Elijah Minnie talks Robert Morris, recruiting

Written by Craig Meyer on .


(Photo: Julia Rendleman, Post-Gazette)

Despite an underwhelming offensive performance, one in which he missed 10 of 13 shots for eight points, Elijah Minnie proved to be a vital cog for Lincoln Park as it captured the program's first PIAA championship Friday with a 70-66 victory against Math, Civics and Sciences Charter School.

Defensively, Minnie was outstanding, blocking nine shots and grabbing eight rebounds, the kind of numbers that are indicative of what he's done for much of the season.

A number of college programs are after Minnie and over the past month, Robert Morris coaches -- assistants as well as head coach Andy Toole -- have appeared at several of his games.

Right after capturing the championship, I was able to talk with Minnie for a few minutes about his recruitment process, specifically how Robert Morris fits into it. A senior, he said that he would like to stay close to home for college, but also added that while the Colonials are "in the hunt," they are probably his fifth or sixth choice out of seven schools at the moment. Obviously, this is a fluid situation and in a couple of weeks, it's likely to be more concrete.

Minnie also has offers from Elon, James Madison, Liberty, Rhode Island, Saint Joseph's, Temple and Virginia Tech, according to He's also reportedly drawn interest from Pitt, West Virginia, Mount St. Mary's, North Carolina State and TCU.

While his offensive game needs some polish and his physical frame could use 30-or-so pounds of muscle, it's hard to deny that Minnie is a superb defensive presence with length and athleticism, the kind that would make him a strong addition to the Robert Morris program.

Below is a transcript of the conversation I had with him:

Have you felt more of a push from Robert Morris over the past two months? “They’ve been on me actually since I was a freshman, but there was a lot of talk of West Virginia and bigger schools [pursuing me], so they backed off a little bit. They really got interested after last season. I think I averaged almost 20 points per game and I did a lot last year. Coach Toole said he really likes the way I play and loves how I play defense, block, shots, rebound, score at will. That’s what [Lincoln Park assistant] coach [Mike] Bariski likes, too. A lot of other college coaches like it, too, but Robert Morris in particular loved the way I play.”

What's been their pitch to you? "They want me to come to the facility to see around. They’re really interested and they really want me to come there. I have the offer on the table. They talk to me every day, just ask me how I am, how everything’s going. I’m pretty sure I’ve got a text message waiting…well, I think they play tonight, actually…but I’ll probably have a text message asking about the game, to see if we won or lost. I love coach Toole – he’s amazing and a great coach. They talk to me every day and they keep up with me. I like that. That makes it even better that they care and they’re really interested.”

Have the coaches given you an idea of how they envision you fitting into their in system? “They told me they want me as a forward right now, but they said after the offseason to go to the facility and work out with their guys. Potentially, if I work on my handle and a little bit more outside shooting that I could potentially be a three or a four. But right now, they’re looking at me as a four.”

Have you narrowed your college list down at all? “I really haven’t. If you ask me that question in about two weeks, I’d probably give you a solid answer. Because of school and this team, I was trying to get his accomplishment right here [a state championship] before I got started with any kind of college decisions. But there are a couple of colleges that are involved. I talk to them once in a while and I have a couple of offers, but now, it’s time to visit schools and do all of the necessary things that will get me to a college that I would feel comfortable going to.”

Would you say Robert Morris is firmly in the hunt? “They’re definitely in the hunt. My college choice will probably be close to home and it’s significantly close to home. It’s definitely in the hunt. Out of the seven, they’re probably like five or six. They’re definitely in there.”


Craig Meyer: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and Twitter @CraigMeyerPG

Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.

New Castle fans will invade Hershey ...... Lincoln Park and Seton-LaSalle highlights

Written by Mike White on .

Highlights are below of the Seton-LaSalle girls and Lincoln Park boys winning state championships earlier today. But first ... 

We saw how New Castle basketball fans supported their team in games across the WPIAL this season, packing gyms for the WPIAL playoffs and also home games.

But you have to hand it to these Ne-ca High fans. They will travel also.

Giant Center

A few thousand fans are expected to be in Hershey tomorrow night to watch the undefeated Red Hurricanes play for a state championship against La Salle College High School of Philadelphia. That kind of fan support is practically unheard of these days for a Pennsylvania high school team. Those fans will turn part of the Giant Center into a red and black sea. (The photo is of the Giant Center during tonight's championship doubleheader).

New Castle athletic director Sam Flora said the school sold its allotment of 1,500 tickets in about an-hour-and-a-half Thursday. The Blackhawk girls team also has made it to a PIAA final and will play before New Castle tomorrow. Blackhawk had plenty of tickets left over and Flora said Blackhawk was nice enough to open its ticket office Thursday night and sell tickets to New Castle fans who weren't able to get them at New Castle.

There really is no danger of this game selling out because the Giant Center holds 10,500. Fans can buy tickets at the gate tomorrow. But Flora said he wouldn't be surprised if between 3,000 and 4,000 New Castle fans are in the Giant Center tomorrow.

And how about this: New Castle is taking eight student buses to Hershey and each one holds 55 passengers. So there will be about 400 students going to the game. That is tremendous. 

All these New Castle people, driving more than four hours and 263 miles to back their Red Hurricanes. Really, I haven't seen this much support for a team from the west at the state championships since Meadville in 1987. Meadville's colors are also red and black and they seemingly took up about one-third of Hersheypark Arena to watch their beloved Bulldogs take on Carlisle and superstar Billy Owens. Carlisle won, 48-47.

"I will always remember in 1967 when I played football for New Castle and we played Mt. Lebanon for the WPIAL championship on Thanksgiving Day at Pitt Stadium," said Flora. "I still remember all the yellow buses of New Castle fans coming to the game. It was amazing. There were, like, 8,000 to 9,000 people from New Castle that went to the game on Thanksgiving Day.

"There has always been a saying up here that the train is rolling. What is going on this year basically says the train has never stopped even from 1967. It really is remarkable."

But isn't it great to see? Isn't it wonderful that a bunch of teenagers playing a sport can rally people together in a town that has had some tough times over the past few decades? 


And get this: New Castle's team left school this morning and were escorted out of town by fire engines. 

All of it is just wonderful I say. Unforgettable, too. This run by New Castle - win or lose tomorrow night - and the crazy fans should be remembered for a long time.


Here are highlights from Lincoln Park's 70-66 victory against Math, Civics & Sciences for the Class A boys title earlier today. Maverick Rowan scored 37 points for Lincoln Park . Elijah Minnie had eight points, eight rebounds and nine blocks.

Here are highlights from the Seton-LaSalle girls 58-50 victory against previously undefeated Neumann-Goretti, Seton-LaSalle's Yacine Diop had 10 points, 23 rebounds and six blocked shots. Nicolete Newman scored 17 points and was 6 of 6 from the free-throw line in the final 1:20. Cassidy Walsh added 11 points and 11 rebounds.



Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.

Big news in the classical music world

Written by Elizabeth Bloom on .

Classical music continues to make national news with two especially big headlines this week: the San Diego Opera has decided to shutter, citing a unceasingly difficult financial climate, and Michael Henson will step down as the controversial CEO of the Minnesota Orchestra. Mr. Henson has been a divisive figure in Minnesota, where he was viewed as responsible for a major renovation to the orchestra's concert hall and the long lockout of its musicians. His departure may pave the way for the return of the orchestra's beloved music director, Osmo Vanska, who'd left due to the ongoing labor strife. 

Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.

Neal, Legwand fined - 03-21-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Penguins forward James Neal and Red Wings forward David Legwand were each fined $5,000 for plays in last night's 5-4 overtime win by Detroit.

In the second period, Neal cross checked Red Wings forward Luke Glendening in the head and neck. Neal was given a two-minute minor on the play.

The play in question:

This is the second time Neal has received supplemental discipline by the NHL and the fifth time overall in his career.

In the third period, Legwand butt ended Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin near the groin and was given a major penalty as well as a game misconduct.

The play in question:

-EN Says: Neal has drawn up a nasty laundry list of plays which have faced discipline in his short time with the Penguins. That said, precedent has been set this season on a play involving the Red Wings.

Maple Leafs forward Joffrey Lupul, a player with a recent (but hardly comparable to Neal) record of supplemental discipline was fined $10,000 by the league after he cross checked Red Wings forward Patrick Eaves' head in a similar fashion.

The play in question:

If that's the standard, Neal's fine for this hit is just, even if it is only half of what was taken out of Lupul's wallet.

One thing which may have spared Neal from a larger fine or even a suspension was the the lack of an apparent injury to Glendening. Either, this has been an ongoing pattern with Neal which Penguins management may want to address the way they did with former forward Matt Cooke.

As far as Legwand goes, this is a pretty rare penalty so there aren't many comparable situations. The in-game discipline and the fine he received seem adequate.

(PhotoClaus Andersen/Getty Images)

Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.

Seton-LaSalle girls win state title

Written by Mike White on .

HERSHEY, Pa. – The Seton-LaSalle High School girls basketball team won a second PIAA Class AA title in three years when it defeated Neumann-Goretti of Philadelphia, 58-50, in the championship this afternoon at the Giant Center in Hershey.

Seton-LaSalle let a 14-point third-quarter lead slip away  as Neumann-Goretti went ahead, 46-44, with 5:27 left in the game. But Seton-LaSalle came on strong, outscoring Neumann-Goretti 14-4 down the stretch. Seton-LaSalle scored 12 of those 14 points from the foul line to hand Neumann-Goretti (29-1) its first loss of the season.

Seton-LaSalle got 10 points and 23 rebounds from senior forward Yacine Diop (pictured). Guard Nicolette Newman led Seton-LaSalle (27-4) with 17 points and point guard Cassidy Walsh had 11 and also 11 rebounds. Neman made 6 of 6 free throws in the final 1:20 of the game.

“I was a little nervous at first and then I hit the first one and then they just all fell after that.”

Elia Abobajo led Neumann-Goretti with 13 points.

Seton-LaSalle led by only two points early in the second quarter, but went on an 11-2 run to grab a 25-14 lead. The lead got to 14 points in the second quarter and the Rebels led, 28—21, at halftime.

The lead mushroomed to 14 points in the third quarter before Neumann-Goretti came back. Neumann-Goretti shot only 24 percent (16 of 67) from the field.

Spencer Stefko won a state title in his first year as head coach. He came from Chartiers Valley.

“This isn’t my team. This is Seton-LaSalle’s team. I’m just along for the ride,” Stefko said.

Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.