Over the weekend, Saint Joseph's received a commitment from Brother Martin (LA) senior guard Patrick Swilling Jr. On Saturday I was able to speak with Pat Sr about his son's recruitment, college expectations, and college selection. Earlier today I was able to get some insight on Pat's game from his high school coach, Scott Thompson. Brother Martin, under Coach Thompson, won the Louisiana 5A state title this year. Thompson spoke about what makes Swilling such a special player and a terrific acquisition for the Hawks.
Over the past couple years, Saint Joseph's head coach Phil Martelli has spoken about how he loves to recruit "winners" to his program. CJ Aiken's Plymouth-Whitemarsh team won a state title this year. Langston Galloway's Christian Life Academy won a state title this year. Pat Swilling also led his team to a state title, and that desire to be a leader is something that Thompson spoke about. He said that Pat is a natural leader and has a magnetic quality to him. Throughout the season, Thompson said that Swilling played some of his best basketball in clutch situations. No situation as clutch as when Swilling scored ten 4th-quarter points in the state title game.
Next year, the Hawks return Justin Crosgile and Tay Jones in the backcourt, and are now bringing in Swilling and Galloway. I asked Thompson where he thought Swilling would play in college. According to Thompson, Swilling is a tremendously versatile player. He has the footspeed to defend the opposing team's quick lead guards, and on the flip side, has the size and strength to defend the other team's wing. While Swilling projects as a combo guard, it is very possible that he will spend some time at the small forward spot. Thompson said that Pat has a unique game in the sense that he is capable of doing so many things on the perimeter, both offensively and defensively.
Throughout our conversation, Thompson repeated two words over and over again. Those words being "explosive" and "dynamic". As talented an offensive player as Swilling is, Thompson said that he excels on the defensive side of things. That makes sense, considering the fact that he was a high-level college football recruit on the defensive side of the ball. Thompson said that Swilling is successful getting his offense from his defense, via traps and presses. While most high school players come to college with marginal interest in defense, Thompson told me that Swilling takes pride in his defensive ability and has a real interest in being a tough-minded defensive presence. On the offensive side, Pat is strong and tenacious to the basket.
Pat Swilling, as it stands, is a talented basketball player. Thompson said that one of the most exciting parts of this all is the fact that he is really just tapping into his potential. Throughout high school, Pat played football and basketball. Now that he has decided to play basketball at the collegiate level, all of his focus is on the hardwood. With that focus squarely on basketball, Thompson said that he expects Swilling to take his game to another level.
Fortunately for Hawks fans, that next level is Saint Joseph's.