Boys Basketball – Player of the Year: Matt Farrell, Pt. Beach
Over the last five seasons of head coach Nick Catania’s nine-year tenure, the Point Pleasant Beach boys basketball team has boasted a number of All-Shore caliber players and even a few Division I players, and most of them would stand out more than senior guard Matt Farrell during the national anthem.
The six-foot, wiry point guard does not look the part of a Division I college player to the same degree than some of his teammates – both past and present – do, but when it comes to the 32 minutes between the opening whistle and the final buzzer, Farrell has outshined them all.
After a two-year stretch in which he led Point Beach to two NJSIAA sectional titles, a Group I championship and a Shore Conference Tournament championship, Farrell walks away from his high school career as the Shore Sports Network Player of the Year.
The senior guard can add that title to two other distinct honors: the 2014 Kerwin Award and the unanimous choice as the Shore Conference coaches’ player of the year. While Farrell follows other notable Point Beach graduates like Jarelle Reischel, Jordan Wejnert and Riley Calzonetti as All-Shore picks, Farrell is the only one of the bunch to earn first-team All-Shore honors twice, win a Group championship and win a Shore Conference Tournament championship.
“This group of seniors have been the heart of this team and it starts with Farrell,” Catania said after Point Beach’s 47-36 loss to Pitman to end its season. “He’s been a tremendous example for the younger guys, and he has shown what’s possible when you put in the work in the gym, in the weight room and in the film room. He’s been our hardest worker since the day he got here and that’s why he’s where he’s at as a player and we’re where we’re at as a program.”
In 30 games this season (he sat out one game due to illness), Farrell averaged 19.5 points, 3.8 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 3.9 steals per game, despite routinely exiting games well before the final buzzer with Point Beach winning big. During the course of the season, he joined the 1,000-point club at Point Beach and also became the program’s all-time career leader in assists.
While Point Beach played a relatively forgiving division schedule, the Garnet Gulls also played top-level competition outside the division and Farrell was at his best against the best opponents. He averaged 19.1 points per game against teams outside of Class B Central, including a 22-point game against state-power Patrick School and a 26-point day in a win over Jackson Memorial during the regular season.
Farrell’s standout game came in the Shore Conference Tournament final against Christian Brothers Academy, a 49-41 Point Beach win. Farrell scored 24 of Point Beach’s points on 8-for-14 shooting to lead the Gulls to their first ever Shore Conference Tournament championship, a performance that prompted Rutgers University head coach Eddie Jordan to offer Farrell a scholarship on the spot.
Farrell committed to Boston College during the summer of 2013, but retracted his commitment prior to the start of the season and reopened his recruitment. One night after scoring 20 points to lead Point Beach to a win over Shore in the Central Jersey Group I final, Farrell committed to the University of Notre Dame, where he will continue his basketball career in the fall.