Despite the loss of Paul Harris, Niagara Falls (N.Y.) High School is off to a strong start behind the play of 2007 prospects Johnny Flynn and Tyrell Lynch. But the focus of tonight's first home game will be on former teammate Miguel Respress. Respress passed away last summer in Los Angeles from an enlarged heart, and tonight his number 25 jersey will be retired.
"It is going to be a tough night, but a very special night," said Niagara Falls assistant coach Sal Constantino. "Miguel's twin brother is on our varsity team, so it is not going to be easy. The guys have had t-shirts made with Miguel's picture on them, we are going to retire his jersey."
Niagara Falls is coming off a championship performance at the Lockport Tournament last week. Flynn, a Syracuse commitment, earned MVP honors, averaging 30.5 points and 7 rebounds over the two games.
"Last year everyone responded to Paul (Harris)," said Constantino. "This year it is Johnny's team. He is the new guy in charge.
"He's going to Syracuse, so you can't say he is under-recruited, but I do think he is under-rated by most people."
Flynn, who is the No. 76 ranked prospect in the class of 2007, is extremely fast and solid with the ball, can stroke it either off the catch or off the dribble and is a fierce competitor.
Giving Flynn support on the inside is Lynch at 6-foot-8, 215-pounds. Lynch averaged 19.5 points and 12.5 rebounds per game during the tournament.
"Lynch did what I think he does best and that is relentlessly run the floor," said Constantino. "He is also finishing plays that he didn't finish last year.
"He just has a lot to prove in the classroom more than on the court. He will go to a prep school next year, and if he takes care of business in the classroom, he will have something good in the end."
Presently, South Florida, Providence, Illinois, Marshall and Syracuse are tracking Lynch.