Saturday, April 24, 2010
The 2010 recruiting class at Saint Joseph's is widely considered to be one of the top in the Atlantic 10 and considered by some to be a top 25 class nationally. That class has included CJ Aiken, Daryus Quarles, and Langston Galloway since last summer. Late last night, that class was further strengthened with the signing of 6'3 Brother Martin (Louisiana) guard Patrick Swilling Jr. If that names sounds familiar to you, you aren't mistaken. Swilling's father, Pat Swilling Sr. was a 5-time NFL Pro-Bowler. I had a chance to speak with Pat Swilling Sr. earlier tonight about his son's commitment to Saint Joseph's.
Swilling Jr. has flown under the basketball radar a bit, and most of that was due to the thought that he would play football at the collegiate level. Apparently, that's never been the case. Swilling Sr. told me that his son never actually chose football, and the plan was to wait until the basketball season ended to make a final decision on college. That high school season, by the way, ended in a 5A state title with Swilling as tournament MVP. Earlier in the year, a website ran an article stating that Pat was going to focus in on only football, and play football at the college level. It turns out that article was not accurate, and that was never the plan. When it came down to it, Pat chose to pursue basketball, and to the delight of SJU fans, he decided to continue his basketball career on Hawk Hill.
A number of other schools were in the mix for the 6'3 guard, including Oklahoma, Ole Miss, UTEP, Tulane, and Louisiana Tech. What is it about Saint Joseph's that stood out to the Swilling family? According to Swilling Sr, there were a number of factors. When they visited Saint Joseph's last weekend, they were "blown away" by a number of things, including the staff, the academics, the fact that SJU is a private Catholic school, and the opportunity to compete at a high level. Swilling said that Hawk head coach Phil Martelli is "one of the greatest in the game." When all of that was taken into consideration, Pat decided that there wasn't a better situation for him at the college level.
A key factor in all of this is Langston Galloway, who signed on with the Hawks in July. Patrick and Langston know are close to one another, having played AAU basketball together for two years. Together, the two are hoping to form a backcourt that will bring the Hawks back into the national spotlight. Swilling was familiar with Galloway, obviously, but also the other 2010 Hawk commitments. The program, in Swilling's eyes, is headed in the right direction with the 2010 signings already in place and the possibility of others in the coming months.
Swilling will arrive on campus alongside his Louisiana backcourt mate this summer. Together, Swilling, Galloway, Aiken, and Quarles form an imposing lineup. There are still players in the mix who could join the 4 next year, including Saint Peter's Prep forward Ron Roberts and Papa Samba Ndao, who was just released from his verbal commitment to Boston College. Ndao, a 6'8 forward from Montverde Academy in Florida, is slated to visit Saint Joseph's next weekend.
Throughout high school, Swilling has been a two-star athlete. Considered a BCS level college football prospect, Swilling played football in the fall and basketball in the winter. Now, he can focus entirely on basketball. Thankfully for SJU fans, that basketball will be played on Hawk Hill.
Video from Swilling's state title with Brother Martin is linked below. In the state title game, Oklahoma head coach Jeff Capel and Marquette head coach Buzz Williams watched Swilling score 10 critical 4th quarter points in the winning effort.
Brother Martin Wins Louisiana State Title
Photo above courtesy of Louisiana Basketball Report