Bramanti vs. Niang

Hoop junkies might want to fill up the tank and head to Springfield College for a big day of high school basketball today at the talent-laden Hoopshall Classic. At 4 p.m., Tilton with Iowa State recruit Georges Niang of Methuen, will take on Brewster with ex-Andover great Joe Bramanti. The game is on ESPN.

At 6 p.m., New Hampton, led by sophomore sensation Noah Vonleh of Haverhill, is playing. ESPN3 is doing the game. At 8:30 p.m. is a highly-anticipated dunk contest.

For more information visit thehoophallclassic.com.

No relation

Ryan Scanlon replaced Matt Scanlon as Haverhill's ski coach. They, however, aren't related. Ryan, who teaches at Whittier Middle School, won the 2003 giant slalom state title as a junior at Waltham High.

Doogie howser all-stars

Hard to believe that Florida State freshman starting offensive tackle Bobby Hart turned 17 on Aug. 21. Many local high schoolers, for athletic purposes, stay back or start school a year late. Those kids are Hart's age when they are juniors in high school.

Some other Doogie Howser All-Stars include ex-NBA players Derek Smith (turned 17 Nov. 1 of freshman year), Brad Daugherty (turned 17 Oct. 19 of freshman year) and Mike Gminski (turned 17 a month before freshman year). Then there is Chicago Bear Amobi Okoye. He was a starting lineman at Louisville two months after his 16th birthday!

Cakes are baking

UTL happy birthday wishes go out to Bryant volleyball star Jadith Lorenzo of Lawrence (turning 20 Thursday), Hall of Fame basketball coach Mimi Hyde of Methuen (turning 59 Friday), Brown hockey star Bobby Farnham of North Andover (turning 23 Saturday) and Hall of Fame track coach Ernie Perry Sr. of Andover (Saturday).

Who's herb pope?

UConn freshman phenom Andre Drummond asked that question before the Jan. 3 game with Seton Hall. Drummond knows now as Herb Pope kicked his butt up and down the floor (15 points, 8 rebounds, 3 blocks vs. 4 points, 5 rebounds, 4 blocks) and the Hall stunned the No. 8 Huskies, 75-63.

Pope didn't seem to sweat the perhaps innocent naivete. He, after all, was once shot four times at a high school party and he collapsed from a heart disorder in April 2010.

David vs. Goliath

Height is important but can be overrated in basketball. Bedford (N.H.) High's roster includes players 6-9, 6-8, 6-8, 6-7 and 6-4. Height-starved Pelham's tallest players are 6-2 Alex Newton, Chad Loring and Joe McArthur. Yet when they played, the Pythons flattened the Bulldogs 64-25.

overrated

Can we puhleeze put an end to this talk that D.J. Steve Porter's bits on ESPN are sheer brilliance. There are a thousand local high school kids who can do that cookie-cutter remix garbage like his Tim Tebow "All He Does Is Win" song.

Needless to say, all the ESPN talking heads howl after each lame offering from Porter.

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