Golden Bears look to improve on McGuire’s first year

It’s not known who was the first person to issue the idiom “Every cloud has a silver lining” but everyone from poet/rocker Henry Rollins to even Thomas the Tank Engine has used the popular phrase.

Well, it could be easily attached to the Lyndhurst boys’ basketball team.

The Golden Bears staggered somewhat to a 6-19 record in Tom McGuire’s first year as head coach. The former Queen of Peace standout and former Golden Griffin head coach moved down the road a tad last year to take over at Lyndhurst and produced the dismal mark.

But McGuire can spin a positive out of a negative.

“It was the first time we qualified for the (NJSIAA North Jersey Section 2, Group II) state playoffs in a long time,” McGuire said.

And for a reward, the Golden Bears were paired with eventual Group II overall state champion Newark West Side in the first round.

“We had a new program looking for a new type of player,” McGuire said. “It was the first step toward establishing the program that I hope to have. I think we took steps in the right direction last year.”

Another step was participating in two different summer leagues.

“The kids showed me a lot over the summer,” McGuire said. “It gives me high hopes for the future that they can play at a higher level. We’re going to find out who we are very early. We’ll know how the season will go. We have to get out to a fast start.”

Leading the way for the Golden Bears this season will be 5-foot-10 senior guard Ed Albuquerque, who averaged seven points per game last season.

“Shot selection is always a major key for Ed,” McGuire said. “In the past, he would find a seat on the bench next to me because of poor shot selection. Now, he’s taking the ball to the basket more. He’s getting fouled. He’s becoming more of an all-around player.”

Junior Adrian Lopez is a six-foot junior point guard.

“I can see that he’s matured a lot,” McGuire said. “He has a tendency to become erratic. He has to play under more control. When he lets himself become overwhelmed by everything, that’s when he gets into trouble. Right now, he’s been a very good player. He’s learning that being the point guard is a big responsibility. It’s not just dribbling the ball up. The more he gets to the paint the better. He has a cooler head and he’s more under control.”

Senior Pete Lazaris is a 6-foot senior forward.

“We need his hustle and his defense,” McGuire said. “He’s the motor that makes us go. He’s the heart of the team. He provides leadership. I don’t ask a lot from that kid. But he can hit the three well. He’s the kind of kid that the rest of the team can look up to. He’s the most serious guy I have.”

Kyle Logan is a 6-foot-2 junior forward.

“He sees the floor pretty well,” McGuire said. “He has to stay on the floor for us. Last year, he picked up a lot of stupid fouls. With six seniors leaving, Kyle has to take more of a leadership role. He’s doing things properly instead of being over aggressive.”

Brian Podolski is a 6-foot-1 sophomore guard.

“He can score well,” McGuire said. “He’s still young, but we’re looking for a little bit of scoring out of him. I expect more out of him.”

Sophomore Benny Franchino is a 5-foot-9 guard.

“We’re trying to extend his (shooting) range,” McGuire said. “Basically, we made him shoot 100 3’s a day to get shooting into habit for him. He’s the fastest kid in the team. He’s not lacking in speed. And his confidence is there as well.”

Mike D’Alia is a 6-foot-3 junior.

“He’s a tall, lanky kid who has a nice mid-range game,” McGuire said. “He can shoot the ball. He’s showed a lot of improvement.”

Andrew Ellis is a 5-foot-10 junior guard who adds depth to the backcourt.

The Golden Bears open their season with Leonia at home Dec. 16. They also host the Bruce Bartlett Memorial Holiday Tournament with Palisades Park, Rutherford, Becton Regional, Fair Lawn, Lakeland, Hasbrouck Heights and Elmwood Park all joining Lyndhurst for the holidays.

After a tough first season, McGuire is settling in as the head coach.

“I’m definitely more comfortable,” McGuire said. “I’m looking forward to getting the kids to improve and I can see that improvement already. We’re going to build this into a winner.”

Ah, thank God for silver linings.

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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.”