Blue Tide will roll toward respectability this season

Jake Mulrenan, Matthew Cabedelo, Jose Camano, Jayden Galindo, Amaru Perales Jim Hague photo

Jose Camano begins his third season as the head boys’ basketball coach at his alma mater, namely Harrison High School, where he was a three-sport superstar and the recipient of the 2008-2009 Observer Male Athlete of the Year.

And there’s no question that this should be the best year of Camano’s young coaching career.

“I’m pretty confident, because I’ve been here with most of the players on this year’s team,” Camano said. “We started off slow last year, but we finished pretty strong. And we played in the Hasbrouck Heights summer league with some good teams that challenged us. I think we know what we have from the beginning of the season. We’re pretty prepared. We knew what we had coming back and they were with me all year working to get better.”

Camano believes that he has improved as a head basketball coach as well in his third season.

“I feel like I’m a lot better,” Camano said. “I understand the game better. I communicate with the players more. I think that’s one of my biggest strengths. I think I’m able to get my message across to them. As long as I get my point across to them, the kids know I’m there for them. If that’s the case, then I’m ok with that. I don’t think we’re in a rebuilding state at all. I just think the kids are willing to learn. If that’s the case, then we’re good to go.”

Camano feels that in order to be successful this season, the Blue Tide have to believe in their defense.

“We have to get stops and score off stops,” Camano said. “The last two weeks of practice, I’ve seen that. We are stressing defense first. I was a big defensive guy when I played. I think the kids are beginning to realize that. If we play tough defense for 32 minutes, then we can be strong. We have to suck it up and play good defense first.”

The leader of the Blue Tide has to be sophomore point guard Reuben Stokes. The 6-foot Stokes is the lone returning starter from a year ago.

“He knows what he has to do,” Camano said. “He has a big workload upon him. He can get from Point A to Point B in a hurry, but he has to be able to bring his teammates along with him. He has to create for his teammates. He can be a scoring point guard, but he has that pass-first mentality. He’s just a great player and fun to watch. He’s also grown so much as a player.”

Edward Burgos is a 5-foot-11 junior guard.

“He can put the ball in the basket,” Camano said of Burgos. “He has a good outside shot. He’s also very aggressive on defense. I expect big things from him and Reuben. We’re putting the ball in their hands.”

Jake Mulrenan, the standout quarterback in the fall, has joined the basketball team for the first time ever. The 6-foot-4 Mulrenan is a power forward.

“I wasn’t surprised with what he could do as a basketball player,” Camano said. “I knew he could have a really big impact with us. He comes from a great family of athletes. He’s a great athlete. He’s also very vocal and talks to his teammates.”

Camano was asked if Mulrenan’s football background could help him on the hardwood.

“He has to see the whole court like a football field,” Camano said. “He really does a great job.”

Junior Ethan Oeckel is a 6-foot-1 forward who was battling a preseason injury, but should be back in time for the start of the season this weekend.

“He’s a great rebounder,” Camano said of Oeckel. “He’s developing as a basketball player. He’s also a three-sport athlete, but he played AAU basketball in the spring and that really helped him with his confidence. He’s a lot more confident than he was last year. I’m looking for him to give us about 10 points per game.”

Senior Amaru Perales is a 6-foot-5 rebounding machine.

“He played as a sophomore, but broke his wrist last year and was in and out,” Camano said. “I think he can get about 10 rebounds per game. He tends to be more physical. He also has a nice little jump shot.”

Matt Cabedelo is a 5-foot-11 senior small forward.

“He has a nice outside shot,” Camano said. “He’s a good 3-point threat.”

Senior Jayden Galindo is a 6-foot-1 forward.

“He’s a really good shooter,” Camano said. “He’s a big kid who plays great physical defense.”

Junior Kevin Ordonez is a 6-foot-1 inside player.

“He’s learning to play the inside game,” Camano said. “He’s been a guard his whole life, but he is developing inside skills.”

Junior Sammy Abdeljalio is a 5-foot-10 reserve point guard.

“He can give us a good 10 minutes off the bench,” Camano said. “He’s a good defensive player.”

Junior Abby Hernandez is a 5-foot-7 guard who is a first-year player.

“He’s really patient with the basketball who always looks to make the right play,” Camano said.

Alex Jeffrey is a 5-foot-11 junior shooting guard.

“He’s still learning the game,” Camano said. “He didn’t play last year, but I look for him to be more of a defensive threat.”

The Blue Tide open the season Friday night at Leonia at 7 p.m. and return home Saturday afternoon with a game against Fort Lee at 1 p.m.

Camano is confident his team will be improved this season.

“We’re going to learn a lot, but we’ll be fine,” Camano said.

Should be interesting for sure.




The Harrison boys’ basketball team will be an improved bunch this season. From left are Jake Mulrenan, Matthew Cabedelo, head coach Jose Camano, Jayden Galindo and Amaru Perales. Photo by Jim Hague




Learn more about the writer ...

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.”