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Posted Wednesday, November 22, 2006 by THE JUNGLE NEWS


November 22, 2006

Over the weekend, Louisville continued their hot recruiting start for the class of 2008 when Melquan Bolding of Archbishop Stepinac in White Plains, NY verbally committed to the Cardinals while making an unofficial visit to the school. Recently, Archbishop Stepinac head coach Tim Philip was gracious enough to spent some of his time to allow the Big East Basketball Report to learn more about his program and star player.

Stepinac competes in the CHSAA Class A and finished 10-5 in their conference last season and 15-11 overall. This was a marked improvement over the previous year when they finished 7-17 from the fifth straight season. With the return of Melquan Bolding and junior point guard Tony Taylor, Coach Philip is expecting another season of improvement for his squad in his third season as head varsity coach.

While the program has been down some the last several years, Archbishop Stepinac has had a long and successful history. Big East fans certainly remember Marty Conlon who played at Providence College and Georgetown fans should be familiar with the name Art White, both are products of the Stepinac program. St. John's top assistant, Fred Quartebaum and Canisius head coach Tom Perotta both played college basketball at Fordham after coming out of Stepinac. Coach Philip is a 1995 graduate of Stepinac and is dedicated to getting the program back to the level it once was. He hopes the 2006-2007 season is another step in that direction.

There is no doubt that this year's team will rely on Melquan Bolding as their leader. Last year, Bolding averaged nearly 25 PPG and 13 rebounds a contest and had St. John's, Pittsburgh and Connecticut recruiting him very aggressively prior to his decision to commit with Louisville. When asked to describe his star and give a sneak peak for the Louisville fans on what they will see from Bolding, Philip had much to say: "He is extremely athletic. If he gets the right spacing in the lane he will dunk it on whoever is in his way, the Louisville fans are going to love that, and most importantly, he puts the team first and wants to win!"

Bolding is excellent in transition and getting to the rim to consistently finish. He does no take bad shots as Coach Philip explains, "Mel's best quality is his shot selection, he does not take bad shots." Although he averaged 25 PPG last season, he did his damage by taking an average of 15 shots a game and shooting 60% from the floor. Bolding is helped out on the break by the presence of an excellent running mate in junior point guard Tony Taylor, who averaged 13 PPG and 7 assists as a sophomore. Philip describes Taylor as "very quick, good shooter and has an unbelievable basketball I.Q." With Hofstra, San Francisco, James Madison and Siena currently recruiting his junior point guard, Philip warns us to keep an eye on him, "I definitely feel his stock is going to rise after this season, he recently scored 24 points and 8 assists in a scrimmage vs. Rice."

We'd like to thank coach Philip for taking the time to provide us with a perspective on his program at Archbishop Stepinac and introducing our readers to his key players, Melquan Bolding and Tony Taylor. We wish Coach Philip and his program the best of luck this season and we will try to check in on them as the season gets underway to see their progress. We have a feeling we will be hearing a lot about Archbishop Stepinac in the future.


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