Hawk Hill Hardwood was on hand for one of the most anticipated high school basketball games of the early 2009-2010 season last night. Plymouth Whitemarsh used lots of ball pressure and big-time performances from Jaylen Bond and CJ Aiken to beat ANC 57-46 at Gwynedd Mercy College. Today we will look at the performances of Plymouth Whitemarsh's CJ Aiken, Jaylen Bond, and Whis Grant. All three had impressive performances in front of a packed house that included a number of college coaches. Hawk head man Phil Martelli was in the stands for the game, along with Rutgers head coach Fred Hill, ex-Penn coach Glen Miller, and La Salle head coach Dr. John Giannini.
CJ Aiken- Going into the game, CJ knew that he was going to have his hands full against a frontcourt that starts a 6'11 center, a 6'9 power forward, and a 6'5 small forward. CJ set the tone for the game early, on a beautiful alley-oop way above the rim. CJ dunked his way to a game-high 21 points and MVP honors for the Colonials. The word used to describe Aiken for the past couple years has been upside, and that word still is fitting. That being said, Aiken demonstrated a level of toughness and intensity that I haven't seen from him in the past. There were a number of jaw-dropping plays during the course of the game that showcased his unbelievable athletic ability. Aiken plays above the rim, and that was no difference in this game. In addition to the athletic ability, CJ has terrific hands, catching everything thrown in his general direction throughout the game. In the final minutes, when ANC pressed the Colonials, CJ was used on the inbounds passes to help break the press. High school bigmen are prone to turnovers, but that was not an issue in this game. CJ also had a number of beautiful assists during the game. PW won the game by double-digits, but it was much closer than that early in the 4th quarter. Aiken battled foul trouble in the second half, and ANC made their comeback with CJ on the bench, which is a telling fact. Aiken is headed to Hawk Hill next year. Head coach Phil Martelli had to be impressed with what he saw from his future frontcourt player.
Jaylen Bond- Bond (pictured above) showed again tonight why he is being courted by a number of Big East schools. The 6'7 Bond had 12 points for the Colonials and pulled down a number of important rebounds. Bond did have his hands full with ANC's Savon Goodman, who I will be writing about tomorrow. In the opening frame, Bond had a dunk that displayed his athleticism. On a fast break, Bond got the ball only a couple feet from the hoop, caught it, and in the same motion, went under and over the rim with an electrifying jam. Bond, like Aiken, gets off the floor in a hurry. Jaylen plays in the post for Plymouth-Whitemarsh. If he wants to play at the Big East level, he will probably have to move out to the wing. While he didn't demonstrate that ability tonight, it is something that he will have time to continue to work on. I doubt there was a college coach in the house last night that doesn't want Jaylen on their team in two years.
Whis Grant- While Aiken and Bond get most of the attention and notoriety for the Colonials, Grants plays a vital role for the team. In fact, it was the guard play from the Colonials last night that led to the win. Grant is the engine behind that backcourt. The 6 foot senior applied terrific ball pressure all evening, resulting in a number of turnovers for the ANC guards. Despite struggling from the free throw line, Whis was the third double-digit scorer for the Colonials, scoring 11 points. Grant is quick, strong, and plays very tough defense. Aiken and Bond are the big names for the Colonials, but without Whis, it is unlikely the two would put up the numbers they do. Whis did a great job feeding his bigs last night, both in the post and above the rim.
Plymouth-Whitemarsh is a tremendously talented team led by the three players above. Tomorrow we will look at Academy of the New Church's Savon Goodman, Roc Christmas, and Malcolm Gilbert.
Saint Joseph's dropped their 7th game of the season last night. In Albany, New York, they were pounded 92-75 by the Siena Saints. The Hawks trailed 43-42 at intermission, but were crushed, yet again, in the second half. This has been a trend with this year's team. Idris Hilliard led the Hawks with 14 points and Todd O'Brien led them with 11 rebounds. Edwin Ublies, Alex Franklin, and Clarance Jackson all scored 20-plus points a piece. The 4-7 Hawks take on Princeton at home on Saturday.
Hawk Hill Hardwood will be on hand tonight for the Plymouth Whitemarsh- Academy of the New Church matchup at Gwynedd Mercy College. 2010 Hawk signee CJ Aiken and junior forward Jaylen Bond will have their hands full with the loaded ANC frontcourt. Check back later tonight for a recap of the game.
NBE Basketball Report has a recruiting update from the City of Palms Tournament that took place in Florida last week. Three 2011 Hawk targets, Aaron Brown, Derrick Randall, and Shawn Oakman, are mentioned.
According to the NBE Basketball Report, Randall is being tracked by a number of schools, including Providence, Saint John's, and Providence. There is no mention of the Hawks.
Penn Wood standout juniors Aaron Brown and Shawn Oakman both listed the Hawks. Oakman had Providence, Maryland, and Saint Joseph's in Florida watching him last week. He has interest from the Hawks, Maryland, Providence, La Salle, Drexel, Arizona, and Georgetown. Aaron Brown, according to the article, has five schools tracking him: Providence, Richmond, Saint Joseph's, Temple, and La Salle. The Owls already have a commitment from another Aaron Brown, the senior from Saint Benedict's.
The Jameer Nelson Classic continued on Monday and was highlighted by a resounding win by the Penn Wood Crusaders over Academy of the New Church. Pat Leonard of the Philadelphia Inquirer has a great article about the day's games linked below.
In a game that featured at least 3 recruiting targets for the Hawks, Penn Wood beat Academy of the New Church 53-41 at Widener University. Academy of the New Church boasts one of the best high school frontcourts in America, with Roc Christmas, Savon Goodman, and Hawk target Malcolm Gilbert. Gilbert was limited to 5 points while being guarded by another Hawk target, Shawn Oakman. Oakman, a 6'9 250 pound presence in the paint, scored 8 points in the winning effort. Another target for Saint Joseph's, small forward Aaron Brown (pictured above), notched a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds.
Saturday was an action-packed day of high school hoops in Philadelphia as the Jameer Nelson Classic got underway.
In the day's first game, Pitt-bound guard John Johnson scored 36 points in a losing effort to Strawberry Mansion. Mansion's DJ Newbill led his team to victory, scoring 22 points, including the game-winning shot.
Archbishop Carroll snuck by Bartram 60-57 behind an MVP effort from Juan'ya Green. Green scored 24 points for Carroll. Bartram, as is usually the case, was led by Tyrone Garland and his 26 points.
New Jersey's Life Center Academy upset Friends' Central in the second to last game of the day. It was a quiet day for Amile Jefferson and Devin Coleman of Friends Central. Coleman is another name of interest for the Hawks in the junior class.
In the nightcap, Plymouth-Whitemarsh pounded Chester 65-46. After a fairly quiet first half, future Hawk CJ Aiken exploded in the third quarter, scoring 10 of his game-high 19 points. Aiken displayed his tremendous athletic ability in the third quarter with a number of acrobatic dunks, rebounds, and blocks. Junior forward Jaylen Bond also contributed 15 points for PW.
Two artcles about the day's games are linked below:
The sixth-annual Jameer Nelson Classic will tip-off later today, marking a start to four great days of high school hoops in the greater Philadelphia area. The tournament features a number of players with bright college futures ahead of them. One of the players, Plymouth-Whitemarsh's CJ Aiken, will be suiting up for Jameer's alma mater, Saint Joseph's, next fall. Jameer's younger brother, Chester guard Maurice Nelson, is another of the top-level talents playing in the showcase. Below is a list of some of the highlight games.
Saturday at Widener College:
1:00- Strawberry Mansion vs. Girard College- Strawberry Mansion stars one of the best unsigned seniors in the area in 6'4 guard DJ Newbill. Girard College lives and dies with the success of junior guard, and Pitt Panther commit, John Johnson.
4:30- Archbishop Carroll vs. Bartram- This game features two of the best guards in the Philadelphia area in Carroll's Juan'ya Green and Bartram's Tyrone Garland. Garland is an ACC-bound senior, headed to Virginia Tech next year. Green, on the other hand, is a junior who has yet to make a college decision. Many of the Philadelphia schools, including Saint Joseph's, have exhibited interest in the 6'3 shooting guard
6:15- Friends' Central vs. Life Center Academy- This game features two players considered elite talents in their respective recruiting classes. Life Center Academy, out of Burlington, New Jersey, stars Syracuse-bound college-ready senior guard Dion Waiters. Friends' Central has plenty of D1 talent, with sophomore forward Amile Jefferson being the most well-known name on a national level. Rivals.com has Jefferson as the number 5 player nationally in his class. Another player to keep an eye on on Friends' Central is junior guard Devin Coleman.
8:00- Plymouth-Whitemarsh vs. Chester- As the younger brother of Jameer Nelson, Maurice Nelson inherently has great expectations placed upon him. The 6'1 guard for the Chester Clippers doesn't seem to let that bother him though. Maurice, who recently stated that his dream is to play for the Saint Joseph's Hawks, is coming off a 38-point outburst earlier this week. The Clippers are always one of the best in the state, and they face a Plymouth-Whitemarsh team tonight with one of the best frontcourts in the area. That frontcourt features SJU-bound 6'9 senior CJ Aiken as well as hotly-recruited junior Jaylen Bond. The nightcap to the Saturday games is sure to be a great one.
Monday at Widener University:
6:00-Penn Wood vs. Academy of the New Church- When I looked at the schedule for the tournament, this is one of the two or three games that stood out most to me. Academy of the New Church features a frontcourt that many actually consider one of the elite in all of America. 6'11 junior Malcolm Gilbert, 6'9 junior Roc Christmas, and 6'6 sophomore Savon Goodman have size and athleticism usually reserved for college rosters. They will be tested tonight by a Penn Wood team that has some size and athleticism of their own. Penn Wood throws junior multi-sport standout Shawn Oakman at you in the post. Small forward Aaron Brown is coming off a monster effort at the City of Palms Tournament that garnered him national praise from the likes of recruiting sites Rivals.com, Scout.com, and ESPN.com. The 6'5 Brown and the 6'8 Oakman are both receiving recruiting interest from the Hawks, along with numerous other programs.
8:00- Chester vs. Bartram- A chance to see Mo Nelson and Tyrone Garland go head-to-head.
Wednesday at Gwynned Mercy College:
6:15- Academy of the New Church vs. Plymouth-Whitemarsh- A battle between the two best frontcourts in the area. Bond and Aiken for PW against Gilbert, Christmas, and Goodman for ANC. Hawk Hill Hardwood will be on hand for this match-up. A detailed recap will be on the site on Thursday.
Check back in here throughout the week for updates on these games and more. It's a great week of Holiday Hoops in Philadelphia.
Jersey City's Saint Peter's Prep plays their third game of the 2009-2010 campaign this evening, going up against Memorial High School. With two blow-out wins already under their belts, Saint Peter's is looking to take advantage of an extremely talented squad and well-respected coaching staff.
I had a chance to speak with head coach Mike Kelly about one of his players, junior guard Myles Davis, earlier this week. Earlier this fall, I spoke with Coach Kelly about his senior forward, Ronald Roberts, who ultimately chose Saint John's over the Saint Joseph's Hawks.
Through two games this season, Davis, a 6 foot combo guard ranked the 37th best player nationally in the junior class by Rivals.com, is averaging 24 points per game. In a 101-67 win against Marist on Monday, Myles scored a team-high 32 points, including six 3-pointers.
Coach Kelly provided me with some insight on Davis' recruitment. The Hawks are one of a number of schools to formally offer a scholarship to the guard. Last week, a well-respected Big East program made an offer to Davis. The Pitt Panthers offered Davis, but Coach Kelly believed that the offer was contingent on him attending prep school for a year before college. Kelly explained that Myles is young for his grade, but also that the situation has not yet been discussed with Myles or his parents.
As for where the Hawks could stand with Davis, Coach Kelly explained that Myles has visited Hawk Hill twice and that he really likes the school and Coach Phil Martelli. Myles' parents are also fans of the Hawks head coach.
The recruitment of Davis is sure to continue to intensify. Davis does not appear in a rush to make a decision. When asked what will happen next with his star junior guard, Kelly said, "What happens next is anyone's guess."
Adam Zagoria of Zagsblog has an article up on Paterson Catholic (NJ) and their opening-round win over Fort Myers in the City of Palms Classic in Florida. Junior center Derrick Randall had 15 rebounds, 11 rebounds, and 7 blocks in the win. According to Paterson Catholic head coach Damon Wright, Saint Joseph's is one of the many schools to have offered the big man. Temple, Providence, Seton Hall, Virginia Tech, and Saint John's have also offered Randall. Derrick's PC teammate, Fuquan Edwin, is headed to Seton Hall next year. The article by Zagsblog is linked below.
This isn't a formal entry, just a thank you to everyone who has stopped by the site in recent months. Yesterday Hawk Hill Hardwood got it's 10,000th hit, which is thanks to you.
Thanks again for stopping by and checking out what's going on. In the coming days, there will be a feature article on Plymouth Whitemarsh senior forward CJ Aiken.
For now, here's a link for anyone with about 10 minutes to kill. It's a video of a dunk contest that features, and is won by, Lee Academy center Keith Coleman. Coleman is a junior and could be one of the big men that the Hawks look at in the junior class. As you will see in the video, he has some athleticism to spare. His dunks are at the beginning of the video, around the 5 minute mark, and then around the 8 minute mark.
Philadelphia's Roman Catholic High School has produced a number of talented Division 1 basketball players over the past couple years. Current Villanova freshman Maalik Wayns starred at Roman Catholic before becoming a McDonald's All American and moving onto Nova. Current Pitt junior Brad Wanamaker is another Roman Catholic alum. As is Rider forward Mike Ringgold. Current Roman senior guard Rakeem Brookins will play college ball at Tulane next year.
While those are familiar names to people in tune with Philadelphia hoops over recent years, another name on the Roman Catholic roster is certain to become popular in the coming months. That name is Fortunate "Junior" Kangudi. Kangudi transferred to Roman Catholic this year from Montreal, Canada. He is a 6'7 forward just getting acclimated to playing ball in America.
I had a chance to speak with Roman Catholic head coach Chris McNesby about his new frontcourt player. First of all was the matter of the name. His name is Fortunate "Junior" Kangudi, although most websites and online resources list him as Junior Fortunat. Kangudi did not have a high school team in Montreal, so he instead focused on AAU and travel team ball. McNesby said that Kangudi's strengths include athleticism and playing up-tempo, while an area in need of improvement is his shooting range beyond the free throw range.
As of now, Kangudi is receiving recruiting interest from some A10 and MAAC schools. One of the schools already keeping tabs on the developing big man is Saint Joseph's. Coach McNesby said that it is difficult to project exactly what level Kangudi is capable of playing at because he has only played, literally, one high school game in America. In that game, against Coatesville, Kangudi had ten points. McNesby said that the work ethic and desire are there for Kangudi to be successful. As coaches get a chance to see Kangudi, and as he gets comfortable playing organized basketball, recruiting interest is sure to pick up.
Prior to ending up at Roman Catholic, Kangudi was slated to play this season at LeBron James' alma mater, Akron Saint Vincent Saint Mary. He actually played AAU ball for the Ohio Basketball Club and coach Ken Taylor. In an article linked below, Taylor had this to say about Kangudi. "Junior’s upside is crazy. He has great length, athleticism, and a 42-inch vertical. Athletically he is a professional, and that you can not teach. He is not afraid to mix it up inside, likes to talk and throw some elbows every now and again."
As of now, the Hawks have been linked with a number of bigmen in the class of 2011. Among those are Academy of the New Church's Malcolm Gilbert, Paterson Catholic's Derrick Randall, and Pennwood's Shawn Oakman. It looks like Kangudi can be added to that list. He is certainly a name worth keeping an eye on over the coming year.
Plymouth-Whitemarsh began their 2009-2010 campaign last night with an 82-39 shellacking of Central Bucks South. 2010 Hawk commit CJ Aiken had 14 points in the winning effort. The game was practically over before it began. At halftime, PW led 48-20. They play Neshaminy tonight in the championship game of the Rock the Rim Classic. Neshaminy features a sophomore guard with interest from the Hawks in Ryan Arcidiacono (pictured above). Ryan had 15 points for Neshaminy last night as they beat Conestoga 67-54.
One of the Hawks' 2011 targets, Myles Davis, picked up an offer from a Big East school this week, according to Rivals.com. Myles Davis, a 6 foot guard from Saint Peter's Prep, added an offer to his collection when the Pitt Panthers jumped officially into the mix. The Panthers already have a verbal commitment from John Johnson in the 2011 class. Johnson is a guard from Philadelphia's Girard College that the Hawks recruited heavily. Myles Davis has been on Hawk Hill for an unofficial visit already, and was courtside with teammate Ronald Roberts (bound for Saint John's) for the season opener against Drexel.
Again, apologies for the lack of content up here lately. Sometimes other things pop up that make blog updates fall a bit lower on the list of priorities.
Before going into the game, just a quick thought. How nice was it to have Bill Raftery (pictured to the left) on the play-by-play last night? In my opinion, he's the best in the business.
The Hawks played a hard-fought game last night against Big 5 rival Villanova at a sold-out Palestra. The Hawks fell to the Cats 97-89 in a high-scoring affair. In his postgame comments, Hawk coach Phil Martelli said, "Not all losses are losing experiences," and that quote does a lot to sum up the game. While the Hawks did not win, and winning is the ultimate goal, there were a number of positives to take out of the game.
The strengths and weaknesses of this team were apparent to all last night. Guard play, in the form of Darrin Govens and freshmen Tay Jones and Justin Crosgile was a strength. Govens had 19 points, while Jones and Crosgile contributed 16 and 12 respectively. It was one of Govens' best games in his four years on Hawk Hill. What Hawk fans saw out of freshmen Crosgile and Jones, especially in the second half, is hopefully a sign of things to come. Junior forward Idris Hilliard had a monster game, putting up 22 points and 7 rebounds. While guard play was a strength, the frontcourt, aside from Hilliard, was a glaring weakness. Todd O'Brien and Bryant Irwin combined for only 4 points and 9 rebounds in 37 total minutes. The Hawk frontcourt was without freshman forward Carl Baptiste, who was unable to go due to injury
Next year, the Hawks will be receiving help in the frontcourt in the form of Plymouth-Whitemarsh senior CJ Aiken. I should have an article up on Aiken in the coming day or two.
Dick Jerardi's article from today's Daily News is linked below. There is post-game video of Jay Wright, Tayor King, and Phil Martelli on the page as well.
After starting the season 3-0, the Hawks have now lost four games in a row. Looking ahead at the schedule, it appears that things could get worse before they get better as well. Saint Joseph's next two games are against Villanova and at Minnesota.
The Hawks fell to Cornell 78-66 earlier today in Ithaca, New York. Ending the first half on a 7-0 run, the Hawks were tied with Cornell and appeared to be set for a battle against the Big Red. A few minutes into the second half, that appeared a lost cause. The Big Red stormed out of the gate in the second half and turned a close contest into what amounted to a blowout.
Seniors Darrin Govens and Garrett Williamson both struggled from the field in the loss, going a combined 5 of 18. The Hawk frontcourt of Todd O'Brien, Idris Hilliard, and Bryant Irwin combined for only 12 rebounds, as the Hawks were once again badly outrebounded. Today's rebounding margin of 10 is identical to the margin on Monday night against Rider.
The Big Red shot 46% from 3-point land today as well, going 11-24.
The Hawks play Wednesday night against Villanova at 9 pm on ESPN2. The Wildcats currently lead Maryland by 9 at the half.
Paterson Catholic will be in the Philadelphia area on Saturday afternoon scrimmaging Daryus Quarles' former team, Life Center Academy. Paterson Catholic features a number of tremendously talented players, including Texas commit Myck Kabongo, Seton Hall commit Fuquan Edwin, sophomore stud Kyle Anderson, Jayon James, and TJ Clemmings. They also feature a junior bigman that the Hawks have shown interest in: Derrick Randall. Randall appears to be one of the Hawk post targets in the class of 2011, claiming to hold an SJU offer. The scrimmage will take place at Life Center Academy in Burlington, New Jersey on Saturday at 3 pm.
It has been quiet on here lately. An article on the Academy of the New Church should be up in the coming day or two though. As well as a preview of Sunday's SJU-Cornell game.
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At Hawk Hill Hardwood, we are talking all things Saint Joseph's basketball. We will also cover other important happenings in the world of college and high school hoops. Throughout the year we will cover some of the biggest high school tournaments and events in the Philadelphia area.