by Malik Vincent
Though their rivalry has been one of the most prolific in the City over the past few years, both Andre McDonald of Allderdice and Marco Corona of Perry can come together on one thing.
Watch out for the new USO (University Prep, Sci-Tech, and Obama) team.
“After watching what they did in football it’s hard to rule out what kind of success they can have in hoops,” Corona said.
Corona and McDonald have seen each other in the league title game two out of the last three years. In those seasons, Perry owns all four regular season victories. They claimed the title over the Dragons during the 2008-09 season, but Allderdice will ‘three-peat’, as City champs if they win the crown this year.
“As long as we beat (Perry) when it counts, I’m fine,” McDonald said.
But if you ask Corona who he thinks is a clear favorite—besides USO—he has no problem with mentioning his most noted foe.
“I think with the core that they’re bringing back this year, they’re really going to be a force to be reckoned with in the city this year,” Corona said.
The Commodores said goodbye to eight seniors last year, and will return six. But Corona admits that those he does have coming back, had “little to no playing time”, last season.
Indeed, Allderdice will return the New Pittsburgh Courier Player of the Year, Justin Dobbs. The senior swingman averaged 20 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists during their march to the championship last season.
The question is, will he be able to maintain that success this season?
“I just strive to be the best player I can possibly be,” Dobbs said. “And the rest will take care of itself.”
He is currently attracting interest from at least a half-dozen high to lower tier Division-I programs.
“It’s not really hard for me to maintain because I don’t worry too much about the next guy,” Dobbs added. “I compete against myself and try to get better. I just love the game of basketball. It’s never particularly been about the competition for me.”
McDonald will return two other starters from last year’s championship squad in Courier All-City first teamer Ben Mickens and senior point guard Kevin Bell.
“I expect these guys to set the tone for the rest of the team, which is younger, but will be able to contribute some good things to this team,” McDonald said. “I’m looking forward to it because, though they don’t have all that much overall experience, they have been around in crucial championship-type situations. So they’ll be ready.”
He also expects Brashear and Oliver to play a factor this season in the final standings.
‘I always like what coach (Carey) White does over at Oliver,” he added. “You can never count them out. And I keep hearing all types of good things about Brashear. They’ve got a bunch of athletes over there and I think they are going to have some success, as well.”
The Dragons will officially start their quest for their third-consecutive title on Dec 9 when they take on Altoona in the Peters Township tip-off tournament.
They have some notable non-conference matchups, including one on the floor of California University of Pennsylvania against the defending WPIAL Class A champs, Monessen. They’ll also travel to the University of Dayton to take on Ohio powerhouse Stow-Monroe on Jan 29.
Their first city opponent will be Brashear, whom they will face during the Ambridge tip-off on Dec 17. The tournament will house 14 teams.
Team: Last year’s rank
1. Allderdice 1st
2. USO 3rd (as Schenley), 5th (as Peabody)
3. Brashear 6th
4. Oliver 7th
5. Westinghouse 8th
6. Perry 2nd
7. Carrick 4th
8. Langley 9th
League play will begin Dec 16
Oliver @ Obama Academy at 4 p.m.
Langley @ Perry at 4 p.m.
Brashear @ Allderdice at 4 p.m.
Carrick @ Westinghouse at 5:30 p.m.
(Follow our continuing coverage of the city league and add your comments to our website at www.newpittsburghcourieronline.com.)
(Malik Vincent can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @malikvincent.)