MSG Varsity will visit the top boys basketball teams in New York City during the preseason and unveil our preseason power rankings each day leading up to the start of the season. Today we look at No. 2 Abraham Lincoln.
Whitehead, who has signed to play at Seton Hall next year, heard the chants of “overrated” from the crowd. That actually helped Lincoln focus on their play and quiet the crowd d with an impressive performance that has made them favorite to repeat in the PSAL.
“We’ve been practicing all year and we’re just jelling together so we know where each other will be,” Whitehead said.
The senior actually enjoyed the booing and joked that the crowd actually loves him.
“Crowd or no crowd we just going to stick with our game plan, run our plays and that’s what going to happen.”
Lincoln finally won a city championship after rivals Boys and Girls ruled the past few seasons. Being the hunted, and not the hunter will be a different approach for a talented squad.
The team not only wants to repeat as city champions, but also add the New York State Federation crown to the trophy cabinet. With Starters Desi Rodriguez and Anthony Williams returning, along with new additions like transfer Elisha Bione to the squad, Railsplitters coach Tiny Morton is supporting the goals set y his team.
"That’s important to him (Whitehead) and for those guys but I just want all of them to play well and have a successful season year,” Morton said.
Whitehead will be the catalyst in production and leadership at point guard, but can deftly move over to shooting guard. The 6-foot-4 player is part of athletic backcourt that brings a lot of versatility to the squad.
Desi Rodriguez was a factor in the playoffs last season averaging a double double in points and rebounds. The 6-foot-4-wing player is ready to assume additional scoring responsibilities in replacing the team’s second leading scorer last season in Elijah Davis.
“In some ways, people say like we are overrated but we are not. We work hard every time in practice and I think we deserve to be the favorite,’ Rodriguez said.
Morton is pleased with the improvement shown by Anthony Williams over the summer. The point guard secured a starting role by alleviating the ball-handling role from Whitehead, and is an energetic defender.
“Anthony is stepping up big for us,” Morton said. “He’s been looking good all practice. He thought his spot was going to get taken so he’s been balling,”
Boone, the former Bishop Loughlin player, will see time at three different positions with his size and versatility.
Lincoln has depth as well according to Morton with Mikohl Jenkins and Alex Wolfe, who are tall bodies to play in the frontcourt. Sophomore point guard Raykm Felder will see playing time and football star Thomas Holley should rejoin the team after the school plays in the PSAL city championship December 10.
Whitehead says the team is serious about winning two championships. The belief is there, but now it’s all about execution.
“Last year was about winning the city title and we went up to states last year and played lackadaisical because we thought we won it all already,” Whitehead said. “This year we want to keep pushing. I think we’re the best team in the city.”