Boys Basketball – Returning Talent at the Jersey Shore in 2021-22
As short as it was, the 2021 basketball season at the Shore Conference was a remarkable one in many ways and near the top of that list was how young the top players were in such a strong conference. Only one of the six players of the Shore Sports Network All-Shore First Team was a senior and less than half of the 18-man All-Shore roster was comprised of seniors.
Last season, the conference was broken into eight pods for the regular season and of the eight players named Player of the Year in their respective pod, only one of those was a senior.
That must mean that the Shore Conference is loaded with returning talent for 2021-22. Well, sort of.
The list of returning impact players from across the conference is lengthy and in that regard, the Shore Conference will have some depth to it. There are 54 players returning to the Shore Conference who were named to an “All-Pod” team by Shore Sports Network, meaning 45 percent of the all-division-level talent from 2021 is back for 2022 – and that does not include the returning pod MVP’s.
On the other hand, not every one of those decorated players will suit up for a Shore Conference team, either because of injury or transfer. The two high-profile cases are the transfer of Elijah Perkins from Ranney to Camden and the season-ending injury to Manasquan senior and two-time Shore Sports Network Player of the Year Ben Roy.
There are some other noteworthy transfers and injuries to touch upon, but first, let’s have a look at the many, many accomplished players returning to what should be a competitive Shore Conference in 2021-22. The list broken down by the accolades the players received, starting with Shore Sports Network All-Shore returnees.
2021 Shore Sports Network First Team
Jack Seidler, Sr., 6-5, Wing, Marlboro
Marlboro’s versatile senior and third-year starter is a two-time All-Shore selection and his strong showing over 14 games last season was enough to get Seidler his first First-Team nod. As a junior, Seidler averaged 20.1 points, 7.15 rebounds and 2.5 assists for a Mustangs squad that finished No. 2 in the Shore Conference and nearly took down No. 1 Manasquan in the final game of the season.
Jon Spatola, Sr., 5-8, Guard, Marlboro
The other half of Marlboro’s dynamic duo, Spatola is one of the Shore’s most explosive, disruptive guards. Last year marked Spatola’s first All-Shore selection and it came as a result of a memorable performance in the championship pod of the Shore Conference postseason. He finished the season averaging 19.1 points, 4.9 rebounds and 2.9 assists, including 27 points in a brilliant two-way performance to help Marlboro knock off Ranney in the pod semifinals.
Isaac Hester, Jr., 6-0, Guard, Ranney
The big offseason news at Ranney was the guard who transferred out of Ranney, but last year, the story was about the guard who transferred in. Even with Elijah Perkins leaving for Camden, Ranney still has one of the Shore’s best guards in Hester. The junior point guard is coming off a first-season with the Panthers in which he averaged 16.4 points, 4.2 rebounds and three assists.
Alex Bauman, Sr., 6-5, Guard/Forward, Red Bank Catholic
Statistically speaking, you won’t find a better offensive season than the one Bauman put up in 2021. The football standout showed he was just as capable on the hardwood, averaging 16.1 points, 10.8 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 2.2 blocks – averages that ranked 17th, sixth, third and fifth, respectively. Bauman’s biggest showing was a dominant performance in a win over Rumson-Fair Haven in which he posted 21 points, 25 rebounds and five assists.
Scott Gyimesi, Sr., 6-5, Forward, Rumson-Fair Haven
Gyimesi broke out in a major way last season, following up his first year as a starter in 2019-20 with an All-Shore campaign in 2021. The Bulldogs postman finished in the Shore’s top 10 in points (19.1), rebounds (12.1) and blocks (1.7) per game and was also an efficient shooter: 49 percent from the field, 41 percent from three and 77 percent from the free-throw line.
Savon Myers, Sr., 6-4, Guard, Manchester
The versatile Hawks guard filled up the stat sheet in 2021, scoring 17.8 points per game and finishing second in the Shore in rebounding (12.6), seventh in assists (4.2), first in steals (3.9) and 11th in blocked shots (1.5). Myers gives Manchester the ability to play multiple lineups, as he can run the point or play in down low with his size.
D.J. Thomson, Sr., 6-4, Guard, Keyport
With the 2021 season basically cut in half, there are only two players in the Shore Conference who have already scored 1,000 points for their career and Thomson is the only one who is likely to play in a game this season. The other is Manasquan guard Ben Roy, who is recovering from a torn ACL. With Roy out for the season, Thomson is the top returning scorer in the conference after putting up 21.3 points per game as a junior.
Justin Soranno, Sr., 6-6, Forward, Central
Central finished the shortened 2021 season strong and Soranno powered the Golden Eagles surge. He averaged 17.9 points and 7.2 rebounds, including 20 points and 10 rebounds per game during Central’s three games in the Shore Conference postseason.
Returning Shore Sports Network “Pod” Players of the Year
Justin Soranno, Sr., Forward, Central
D.J. Thomson, Sr., Guard, Keyport
Savon Myers, Sr., Guard, Manchester
Jack Seidler, Sr., Wing, Marlboro
Alex Bauman, Sr., Guard/Forward, Red Bank Catholic
Returning Shore Sports Network “All-Pod Players”
*Do not include Pod Players of the Year
Kyree Drake, Sr., Guard, Donovan Catholic (Transferred from Mater Dei Prep)
Joe Dupuis, Sr., Forward, Howell
Zach Emery, Sr., Guard, Howell
Dylan McVeigh, Sr., Guard, Howell
Nick Gallo, Sr., Guard, Howell
Phanique Dupree, Sr., Forward, Jackson Liberty
Troy Buxton, Jr., Guard, Lacey
Jon Spatola, Sr., Guard, Marlboro
Anthony Tancredi, Sr., Center, Mater Dei Prep
Tommy Giannone, Sr., Forward, Middletown North
Kai Messeroll, Sr., Guard, Point Boro
Isaac Hester, Jr., Guard, Ranney
Cyril Arvanitis, Sr., Guard, Red Bank Catholic
C.J. Ruoff, Sr., Guard/Forward, Red Bank Catholic
Gioacchino Panzini, So., Guard, Red Bank Catholic
Scott Gyimesi, Sr., Forward, Rumson-Fair Haven
Geoff Schroeder, Sr., Guard, Rumson-Fair Haven
Nate Williams, Sr., Guard, St. John Vianney
Jaden Anthony, Sr., Guard, Southern
Jack Dougard, Sr., Forward Brick
Alex Jenkoski, Jr., Guard, Brick
Josh Michigan, Jr., Guard, Brick Memorial
Will Surdez, Jr., Guard, Colts Neck
Jayden Holmes-Cotter, Sr., Forward, Freehold Twp.
Dallas Weisse, Sr., Guard, Jackson Liberty
George Mitchell, Sr., Forward, Keyport
Chris Venturoso, Jr., Guard, Lacey
Anthony Longo, Sr., Guard, Point Beach
Jay Ratner, Sr., Forward, Marlboro
Amari Ayala-Petty, Sr., Guard, Manchester (Transferred from Donovan Catholic)
D’Maari Brown, Sr., Guard, Manchester
Matt Kenny, Sr., Guard, Middletown North
Matt Lee, Sr., Guard, Point Boro
Justin Rivera, Sr., Guard, Raritan
Patrick Murray, Sr., Guard, Red Bank
Zach Meeks, So., Center, Red Bank Catholic
Dylan Seay, So., Forward, St. John Vianney
Gavin Migliori, Sr., Guard, Toms River South
Sha’Born Goodman, Jr., Guard, Asbury Park
Luke Braaten, Sr., Center, Brick Memorial
John Truhan, Jr., Guard, Central
Pat Lautato, Sr., Guard, CBA
Dylan Orosz, Sr., Center, Donovan Catholic
Keith Adame, Jr., Guard, Jackson Memorial
Christian Rodriguez, Sr., Guard, Long Branch
Zach Molod, Sr., Guard, Marlboro
Colin Haluska, Jr., Guard, Matawan
Derek Ragona, Sr., Guard, Mater Dei Prep
Rian O’Rourke, Sr., Guard, Pinelands
Kevin Burns, Jr., Guard, Point Beach
Colton McGlashan, Sr., Forward, Point Boro
Steve Mellett, Jr., Forward, Point Boro
Jack O’Leary, Jr., Forward, Raritan
Wyatt Haselbauer, Sr., Center, Red Bank Catholic (Transferred from Manchester)
All-Pod Transfers (With Former Team)
Elijah Perkins, Sr., Guard, Camden (Ranney)
With Perkins’s departure to play for New Jersey’s top team, Ranney’s last remaining links to the 2018-19 Tournament of Champions team are just about gone. There are seniors on this year’s Panthers team who were in the program, but Perkins - was the only freshman to log minutes against the top teams on Ranney’s schedule.
Carson Howard, Jr., Forward, Archbishop Wood (Pa.) (Lacey)
After putting up big numbers (18.4 points and a Shore-leading 12.7 rebounds) as part of an exciting young core at Lacey, the 6-foot-6 Howard is headed to play in the Philadelphia Catholic League for his junior season.
Ryan Zan, Sr., Forward, Rutgers Prep (Ranney)
On top of losing Perkins, Ranney also bid farewell to Zan, who spent his freshman year at Hunterdon Central before transferring to Ranney for his sophomore and junior seasons. The 6-foot-7 senior heads back to Somerset County to finish off his high-school career.
All-Pod Players Injured, Out for Season
Ben Roy, Sr., Guard, Manasquan
Roy tore his ACL during a weekend fall tournament, bringing a premature end to a brilliant-but-too-short high-school career. Roy finished with over 1,100 points despite missing out on both his senior season and a full-season’s worth of games during his junior season last year. Above all else, Roy was a winner: during his career, Manasquan went 72-5 with a Shore Conference Tournament title and NJSIAA Central Group II title in 2019-20 and an unofficial Shore Conference championship during a 12-0 season last year.
Colin Ackerman, Sr., Guard, Wall
Ackerman was playing through what he thought was a minor knee injury, according to head coach Bob Klatt and after tweaking the injury earlier this week and getting an MRI, he found out the situation was much worse. Ackerman also suffered a torn ACL and will miss his senior year after being an integral part of one of the best ever three-year stretches of Wall boys basketball. Ackerman averaged 11.2 points and four assists as a third-year varsity contributor a year ago.
Tyler Ochojski, Sr., Forward, Freehold Boro
Ochojski is drawing interest from a number of FCS programs to play football and his focus is on healing up to get to 100 percent, which means passing on his senior season of basketball. As a junior in 2021, Ochojski put up just under 10 points per game to go with 7.9 rebounds.