Cameron leads Hudson Catholic to huge win
Johnson dominating for Lincoln; county tourney debate
Jan 27, 2013 | 3430 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
BEST IN STATE? – Hudson Catholic senior forward Reggie Cameron is certainly in the mix when deciding who the best all-around player in New Jersey is these days. Cameron led the Hawks to a huge win over DeMatha Catholic last Monday.
BEST IN STATE? – Hudson Catholic senior forward Reggie Cameron is certainly in the mix when deciding who the best all-around player in New Jersey is these days. Cameron led the Hawks to a huge win over DeMatha Catholic last Monday.

Is there a better all-around player in New Jersey right now than Reggie Cameron?

Cameron, the talented 6-foot-8 do-everything for Hudson Catholic, is certainly playing like the best player in the Garden State.

Cameron is averaging 23 points and 11 rebounds per game. He can go inside to get rebounds and play defense, while there might not be a better 3-point stroke in the state.

In fact, when the Hawks defeated the famed DeMatha Catholic of Washington, D.C. as part of the Hall of Fame Classic in Springfield, Massachusetts Monday, ESPN posted a list that had Cameron among the top five 3-point shooters in the entire country.

The Hawks defeated DeMatha, perhaps the most famed and revered high school basketball program in the country, 59-56, thanks to 20 points and eight rebounds from the Georgetown-bound Cameron.

Hudson Catholic improved to 14-1 with the win and won their 13th straight.

DeMatha is the school where Hall of Fame coach Morgan Wooten won more than 1,200 games in his career. It’s also the school that produced such notable graduates as Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey, CBS Sports broadcaster James Brown and NBA stars Adrian Dantley, Steve Smith, and Danny Ferry.

Tom Konchalski [a noted basketball historian and analyst] came into our locker room after the game and reminded the players that they had just beat DeMatha, the most storied basketball program in high school basketball,” Hudson Catholic head coach Nick Mariniello said. “That says it all.”

A huge reason why the Hawks are soaring right now is the play of Cameron, who has been nothing short of dominant all season.

“Reggie is so basketball literate and has a high basketball IQ,” Mariniello said. “He does so many things to help us be successful.”

When Mariniello was the head coach at Bloomfield Tech a few years ago, he had a talented player named Da’Sean Butler, who went on to become an All-American at West Virginia University and was drafted by the Miami Heat in the 2010 NBA Draft.

Butler was a dominant force at Bloomfield Tech, much like the way Cameron has been this season.

“It’s hard to compare the two,” Mariniello said. “Their leadership skills are very similar and there are a lot of parallels in terms of what they brought to the program. A lot of the big picture things in terms of class and character. But they are different style players.”

Cameron is currently ranked as the No. 68 prospect in the country by ESPN and is among the top 15 wing players.

“To say he can make shots isn’t giving him full justice,” Mariniello said. “He does a lot of things. He’s also very unselfish. I told him when he signed with Georgetown that he was going to have to lead us and to his credit, he’s done a great job.”

And let’s face facts. Ever since the school hired Mariniello to be the basketball coach four years ago and now as the athletic director, there has been nothing but positives coming out of McGinley Square.

The Hawks are currently ranked No. 2 in the entire state. They just defeated a respected national powerhouse on national television. They are staring at their second straight Hudson County championship – all under the reign of Mariniello. It’s safe to say that the coach has done his part in keeping the doors of the school open after that threat of closure five years ago. It’s safe to say that perhaps Hudson Catholic wouldn’t be where they are right now if not for the hiring of Mariniello, who turned that basketball program totally around…

By the way, the top two boys’ basketball teams in the state are from Hudson County, namely No. 1 St. Anthony, which increased its win streak to 78 with a win in Springfield Monday, and No. 2 Hudson Catholic….

On the girls’ side, is there a more dominant player than Lincoln’s Kiante Johnson?

The 6-foot Johnson is a major reason why the Lions are undefeated this season, averaging 16 points and 12 rebounds per game. Only a sophomore, Johnson had 17 points and 16 rebounds in a win over Ewing last week and 26 points and 14 rebounds in a win over Holy Family Academy. Johnson is playing herself into a college basketball prospect for sure…

The Hudson County Basketball Tournament seeds will be settled this week and if the seed makers don’t put Secaucus among the top three in the girls’ bracket, then they have to have their heads examined.

It shouldn’t matter that Secaucus is a Group I school, because the Patriots have defeated their fair share of big-time Group IV schools this season including Ridgewood twice. Let’s hope the seed-makers keep Secaucus in mind this week…

Hudson Reporter Boys’ H.S. Basketball Top Five: 1. St. Anthony (12-0). 2. Hudson Catholic (14-1). 3. St. Peter’s Prep (10-4). 4. Marist (10-2). 5. Snyder (11-2)…

Hudson Reporter Girls’ H.S. Basketball Top Five: 1. Lincoln (14-0). 2. North Bergen (11-2). 3. Secaucus (14-1). 4. Bayonne (10-3). 5. St. Dominic Academy (10-3)…--Jim Hague

Jim Hague can be reached at OGSMAR@aol.com.

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