It was the college basketball season of 1992-93 and the Seton Hall Pirates sat at the top of the local basketball world.
The Pirates managed to capture both the Big East regular season title and the Big East Tournament championship in the same year, a rare feat. The Pirates won the title game by destroying Syracuse, 103-70, to culminate a great local run.
Twenty-five years later, many of those players returned for a special reunion.
“It was a special year,” said Arturas Karnisovas, now the general manager of the Denver Nuggets of the NBA. “I have memories of a lot of success. The friendships I made, the relationships that last a lifetime.”
Last Saturday, Seton Hall got the members of that special team together at the Prudential Center as the Pirates faced long-time nemesis Georgetown.
On that team were three Jersey City natives in Terry Dehere, Jerry Walker and Danny Hurley.
Hurley, the head coach at the University of Rhode Island, could not make the reunion, but Dehere, the school’s all-time leading scorer and the Most Valuable Player of the 1993 Big East Tournament, and Walker, the newest member of the Hudson County Board of Chosen Freeholders, were in attendance.
“It’s a great day and I’m excited to see everyone,” Dehere said. “Some of these guys I haven’t seen in 15 or 20 years. When you’re playing basketball, you don’t get to enjoy the moment as much. But now that I’m older, I do. I definitely enjoy moments like these.”
The head coach of that team, P.J. Carlesimo, moved on to become a coach in the NBA with teams like the Golden State Warriors, the Portland Trailblazers and the Brooklyn Nets. In fact, Carlesimo lived in Jersey City when he was coaching the Nets, first as an assistant and then as head coach.
“I was fortunate to live in Jersey City for more than two years,” Carlesimo said. “I remember going to Jersey City and recruiting those guys [Dehere, Walker and Hurley all played at St. Anthony for the legendary Hall of Fame coach Bob Hurley]. I’ve known Jerry, Terry and Danny their whole life. It meant so much to me to have such a good relationship with them back then. That’s the thing I miss the most, the relationships you make with people. It’s always emotional to come back here. I’m always happy to see this team be successful.”
The Pirates are currently ranked 19th in the country in the latest Associated Press poll.
“I think it means a lot to have Seton Hall relevant again in college basketball,” Dehere said.
A special bobble head was made to honor Carlesimo and was given to all fans in attendance Saturday.
“I need to have that bobble head on my desk to remind me of him every day,” Karnisovas laughed. “It’s going to be a special thing on my desk.”…
Hudson Catholic was fortunate enough to have two of the school’s players earn McDonald’s All-America status in guard Jahvon Quinerly and forward Louis King.
It marked the first time that two McDonald’s All-Americans came from the same team since Luol Deng and Charlie Villanueva were selected from Blair Academy in New Jersey in 2003.
Quinerly and King are the first-ever McDonald’s All-Americans from Hudson Catholic. The last local player to earn the honor was Kyle Anderson of St. Anthony in 2012. Anderson now plays for the San Antonio Spurs.
This year marks the first time that New Jersey had three McDonald’s All-American selections, as Naz Reid of Roselle Catholic was also selected.
The game will be played March 28 at the Phillips Arena in Atlanta…
We’ll have more on the high-flying Hawks, who won four games last week in a span of six days, next week…
In boys’ basketball, Union City’s Soaring Eagles are certainly soaring these days with a 10-1 record. Gabe Johnson, a junior point guard who transferred in from St. Anthony, and senior forward Isaac Aguiar, a transfer from Montclair Kimberley Academy and North Arlington High, have been leading the way.
Johnson had 15 points and five assists against University Charter, and Aguiar had 17 points, 12 rebounds and nine blocked shots in a win over Dickinson. Aguiar, who has collected six double-doubles this season, also had 17 points, 13 rebounds and six blocked shots against Hoboken.
We’ll have more about Union City next week as well…
Kerry Mitchell has been playing real well for Secaucus. Mitchell had 24 points in a win over Harrison last week. He’s averaging 14.4 points and six rebounds per game for the Patriots this season…
On the girls’ basketball scene, Weehawken has won five straight games, thanks to the play of Nicole Molano, who had 24 points in wins over St. Mary’s of Rutherford and Saddle Brook and 16 in a win over Memorial. Molano has been on fire for the Indians and coach Chris Hernandez…
Secaucus continues to roll along, winning 11 of the Patriots’ first 12 games, thanks to Lindsey Mack, who had 16 and 18 points in two huge Patriot wins last week. Damaris Rodriguez had 11 points, 11 assists and 10 steals in one game and 10 points, 11 steals and seven assists in the other…
Hudson County lost two baseball icons and legends last week with the passing of Jersey City native Ray Bellino and North Bergen native Tom Baum.
Bellino was the former Ferris baseball standout who later became a long-time professional scout for the Detroit Tigers and Cincinnati Reds. He’s a member of the Hudson County Sports Hall of Fame.
Baum was a sensational pitcher for North Bergen High School, earning All-County honors in both his junior and senior year, leading the Bruins to the HCIAA title in 1978. He later pitched for St. Thomas Aquinas College in Peekskill, N.Y. and Ramapo College. Baum was 56 years old.
Hudson Reporter Boys’ High School Basketball Top Five: 1. Hudson Catholic (8-3). 2. Union City (10-1). 3. St. Peter’s Prep (7-3). 4. North Bergen (8-4). 5. Snyder (8-4)…
Hudson Reporter Girls’ High School Basketball Top Five: 1. Secaucus (11-1). 2. Lincoln (9-1). 3. Hudson Catholic (10-1). 4. Marist (8-4). 5. Hoboken (8-2)… — Jim Hague.
Jim Hague can be reached at OGSMAR@aol.com.