the responsibility of leading a group of inexperienced players in his senior season. Instead he opted to transfer to a team that has more talent around him and is hoping to contend at a higher level.
“In high school some sports are developing more of an AAU mentality,’’ Franz said. “A lot is determined by playing time and in terms of the (perceived) personality of a program.
“You hope the kids return to a place and want to handle the pressure. That wasn’t the case here. That wasn’t what he wanted.’’
Morristown-Beard has been very busy this summer. In June, the Crimson spent one week at the William Paterson College camp which was basically two games a night for four consecutive nights. They played the likes of DePaul, Wood Ridge, Springfield and Jonathan Dayton. The Crimson also spent a lot of time at the West Orange Summer League. The league which met on Tuesdays and Thursdays in late June and July included Cedar Grove, Wayne Valley, Wayne Hills and Montclair Kimberley. Morristown-Beard also shares a unique arrangement with Newark Vocational. The team, coached by a former Crimson assistant Akbar Cook, doesn’t have a gym so they often train with the Morristown-Beard squad.