PISCATAWAY, NJ -- The Piscataway High School boys basketball team will be looking to bounce back in 2021 after posting a subpar 6-18 record a year ago.
The Chiefs’ season opening game against New Brunswick on Thursday, Jan. 28 at 5:30 p.m. will be Piscataway’s first home game of any kind in the 2020-21 school year after it opted out of fall sports entirely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, though it will play without fans in attendance.
“We will miss our fans,” head coach Darius Griffin said. “As you know we have some very passionate fans who love their sports in Piscataway. They really help get us going. As a team we will have to create this same type of excitement ourselves.”
Griffin is entering his sixth season at the helm of Piscataway where he is 57-49 overall, and he will be looking for a mix of returners and newcomers to step up and have a successful season. Piscataway will be without seven seniors from a year ago including forward Keshawn Peterson and guard Jonathan Livingston, who was a Greater Middlesex Conference All-Red Division selection last season as he averaged 24 points per game.
In their place, seniors William Corley, Justin Wyatt and Jalen Bass are expected to take on bigger roles. Among the returnees, Corley is the leading points-getter with 117 last season with 45 rebounds, 32 assists, 21 steals, and seven blocks. Bass and Wyatt saw limited action, but should get more in their last year.
Juniors Jaiden Corley and Aaron Austin both got their feet wet on varsity last season as underclassmen as well with Corley netting 73 points with 40 rebounds and 20 assists, which was fifth on the team.
The newcomers to the roster offer plenty of height and size including sophomores Dallas Jones, Jonathan Carman, Jalen Thomas, and juniors Jerrick Hargrove, Kasir Hart, and Samir Corley-Battle.
Griffin figures height and athleticism will be an asset.
Hargrove is listed at 6-foot-3, Wyatt, Carman, and Thomas are 6-foot-4, and Jones is 6-foot-5 at the forward/center spots. Jaiden Corley is 6-foot, William Corley, Austin, and Bass are 6-foot-1 at guard, while Hart and Corley-Battle are each 6-foot-2, and Hargrove is 6-foot-3.
“We're going to be an exciting team to watch. The players have worked hard during this pandemic and hopefully we will have a great season,” Griffin said. “We're going to be young and make some mistakes, but that's part of learning and we will work hard daily to improve in all areas as the season progresses.”
Right now, Piscataway has 11 games on the schedule that can change at any point, but Griffin is confident that the Chiefs will make it through. Having sports back at PHS will be a welcomed sight, although not many will be there to see it live.
“Because of COVID, just like everywhere it's different,” Griffin said. “The administration, athletic department, and trainers have been great and have done everything possible to make sure everyone is safe. We're following all the rules and hopefully our season will not be interrupted due to the pandemic.”
For the full schedule, click here.
Follow Chris Nalwasky on Twitter @ChrisNalwasky.
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