Boyce returns to lead QP boys’ hoops squad

Photo by Jim Hague The Queen of Peace basketball program welcomes back alum Christian Boyce after a four-year absence as head coach. From left are Josh Pierre-Louis, Jeremy Joseph, Boyce and Ibn Christmas.
Photo by Jim Hague
The Queen of Peace basketball program welcomes back alum Christian Boyce
after a four-year absence as head coach. From left are Josh Pierre-Louis, Jeremy
Joseph, Boyce and Ibn Christmas.

After four years away from being the head boys’ basketball coach at his alma mater, Christian Boyce has returned to his roots, namely Queen of Peace High School.

“It feels good,” said Boyce, who stepped away a few years ago to pursue educational opportunities, then returned last season as an assistant coach. “It’s good to be back. I missed coaching. I had some success here as a coach. I missed the kids and missed the game situations the most.”

Boyce replaces Tom McGuire, who resigned to become the head coach at Lyndhurst.

“When Tommy told me he was stepping down, I thought it was a good fit for me,” said Boyce, who also serves as the school’s assistant admission director. “I think this all came together for a reason.”

Boyce inherits quite a task ahead, considering that the Golden Griffins have only one returning starter.

“It’s definitely a challenge,” Boyce said.

But the one returning starter the Golden Griffins have is a stud in senior Jeremy Joseph, who will spend this season moving up the school’s all-time scoring list. Joseph starts his senior year with 1,100 points and the school’s all-time record is 1,418.

The 6-foot-3 Joseph does a little bit of everything on the floor and averaged 19 points and 10 rebounds per game last year.

“He’s a smart, intelligent player,” Boyce said of Joseph, who has drawn attention from such local schools as Rutgers- Newark, NJIT and Lafayette. “I’d be happy if he averaged the same per game this year, but he has a more balanced team around him. I don’t think he has to worry about carrying the team on his shoulders. He’s more focused on being a leader. I think he’s doing that. He’s more vocal than ever before and sees the young talent in the gym every day. He takes the time to mentor the young kids.”

One of the talented youngsters is freshman Josh Pierre- Louis, the younger brother of standout guard Nate Pierre- Louis, who was a standout at both St. Peter’s Prep as a freshman, then St. Benedict’s Prep as a sophomore and now is at Roselle Catholic.

“He’s a different type of player than his brother,” Boyce said of the 5-foot-11 Pierre- Louis. “Josh is more of a floor leader. He has a decent jump shot and he’s already answering Division I offers.”

It sure appears as if the local colleges have started the recruiting process even further, now expanding to eighth graders.

Another key Golden Griffin contributor is 6-foot-4 junior with a funky name – forward Ibn Loyal, a transfer from Hudson Catholic.

“Ibn is extremely athletic,” Boyce said. “I like everything about his game. He plays above the rim a lot of the time.”

Bryan Henderson, a 6-foot-3 shooting forward, will get the first crack at starting, despite being a freshman.

“He’s one of the best shooters I’ve ever seen,” Boyce said of Henderson. “He’s also a smart, intelligent player who is going to make a strong contribution to this team.”

Rajah Cameron is a 5-foot-8 guard “who is extremely ath athletic and great on defense,” according to Boyce.

Isa Brown is a 6-foot-5 power forward and is also part of the Golden Griffins’ talented freshman crop.

“He’s very raw, but extremely talented,” Boyce said. “He plays hard and is a good defender. He’s going to be a very good player for us.”

Junior Justin Thompson is a 6-foot-3 guard and a transfer from Montclair Immaculate. He will be eligible to play right away, since his family moved residences.

“He’s also very athletic and can be creative with the ball,” Boyce said. “He’s also our defensive stopper.”

The Golden Griffins open the second portion of the Christian Boyce era with a game against Harrison on Dec. 18. They will also participate in the Lyndhurst Christmas Tournament, which could mean a reunion with McGuire.

Needless to say, Boyce is glad to be back and has strong aspirations for the coming season.

“Of course, I always have high hopes,” Boyce said. “I just don’t know how good we’ll be. But we’re going to be a very tough team to play against.”

There were rumors that the school was close to extinction, but with the boys’ and girls’ basketball teams flourishing, those rumors can be put to rest.

“I think the prospects look good,” Boyce said.

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Jim Hague | Observer Sports Writer

Sports Writer Jim Hague was with The Observer for 20+ years — and his name is one of the most recognizable in all of sports journalism. The St. Peter’s Prep and Marquette alum kicked off his journalism career post Marquette at the Daily Record, where he remained until 1985. Following shorts stints at two other newspapers, in September 1986, he joined the now-closed Hudson Dispatch, where he remained until 1991, when its doors were finally shut.

It was during his tenure at The Dispatch that Hague’s name and reputation as one of country’s hardest-working sports reporters grew. He won several New Jersey Press Association and North Jersey Press Club Awards in that timeframe.

In 1991, he became a columnist for The Hudson Reporter chain of newspapers — and he remains with them to this day.

In addition to his work at The Observer and The Hudson Reporter, Hague is also an Associated Press stringer, where he covers Seton Hall University men’s basketball, New York Red Bulls soccer and occasionally, New Jersey Devils hockey.

He’s also doing work at The Morristown Daily Record, the very newspaper where his journalism career began.

During his career, he also worked for Dorf Feature Services, which provided material for the Star-Ledger. While there, he covered the New York Knicks and the New Jersey Nets.

Hague is also known for his announcing work — and he’s done PA work for Rutgers Newark and NJIT.

Hague is the author of the book “Braddock: The Rise of the Cinderella Man.”