Mayor Carstarphen and School Board President Muhammad Work to Ensure Camden City Student-Athletes Meet NCAA Eligibility Requirement

June 14, 2022

Contact:  Black Cager Press Office, (856) 366-0992, blackcager@gmail.com

Camden City Mayor Victor Carstaphen and Camden School Board President Wasim Muhammad are highlighting and addressing the issue of student-athlete academic eligibility for college scholarships and trade school opportunities. Mayor Carstarphen and School Board President Muhammad are working to facilitate strong and effective relationships between schools, coaches, counselors, parents, students and college coaches. Athletics has long been a means of accessing higher education for Camden youth. Camden City kids are currently playing at places like Texas A&M, Kentucky, South Carolina, Massachusetts, South Carolina State, Michigan and Temple among others.

Mayor Victor Carstarphen

Mayor Carstarphen was a legendary schoolboy player at Camden High. He is currently 4th on Camden High School all time scoring list with 2,136 points. Carstarphen was the starting point guard on the 1986 USA Today #1 High School basketball Team in the country. He played 4 years of varsity basketball, 3 times he was names All South Jersey and 2 times he was a first team All State selection. At Temple University, he enjoyed a stellar collegiate basketball career as a 3 year starter under Hall of Fame Coach John Chaney. Carstarphen was captain for 2 years and helped team advance to 2 NCAA Elite Eight games in 1991and 1993.

“Our children have proven that they can compete at the regional, state and national levels in many sports. We want to provide the information and tools they need to successfully transition from high school to trade school, college or competitive employment.” said Mayor Carstarphen. “We will ensure that parents and student-athletes have accurate information regarding the NCAA eligibility process.”

School Board President Wasim Muhammad

School Board President Muhammad was also a starter on the the undefeated 1986 team. He was able to leverage his athletic ability and earn a scholarship to the University of New Mexico. He has pledged to identify constructive ways to help parents and student-athletes engage early as freshmen and sophomores. “Parents provide critical perspective, and they should always have a seat at the table whenever decisions are made that impact their children.” said Muhammad. “Like Mayor Carstarphen, I used athletics to access higher education. We want to make sure our talented Camden kids can continue to access higher education through sports.”

“Black Cager Sports congratulates Mayor Carstarphen and Board President Muhammad for focusing attention on the transition process for student-athletes,” said Delgreco Wilson. “As former college student-athletes, Carstarphen and Muhammad understand the importance of a solid foundation. The athletic talent in Camden is phenomenal. Because of the efforts of Carstarphen and Muhammad more Camden kids will go to college for free.”

In the coming weeks, NCAA eligibility information will be disseminated to all high school athletic directors and coaches. Over the summer, educational consultants will hold local listening sessions with parents, student-athletes, principals, and school community members to better understand the needs of student-athletes as they start the 2022-23 school year.

Rick Brunson is the Gayle Sayers of Local HS Coaches

He won 94.81% of his games… Let that sink in… 94.81%…

Rick Brunson’s brief, but magnificent high school coaching career officially came to an end Thursday with the announcement that he was resigning his post. The former Temple Owl is finalizing a contract to become an assistant coach for the NY Knicks on Head Coach Tom Thibodeau’s staff. Brunson has extensive NBA experience having played nine years and served as an assistant coach under Thibodeau with the Bulls and Timberwolves.

Rick Brunson

Anyone that has watched the development of his son Jalen Brunson (NBA) and Camden High’s DJ Wagner understands that Brunson is gifted in the area of player development. Brunson and Wagner, while considerably different physically and athletically, share an intensely focused and business-like approach to the game. These guys come to win… every night.

Some nights the shots may not fall… Some games the offense is just not there… But their effort and determination to will their teams to win cannot be questioned… period. That can be largely attributed to the extensive time they have spent under Brunson’s tutelage.

Plainly stated, the man is an outstanding coach, player developer and he was the perfect person to assume the helm at Camden three years ago. Wagner’s enrollment at Camden unleashed a flurry of outsized expectations. His grandfather, Milt Wagner, and his father, DaJuan Wagner set the bar beyond the reach of mere mortals at Camden High. Beyond legends, these guys are, literally, basketball royalty in Camden. When they played at “Da High”, Camden was the epicenter of the scholastic basketball universe.

For the past two decades, the proud Panther program, while always competitive, was unable to return to the rarafied heights routinely attained under Milt and Juanny. The people of Camden desperately wanted their program to return to center stage. You could cut the anticipation with a knife when DJ was in the 7th and 8th grade.

Another Messiah was coming…

DJ Wagner

The selection of Brunson to conduct the orchestra was a perfect choice. Having been a highly recruited McDonald’s All-American, Brunson’s been there and done that. More recently, he walked his son through the recruiting gauntlet and help him evolve into and two-time National Champion, NCAA All-American and one of the finest young guards in the NBA.

Possessing a brusque public persona and a razor sharp wit, Brunson was ready, willing and able to become the focal point of the media’s attention while allowing the uber-talented young men in his program for concentrate on developing into college ready basketball players.

So where do we place Brunson’s run as a HS coach? For the past three years, he’s been almost unbeatable. He won 73 out of 77 games… DAMN!

He lost two games to regional high schools. In his first year at the helm, Roman Catholic beat him in one of the most exhilarating high school contests I’ve ever witnessed. Jalen Duren (NBA), Justice Williams (LSU) and Xzayvier Brown (uncommitted) led Roman to a comeback victory in a hot, overcrowded, boisterous gym in Cherry Hill. Camden also lost the final game in history of the NJ Tournament of Champions to Roselle Catholic this year.

That’s it… No other traditional high schools have been able conquer the mighty Panthers with Brunson at the helm. His other two losses came at the hands of nationally prominent basketball academies. National powerhouse Montverde and Calvary Christian were also able to knock off Camden earlier this year.

Other than that… Brunson lined ‘em up and knocked ‘em down in impressive fashion.

During his reign, Camden won 2 South Jersey Championships, a long-awaited and high anticipated State Championship and they were Tournament of Champions Runner Up. But perhaps, most impressively, Brunson helped restore a level of pride in and around the Camden basketball program that had been absent for 2 decades.

Lance Ware (Kentucky), Taquan Woodley (South Carolina/UMass), Jerome Brewer (Texas A&M-Commerce), Rasheer Fleming (St. Joseph’s), DJ Wagner (undecided), Aaron Bradshaw (undecided), Cian Medley (undecided), Cornelius “Boog” Robinson (undecided) and Dasear Haskins (undecided) developed into solid Division 1 basketball prospects under the watchful eye of Brunson.

Rick got shit done… #Respeck

Moreover, he hired my young friend Nelly Perry, a highly accomplished player in her own right as an assistant coach and gave her the freshman boys team and Camden High… This is just good stuff… The magnitude of such a hire will become obvious as more women are afforded an opportunity to coach on the boys/mens side.

Nelly Perry

So now that we have a beginning, a middle and an end of his scholastic coaching career, where do we place Brunson? How does he stack up against legends like Clarence Turner (Camden), Speedy Morris (Roman Catholic/Prep Charter/SJ Prep), Andre Noble (Imhotep Charter) and Carl Arrigale (Neumann-Goretti)?

For me, Brunson is the Gayle Sayers of local HS coaches. Although magnificent, he was on the scene for a very brief period of time. Think about it… Turner (Walter Payton) won over 700 games at Camden, Brunson won 73.

Like Sayers, Brunson flashed before the sporting public and his light radiated brighter than all others for a brief and highly productive 36 month period. Like Sayers at his best, Brunson was the best on the field while he was out there.

The crazy part, for me, is that his second team, led by Woodley, Brewer and Wagner was the best of his three great teams. Unfortunately, Covid cut their season short and we will never know how far they would have ventured.

His run was brief, but like grainy images of Sayers running around, through and away from helpless defenders, once you saw Brunson’s Panthers play you can never forget what you saw.

Camden High basketball, Camden’s basketball players and the spirit of Camden City are much better off today than they were the day Brunson started.

Job well done Mr. Brunson… #Respeck

Black Cager Listing of 80 (or so) D1 players to watch in 2022-23

The transition from high school to division 1 basketball is tough. Some players take a little longer to adjust and contribute at the collegiate level. With the advent of the transfer portal, some Black Cager readers might find it difficult to track and follow some of their favorite high school stars in college. This listing attempts to rank approximately 80 of the D1 players that Black Cager covered while they were in high school. The majority are from the Greater Philadelphia region and South Jersey. I include a few alums of St Frances Academy (MD) program because, Black Cager Sports is an official sponsor of the highly regarded Panther basketball program. They are my youngbuls… There are also a few Delaware kids on the list.

Performance in college games is the primary variable considered. Performance in a high major program carries a lil’ more weight that performance in a mid-major program. High school performance and reputation was NOT considered except for the rookies who have no college performances to evaluate. At the end of the day, it’s a highly subjective ranking… The intention is to inform fans where their favorite players are and spark debate and dialogue…

Isaiah Wong

1) Isaiah Wong, University of Miami, 4th year
Wong has started 75 of 95 career games. He enters his 4th season with a career average of 17.7 ppg. With 1268 career points going into this season Wong should end up in the 1800-1900 point range. He was named 3rd team All-ACC in each of the last two seasons and 2nd team All-ACC Tournament in 2021. The Hurricanes reached the Elite 8 last season and Wong is back for more.

2) Samuel Sessoms, Coppin State University, 5th year
Sessoms will play his 5th year at Coppin State University for coach Juan Dixon. One of the most prolific returning players in the nation, Sessoms enters his final season with 1707 points under his belt. Sessoms started 61 of the 62 games he played at Binghamton and 10 of the 55 he played at Penn State. Sessoms is expected to shoulder a heavy scoring load at Coppin. He’s an early favorite for MEAC POY.

Ace Baldwin

3) Ace Baldwin, VCU, 3rd year
Baldwin is the consummate pass-first, defensive oriented point guard. He spearheads the vaunted VCU full court pressure defensive scheme. Baldwin has started every one of the 50 college games he has played in. This past season, he averaged 11.4 ppg, 5.5 apg. 3.5 rpg and 2.5 spg. A year removed from a rupture Achilles tendon, look for Baldwin to emerge as one of the premier point guards in the nation.

4) Donta Scott, University of Maryland, 4th year
Scott has started 79 of 94 career games. He enters his 4th season with career averages of 10.0 ppg and 5.2 rpg. With the departures of Eric Ayala and Fatts Russell as well as the transfer of Qudus Wahab, Scott is the unquestioned leader of the Terps under new coach Kevin Willard. Scott has demonstrated range extending well beyond the three point line. If Scott can get his deep ball back over the 40% mark, he will present a major problem for Big 10 defenses not season.

5) Seth Lundy, Penn State, 4th year
Lundy has started 60 of 86 career games. He enters his 4th season with career averages of 9 ppg and 4 rpg. Lundy had his most productive season under 1st year coach Micah Shrewsberry last season. He will be expected to help fill the huge leadership gap left by John Harrar’s graduation. The Nittany Lions will need Lundy to play at an All-League level if they expect to play in the post-season next year.

Hakim Hart

6) Hakim Hart, Maryland, 4th year
One of the most versatile players in the nation, Hart has played the 1 through 4 spots at various times for the Terps. A very savvy player, Hart very rarely turns the ball over. He has averaged less than 1 turnover per game for his entire career. Hart has started 50 of the 81 games he has played at Maryland. This past season, Hart shot an astounding 69% on 2 point FG attempts and a solid 33% on 3 point FG attempts. Maryland will need Hart to increase his 10 ppg average if they expect to contend for a Big 10 title next season.

7) AJ Hoggard, Michigan, 3rd year
Hoggard is physically tough and strong point guard who excels at making plays for himself and his teammates. This past season he averaged 7.0 ppg and 5 apg while playing only 20 mpg. Look for Hoggard to assume the full-time point guard spot next season. Heading into his 3rd season in Tom Izzo’s system, Hoggard appears primed to emerge as one of the top point guards in the Big 10 conference.

Eric Dixon

8) Eric Dixon, Villanova, 4th year
Dixon emerged as Villanova’s primary Big in Jay Wright’s final season. After redshirting as a freshman and playing sparingly as a sophomore, he capably held down the low post during Nova’s Final Four run. Dixon averaged 9.1 ppg and 6.4 rpg in his first year as a starter. Dixon has developed a beautiful 3 point stroke and shot an outstanding 48.6% from behind the 3 point line last season. Look for Dixon to emerge as primary focal point on offense going forward.

9) Julian Reese, Maryland, 2nd year
Reese had a strong rookie campaign for a Maryland program that experienced a midseason coaching change. Reese averaged 5.7 ppg and 4.4 rpg. Thrown into the mix in the Big 10, Reese acquitted himself well in battles against Big 10 bigs like Hunter Dickinson, Kofi Cockburn, John Harrar and Trevion Williams. With Qudus Wahab transferring back to Georgetown, Reese becomes the main big on the Maryland roster. He will have to average a double-double for the Terps to compete for a Big 10 title.

Taquan Woodley

10) Taquan Woodley, UMass, 2nd year
Woodley worked his way into the South Carolina rotation as a freshman. He played an average of 12.2 mpg across 26 games for Frank Martin’s final Gamecock squad. Once Martin latched on with UMass, he immediately reunited with Woodley. An exceptional low post defender and rebounder, Woodley is expected to bring his toughness and high basketball acumen to the Minutemen.

11) Jack Clark, North Carolina State, 5th year
Clark is entering his 5th year. A long multi skilled wing, Clark is capable of scoring from all three levels. Standing 6’9” he is able to defend on the low blocks as well as the perimeter. Clark was one of the most sought after transfers this year. Last season, he averaged 12 ppg and 5.8 rpg while playing 30.4 mpg for coach Ashley Howard and the Explorers. Finally approaching full strength, Clark will immediately become a key piece for a Wolfpack program seeking to capture an ACC crown.

Matthue Cotton

12) Matthue Cotton, Yale, 4th year
Cotton is entering his 4th year at Yale. Last season, he averaged 7.1 ppg and 3.6 rpg while playing 22.5 mpg for an NCAA Tournament team. He had surgery on his shoulder immediately after the season and should be ready to go for the start of next season.

13) Ed Croswell, Providence, 5th year
Croswell enters his 5th season with 600+ points and 600+ rebounds. A classic back to the basket low-post big, he averaged 5.3 ppg and 4.7 rpg while playing 14.8 mpg for Coach Ed Cooley and the Friars. Ed’s production should increase subtantially as he becomes a starter nest season.

14) Andrew Funk, Penn State, 5th year
Playing for Bucknell, Funk averaged a healthy 17.6 ppg last season. Having amassed over 1200 points already in college career, Funk has decided to play his 5th and final season for Micah Shrewsberry and the Penn State Nittany Lions. Coming in at 6’5” and 190 lbs, he is big enough to defend Big 10 wings. A confident and experienced Funk should provide a significant boost to the PSU perimeter attack.

15) Derek Lively, Duke, Rookie
The #1 player in ESPN Class of 2022 rankings, Lively will help usher in the post-Coach K era in Duke basketball. Lively possesses a huge amazing wingspan to go along with exceptional athleticism. His coordination and ability to run the floor are well above average for a big man. Should anchor the Blue Devil defense from day one.

16) William McNair, Mississippi State, 4th year
McNair is entering his 4th season. He spent his first three seasons at New Mexico State. Last year, McNair started 27 out of 34 games for an NCAA Tournament team. He averaged 6.6 ppg and 5.0 rpg while playing 22.9 minutes per game.

17) Aaron Estrada, Hofstra, 4th year
Estrada exploded onto the national scene after spending a year as a dip reserve at Oregon. After playing in only 9 games and starting none at Oregon, Estrada started all 32 games for Speedy Claxton and Hofstra. He rarely left the floor, averaging 35.2 mpg. The 2021-22 CAA Player of the Year, Estrada averaged 18.5 ppg, 5.7 rpg and 5.0 apg. I expect his production levels to increase across the board his second time through the CAA.

18) Zack Hicks, Temple, 2nd year
Hicks was named to the 2021-22 AAC All-Freshman team after averaging 8.3 ppg and 4.1 rpg. Playing 21.4 mpg over the course of 28 games, the 6’9” Hicks shot 37.4% from behind the 3-point line. As he improves his ball handling and mid-range game, Hicks will emerge as one of the premier players in the AAC.

19) Jahlil White, Temple, 2nd year
White was named to the 2021-22 AAC All-Freshman team after averaging 7.4 ppg and 6.0 rpg. White logged 26.1 mpg in his first season playing for Aaron McKie. An outstanding athlete, White possesses the strength and lateral quickness to defend 1-4 in the AAC.

Hysier Miller

20) Hysier Miller, Temple, 2nd year
Miller ended his freshman campaign entrenched as the starter at point guard for the Owls. Miller started 8 of the 23 games in which he played as a rookie. He averaged 4.9 ppg and 1.7 apg while logging 18.8 mpg. With Jeremiah Williams and Tai Strickland transferring, Miller will have to carry the full load at point next season. After a complete lap around the league, look for Miller to improve his 2FG and 3FG percentages and reduce his turnovers.

21) Stevie Mitchell, Marquette, 2nd year
Mitchell came off the bench in 32 games as a rookie. He averaged 2.4 ppg, 1.4 rpg and 0.9 apg Phil playing 10.8 mpg. Mitchell was on the floor in several key closing moments last season. An exceptional student, Mitchell has received straight A’s in all of his classes. Mitchell is expected to play a much bigger role for Head Coach Shaka Smart next season.

t22) Jamir Watkins, VCU, 3rd year
Two years ago, Watkins had a strong rookie season. He averaged 7.2 ppg and 2.6 rpg for VCU. An outstanding athlete with good length, Watkins stands 6’7″ and can defend 1-4 depending on matchups. He missed all of last season while rehabbing a serious knee injury. If healthy, Watkins will be expected to play a big role next season.

t22) Jordan Longino, Villanova, 2nd year
Longino played in 26 games as freshmen on a Final Four Wildcat team. He averaged 1.8 ppg, 0.8 rpg and 0.4 apg. Look for Longino to assume added responsibilities next season. He should emerge as a key component for new Coach Kyle Neptune.

Jameer Nelson, Jr.

23) Jameer Nelson, Jr, Delaware, 4th year
Nelson is thriving under Martin Inglesby. He averaged career highs in points (13.6) and rebounds (4.9) while also dishing 2.2 apg. Nelson shot over 50% on 2 point field goal attempts and over 36% on 3 pointers. A supremely gifted athlete, he is refining his ball handling and decision-making. Look for Nelson to continue his rapid improvement in all areas of the game.

24) Allen Powell, Rider, 4th year
Powell started 32 out of 33 games he played last season. Entering his 4th year at Rider Powell has emerged as deep ball threat. He averaged 12.1 ppg while shooting 36% from behind the 3 point line. Look for Powell to assume more of leadership role with the big and talented roster Rider will field next season.

25) Myles Thompson, St. Francis (PA), 5th year
Thompson has started 83 of the 106 games he has played at St. Francis. Last season, he averaged 11.2 ppg and 3.6 rpg. Currently sitting on 948 career points, he will eclipse 1000 early next season.

t26) Tyree Corbett, Denver, 5th year
Corbett had an outstanding season at Coppin State last season. He averaged 13.0 ppg and 8.8 rpg. He will spend his 5th year as a grad transfer Denver. A very crafty veteran, Corbett has sneaky athleticism and will finish aggressively at the rim.

t26) Jyare Davis, Delaware, 3rd year
After redshirting his first year at Providence, Davis transferred to Delaware. Davis had a fantastic second half of his rookie season. He was named to to 2021 CAA All-Freshman team and named CAA ROY. He also made 2022 All-CAA Tournament and was named the CAA Tournament MVP. With the departure of Andrew Carr and Dylan Painter, Davis will be expected to increase his productivity significantly

Wooga Poplar

27) Wooga Poplar, Miami, 2nd year
Poplar appeared in 34 games as a rookie. He scored 2.3 ppg and grabbed 1.4 rpg in an average of 8.6 minutes of playing time. By the end of the season, Poplar was a key reserve for an Elite 8 Hurricane squad.

28) Jahmir Brickus, Transfer Portal, 3rd year
Brickus has started 46 of 53 games at La Salle. Last season, he averaged 8.9 ppg and 3.3 apg for Ashley Howard and the Explorers. A very capable scorer despite his small stature, Brickus remains undecided where he will play next season.

29) Andrew Carr, Wake Forest, 3rd year
Carr has transferred to Wake Forest after two solid seasons with Delaware. Last season, Carr averaged 10.1 ppg and 5.1 rpg. He is a good athlete. He will be able to beat most opposing bigs up and down the floor with his quickness. He will need to improve his lower body strength and toughness to compete against ACC bigs.

30) Ajiri Ogemuno-Johnson, Rider
Ogemuno-Johnson has started 55 of his 109 career games at Rider. Last season he averaged 8.6 ppg and 7 rpg. An outstanding student, Johnson is completing the requirements for a Masters degree.

31) Christian Ray, Delaware, 4th year
After playing 3 years at La Salle, Ray will suit up for Martin Inglesby and the Delaware Blue Hens next season. Ray started exactly half of the 84 games he played at La Salle. Last season he averaged 5.0 ppg and a stout 6.9 rpg. Ray should blend in nicely with the experienced Blue Hen squad.

32) Allen Betrand, Rider, 4th year
Betrand has transferred to Rider. The Broncs are the third team in Betrand’s college career. He averaged 4.7 ppg and 1.5 rpg for Rhode Island, before tearing his ACL in 2020-21. He missed this past season while rehabbing his injury.

33) Justice Williams, LSU, 2nd year
Williams started 1 out of 20 games he played as a freshman. He averaged 1.7 ppg, 0.8 rpg and 0.7 apg while playing 10.6 minutes per game.

34) Rahsool Diggins, UMass, 2nd year
Diggins transferred to UMass following a freshman season in which he appeared in 9 games off the bench. He averaged 0.8 ppg and 0.3 apg while playing only 5.1 minutes. Diggins has enrolled at UMass and will bring his considerable offensive skills to bear for Frank Martin as he takes control of the Minuteman program.

35) Lynn Greer, III, Saint Joseph’s, 2nd year
Greer appeared in 10 games as a freshman for Dayton before deciding to transfer to Saint Joseph’s. Greer averaged 2.7 ppg, 1.4 rpg and 1.3 apg while playing 9 minutes per game. He will surely have increased responsibilities at Saint Joseph’s next season. With Jordan Hall turning pro, Greer will have an opportunity to play significant minutes both on and off the ball for Billy Lange and the Hawks.

Chris Ings

36) Chris Ings, Norfolk State, 4th year
Ings is entering his 4th season and 2nd with Norfolk State. He has started 59 out of 77 career games and 21 of 25 at Norfolk St. Last season he averaged 9.0 ppg, 2.4 rpg and 2.5 apg. Ings also shot a career best 40.5% from 3 point range.

t37) Antwaun Butler, Transfer Portal, 5th year
The veteran Butler has started 68 out of 100 career games. This past season he stared 21 out of 23 games played for NJIT. Butler has not decided on a destination for his 5th season.

t37) Derek Simpson, Rutgers, Rookie
Simpson is a very savvy, crafty and cerebral PG. He is also a very good athletes with surprising quickness and explosiveness. He expected to be a contributor very early in his career at Rutgers. Once he adjusts to the physicality of the Big 10 conference he should be an entrenched member of the Scarlet Knight backcourt.

Chris Arcidiacono

38) Chris Arcidiacano, Villanova, 4th year
Arcidicono is entering his 4th year in the the Villanova program. He has started 4 out of 56 games in which he has played. This past season he averaged 1.6 ppg, 1 rpg and 0.6 apg. With the graduation of Colin Gillespie and the injury to Justin Moore, Arcidiacono will be expected to lead and help the young guards as they learn the Villanova way of doing things.

39) Anquan Hill, Transfer Portal, 2nd year
Hill started 17 out of 26 games in a freshman campaign in which he was named NEC Rookie of the Year. Hill averaged 7.7 ppg, 5.2 rpg and 1.0 bpg. He has yet to settle on a destination for next season.

40) Lance Ware, Kentucky, 3rd year
Ware has started 3 of the 49 games he’s played at Kentucky. Last year he averaged 1.5 ppg and 2.3 rpg while playing 6.3 mpg.

41) Nnanna Njoku, Villanova, 2nd year
Njoku appeared in 9 games as a freshman. He averaged 0.7 ppg and 1.6 rpg in just 3 minutes of playing time in those limited appearances.

42) Deuce Turner, San Diego, 3rd year
As freshman at Bucknell in 2021-22, Turner appeared in 11 games and averaged 8.3 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 19.8 minutes per contest. He spent a year at South Plains College where he named a 2nd team JUCO All-American. Turner will have up to three years of eligibility to use as he heads to San Diego to play for Steve Lavin.

43) Elijah Taylor, Quinnipiac, 3rd year
After a medical redshirt as a freshman, Taylor played 3 games for the Fighting Irish last season before stepping away from the team to resolve some academic issues. Taylor has transferred to Quinnipiac where he will once again be teamed with former Imhotep Charter HS teammate Jamil Riggins. If healthy, Taylor projects as All-MAAC level player for the next three seasons.

t44) Justin Anderson, NJIT, Grad Student

The 6-3 lefty avg. 18.7 ppg and made 38 three-pointers on his way to PSAC Eastern Division First Team. After a strong D2 career at Bloomsburg, Anderson has 2 years of eligibility remaining. He possesses a sweet lefty stroke from well beyond the college 3-point line.

t44) Dahmir Bishop, Florida Gulf Coast, 4th year
Bishop has started in 14 of the 58 games he played. Last season he averaged 3.1 ppg, 2.4 rpg and 0.7 apg while playing 16.1 mpg. Pat Chambers aggressively recruited Bishop coming out of HS while he was at Penn State.

45) Daeshon Shepherd, La Salle, 2nd year
Shepherd played in 19 games as freshman for Ashley Howard and the Explorers. He averaged 2.1 ppg and 0.7 rpg while playing 8.0 minutes per game.

46) Fah’Mir Ali, Delaware State, 3rd year
Entering his 3rd college season, Ali will suit up for his 3rd team. He began at Radford, transferred to the College of Charleston and is now at Delaware State. Last season, Ali played 11 games for Radford. He averaged 7.6 ppg and 3.4 apg. He projects as the starting PG for Stan Waterman’s rebuilding Hornets squad.

Lucas Monroe

47) Lucas Monroe, Pnnsylvania, 3rd year
Monroe is entering his 3rd year with the Quakers. Last season he averaged 4.8 ppg and 3.9 rpg while playing 16.7 mpg for coach Steve Donahue.

48) Derrius Ward, Texas Rio Grande, 3rd year
Ward played 2 games as a freshman at La Salle. This past season, played at Harcum Junior College and averaged 10.5 ppg, 4.8 rpg and 3.6 apg. He is expected to contribute immediately for coach Matt Figgers.

49) Khalil Turner, Morgan State, 3rd year
As a freshman, Turner played in 13 games at Rider. Last season, Turner played at Palm Beach State (JUCO) where he averaged 14.2 ppg, 6.7 rpg and 2.9 apg. Turner could flourish under Kevin Broads at Morgan State.

50) Dan Skillings, Cincinnati, Rookie
Skillings has played extensively for Roman Catholic and Philly Pride for the past few years. He should be able to contribute as a freshman in the Big 12. Skillings possesses the length and perimeter skills necessary to adjust quickly to the college game.

51) Jameel Brown, Penn State, Rookie
Brown is one of the most confident shooters from the region since Shep Garner. We will see if he can match or surpass the 1600+ Garner dropped while in Happy Valley. Brown has good size and is an advanced shooter who can put the ball in the basket from well beyond the 3 point line.

52) Clarence Rupert, Southern Illinois, 2nd year
Rupert was key member of the Cinderella St. Peter’s team that advanced deep into the NCAA Tournament. Last season, Rupert averaged 4.4 ppg and 2.6 rpg for coach Shaheen Holloway. He has transferred to Southern Illinois.

53) Seth Pinkney, Florida International, 4th year
Pinkney has started 54 out of 84 career games. He played two seasons at Quinnipiac and last year transferred to Florida International. Last season Pinkney averaged 4.0 ppg, 4.2 rpg and 1.2 bpg.

Zahree Harrison

54) Zahree Harrison, St. Francis (PA), 3rd year
Harrison has started 8 out of 46 career games at St. Francis. Last season, he averaged 3.5 ppg and 2 apg while playing 20.5 mpg. Harrison is expected to assume the full-time PG spot next season. He will have to significantly improve his 3FG (08.0%) and FT (62.1%) percentages as the primary ball handler. It’s his turn to take the reins.

55) Cam Young, St. Peter’s, 3rd year
Young played 47 games at Bowling Green, starting 1, over two years. He will play his 3rd season at St. Peter’s for new Head Coach Bashir Mason. Last season, he averaged 3.2 ppg and 2.8 rpg.

56) Tariq Ingraham, Rider, 4th year
Entering his 4th year of college, Ingraham has played in a total of 3 college basketball games. He has decided to play his 4th year at Rider for Kevin Baggett. If healthy, he becomes one of the premier rebounders in the MAAC from day one.

57) Matt McFarlane, Transfer Portal, 4th year
McFarlane played in 13 games last season for Ashley Howard and La Salle. Inthose games he averaged 2.1 ppg and 1.2 rpg. He has not decided upon a destination for next season.

58) Jamal West, Transfer Portal, 3rd year
West had strong freshman year at South Alabama averaging 5.7 ppg and 6.3 rpg. He went from playing 26.6 mpg as a freshman to only 6.1 mpg as a sophomore. He entered the portal and has not identified a destination for next season as of yet.

59) Hakim Byrd, Transfer Portal, 3rd year
After making the 2020-21 MAAC All-Freshman team, Byrd transferred to UMBC. Last season he averaged 1.9 ppg and 0.6 apg. He has not identified a destination for next season as of yet.

60) Marcus Randolph, Richmond, 2nd year
Randolph played in 9 games as a freshman. He averaged 0.6 ppg and 0.1 apg while playing 3.1 minutes per game.

61) John Camden, Virginia Tech, 2nd year
Camden played 2 minutes in 1 game for Memphis as a freshman. He has transferred to Virginia Tech and looks to establish himself as a ACC wing. He has excellent length and a sweet shooting stroke from behind the 3 point line.

62) Jeremiah Bembry, Florida State, Rookie
Bemby is a 6’6” PG committed to Leonard Hamilton and the Seminoles. Bembry played for Executive Education Charter and Athlete’s Plus. Bembry looks to crack the rotation as a freshman. He is also a good athlete and should be able to defend 1-3 for the Seminoles.

63) Aaron Lemon-Warren, Delaware State, Rookie
Lemon-Warren is a highly regarded recruit. He played for Archbishop Ryan and K-Low Elite. He will find a way to contribute early in his freshman season. Spent last season prepping with Mt Zion Prep in Maryland.

64) Jerome Brewer, Texas A&M, Commerce, Rookie
Brewer was a key component of a nationally ranked Camden HS team. He spent this past season prepping with Sunrise Christian Academy. Brewer possesses the size and strength to defend the low post and rebound as a freshman.

65) Ray Somerville, Delaware State, 4th year
Entering his 4th year, Ray Somerville has transferred from Cal Stat Baskersfield to play for Stan Waterman at Delaware State. Over the past two seasons, Somerville appeared in 15 games for Cal State Baskersfield. He averaged 1.3 ppg and 1.2 rpg.

66) Konrad Kiszka, Princeton, 3rd year
Kiszka has played in 15 games in two years. He only played in 1 game last season.

67) Ed Holland, Pennsylvania, 2nd year
Holland appeared in 7 games for the Quakers as a freshman. He averaged 0.6 ppg and 0.3 rpg while playing 3.1 mpg. Holland is expected to make big leap next season.

68) Justin Moore, Drexel, Rookie
Moore is a prototypical Philly guard. He likes to play downhill. He is very adept at beating the initial defender and either pulling up for a midrange jumper, attacking the rim or setting up his teammates.

69) Kareem Ewell, Delaware State, Rookie
Ewell is a very active and athletic forward. He is bouncy and likes to attack the rim. He possesses good lateral quickness and should be able to defend 3-5 depending on matchups. He is a very nice addition for Coach Stan Waterman and the Hornets.

70) Kobe Magee, Drexel, Rookie
Magee is solid all-around wing. He is a good shooter, rebounder and defender. Once he adjusts to the sped and athleticism of D1 basketball, he could be a contributor early in his college career.

71) Blaise Vespe, Florida Gulf Coast, Rookie
Vespe is a very good athlete. He runs and jumps as well as most forwards you will find at the low to mid major level. His ball-handling and perimeter shooting have improved steadily. Vespe should be able to contribute early at FGCU for coach Pat Chambers.

72) Mike Walz, Richmond, Rookie
Big, strong and fundamentally sound, Walz should eventually become a solid starting big in the A10. The leap from Conestoga HS to the A10 is pretty big, but his experience with Philly Pride should help Walz man the adjustment.

73) Christian Tomasco, Hofstra, Rookie
A prototypical stretch 4, Tomasco should do very well in the CAA. He is able to catch and shoot from three and use ball fakes to attack the rim. A good athlete, Tomasco will bang it on defenders when attacking the rim.

Gediminas Mokšeckas

74) Gediminas Mokšeckas, Campbell, Rookie
Mokšeckas has started 11 of the 42 games he’s played at Campell. Last season, he came off the bench 19 times averaging 1.5 ppg and 1.4 rpg.

t75) Jaylen Stinson, Merrimack, Rookie
Stinson played in 4 games for James Madison as a freshman. He averaged 3.3 ppg, 1.5 rpg and 1.5 apg in 5.8 minutes of playing time per game. He has transferred to Merrimack where he expected to assume the full-time PG position.

t75) Zaakir Williamson, Buffalo, 2nd year
Williamson missed the entire season last and received a medical redshirt.

76) Khalil Farmer, Hofstra, Rookie
Farmer is an outstanding catch and shoot guard. He is very capable of scoring off of 1 or 2 dribble pull ups. He has good size for a CAA guard and he should flourish playing for Speedy Claxton and alongside Aaron Estrada.

t77) Masud Stewart, Binghamton, Rookie
Stewart is a winner. He makes unselfish, winning plays on a consistent basis. H a a very strong, tough and athletic guard. Stewart is solid jump shooter, decent ball-handler and exceptional defender. Should play early and often at Binghamton.

t77) Yazid Powell, Buffalo, 3rd year

Powell is committed to Buffalo. He played for Harcum College (JUCO) last season. Powell is an explosive leaper and a tough defender on the perimeter.

78) Kaseem Watson, Cal State Bakersfield, Rookie
Watson is multi-skilled 6’7” wing. He is a solid ball-handler and defender and playmaker. After years of wars in the Philadelphia Catholic League and on the Adidas 3SSB circuit, he should be ready to contribute as freshman for Coach Rod Barnes and the Roadrunners.

79) Kareem Watson, Cal State Bakersfield, Rookie
Watson, like his twin brother, is multi-skilled 6’7” wing. He is a solid ball-handler and defender and playmaker. After years of wars in the Philadelphia Catholic League and on the Adidas 3SSB circuit, he should be ready to contribute as freshman for Coach Rod Barnes and the Roadrunners.

t80) Darryon Prescott, Florida International, Rookie
Prescott was declared ineligible by the PIAA his senior year. He has exceptional length , standing nearly 7’0″ ft tall. He is still raw offensively, but he’s hard worker that is improving rapidly. He should able to contribute early on the defensive end.

t80) Tre Dinkins, Canisius, Rookie
Dinkins is a good athlete and he has improved his perimeter skills during his stay at Harcum College (JUCO). Canisius is getting a college ready combo guard.

81) Gestin Liberis, St. Francis, Rookie
Liberis is a 6’9″ forward that is just scratching the surface of his potential. He brings some athleticism and length to the St. Francis (PA) program.

82) Nix Varano, Rider, Rookie
Varano is one of the better catch and shoot guys to come through the Philadelphia Catholic League this year. He will get an opportunity to watch Allen Powell play while learning Coach Kevin Baggett’s system.

La Salle University Adds Joe Mihalich to Men’s Basketball Staff as Special Assistant

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PHILADELPHIA – La Salle head men’s basketball coach Fran Dunphy has officially added La Salle alum Joe Mihalich ’78 to his staff as Special Assistant to the Head Coach, it was announced on Friday.

“We are excited to welcome Coach Mihalich back to La Salle,” Dunphy said. “I have known Joe for a long time, worked with him for three years on the coaching staff at La Salle under Lefty Ervin and Speedy Morris, and know what a high-quality coach and man he is. His vast experience and knowledge will benefit myself, our student-athletes, and the rest of our coaching staff tremendously.”

With nearly 40 years of experience on the sidelines, Mihalich rejoins the Explorers with more than 400 career wins under his belt in his 22 years as a head coach. A former player and assistant in the Blue and Gold, Mihalich is set to make his third stint to the La Salle men’s basketball program.

Joe Mihalich, Assistant to the Head Coach

“I can’t tell you how excited I am to be back at my alma mater,” Mihalich said. “The opportunity to work with one of my best friends in the college basketball world and another La Salle alum, Coach Dunphy, makes this all the more special. I look forward to developing relationships with our players, coaches, and staff members as we work together to create a championship culture at La Salle.”

Mihalich spent the last nine seasons at Hofstra, stepping down after seven seasons in charge of the men’s basketball program to become the special assistant to the athletic director. In his seven years at the helm of the Pride, Mihalich amassed a record of 141-92, including four postseason berths – two NIT bids and an automatic NCAA Tournament berth that never took place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In his second season at Hofstra, Mihalich improved the squad to a 20-14 record and a CBI first round appearance. In 2015-16, the Pride became Colonial Athletic Association regular-season champions with a 14-4 conference record in just his third season in charge. Mihalich tallied five winning seasons in his seven years as head coach at Hofstra, combining for a 53-16 record in his final two years that saw the Pride record back-to-back regular season titles and an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament in 2019-20 after sweeping both the regular season and CAA Tournament Championship.

Prior to his time in Hempstead, Mihalich developed one of the most consistent programs in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, leading Niagara to 265 wins, five postseason appearances and earning three MAAC Coach of the Year awards in his 15 seasons inside the Gallagher Center. Mihalich was responsible for 12 winning seasons while with the Purple Eagles, becoming three-time MAAC regular season champions and two-time tournament winners.

Mihalich spent 17 seasons on the sidelines at 20th & Olney before making his jump to head coach, assisting at his alma mater under head coaches Lefty Ervin and Speedy Morris. Mihalich was part of eight postseason appearances and five NCAA Tournament teams while at La Salle and helped develop numerous players that would play professionally in the NBA, including Lionel Simmons, Tim Legler, Doug Overton, and Randy Woods.

Joe Mihalich grew up right near the campus of La Salle, starting his collegiate career as a walk-on on the 1974-75 team, making the NCAA Tournament in his freshman year. He would spend four seasons as a player with the Explorers before entering into the coaching field with his first assistant role at DeMatha High School in Washington, D.C.

The eldest Mihalich is joined in the coaching ranks by his son, Joe Jr., who is currently an assistant at the University of Pennsylvania.

Let Me Tell U ‘Bout My Bro… Mal Nichols

Jamal Nichols was finest player the Philadelphia Public League had to offer in 2001. He won the Markward Award as the Philadelphia Public League Player of the Year that season. He averaged 15.0 points and grabbed 13.5 rebounds per game his senior year at Ben Franklin High School. Now… I didn’t really know him while he was a schoolboy standout, but I certainly knew of him.

Jamal Nichols, One Umbrella Clothing

Nichols committed to play for Phil Martelli and the St. Joseph’s Hawks. Right after he committed, the late great John Hardnett brought him to see me. He told Jamal Nichols, “if you ever have any issues or questions about any school shit talk to Del.” With that, Mal was my youngin… Once he arrived on Hawkhill, Martelli asked me to “tutor/mentor” Nichols and a freshman guard from PG County named Delonte West. Big 5 HOFer Pat Caroll was the other member of that notable recruiting class.

My youngins…

Nichols, West and I met on average 2 or 3 times a week regularly… I kept my finger on their academic pulse while serving as a sounding board as they vented their intense basketball frustrations. Martelli’s Hawks were loaded, as a result, that was a tough year on the court for the rookies, Nichols, West and Carroll.

Martelli decided to redshirt Nichols. West and Carroll, while active, were trapped behind Big 5 Hall of Famer, Marvin O’Connor and PUB legend Naim Crenshaw. Nichols and West were not pleased with their predicament. Two or three nights a week, I had to hear “we bussing they ass Del… they can’t fuck with us. I don’t know why Phil won’t play us.”

“Man… y’all freshmen… Those guys are good… shut up! Wait your turn…”

Way beyond impatient, Nichols and West wanted to play ahead of established upperclassmen like Bill Phillips, O’Connor and Crenshaw.

Wasn’t gonna happen… Martelli wasn’t doing that…

“Chill out fellas…”

“Mannnn… fuck that…”

West begrudgingly waited his turn. So did Carroll. Nichols, however, went the JUCO route after being suspended for a semester. All three became really good college basketball players. West and Carroll are Big 5 Hall of Famers…

Nichols spent his one season at Riverside (Calif.) Community College where he averaged 17.4 points and 8.3 rebounds. The following year, he played at Globe Tech in New York, N.Y. where he averaged 24 points and 14 rebounds and was selected to play in the National Junior College Division I All-Star game.

Each and every step of the way, Nichols faithfully kept me abreast of his academic progress. Nichols is no bookworm, far from it. But he is highly intelligent… Wicked smart as they say in Boston… He always paid close attention to academic requirements at each stop and made sure he steadily progressed toward a Bachelors Degree. Basically, he didn’t fuck around… He piled up his credits…

After graduating Junior College, Nichols signed to play basketball at DePaul University for Blue Demon Head Coach Dave Leitao prior to the 2004-05 season. After one season at DePaul, a frustrated Nichols turned professional. He spent more than a decade playing in Europe and the Middle East.

After his playing days ended, Nichols settled down with his family and began working with students with significant autism support and emotional support needs. Nichols provided educational, behavioral and clinical services while helping students reach their full potential. His advancement in this field was hindered by his lack of a bachelors degree.

He never stopped thinking about completing his own academic journey. Frequently, we would discuss his son’s educational progress and placement. Ultimately, Nichols and his wife enrolled him at Friends Central. Like his Daddy, Nichols’s boy is wicked smart. Inevitably, the discussions would always wind back around to Nichols completing his bachelors.

The challenge was finding a path that could work with his intense work schedule and heavy family responsibilities. We explored Rosemont, Eastern, Cheyney, Arcadia, Cabrini and some other online programs trying to find an affordable path to completion of the bachelors degree. None of them worked financially.

Then one day, I suggested that he reach out to DePaul. That was the last school he attended. He played a full season and left in good standing.

“Maybe, they’ll let you finish there…”

DeWayne Peevy, DePaul University athletic director

“Hit up the AD and explain your situation… Brother came from Kentucky, I heard the he’s a good dude.”

In August 2020, DeWayne Peevy became the new DePaul University athletic director. Peevy has been Kentucky’s deputy director of athletics for the last six years and has been with their athletic department for the last 12 years. 

After a few raw and honest conversations, Peevy helped Nichols identify a path toward a DePaul degree. The two have formed a friendship. When the Blue Deamons came to town to get spanked by Nova, Peevy and Nichols met up and discussed his progress. It should be noted that, DePaul basketball has never wavered from their initial promise to take care of Nichols made nearly 20 years ago.

That’s all Nichols needed, an opportunity. Nichols has taken full advantage of the opportunity. Indeed, he was recently named to the DePaul University Dean’s List for the Spring Semester.

I’m not surprised… Not at all… Like I said, the young man is highly intelligent.

The game ain’t over… But it’s first and goal on the one.

Nichols is in “beast mode”… He’s handing that shit off to Marshawn… fuck that goal line slant pass!

Book it… That’s my lil’ Bro!

How Will Jalen Duren Do in the NBA?

Jalen Duren exploded on the scholastic scene in 2018 as a big, powerful young man who possessed an NBA center’s frame at 14 years of age. Duren was dominant from Day 1 in the highly regarded Roman Catholic program. He was truly fun to watch during the two years he spent at Broad & Vine. Time flies… Fast forward four years and now, Duren is all set to enter the NBA as a lottery pick.

Duren, still just 18 has declared for the 2022 NBA Draft and projects as a likely lottery pick with top 6-8 potential. So… How will he do against the big boys? Will he be a dominant NBA player? Will he be an all-star? Will he start right away? How does his game translate to today’s NBA?

At this point in his development, Duren doesn’t possess the offensive repertoire of a prospect like Gonzaga’s highly skilled Chet Holmgren. But… Duren is only 18 years old, 1.5 years younger than Holmgren and has ample time to refine and extend his offensive skill-set.

As it stands, his game on the offensive end consists primarily of banging it on opponents… with extreme force. Duren’s dunks reverberate throughout arenas unlike those of other players. Duren’s dunks hurt your feelings… They call the opponents manhood into question… They make opposing bigs wonder if it worth the effort require to attempt a block.

As early as the 9th grade, Duren was an imposing physical force who was too much to handle for most high school bigs. By the 10th grade, it was clear that he was a man amongst boys. With relative ease, Duren was able to cleanly and forcefully dunk everything around the rim. On the other end of the floor, he literally put a fence around the rim and rejected countless attempts to attack the basket.

For the 11th grade, Duren decided to challenge himself by playing at Montverde. Same shit… different gym… Playing and practicing against the finest high school players everyday, he continued to stand out. He continued to dunk everything around the basket. Possessing extremely long arms and big hands, Duren controlled lob passes and offensive rebounds with ease.

He decided to skip the 12th grade and suit up for Penny Hardaway and the Memphis Tigers for a year. Same shit… Different gym… Playing in and starting 29 games, Duren averaged 12.0 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 2.1 bpg and 1.3 apg. Again, relying heavily upon hard ass dunks in dude’s faces, Duren shot 59.7% from the field. He led the AAC in block and rebounds per game. Duren was named the the AAC Rookie of the Year, All-AAC 1st team and to the All-AAC Tournament team.

So what happens next year in the NBA? How will a 19 year old Duren fare against the best players in the world?

He will be able to rebound. Indeed, he may have been the best rebounder in college basketball and this is a skill that will translate to the highest level of play. Duren is an extremely quick leaper and protecting the rim is one of his biggest strengths. This skill will also translate… He is a patient defender and knows how to wait through pump fakes. Even when he is not able to actually block the shot, he alters them. Duren is a huge presence around the basket… Offensive players have to know where he is… His length and athleticism will make him a capable defender from Day 1.

Offensively, Duren doesn’t possess a varied repertoire of post moves. In a lot of ways, he is from another era… He’s a throwback, old-school 70s-80s big man capable of scoring around the basket on put-backs, alley-oops and on offensive rebounds. In the age of Joel Embid and stretch 4s and 5s, Duren did not make a single 3 point shot this past season. Indeed, he only had one 3 point attempt. Over the past couple of years, we have seen him working hard tp develop something resembling a mid range game. His jump shot form appears mechanically sound and, perhaps, he can hone a shot that will stretch out towards the 3pt line over time.

But for now, he’s just gonna continue to dunk that shit real hard on muthafucka’s heads on the offensive end of the court. He will play immediately at the next level because his rebounding and interior defense are so strong he will have to be on the floor. If he gets a reliable jump shot, the sky is the limit. If he doesn’t improve offensively he’ll probably be just another good $300-$400 million dollar 12-15 year NBA player.

Frank Martin, TaQuan Woodley & Rahsool Diggins #CamdenPhilly

College basketball recruiting has rapidly transformed… Nothing is the way it used to be… There is a full-blown NIL market in place. The NIL market is shaping a lot of the high major recruiting. Not surprisingly, Philly programs are lagging in the NIL space. Philadelphia, with 6 Division 1 programs, has always been a tough nut to crack…

Philly is different… Some programs seem to figure it out… Penn State came through and scooped up a lot of good players… Now, it looks like UMass and Frank Martin are making headway.

Frank Martin, UMass Head Coach

Penn State, under Pat Chambers and subsequently Micah Shrewsberry, has landed numerous Philly kids… D.J. Newbill, Lamar Stevens, Tony Carr, John Harrar, Shep Garner, Mike Watkins and most recently Andrew Funk and Jameel Brown have all committed to play for Penn State.

Penn State basketball? Pre-Chambers, that was not a thing in Philly…

Prior to Pat Chambers arrival in Happy Valley, one could not have even envisioned a Philly to Penn State basketball recruiting pipeline. After all, Philly is a hardcore hoops Mecca and Penn State is first and foremost, a football school. For the Nittany Lions, basketball is just a distraction, something to do ’til spring football gets underway… Right?

But it happened… Funk and Brown are the latest evidence of Shrewsberry’s maintenance of the pipeline. For me, the key was the first one… Newbill… He was an overlooked Philly guard… A high major talent that local programs undervalued. Drexel and Bruiser Flint made a HARD run at Newbill, none of the others were aggressively recruiting him… One day, Newbill pulled me aside and said, “Del, I know that’s your man and all… But I’m not going to Drexel.”

That was that… With little local interest, Newbill had to go out of town.

Georgetown, West Virginia and Marquette were the schools coming hardest for Newbill. He committed to Marquette and Buzz Williams, who proceeded to FUCK him over. He never even made it to the Marquette campus. Buzz ran Newbill off to make room for another kid. Newbill ended up playing one season at Southern Mississippi and making all-freshman in CUSA.

He transferred to Penn State. Chambers gave Newbill an opportunity to play high major basketball. Highly regarded and respected among his peers, Newbill’s arrival opened the floodgates from Philly.

New University of Massachusetts men’s basketball coach Frank Martin arrives in the A10 at at time when basketball recruiting is much different than it was when had his first head coaching job back at Kansas State. Martin seems to be running a play very similar to the one Chambers ran a decade ago.

“Recruiting has gotten really complicated because of the transfer portal,” the new UMass coach said. “It’s a complicated animal. At the end, whether it’s the transfer portal, or high school or junior college, you have to find people that fit. If they don’t fit, it don’t work.”

Like Chambers, Martin has staked out the Greater Philadelphia region as one of his primary recruiting grounds. Camden/Philly kids fit what Martin wants to do on the court. His first recruiting win at UMass came when former South Carolina power forward Ta’Quan Woodley (Camden) announced he was coming to UMass.

Like Newbill, Woodley is highly regarded and respected among his peers. From the moment he entered the scholastic scene as an athletic and rambunctious Neumann-Goretti freshman through his 3 year stint at Camden High, Woodley was one of the best players in the region. His teams very rarely lost. He was an elite post defender and rebounder with an exceptional basketball IQ. However, Woodley did exhibit some problematic social behaviors as a 14-15 year old. He tended to buck authority and confront peers early in his high school career.

However, by the time he was a senior, Woodley had emerged as a responsible, sage and mature team leader. Today, Woodley is a true gentleman scholar-athlete. Nonetheless, his reputation as a rabble rouser was hard to shake among locals. Rutgers, Seton Hall, Temple and St. Joe’s all passed on Woodley. Pat Chambers came to watch him go head up against Jalen Duren. Duren and Roman won that game, but Chambers offered Woodley a scholarship. Shortly threafter, Woodley committed to Penn State.

Then Chambers was gone… His racially insensitive comments to a player ultimately led to his dismissal. Woodley needed a basketball home.

As an SEC prospect, Woodley was considered undersized. His academics needed some improvement. He had a brush with the law. His daughter was on the way.

Frank Martin took Taquan Woodley sight unseen… Taquan never visited South Carolina. Frank never visited Quan. Frank understood that Taquan needed a basketball home.

“I’ll take care of him Del…”

Martin has taken care of him.

So much so that, after a productive freshman year at South Carolina, Woodley has decided to follow Martin to UMass… Days after committing, Woodley found out Sool Diggins was in the transfer portal. He immediately reached out to Sool.

“Hit me…”

Now… These guys know and respect one another… But it’s not like they weren’t best of friends in high school. Today, they are young men… They’ve been a lil’ bumped and bruised by the game. They have a better understanding of their personal situations. They have been through the recruiting process before. They are older much more experienced off the court.

Sool DIggins has dealt with Danny Hurley and UConn basketball for a year… He’s ready to lead a team… He’s THE PG, it’s his team… Sool told Quan…

“Ard ima hit you…”

Meanwhile, Frank quietly made his way into Philly and visited the Diggins family.

Couple weeks later…


College basketball recruiting is different. Taquan Woodley is a strong recruiter. He helped get this one done for Martin and UMass.

Respect Quan! Sool is an ESPN top 100 prospect.

Quan & Sool… #CamdenPhilly

Martin is demanding. Quan & Sool are gonna play big minutes.

#CamdenPhilly

The Big 5 today… Philly Stuff…

VillanovaKyle 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…

Kyle Neptune & Jay Wright

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.

Monte Ross & Aaron McKie

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.

Fran Dunphy

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.

Jordan Dingle

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.

Billy Lange

Arcadia All-American Da’Kquan Davis Commits to the University of Albany

April 11, 2022 – Da’ Kquan Davis a 6’1″ graduate transfer combo guard has committed to play for Head Coach Dwayne Killings and the University of Albany. An NCAA Division 3 All-American, Davis is known as a prototypical tough Philly guard that is driven for success. Davis collegiate accolades include: D-3 All-American, All Time Scoring Leader at Arcadia (1,825 points), Led Arcadia to 1st NCAA tournament appearance in school history, D3Hoops.com All-Region First-team, NABC Division-III All-District Team, MAC Commonwealth Player of the Year; becoming the first player in Arcadia history to receive the honor, Awarded All-MAC Commonwealth First-team.

Da’kquan Davis, University of Albany commit

At the scholastic level, Davis was a four-year member of the Roman Catholic High School basketball team. Roman won the Gonzaga DC Classic while Davis was a sophomore and junior. He helped the team win two Philadelphia Catholic League Championships, two State Championships and three City Championships. He was a second Team All-Catholic selection and named the MVP OF the Rotary Rounball Classic in 2016.

Davis formerly played for UAlbany Assistant Matt Griffin at Roman Catholic in Philadelphia. UAlbany has not shied away from recruiting non D1 athletes as last year Matt Cerrutti (Archbishop Wood/Lock Haven) joined the program and started every game on his way to be a 3rd team all America East selection, after competing at the D2 level.

https://twitter.com/verbalcommits/status/1512097221940244481?s=21&t=6Ngntt8WVsQUJ2ccyHaH8A

La Salle University Names College Coaching Legend Fran Dunphy as Head Men’s Basketball Coach

Immediate Release

Contact: Dan Lobacz, 607-237-5849

PHILADELPHIA – La Salle University has announced Fran Dunphy, a 1970 graduate and the all-time winningest coach in Philadelphia Big 5 history, as the 20th head coach in the history of its men’s basketball program. 

Fran Dunphy, La Salle Head Coach

Dunphy, a member of the Philadelphia Big 5, La Salle Athletics, Penn Athletics, and Philadelphia Sports Writers Halls of Fame, has amassed nearly 600 victories over his 30 years as head coach at Penn (1989-06) and Temple (2006-19). He is the only coach to oversee multiple Big 5 programs, and his teams have competed in 17 NCAA Tournaments.  

“During my time at La Salle, I have met many passionate alums who personify what it means to be an Explorer,” Vice President for Athletics & Recreation Brian Baptiste said. “Fran Dunphy is at the top of that list, and to be able to introduce him as the 20th head coach in La Salle men’s basketball history is an honor and privilege. In my conversations with Fran, he has made it clear that he still has a passion for coaching and a burning desire to help his alma mater. I know he’s excited to get to work and I know our student-athletes will benefit from having him as the leader of our program.”

As a dual-sport student-athlete at La Salle from 1967-70, Dunphy played both baseball and basketball for the Explorers, and was a member of the 1968-69 team that was coached by all-time La Salle great Tom Gola. The team finished that season 23-1 and ranked second in the final Associated Press Top 25 Poll. As a senior, Dunphy averaged 18.6 points per game and also led La Salle in assists. 

“La Salle has given me so much over the years,” Dunphy said. “It gave me a chance to be a a part of multiple teams as a student-athlete, an opportunity to form life-long friendships, and helped mold me into the man I am today. I can’t wait to work with the young men on the team, re-introduce myself to the campus community, and to help my alma mater any way I can.”

Following his playing days, Dunphy jumped into coaching and was an assistant on La Salle’s 1979-80 squad that earned a trip to the NCAA Tournament. Individually, Michael Brooks earned National Player of the Year honors and would go on to be drafted 9th overall in the NBA Draft by the Clippers. 

Dunphy then spent five seasons as an assistant at American University before returning home to join La Salle’s staff from 1985-88. During that time, the Explorers successfully recruited eventual National Player of the Year Lionel Simmons from South Philadelphia High School, advanced to the finals of the National Invitation Tournament in 1987, and won a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference championship in 1988.  

In 1989, Dunphy was named head coach at the University of Pennsylvania. Over the next 17 seasons, he would win 10 Ivy League titles, post nine 20-win seasons, and amass a total of 310 victories – the most by any coach in Penn history. The Quakers won 48 straight Ivy League games from 1992-96, and his ’93-94 team went 25-3, was ranked as high as No. 24 nationally, and defeated Nebraska in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. 

Dunphy’s head coaching career continued at Temple, as he took over for Naismith Hall of Famer John Chaney in 2006. The Owls advanced to the NCAA Tournament eight times in his 13 years, including a run of seven consecutive seasons from 2007-13. During his 13 seasons at Temple, Dunphy’s teams defeated nationally-ranked teams a total of 18 times, including victories over Duke, Kansas, Villanova, Syracuse, Connecticut, Florida State, West Virginia, Tennessee, Xavier, and Georgetown.  

“We are so proud to introduce Fran Dunphy as our head men’s basketball coach,” said William W. Matthews, III, Esq., ’90, Chair of La Salle University’s Board of Trustees. “Coach Dunphy is committed to excellence. He has demonstrated over his tremendous career that he knows how to develop players who achieve success on the court and in the classroom. As a La Salle alumnus, he knows our university’s Lasallian mission and embraces our program’s rich history, of which he was a part. Our entire university community wishes the best for Coach Dunphy and the program in the years ahead.”

In 2020, Dunphy transitioned into an interim athletic director position at Temple. Over the past two years, the Drexel Hill, Pa. native has been active with his alma mater. He was the recipient of an honorary degree at La Salle University’s 2020 Commencement ceremony at Lincoln Financial Field, and has broadcast numerous men’s basketball games on ESPN+. 

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