2006-02-03 / Sports

Nash Leads Woodmere To Victory at Crotty Classic

By Elio Velez

Tyrone Nash. Photo By Pete Borriello
Tyrone Nash. Photo By Pete Borriello Inside the Queens campus of St. John’s University, Carnsecca Arena, formerly known as Alumni Hall, is full of basketball history. Since it opened in 1961, countless greats have passed through the building.

Far Rockaway High School alumni Mel Utley and John Warren, who was a member of the 1973 Knicks’ NBA championship team and recently Chris Mullin, Mark Jackson and Ron Artest are just a few of the names to play in the Big East court.

At 17 years old, Tyrone Nash was not young enough to watch those players display NBA worthy talent. And though St. John’s play hasn’t been stellar the last few seasons, the Lawrence Woodmere Academy forward has always remained a fan.

Now the fan has turned into a basketball player, and Nash showed his burgeoning talents at Carnesecca Arena at the Tom Crotty Hope Thru Hoops Classic last Sunday afternoon. He impressed college scouts and especially St. John’s with 21 points and 14 rebounds in a Woodmere 65-52 win over Bishop Ford. Nash wanted a win here, and even if he’s undecided about school, he’ll take a win on the floor that he’s always wanted to play in.

“I came to a lot of games here. I’ve always watched them playing and in the sixth grade, I actually got on the court to shoot free throws in a contest,” Nash said after the game.

“That was the first time I was on the court and now I’m here.”

What’s attracting scouts, with Georgia and Marquette in the stands taking notes, is that Nash displayed a nice touch around the basket and can hold his own in the paint with his 6 foot 7 frame. It’s his unselfishness and getting his teammates involved in the flow of the game is another asset in his all-around game.

After Bishop Ford cut the lead to 51-45, Nash’s rebounds and passes on the fastbreak found guard Chris Larrea and R. J. Rutdlege for key layups with five minutes left in the fourth to up the lead to 10.

Scouts have been impressed with Nash’s progression as a player. With a knee injury that curtailed most of his sophomore season, the forward came back to average 16 points per game and 11 rebounds per game last season.

This year, he’s increased his points and rebound totals but with his improved play, he’s also attracted the attention of numerous Big East and ACC schools. It’s hard not to notice the attention but he’s solely focusing on what Woodmere is doing on the court.

“I don’t let that bother me. I know I just got to keep my team winning and all of that will be figured out soon enough,” says Nash, who is also leaning toward attending prep school.

Tom Konchalski, publisher of the High School Basketball Index, and noted top high school talent evaluator, says that all of the attention Nash is getting is much deserved.

“He’s one of the most improved players in New York City. From last year to this year, it’s been a marked improvement. He runs the floor well. He goes after the ball off the glass as hard as anyone. He’s got a very good handle, good feet, very good lateral movement around the lane. He’s a very good passer,” Konchalski said.

“He has gone from playing like a boy a year ago to playing like a man.”

Nash, along with the play of Josh Marshall, who scored 23 points and 12 rebounds and R.J. Rutdlege are important pieces to their current 12 game winning streak. At 14-2 overall, the pieces for a championship bid for the New York State Federation ‘A’ Title is falling into place.

“I didn’t think we would be 14-2 with the schedule we’ve had,” said a very happy coach Jeff Weiss.

“I just hope the bubble doesn’t burst.”

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