JERSEY CITY, N.J. — JERSEY CITY, N.J. -- One of these days, they all will gather at the Hurley house in the Greenville section of Jersey City and day will turn into night and they'll stay up until all hours.
The Hurley boys, Bobby and Danny, will be there, along with their old man, Bob Sr., and Terry Dehere and Jerry Walker. That's a load of basketball talent under one roof.
"I'm sure there'll be some laughs," Bob Hurley Sr. said. "Right now, it's very serious business."
Right now, it's Duke vs. Seton Hall in the NCAA tournament's East Region semifinals, serious business indeed. Bobby Hurley will be playing for Duke, and Danny Hurley, Dehere and Walker will be on the floor for Seton Hall at the Spectrum in Philadelphia Thursday night.
It will be four kids from the neighborhood, four friends who played on the same fabulous high school team that Hurley Sr. coached, brought together again to show the entire world what their own little corner of it already knew. That they produce pretty good ballplayers at St. Anthony High in Jersey City.
These kids played on the best of Bob Hurley Sr.'s nine state championship teams at St. Anthony. Their '88-89 team went undefeated and was ranked No. 1 in the country and, after Rodrick Rhodes goes to Kentucky next year, will have sent nine players to Division I basketball programs.
"If we kept the whole group together in college, it would've been an NCAA tournament team," Hurley Sr. said.
Maybe so. After all, four of them have made it to the Sweet 16.
"In Jersey City, everybody will videotape the game," Hurley Sr. said. "It will be taped more than any mini-series ever was."
Hurley Sr. and his wife, Chris, will drive three hours to Philly for the game, but their VCR will be whirring back home.
"When we look at the videotape five or 10 years from now, I'm sure we'll enjoy it," Hurley Sr. said. "But it's pretty emotional now. My emotions will run wild. I want to see them all do well, but that's not realistic."
The matchup that really will get to him will be when Bobby and Danny are one-on-one, point guard against point guard. Bobby Hurley is a starter, Duke's triggerman. Danny, only a freshman, is a backup, but he gets his minutes.
"The times that Bobby is playing against Danny," Hurley Sr. said, "that will be bizarre."
It's already bizarre for Bob and Chris Hurley. Everywhere Chris Hurley goes, people ask the same thing. "Hey, Chris," they say, "who are you rooting for?"
If only she knew.
"I'm a little torn," Chris Hurley said. "Luckily, both teams wear blue and white. I get off a little easier because of that. I'll probably sit on the Duke side for half the game and the Seton Hall side for the other half. I'm trying not to think about it. I wish I could go to sleep and somebody would wake me up when it's done."
Most people in this city across the Hudson River from Manhattan aren't as unsure of their loyalties as Bob and Chris Hurley. Duke or Seton Hall? Around Jersey City, it's a slam dunk for Seton Hall. It has to be. The Pirates are a Jersey team, and three of their own are on it.
"I want to see Duke go down real bad," said Raymon Bradley, a sophomore at St. Anthony.
"I normally don't watch basketball," said Eligo Rosa, a firefighter at the Memorial Fire House that's next door to the high school. "I'm from the Dominican Republic. I'm a baseball player. But I live here now, and I've got to watch these kids and root for them."
Said Tom Zale, who lives near St. Anthony: "This is the biggest thing in town. It will be great Thursday, seeing those kids go against each other."
And one of these days, they all will get together and talk about it and laugh about it. But not now.