Talk about a lousy day. After St. PatrickÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s (No. 6, ESPN Rise) was banned from the New Jersey state tournament earlier in the day because coach Kevin Boyle attended practices before he was technically allowed to, they lost an absolute heartbreaker, 79-78, to No. 7 Oak Hill when gritty shooting guard Derrick Gordon missed a pair of foul shots with .4 seconds left.
ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not every year the No. 1 high school basketball team in the country plays in your home state, but thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s exactly what IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve got right now with St. Patrick of Elizabeth, N.J. As such, I went to see them play Union at Kean University on Tuesday night, my first Celtics game in a couple of years but surely not my last this season.
As if seeing the highest-ranked team in America wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t enough incentive, I also wanted to check out point guard Kyrie Irving, whoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s headed for Duke (my alma mater) next season. In addition, St. PatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s has forward Michael Gilchrist, arguably the best player in the country as a junior, whoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s rumored to be headed for Kentucky or Villanova. Gilchrist and Irving are the big names, but Western Kentucky commit Derrick GordonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s defense was tenacious and solid.
Unfortunately, I didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t get a very long look at Gilchrist. I got to Kean midway through the first quarter, and just a few minutes after I showed up, he collided with a Union player under the basket on a baseline drive and went down in a heap, clutching his knee. He couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t put weight on it and had to be helped out of the arena by teammates before halftime.