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Tigers Sports

Linden Ex-Stars Find New Homes While Popular Team Camp Starts

Posted Sunday, June 06, 2010 by By Jim Whelan For sidelinechatter.com

Linden Ex-Stars Find New Homes
While Popular Team Camp Starts
By Jim Whelan
For sidelinechatter.com

As another school year comes to an end, the members of the class of 2010 will receive their well-deserved diplomas and move, with great anticipation, on to their next great adventure,

For some of the elite high school basketball players, their classroom will transformed to the collegiate backdrop of manicured lawns, pristine dorm rooms, a great education, and the dream of a NCAA championship, like New Jersey’s own Lance Thomas and Brain Zoubek of this year’s Duke Blue Devil team.

Others will have played their last days of organized sport that Americans love so much and will carry the treasured memories for a lifetime.

Some players caught in between- the low grade point average which prevents a player to don a college basketball jersey, or the higher expectations dilemma of squeezing out one year of the prep school route, can provide a fashionable inroad in order to solidify the player who wants to achieve that level of expectation and to improve his scholastic and athletic marketability.

Caught in the middle-does one go to prep school for a year for finishing school or start their next career right away at the junior college ranks?

Linden Head Coach Phil Colicchio runs one of the top public high school programs in New Jersey, producing players on every level of the collegiate ranks.

Colicchio's goal is to get kids into college, either athletically or scholastically.

“Why are you going to college,” Coliccchio asks his players when they are closing in on graduation “Are you going to college to make it to the NBA or to get an education?”

Having worked with developing two NBA players during his coaching career (Chris Gatling and Luther Wright) as an Elizabeth High School assistant under Ben Candelino, Colicchio understands that those types of players don’t come along often.

“I like to see kids working towards a degree,” explained Colicchio “I might be 'old-school, but I really don’t steer my kids toward prep school.”

Colicchio also understands it depends on the kid and what he wants to attain, and ruling out that Prep school might work for some players, but questions remain of 'why take a chance?'

This philosophy has worked for Linden basketball Alum Darrell Lampley. Lampley started out his playing days at St. Peter’s College in Jersey City.

Lampley’s tenure ended abruptly as a Peacock.

“Sometimes the best way to learn something is the hard way,” Colicchio said about his standout guard's departure from the Jersey City school

Lampley and his teammate Desmond Wade were arguably the best backcourt in the State of New Jersey in 2007. Lampley's high school resume at Linden consisted of winning back-to-back Group IV state championships and knocked off the country’s the No. 1 ranked team, St. Patrick, in the Union County Tournament finals his senior year.

Lampley, looking to polish his game, enrolled at Lakeland Community College in Ohio. The former Linden standout put the work on and off the court and now is returning to the D1 ranks in the fall.

“He had some ups and down," said Colicchio. "Darrell always was a good student and he always had a competitive fire.”

2009 Linden graduate, Tevin Calhoun, did have some Division I offers after his senior season, but needed to work on some areas of his game, and so with the added friendly coercion of Lampley, he enrolled at Lakeland CC as well.

In his freshman season, Calhoun had a solid campaign in Ohio and earned Conference “Newcomer of the Year.”

Lampley also earned accolades as the conference 6th leading scorer.

Tevin convinced his younger brother, Jarrett Calhoun, a standout on this past winter's 17-7 team, to follow the Linden Tiger footsteps and attend Lakeland CC in the fall with his big brother. The Calhoun brothers hope that after two years at the JUCO route, a four-year school come calling.

Lampley finished his playing days at Lakeland CC with an impressive 3.0 GPA and averaged 17 points and 7 assist per game.

His hard work did not go unnoticed, and with two years remaining of eligibility; Lampley is moving on to D1 Eastern Michigan University to finish out his college career.

“Darrell keeps on defying odds,” Colicchio said of his former pint-size 5’9 player. “Who would of thought that someone of his size would play be a shooting guard at the division one level?”


The second half of the guard dynamic duo is changing his University if Houston address.

Desmond Wade has been a winner wherever he walks onto the court. The 5’9 true point guard, Wade’s career is unparalleled at the Union County school and he has enjoyed a following from the Linden hoops faithful.

His Linden #11 jersey has been retired to exemplify his playing days as the ALL TIME leading assist leader and back-to- back State Championships (2006 & 2007) at Linden

Wade departed for Houston after his high school graduation to play for the legendary college Head Coach Tom Penders,

After two successful years, tallying two 100-assist seasons and a NCAA Tournament berth for Houston, their first after a 19 year hiatus, Wade decided to transfer.

He had started 31 0f 33 games and contributed to the team’s success by setting up one of the NCAA's leading scorers in Aubrey Coleman.

Coleman is projected to be a late first round pick in the NBA draft. A big part of his success and the success of the Cougar team is because of Desmond Wade.

It's not all moonlight and canoes on the University of Houston campus as the 64 -year-old coach Penders' successful run at the school came to an end with his resignation and so has also ended Wade’s career at the Conference USA School.

Penders recruited Wade, and with his coach’s departure, the former Linden all-state backcourt whiz has decided to return home to finish his two years of college eligibility and be closer to his grandmother, mom and dad.

The right fit for Wade might be “ON THE BANKS” for Rutgers University and their new Coach, Mike Rice.

Wade is available, but Rutgers has yet to offer the 2008 New Jersey All State Player.

The Scarlet Knights need help and a point guard. Wade is suspected to be the right fit.

So far Rutgers has night pulled the trigger and offered the Linden standout.

“The one thing about Desmond is that he wins,” Colicchio said about his standout point guard career. “The funny thing about Desmond, people keep telling me about what he can’t due rather what he can do.

“He doesn’t turn the ball over and plays great defense, Who wouldn’t want that kid on their team?”

Wade is looking to finish his career on the east coast and has set up visits at LaSalle, Wagner, Fairfield, Niagara, and Northeastern.

“He is going to find the right fit and he will make a decision soon.” The Linden coach said of his former player.


Last season Colicchio club put together a respectable 17-7 record, but fell short of the success the program has attained in the past.

“We over-achieved” said Colcchio “The kids worked hard and I was happy with the performance.”

This season, Linden has a lot to look forward to.

First, their Jayvee squad defeated St. Pat’s in the 2010 Union County JV finals.

Second, soon to be senior Elijah Hodge is the first four- year started since Desmond Wade and has been in the Watchung conference “Wars” has the expertise to lead the Tiger team.

This season Tigers roster included returning players like Rodney Saunders and Jaurice Jones lodged quality minutes.

Newcomers coming up from the Champion Jay-Vee team Shakir Phelps and Michael Campo, Colicchio is looking to them to build on their success at the Jay Vee level as they are moved up to varsity.

“The team is looking to get stronger, physically,” Colicchio of his new crop of players.

Top Assistant Anthony Drejaj is in charge of getting the Linden players in the gym and stronger on the court.

“Anthony is disciplined and is working with these kids and preparing them for next season,” the Linden coach told sidelinechatter “He has been where they have been and the kids are real receptive to what Anthony has to offer.”

Drejaj earned his chops at Seton Hall Prep under Bob Farrell and moved onto a successful career at Saint Louis University.

This year’s club will be tested early as they are the host team during their popular summer team camp which runs on four Linden school basketball schools during June 7-10.

Every year, former Linden assistant Marty Luc puts together a four day team camp with the best programs in New Jersey.

“Marty Luc did a great job of assembling this year’s team” Colicchio of his former coach “This is our best group yet.”

New Jersey heavyweights Linden, Elizabeth,Seton Hall Prep,CBA, St Anthony, St. Patrick, Scotch Plains also newcomers Point Pleasant Beach and Hillsborough have signed up to start to prepare for next season.

Why are teams willing participate in this camp every year?

Colicchio explains “The referee is outstanding, we always have great competition, the games are played at four different schools are full court games.”

Catch all the action –June 7-10 Check www.lindenbasketball.com for start times and schedule.

This year camps participants are: Linden, CBA, St Anthony, Seton Hall Prep, Piscataway, Newark Central, Hillsborough, Elizabeth, Point Pleasant Beach, Raritan, Asbury Park, Scotch Plains, Weequaic, Hillside, Immaculata, and St. Mary’s of Elizabeth.

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