Jackson, Fland Lead Team USA to Gold Medal at FIBA U17 World Cup

Cardinal Hayes High School’s Ian Jackson and Archbishop Stepinac High School’s Johnuel “Boogie” Fland helped Team USA capture the gold medal at the FIBA U17 Basketball World Cup in Spain.

Team USA defeated Spain for the gold medal, 79-67, on Sunday.

Team USA finished 3-0 in pool play, averaging 106.7 points per game and allowing 54.3 points per game. The United States defeated Egypt, 103-48, in the first round; Serbia, 106-80, in the quarterfinals; and Lithuania, 89-62, in the semifinals.

ESPN ranks Jackson as the third-best rising high school junior in the nation, and Fland is No. 18 in the same ranking.

Jackson averaged 11.9 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.4 steals per game at the World Cup. The 6-foot-7 small forward shot 58.7 percent from the floor and 45 percent from three-point range. He scored 26 points against Mali and 21 points versus Lebanon.

Jackson has received scholarship offers so far from colleges such as St. John’s, Connecticut and Seton Hall.

Fland finished with 4.6 points, 2.7 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 2.1 steals per game. The 6-foot-3 guard, who turned 16 on July 10, scored 11 points in the quarterfinal win over Serbia.

Fland has received scholarship offers thus far from schools including Connecticut, St. John’s, Seton Hall, Providence, Pittsburgh, Miami (Fla.), Maryland, Illinois and Fordham.

Two Scoreless Innings for DeVito

St. Joseph by-the-Sea High School graduate Ricky DeVito allowed one hit and struck out two over two innings for the Greensboro Grasshoppers in a 7-6 victory over the Rome Braves.

DeVito, who was named the Big East Pitcher of the Year while at Seton Hall University, is 1-1 with a 3.65 earned run average for the Grasshoppers, the High A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates. He has 12 strikeouts in 9 1/3 innings.

Solid Outing for DeVito

St. Joseph by-the-Sea High School graduate Ricky DeVito pitched three strong innings of relief for the Greensboro Grasshoppers in a 5-4 loss to the Aberdeen IronBirds on Wednesday night.

The Grasshoppers are a High-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

DeVito, who was the Big East Pitcher of the Year while at Seton Hall, allowed no earned runs on one hit and one walk. He struck out three.

For the season, DeVito is 0-1 with a 2.45 earned run average.

PHOTO COURTESY OF GREENSBORO GRASSHOPPERS

DeVito Sharp in First Outing

St. Joseph by-the-Sea High School graduate Ricky DeVito pitched two innings of shutout baseball in relief for the Greensboro Grasshoppers in a 3-2 victory over the Rome Braves.

DeVito allowed one hit, one walk and struck out one.

It was DeVito’s first appearance as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates organization after being traded by the Atlanta Braves to the Pirates in 2021. DeVito only pitched in five games last season due to injury, finishing 0-3 with a 2.66 earned run average.

PHOTO COURTESY OF GREENSBORO GRASSHOPPERS

DeVito in Greensboro

St. Joseph by-the-Sea High School graduate Ricky DeVito and the Greensboro Grasshoppers will open the season on Friday with a three-game series against the Rome Braves.

DeVito pitched for Rome in 2019 and 2021 before being traded by the Atlanta Braves to the Pittsburgh Pirates on July 30, 2021. The Grasshoppers are a High-A affiliate of the Pirates.

DeVito was 0-3 with a 2.66 earned run average before his season was cut short due to injury. He struck out 27 in 20 1/3 innings.

DeVito was drafted in the eighth round of the 2019 draft by the Braves after being named the 2018 Big East Pitcher of the Year by pitching to an earned run average of 1.88 for Seton Hall.

Catholic Universities Are Contenders to Create Memories, Win NCAA Title

Who will it be?

Gonzaga? Villanova? Creighton? St. Mary’s? Seton Hall? St. Peter’s? Notre Dame? Loyola-Chicago?

Which Catholic university men’s basketball program will step forward and win the NCAA Division I championship?

“This is your time,” Herb Brooks told his United States hockey team before it pulled off the biggest upset of the 20th century by beating the Soviet Union, 4-3, at the 1980 Olympics in Lake Placid.

Five years after the miracle on ice, Villanova pulled off a miracle of its own by playing a near perfect game in upsetting Patrick Ewing and the Georgetown Hoyas for the national championship.

And you ask why I’m bringing up Georgetown and Villanova? I’ll tell you with some sports trivia. When was the last time Catholic universities won back-to-back NCAA Division I men’s basketball titles?

Georgetown and Villanova won the national titles in 1984 and 1985, the last time Catholic universities won back-to-back NCAA Division I titles. In 1985, St. John’s gave Catholic universities a third representative in the Final Four.

By the way, here is some more trivia. How many Catholic universities have won NCAA Division I men’s basketball championships since 1985?

Only one – Villanova in 2016 and 2018.

Like the U.S. hockey team in 1980 and the 1985 Villanova men’s basketball team, Catholic universities have an opportunity to create miraculous moments and win the 2022 NCAA tournament.

So who will it be?

Gonzaga, the nation’s No. 1 team going into the tournament, is due to finally bring coach Mark Few and Spokane, Wash., a national championship. Few and Gonzaga have 23 consecutive 20-plus win seasons, and Few has won almost 84 percent of his games as Gonzaga coach.

How about Big East tournament champ Villanova? Jay Wright continues to do a great job in Philadelphia with a team led by Big East Player of the Year Collin Gillespie.

St. Mary’s, a top-25 team, was the runner-up to Gonzaga in the West Coast Conference tournament, and Creighton nearly beat Villanova in the Big East tournament final.

What about Notre Dame? Will the Fighting Irish enjoy some luck of the Irish in this tournament? Notre Dame created a tournament memory for fans on the night before St. Patrick’s Day by rallying to beat Rutgers in double overtime.

Seton Hall and St. Peter’s are both from neighboring New Jersey. St. Peter’s, a 15th seed, won the MAAC tournament which includes colleges located in the archdiocese–Iona, Manhattan and Marist. Seton Hall is coached by Kevin Willard, who once coached at Iona.

How about Loyola-Chicago? This is only their third NCAA tournament appearance since 1985, and the first two produced great moments from great opportunity. The Ramblers reached the Final Four in 2018 and Loyola Chicago upset top seed Illinois to reach the Sweet 16 in 2021.

And there is Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt, B.V.M., Loyola Chicago’s team chaplain since 1994 who is now 102 years old. Sister Jean and Loyola Chicago became the story of the 2018 tournament and many were looking for the same when Loyola Chicago reached the Sweet 16 last year.

Is there an upset or two in Loyola Chicago’s future? Loyola Chicago is a 10 seed playing seventh seed Ohio State. Ohio State has lost four of its last five games.

“Ohio State? We’ll take ’em. We’ll work on ’em. … I believe our young men will do it,” said Sister Jean.

The stories and the memories are what make March Madness so much fun.

Siegrist Leads Villanova

Our Lady of Lourdes High School graduate Maddy Siegrist finished with 24 points and five rebounds for Villanova University in a 66-56 victory over La Salle.

Siegrist, a junior forward, is averaging 21.8 points and 9.3 rebounds per game for the Wildcats, who won a third consecutive game to improve to 6-5 overall.

VIllanova hosts 2 p.m. Big East Conference games against Seton Hall on Dec. 31 and St. John’s on Jan. 2. The Wildcats host Connecticut on Jan. 7 in a game being televised by SNY at 7 p.m.

PHOTO BY CHRIS SHERIDAN/CATHOLIC NEW YORK

Griffin Entering NBA Draft

Alan Griffin announced he will forego his senior season at Syracuse University and enter the 2021 NBA Draft.

The 6-foot-5 junior played two seasons at the University of Illinois before transferring to Syracuse where he averaged 13.3 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. The Archbishop Stepinac High School graduate, who was third on the team in scoring and second in rebounding, had a team-high 46 blocks.

Griffin is the son of Adrian Griffin, who played at Seton Hall University and later in the NBA. He’s now an assistant coach for the Toronto Raptors.

Griffin’s brother A.J. is a senior at Archbishop Stepinac and is signed to play at Duke University next season. His sister Aubrey averaged 6.2 points and 4.8 rebounds in 17 minutes per game during her sophomore season for the University of Connecticut in 2020-2021.

DeVito Debuts for Rome Braves

St. Joseph by-the-Sea High School graduate Ricky DeVito made his debut for the Rome Braves of the South Atlantic League on Aug. 10.

The 20 year old surrendered two earned runs on four hits and two walks over 3 2/3 innings. He struck out two in picking up the loss.

DeVito is 0-1 with a 4.91 earned run average for Rome. Overall with three minor-league teams this season, he’s 0-1 with a 3.42 ERA, allowing nine earned runs on 17 hits and striking out 26 in 23 2/3 innings.

DeVito was an eighth-round pick of the Atlanta Braves in the 2019 Major League Baseball Draft out of Seton Hall University.

 

DeVito Promoted to Rome

St. Joseph by-the-Sea High School graduate Ricky DeVito was promoted to the Rome Braves of the South Atlantic League.

DeVito had his earned run average drop from 3.38 to 3.32 after giving up an earned run and striking out three over three innings in the Danville Braves’ 4-3 Appalachian League victory over the Pulaski Yankees on Aug. 1.

In 19 innings with Danville, he allowed seven earned runs on 13 hits and nine walks. He struck out 23.

DeVito was an eighth-round pick of the Atlanta Braves in the 2019 Major League Baseball Draft out of Seton Hall University.