The future looks bright for Morristown-Beard

By Mark Kitchin

Morriscountyvarsityboysbasketball

It may be another year before the players at Morristown-Beard start competing with the top teams in the county, but they don’t want to wait. The Crimson want to start having their fun now.

Morristown-Beard has a 5-5 mark but it might not be smart to overlook them. Shooters like Brian Monaghan and Justin Rodriguez may provide some surprising results, especially as the season continues and they gain more and more experience.

“It seems like we’ve been overlooked a little bit but that is nothing too new to us,” Monaghan said. “Last year we got some attention. We had a rough start. We started 1-5 and we won 16 of the next 18. We are looking for a similar season to that. We use that as motivation.”

The Crimson are young and enthusiastic. They are mostly made up of juniors and sophomores. Pat Davis, a key senior and tallest player, had his season end early due to injury. Morristown-Beard has had to make do with a much smaller lineup. Like most young teams they are prone to stretches of inconsistency.

“It comes with focus,” Monaghan said. “We have four minutes in every game where we kind of fall asleep a little bit and lose focus. They start hitting some threes and we lose guys in transition. We’ve got to come out at halftime with the same focus we start the game and play a complete game.”

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Justin Rodriguez drives to the basket during a recent win against Madison. (Photo by Mark Kitchin)

The Crimson does have some offensive firepower. Monaghan gave notice of his perimeter shooting ability from the moment he stepped on the court at the varsity level. His sophomore teammate in the backcourt Justin Rodriguez can be just as prolific.

“I love playing with Justin,” Monaghan said. “I knew him the year before he came to Morristown-Beard. We both can play the one (point guard). It doesn’t matter who brings up the ball. If I have a guy face guarding me, Justin brings it up, then we just find each other. He hits me in the perfect spot and I try and to the same back to him.”

Zach Dees is another player that knocks down threes but also gets a surprising amount of rebounds for his size. Ryan Russo is a sophomore energy guy that takes charges and gathers floor burns. Brett Rudnitsky, the lone active senior, picks his spots and contributes smart passes and good leadership.

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Zach Dees is one of many reasons the Crimson have a bright future. (Photo by Mark Kitchin)

A recent thumping by unbeaten Chatham gave Morristown-Beard a reality check but it provided the Crimson with a good measuring stick. Quality wins against Dover and Mountain Lakes and competitive efforts against Hanover Park and Delbarton have given the young squad some confidence to build on.

“With four guards we do a pretty good job of attacking the basket,” Monaghan said. “If we play great defense we can score in the 40s and 50s and win, but against a good team we definitely have to hit some outside shots.”

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About mcvbb

Mark Kitchin is a boys varsity basketball writer for the Morris County New Jersey area

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