Returnees and New Additions Still Make Ramblers Top 10 Worthy
Carteret’s Hubert Ramos, shown here squaring up and surveying the court against Edison last season in the 2018 Matawan Huskies Holiday Classic on December 30th, is one of four returning players that saw significant action for the Ramblers, and looks to keep Carteret among the GMC’s Elite in 2019-20.
CARTERET, NJ—In the overall history of Middlesex County and Greater Middlesex Conference boys basketball, the Carteret Ramblers have been a consistent fixture. Over the past several, the Ramblers have managed to hold its own in the GMC Blue despite the re-emergence of St. Thomas Aquinas and losses to graduation or transfer.
Expect that theme to continue in 2019-20 even though the chasm that exists between Aquinas and the rest of the GMC Blue including Carteret has increased significantly. Gone are the likes of Jahlil Nix, Timothy Ellis (Middlesex County College), and Thamir Lamarr. In addition, Malik Austin transferred to Non-Public B and Hudson County Interscholastic and Athletic Association powerhouse, Hudson Catholic.
In addition, the Ramblers lost another talented player in Jihad Davidson, who played with the NJ Bulldogs AAU during the offseason. Nevertheless, the Ramblers still may have a team that can create some buzz with the likes of Cam McCargo, Starrell Hearns, Donte Prioleau, and Hubert Ramos returning. Add newcomers such as Rahman White as well as sophomore guard, Aiden Ramirez, and Carteret looks strong enough to get into the GMC Hoops Pre-Season Top 10.
McCargo, who averaged 6.6 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and 1.3 steals in 16 games a year ago according to nj.com, also starred on the gridiron at QB for the Ramblers this past season, also excelled on the court this past offseason by playing for the NJ Bulldogs AAU. A transfer from St. John Vianney a year ago, McCargo helped the Ramblers compete with the likes of Aquinas in both regular season match-up including an overtime loss in North Edison back in February, and St. Joseph’s in the 2019 GMCT Boys Quarterfinals. Now, he will be in the spotlight along with Hearns.
Meanwhile, Hearns himself has continued to improve after having a solid season a year ago, and a spring track season that resulted in a sixth place finish in the triple jump in the North Jersey Section 2 Group 2 state sectional at Jackson Liberty High School back in May. As a sophomore, Hearns averaged 9.7 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 1.5 steals per game, and will look to improve upon those numbers as well as blocks and assists. Both McCargo and Hearns bring athleticism, tenacity, and competitiveness that provided a much needed spark to the Ramblers with Austin out of the lineup from the beginning of January last season.
Prioleau saw action during both his sophomore and junior years despite playing behind the backcourt tandem of Ellis and Lamarr. Now, he will get a bigger opportunity to show everyone how good he is. Over the past two seasons, Prioleau, who has seen varsity action in each of his first three seasons at Carteret, has averaged 4.2 points, 1.6 rebounds, 1.1 assists, and 0.9 steals per game in 48 games. Ramos also provided some much needed hustle and defense along with an occasional clutch shot like the three pointer he hit against St. Joe’s in the GMCT Elite Eight last season.
In 22 games as a junior, Ramos averaged 3.2 points, 1.6 assists, 1.4 rebounds, and 1.1 steals per game, and will try to improve upon that this season. Rahman White, who limited action as a sophomore a year ago, is expected to step up and help boost the Ramblers perimeter game. Another newcomer that will be in the rotation is sophomore Aiden Ramirez. Despite the losses of key players to both graduation and transfers over the past two seasons, expect Carteret to remain a formidable squad in the GMC Blue, and Middlesex County in 2019-20.
With the likes of McCargo, Hearns, Prioleau, and Ramos returning along with newcomers such as White, and Ramirez added to the mix, the Ramblers still have a team worthy of being ranked in the Top 10. During the pre-season, Carteret still managed to compete very well against the likes of New Brunswick and Marlboro in a scrimmage behind the play of McCargo and Hearns. Carteret enters the 2019-20 campaign ranked No. 8 in the GMC Hoops Pre-Season Top 10, and will start the season with some tough competition.
After its season opener at Metuchen on Thursday, December 19th, the Ramblers will take on Plainfield on Saturday at noon at PHS. Then, the Ramblers will compete again in the 2019 Matawan Huskies Holiday Classic with a first round match-up versus Holmdel on Friday, December 27th at 1:45 PM. Following the holidays, Carteret will begin the New Year with another Battle of Exit 12 on the New Jersey Turnpike against neighborhood rival, Rahway on Thursday, January 2nd at 5:30 PM in Carteret. Both teams have battled in intense contests in each of the past two years with each team winning at home (Carteret in 2018 and Rahway in 2019).