There is BC which means Before Jesus was born.
Then there is AD, which means After Jesus was born.
At New Haven High School, there is a new way to align the calendar.
It is AR.
Translated, After Romeo.
Romeo Weems, a perpetual presence on the high school all-state lists and the reigning Mr. Basketball, is no longer at New Haven High School. A college freshman, he is now in the starting lineup at DePaul. The Blue Demons play in the Big East and are undefeated after beating Texas Tech in overtime Wednesday night.
“Romeo was a great player. He was a generational player and you can’t replace a player like him. He left his mark here. He was a great kid and he set the bar high,” said Tedaro France, the coach at New Haven.
“It is not about making the home run plays here,” continued France, talking about the transition to this year’s team. “It is about making the small plays consistently. I want to have kids who are consistent on making the small plays, the kind of plays that win games.”
Playing sound, fundamental defense. Sticking to the blueprint on offense. Setting picks and making sharp cuts to the basket. Passing to the open man. Taking good shots.
All of the stuff that might never make the highlight compilation on ESPN, but does just fine on the high school basketball court.
There are six returning players from the 2018-2019 team. That group is led by 6-4 junior forward Brent Wiles, who started for the Rockets last year.
“Brent is a great kid,” said France. “He will play inside but he can also hit the three. He got stronger and he’s going to have a big year for us.”
Point guard Tyree France started six games last year. He’s a 5-11 point guard and is the coach’s son.
“He’s a smart player, very skilled and a good shooter. He’s my son and of course he has to know the game,” said his dad, laughing.
Four more seniors round out the returning players. Mike Williams Jr. is a 5-10 guard; JaQuan Kincaid is a 6-6 forward; Ja’me McQueen is a 5-11 guard; and Brandon Lisco is a 6-5 forward.
Necomers from the junior varsity team are Mitchell Goolsby, Devin Gilleylen and 6-5 Zander Weaver.
One of the keys for New Haven is how fast the four freshmen on the roster adjust both mentally and physically to the varsity level. They are Dezmond Gilleylen, Keyondre Gamez, Trevon Jeffery and Devin Sanford.
The whole AR (After Romeo) calendar might be overstating things. France’s program has known plenty of success before Weems and the coach expects that to continue.
In 11 seasons, France has gone 209-60, which means he is averaging 19 wins a season.
“The year before Romeo came here we went to the quarterfinals and we were 25-1,” said the coach. “Two years before that, we also made the quarterfinals. Romeo took us to the next level, but we had success before he came.”
The 2017 New Haven squad beat Ludington 45-36 to capture the Class B state championship. The Rockets fell to Grand Rapids in the semifinals in 2018.
“A lot of people in the summertime told my players that since Romeo Weems is gone that New Haven is not going to be any good or this and that or what not, so these kids already have a chip on their shoulders,” said the New Haven coach.
"As a coach one of the things I love the most about this game is the process. Getting a group of individuals to come together as one team through hard work, sacrifice, commitment and selflessness. Expectations for our basketball program is always high," said France.
The Rockets open the season Wednesday at Roseville. On Sunday, Dec. 15, they take on Detroit Loyola at 12:30 p.m. The game is part of the MAC-Catholic League Challenge that will take place at Calihan Hall on the campus of the University of Detroit Mercy