Collin Gillespie: Catholic League Champion

They both wear number 1…

Quade Green has the bigger rep. He’s a Team USA Gold Medalist… He’s a McDonald’s All-American… He will play in the Jordan Brand game… He killed Nike’s EYBL last summer… He will travel to the land of “One and Dones” when he joins the vaunted Kentucky Wildcat program in the fall.

16903211_1451681708184334_7829471816840740411_o

Collin Gillespie, on the other hand, was a nice Catholic League guard… Last year, he tended to defer to another nice Catholic League guard, Tommy Funk. Funk ended up at West Point, where he was named to the Patriot League All-Rookie team. Nice stuff… But… Light years away from the land of “One and Dones.” Unlike Quade who shined on the brightest summer stage at the Peach Jam, Collin plied his trade on the equivalent of the AAU “Chitlin’ Circuit”. As a member of Nike Team Final’s “B Team” he played in Spooky Nook, King of Prussia and Neptune, NJ. As late as December, Collin was sitting on scholarship offers from Basketball powers Albany and Maine.

Then over a period of about 8 days, he received offers from Rider, Drexel, Delaware and Hofstra. All of sudden, he was becoming “sexy”… The word was getting out…

He was the darling of mid-majors… His performances were becoming impossible to overlook… 25 in a win over suburban power Abington… 27 in blowout over Scranton Prep… 27 in a tough loss to Father Judge… 29 in win over 2-time defending Catholic League and State Champion Roman Catholic… All this while playing the role of a traditional pass-first point guard.

If you paid close attention to the crowds at these games, there was always a well-dressed guy lurking on the fringes of the crowd. He tried to blend in, but it was tough. He was always surrounded by friends and passionate Philly hoop heads peppering him with question after question… Ashley Howard, Villanova Assistant Coach, was stalking Collin Gillespie.

Unlike so many other college coaches, Ashley Howard trusted his own eyes. Like his mentor, the legendary Claude Gross, Ashley determined on his own that Collin Gillespie could really fucking play basketball. He never had to ask: “Who else is recruiting him?” He watched him closely game after game after game… He concluded that Gillespie could play at Villanova. Based on that determination alone he brought his boss, National Coach of the Year, Jay Wright out to see what he had been witnessing for weeks.

They sat together during the first matchup between the two number 1s… They were not disappointed. Mr. Green put up 30 points in a valiant effort. The night, however, belonged to Mr. Gillespie! He poured in 42 points while playing a flawless floor game to lead Wood, a football and girl’s basketball school, to the top of the Catholic League standings.

Those who were there, knew what they witnessed. It was now undeniable… Gillespie is a bad muthafucka! Heard it in the gym… Heard it in the parking lot… Heard it over the phone on the ride home… But… in the rematch, you had to like Green’s chance to redeem himself and the Neumann-Goretti juggernaut.

Well… they played tonight before an overflowing crowd of 9,000 plus. The Catholic League Championship was on the line. All the familiar faces were in the building… St. Joseph’s greats like Brian Warrick and Rashid Bey. Temple alums Lynn Greer and Levan Alston sat courtside. Representatives from every media outlet in the region clicked away on MacBook Pros. College coaches from near and far glad-handed their way through the thick crowd. In the end, everyone agreed, Quade Green is a magnificent high school player. But… After the game, they were all saying the same thing…

16904928_1451679038184601_8713100009498223978_o

Collin Gillespie is a “Bad Muthafucka”! Heard it in the gym… Heard it in the parking lot… Heard it over the phone on the ride home…

Advertisements

Black Cager Sports Basketball Awards

Lionel Simmons, Isaiah “Bunny” Wilson, Maurice “Mo” Howard, Geoffrey Arnold, Nate Blackwell, Kamal Yard, Amauro Austin and Paul Gripper have come together to establish some annual awards and a scholarship to benefit Philadelphia Public League basketball players. The inaugural recipients of the Claude Gross Award (Best Player in the Public League, Tee Parham Award (Best Player Under 6 Feet), Ray Scott Award (Best Center/Power Forward and the 1st Claude Gross Scholarship Recipient are listed below. These awards are intended to highlight the outstanding performance of today’s players while preserving the legacy of yesterday’s greats.

The awards will be given during a ceremony at the historic Palestra on April 8, 2017. Congratulations to the recipients on their fine seasons and wonderful accomplishments.

black-cager-awards-page-02black-cager-awards-page-11black-cager-awards-page-21black-cager-awards-page-3