Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Chris Chevannes is a humble and soft-spoken man who is still coming to grips with the fact that he is succeeding a larger-than-life personality as head coach of the No. 2 boys basketball team in the nation.
Chevannes, the Vice Principal at Elizabeth (N.J.) St. Patrick, learned on Thursday that he had become the interim coach at St. Patrick after Kevin Boyle announced he was moving on to Montverde (Fla.) Academy outside Orlando.
“We’ve been very good friends and he brought me here,” Chevannes, speaking to SNY.tv in his first interview since taking over, said of Boyle. “I’ve basically been under his tutelage for all these years. Without question, how could you not be [honored and humbled] with the success that he’s had here and the development that he’s done over the years here?”
St. Pat’s principal Joe Picaro said Chevannes would likely stay on as a permanent replacement for Boyle, the fiery and outspoken coach who won five New Jersey Tournament of Champions titles and produced a slew of stars, from Shaheen Holloway to Corey Fisher to Kyrie Irving to Michael Gilchrist.
“I’m pretty confident that everybody will want Chris to move up,” Picaro said. “The people I’ve spoken to, everybody is in accord with that.”
Chevannes said that St. Patrick would continue to play a national schedule and compete at an elite level.
“As of right now, I think the schedule’s been set for next year,” Chevannes said. “Everything will still be the same…As of right now, I don’t see any changes at this point.”
Chevannes said he planned to meet with the team Friday afternoon for the first time.
Picaro believes the program can continue to play at a high level even without Boyle. The Celtics finished 26-1 and ranked No. 2 nationally this season after losing to St. Anthony in the North Non-Public B title game March 10.
“I’m pretty confident,” Picaro said. “I would think there may be a player or two who may say, ‘I want to transfer because I came to play for coach Boyle,’ so it might diminish the talent level a bit.
“But there’s so much talent here that we certainly fill every gap if somebody left.”
The key returning players next year are freshman big man Dakari Johnson (pictured), sophomore forward Austin Colbert, sophomore point guard Da’Sean Suber, junior forward Tyrone Ogarro and sophomore wing Jason Boswell.
The 6-10 Johnson could opt to stay at St. Pat’s, attend another school or potentially follow Boyle to Montverde. He initially chose St. Pat’s over Blair Academy.
His mother, Makini Campbell, is currently an English teacher at St. Pat’s. She was not immediately available for comment.
Picaro said St. Patrick might have to merge with another school, potentially nearby St. Mary’s, at some point in the future. But that won’t happen next year.
“We are open next year and they are open next year,” he said. “We haven’t gotten to the point where that will occur
“Next year both schools will survive.”
**Boyle leaves St. Patrick for Montverde
**St. Pat’s Dakari Johnson has ‘enormous potential‘
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.