Villanova – Kyle Neptune and Eric Dixon (Abington)… I’m gonna ride with those guys. Villanova smoothly transferred control of their blue blood Men’s Basketball program from Hall of Fame and 2-time National Champion coach Jay Wright to Fordham Head Coach and longtime Nova assistant Kyle Neptune. Neptune becomes the first Black Head Coach in the history of the program. Villanova made a strong statement with the immediate and seamless transfer of control to Coach Neptune. The University, the Athletic Director and Jay Wright clearly have full faith in Neptune. While I’ve always respected Nova basketball, I’ve never LIKED Nova basketball as much as I do right now. Dixon is my homie’s son… I see big, big things for E… I also look forward to seeing Nanna Njuko (Sanford) much more going forward. Incoming freshman, Cam Whitmore (Archbishop Spalding, MD) is one of the most explosive basketball athletes I have ever seen. I like Nova… I’ve never written those words before. It’s a new day in the Big 5… But somethings will be the same on the Main Line… Pass… Pass… Drive… look for open man… Pass… Pass… Post up… look for open man… Sweet 16, Elite 8, Final 4…
Temple – Aaron Mckie… Temple is coming… South Philly’s Hysier Miller (Neumann-Goretti) and Camden’s Zack Hicks (Camden Catholic) are important cogs in the Owl attack. Khalif Battle 21.4 ppg should return and bring some much needed punch to the offense. Damian Dunn 14.9 ppg is another double figured scorer. Nick Jourdain protects the rim and grabs rebounds. Freshman wing Jahlil White does just about everything well. McKie led the Owls to a 17-12 (10-7) record this past season. Jake Forrester (JR), Arashma Parks (RS SO), Tai Strickland (RS SO), Sage Tolbert (JR) and Jeremiah Williams (FR) have entered the transfer portal. Strickland (Georgia Southern) and Williams (Iowa State) have found landing spots. Temple is on the rise. If the Owls find an adequate big in the portal, post-season should be within reach for the Owls.
La Salle – Fran Dunphy… Changing times in the Explorer program… Khalil Brantley, Jhamir Brickus, Jack Clark, Mamadou Doucouré, Brandon Dwyer, Tegra Izay, Sherif Kenney, Clifton Moorer, Christian Ray and Kyle Thompson entered the transfer portal. Clark (NC St), Kenney (Bryant), Moore (Providence) and Ray (Delaware) have found new homes. Coach Dunphy returns to a drastically altered college basketball recruiting landscape… There’s a full-fledged NIL fueled free agent sell-off underway. Meanwhile, La Salle basketball is in the midst of a total “down to the studs” rehab. The Explorers are looking to avoid the basement as they regain a foothold. I like Dunph to figure it out though.
Pennsylvania – Steve Donahue… The Quakers were 12-16 overall but a respectable 9-5 in the Ivy League. Jordan Dingle 20.9 ppg is one of the most complete offensive players in the Big 5. Michael Wang, Bryce Washington and Jelani Williams entered the transfer portal. Washington and Williams will play at Hofstra and Howard, respectively. Lucas Monroe (Abington) is a key bench contributor for the Quakers. I look for Eddie Holland, III (Friends Central) to emerge as part of the rotation this season.
St. Joseph’s – Billy Lange… The Hawks finished last season t-13th, coming in at 11-19 and 5-13 in the A10 conference. Entering his 4th season, Lange is 22-60 overall and 10-38 in the A10. The Hawks have lost 4 of the top 7 players from last year’s team. Jordan Hall has entered the NBA draft. Taylor Funk, Jack Forrest and Dahmir Bishop put their names in the transfer portal. All three have found new homes at Utah St., Bucknell and Florida Gulf Coast respectively. Ejike Obinna 12.1 ppg, 7.9 rpg, Erik Reynolds 12.1 ppg, 2.3 apg and Cam Brown 8.3 ppg. 4.3 rpg form a returning core for Coach Lange. Dayton transfer Lynn Greer, III (Roman Catholic) and Christian Winbourne (Gilman School, MD) will be expected to round out the backcourt. Vanderbilt SG Shane Dezonie 2.4 ppg, 1.6 rpg & 0.7 apg has transferred to Saint Joseph’s. A former top 100 prospect, he could be productive with extended playing time on Hawk Hill. The Hawks recently added Quin Berger (Westtown) to provide backcourt depth. The Hawks need to gel early and take a big step forward… They HAVE TO BE good this year.