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.

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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…

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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…

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Drexel Coaching Candidates

Early names surfacing around the Drexel Basketball coaching job include Geoffrey Arnold, St. Joseph’s University assistant and Ashley Howard, Villanova assistant. Both worked previously as Drexel assistant coaches.

Geoffrey

Geoffrey Arnold, pictured with his nephew Langston Galloway (NY Knicks) whom he recruited out of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Ashley Howard

Ashley Howard, Assistant Coach under Jay Wright at Villanova University

Terrell Myers, Director of the WeRone Hoops Basketball Club which plays on the Under Armour circuit, weighed in on the Drexel coaching search. “It’s a no-brainer… If they want a guy with experience recruiting high level players and getting Philly players to stay home they can’t go wrong with Geoff or Ashley. I have a tremendous amount of respect for those guys. They have paid their dues. WeRone would be fully supportive of either one of them at Drexel.”

2014 Under Armour Association Finals

SUWANEE, GA – JULY 19, 2014: The Under Armour Association Finals at the Suwanee Sports Academy in Suwanee, GA. (Photo by Kelly Kline/Under Armour)

WeRone Hoops won the 2014 National Championship on the Under Armour Association Circuit. Their current 17U roster includes Trevon Duval, (ranked 5th on the ESPN top 60 Class of 2017), Zack Kent (ranked 50th by 247sports.com) and Antwan Butler (All-City, All-Public in Philadelphia). Recent WeRone alums include Austin Tilghman (Monmouth), AJ English (Iona),  Sedee Keita (South Carolina commit), Ben Bentil (1st Team All-Big East) and Nysier Brooks (Cincinnati commit).