Two big-time high school players headed to big-time colleges headline tonight's state Federation Class A boys semifinal game at Glens Falls Civic Center.
Villanova-bound junior guard Achraf Yacoubou of Long Island Lutheran and Virginia-bound senior center Will Regan of Buffalo Nichols figure prominently in their team's title plans.
Yacoubou, who committed to Villanova before the season, is a two-way guard with multiple skills. He averaged 20 points, seven rebounds and is a lockdown defender. "On a given night, he's one of the best players in the state and he could be Mr. Basketball next year," said Lutheran's first-year coach John Buck. "He's relentless. He never gets tired. He's our best scorer and we ask him to guard the other team's best perimeter player."
Regan, at 6-8, won't likely be matched up with Yacoubou. "He's very skilled. He can shoot the three and has great court vision," Buck said. "He's not a massive defensive presence, but he's smart. Their whole team is very heady. They know how to play the game."
While Yacoubou is the only returning starter from the Crusaders' title-winning team of a year ago, which was led by Tobias Harris, Lutheran has three other double-figure scorers. Forwards Hart Gliedman and Terry Brutus are very athletic and point guard Mike Florin "has the freedom to let it go," Buck said, because Florin - who missed 10 games with a severe ankle sprain - has a nice outside shot.
The winner faces the winner of today's Jamesville-DeWitt vs. Bedford Academy game for the Class A Federation title at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Lutheran defeated DeWitt in last year's championship game.