Carroll Off to Great Start

A tough schedule and hard work on order for the Patriots

(Photo Left) Archbishop Carroll player Justin Anderson (#10).  Photo by Sarah J. Glover.

Paul Romanczuk knows what is around the corner. As coach of Archbishop Carroll High School, his team plays in the Philadelphia Catholic League, arguably the best conference in the area, the state and maybe the nation.

This year, Neumann-Goretti, Roman Catholic, Carroll, Archbishop Wood, La Salle, Monsignor Bonner, St. Joseph’s Prep, Conwell Egan, and Archbishop Ryan all are loaded with rosters that are on track to compete for league state titles in their respective divisions.

“It’s as deep as I’ve seen it,” said Bonner coach Jack Concannon. His squad has become the X-factor with the transfer addition of Isaiah Wong, who already has an offer from Villanova as a junior. So, the Carroll coach schedules accordingly.

His team won its first two games of the season against two excellent teams, Malvern Prep and Coatesville, on Dec. 9 and 10. The event on the ninth was the “Play-by-Play Tip Off” event at Carroll. The Patriots nipped Malvern in a nip and tuck contest. The next day at West Chester University, against state-contending Coatesville, Carroll (2-0) took a one-point game with three minutes left before putting them away. Up next in their brutal non-league schedule are Abington, Plymouth Whitemarsh, Shipley and Cheltenham.

Romanczuk figures his team will play 10 of the area’s top 12 teams this season. “I think we did a good job of coming out of the gates and getting two great wins over two really good teams,” he said. “Malvern can win the Inter-Ac and I’d be shocked if Coatesville is not a Final Four District 1 [PIAA Class 6 A] team this year. They both have terrific players and were a great challenge for our guys. I have two guys with major experience in Justin Anderson and A.J. Hoggard, so these guys who are filling in spots for graduated players are already doing a nice job. The new players are filling incredibly so far and that’s a good sign.”

Some people may think his schedule is too much for these kids. But the Carroll coach, who has won league and state titles in the past, feels differently. “I think you have to show these kids what to expect when the Catholic League games start,” he said. “There will be wars. You have to have them ready physically and mentally to play the best. So, we will play all the top teams we can, until we see the Romans and Neumanns. The No. 1 thing for me as a head coach is that I don’t care about me. My personal record of wins and losses means nothing to me. We can play an easier schedule and probably get more wins but my job is to make these kids better and give them opportunities, and see as many situations and types of players coaches and defenses as possible. That’s how you get better. We want to be the [top] like all these other schools.”

The coach feels the team’s strength lies in his two stars, Hoggard and Anderson.

Anderson, according to his coach, “didn’t shoot the ball as well as he would have liked in the first two games but his defense on Malvern and Coatesville’s top scorers was excellent. He had a tough challenge.” Romanczuk said, “I know he wanted to shoot better. But I think everyone can see the impact he had on those two wins.”

In Hoggard, who tallied 23 and 19 points, respectively, his stock is only rising. He is only in 10th grade and the 6-foot-3-inch guard already has an offer from Connecticut, a university that has won four national men’s championships. “He’s playing well,” Romanczuk said. “He got himself in foul trouble in both games, but still scored a lot of points and made a lot of big plays. I know a lot of people are talking about him, but he is just a sophomore now. If he continues to grow as a person and player, stays coachable [and] keeps improving, its possible that we’re talking about one of the best, if not the best, players I will have ever coached. He absolutely will be in the conversation.”

The coach, whose father-in-law is former Sixers’ coach Doug Collins, and himself was a star player at Penn, likes the energy in which his team plays. “We play hard and go after it. We are disciplined defensive and I think we have a lot of traits of a team that can do well. We certainly will be playing all the right teams to find out all the answers. It’s exciting as always to get the season going.”




Carroll Off to Great Start
Jeremy Treatman - Contributor

Jeremy Treatman is the founder and co-director of the Scholastic Play-by-Play Classics and Sports Broadcasting Camps. Over 50 NBA players, including Lebron James, Kevin Durant, and Rajon Rondo played in his events when they were in high school. Jeremy wrote high school sports for the INQUIRER for 10 years, and was the first TV reporter for the HIgh School Sports Show on Channel 29 from 1994-2001. He currently is Comcast's announcer for all high school games.


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