Defending Section 9 Class AA champion Kingston lost plenty of talent from last year’s team.
Gone is the man himself, point guard Justin Robinson, last season’s Varsity845 Player of the year. J-Rob is now lighting it up at Division I Monmouth, N.J. As a freshman, man is he making Section 9 proud.
Sharpshooter Jordan DeCicco and key contributors in the Kingston machine Zack Short, Micah Riddick, Deion Monroe and D.J. Mapes also graduated. However, don’t expect the Tigers to become irrelevant this season.
Kingston wants to be right in the mix in what looks like a deep Class AA field. Two of those contenders, Kingston and rival Newburgh, mix it up Thursday in a must-see OCIAA Division I showdown. Tip-off is at 7 p.m. at Newburgh.
“We want to try to get our name out there a little,” said guard Pat Dorrian, Kingston’s lone returning starter. “and this is a good opportunity. I think we can be as good as last year, even if nobody expects that. Newburgh is a great test for us. We hope to keep it close and, hopefully, someone steps up for us and hits some big shots late in the game.”
New on the scene for Kingston this season are, among others, guards Cole Jordan, Anthony Gaines and Hasaan Brodhead, and forward Peter Ryan. New-look Newburgh’s top returning player is senior point guard Donovan Fields. Ja’kwan “Slinky” Jones, a 6-foot-6 center, returns after missing most of last season due to a horrific leg injury. The Goldbacks’ wildcard could be junior guard Donchevell Nugent. Nugent was ineligible last season as per Newburgh’s attendance policy, but has been talked up as a potential prime time player.
“You know Kingston is always going to be good and I know they have some shooters,” Fields said. “I think we can be pretty good, too, but we still have some things to work on. This is definitely a test. We have to come out with 110 percent intensity.”
Kingston took 2-of-3 meetings from Newburgh last year en route to its first Section 9 title since 2004. The Tigers blew out Newburgh 80-54 in the Class AA playoff semifinals at Kate Walton Fieldhouse.
“Since I’m really the only guy who played in that (semifinal) game, it’s still in the back of my mind,” Fields said. “But, at the same time, it’s a clean slate. We want to worry about this season, this game. It should be a good one.”