Saturday, January 30, 2010

Baltimore Power Forward with Big East, A10 Interest

On Thursday, had a feature article on their recruiting page about 6'8 225-pound Baltimore senior Jonathan Graham. According to the article, Graham, a power forward averaging 22 points and 12 boards, has only one offer, and it is from Seton Hall. The article also mentions A10 rivals Temple and Saint Joseph's as schools that could be close to offering the post player. Jonathan's father, Ernest played basketball for the University of Maryland in the late 70's and early 80's. Maryland, along with South Florida, are also keeping tabs on Graham. He checks in at #146 on the Rivals 150 and is generally considered a top 30 power forward in his class. The article from is linked below and worth reading:

Jonathan Graham ESPN Article

Photo Courtesy of

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Aiken's Big Outing Helps PW to 16-0 Start

Plymouth-Whitemarsh got 16 points, 11 rebounds, and 9 blocks from Saint Joseph's-bound senior CJ Aiken to improve to 16-0 on the season. The Colonials beat Wissahickon 77-49 on Tuesday night for their second win against Wissahickon this season.

Check out the link below. It is a recap and video of the win courtesy of The Times Herald

Plymouth-Whitemarsh Improves to 16-0

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A Few Words With Byron Dixon

I got a chance to talk briefly with Paulsboro boy's basketball coach Byron Dixon earlier today about senior wing, and 2010 Saint Joseph's commit, Daryus Quarles. Quarles, a long 6'6 wing, began his high school career at Paulsboro High School before transferring last year to Burlington's Life Center Academy. Last March, Quarles transferred back to Paulsboro. Due to New Jersey high school regulations, Quarles is forced to sit out 365 days before becoming eligible once again. I spoke with Coach Dixon about this issue and a number of others.

Sitting out this year has taken a mental toll on Quarles, according to Dixon. While being forced to watch his teammates play without him is a challenge, Dixon also stated that Daryus is learning a greater life lesson as a result of this. The experience is forcing Daryus to mature and be patient.

Although he is unable to play in games, Daryus is able to practice daily with his high school team. According to Dixon, Paulsboro is currently the second seed in their group. Coach Dixon explained that Daryus could get the opportunity to play this season should Paulsboro make a run in the state playoffs.

When asked what Daryus' greatest asset is and what he will bring to SJU next year, Dixon replied that it is self-confidence. Dixon said, "He has come a long way in feeling good about himself and his game. In my opinion, this will allow him to contribute right away as opposed to developing the mentality to play at that level."

I asked Dixon who he would compare Daryus to in terms of skill set and basketball ability. He predicated his answer by saying that he doesn't like to make comparisons like that, and that he'd like Daryus to make his own mark. After saying that, Dixon said that he would compare Quarles to Kobe Bryant at the high school level.

Daryus Quarles is one of three tremendously talented players that will arrive on Hawk Hill next year. Along with Langston Galloway and CJ Aiken, Quarles is part of a young, talented core poised to leave their mark at Saint Joseph's.

Photo above courtesy of

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Hawks Beat Dayton in a Nailbiter

While I have focused mostly on the recruiting side of things this year, last night's SJU win over Dayton certainly bears mentioning. The Hawks beat Dayton 60-59 at the Hagan Arena in front of the most animated crowd of the season. Despite leading most of the game, and the entire second half, Dayton had a chance to steal a win on the final possession. Hawk senior Garrett Williamson came up with a game-saving block in the final seconds to secure the victory. The block was the number 3 play of the day on Sportscenter's Top Ten plays. The video is below.

A few recruits were in the building for the game as well. Neshaminy sophomore guard Ryan Arcidiacono was seated behind the Hawk bench. Ryan is considered one of the best sophomores in the Greater Philadelphia area. Also behind the bench was 6'4 Liberty High School junior guard Darrun Hilliard. Hilliard was seated behind the bench wearing something that said Hilliard #32. That, coincidentally, is the same number that Hawk junior Idris Hilliard wears.

Sportscenter Top Ten Plays of the Day January 23rd

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Catching Up With the Galloways

I got the chance to catch up last night with Larry Galloway, father of 2010 Hawk recruit Langston Galloway, and discuss how Langston's season at Christian Life Academy is going and how he is getting himself ready for next year.

Keeping track of Christian Life Academy games from across the country is a challenge, especially considering the lack of newspaper or online reporting done on the team. Larry informed me that over the Holiday break, Christian Life played in a tournament in Tampa, Florida. CLA won 3 of the 4 games, only losing a game that the seniors sat for the first half. When Langston entered the game in the 3rd quarter and his team losing, he erupted for 36 points in the second half alone. Throughout our conversation, Larry emphasized Langston's competitive nature and determination to win. He does everything within his power for that to happen, whether that is scoring the ball, crashing the boards, or spotting the open man.

Langston scored his 2,000th point last week at Christian Life Academy and is poised to break the 2,500 point milestone this season. Possibly more, depending on how the team does in state playoffs. So far this season, Langston is averaging right around 25 points per game. In a win on Tuesday night, Langston hit 5 3-pointers, something that Larry said has been a theme throughout this season. He has also been one of the team's leading rebounders.

The Hawks lose two starting senior guards this year in Garrett Williamson and Darrin Govens. Langston is well aware of this and doing everything in his power to earn significant minutes next year. Since the summer, he has been working with a strength and conditioning coach to improve his upper-body and core strength. Most college freshman have an adjustment in college, playing against bigger and stronger players. Larry noted that Langston, due to his workout routine, does not look like a high school player anymore, but has the build of a collegiate player. Larry noted that Langston is not coming to SJU to "be a benchwarmer...he wants to play".

In addition to his athletic success, Langston is also a very good student. Despite Louisiana allowing high school athletes to stay eligible with GPA's of 1.5, the Galloways have ensured that Langston keep his GPA right around a 3.0. He is fully qualified and eligible to play on Hawk Hill next year.

Over the summer, Langston had the opportunity to play against some of the best players nationally on the AAU circuit as a member of the Louisiana Select team. As a member of the AAU team, he participated in the Peach Jam and also played at the Milk House. Playing against that competition is one thing, but holding your own is another, and Larry noted that Langston more than held his own. Over the summer, he also played against college and NBA players while in Philadelphia. John Hardnett, one of the most well-respected names in Philadelphia hoops, puts together runs for these players. Playing, as a high schooler, against college and NBA players, is an experience that should be nothing but beneficial for Langston in the long run.

Christian Life is a 1A school, but has played a grueling out-of-district schedule. They take on rival Glen Oaks on the campus of LSU in a game that the folks of Baton Rouge are really looking forward to. Langston and his teammates are doing everything in their power to reclaim a state championship this season.

I will continue to provide updates on Langston's season as Christian Life Academy moves toward the state playoffs.

Photo Courtesy of Rivals

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Archbishop Wood Center to the Big 5

Numerous sources (njhoops, dailypennsylvanian) are reporting that Archbishop Wood center Fran Dougherty has chosen to play his college basketball at the University of Pennsylvania. Dougherty is listed at 6'8 and 225, which is solid size for a high school big man. Hawk Hill Hardwood will be at Archbishop Wood on Monday night when they take on Archbishop Carroll. Check back next week for a write-up on Dougherty and Carroll junior guard Juan'ya Green. Green has interest from all the Philadelphia area schools as well as a number of Big East schools.

Dougherty To UPenn

Monday, January 18, 2010

Penn Wood Wins McDonald's Classic

Over the weekend, Penn Wood won two games in Erie, Pennsylvania to take home the crown of the McDonald's Classic. On Friday night, the Patriots defeated Mt. Vernon out of New York state. Mt. Vernon features one of the more highly regarded junior guards in the Northeast, Jabarie Hinds. In the Friday win, Aaron Brown led the way with 18 points and 8 rebounds, while junior center Shawn Oakman had 14 points and 10 rebounds.

On Saturday, in the championship game of the event, Penn Wood defeated Nichols, a Buffalo high school team led by Virginia-bound big-man Will Regan. Regan, for the most part, was kept in check by Oakman, who had 13 points and 9 rebounds. Regan led Nichols with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Aaron Brown, again, was the leading scorer for Penn Wood with 24.

All stats for this game are from the following two articles off

Penn Wood Grabs McDonald's Championship Crown

Wood, Nichols Advance in Classic

Friday, January 15, 2010

Great Article on Saint Peter's Prep Coach Mike Kelly

Steve Politi of the Newark Star Ledger has a terrific article today on Saint Peter's Prep head basketball coach Mike Kelly. Saint Peter's Prep faces off against Bob Hurley's Saint Anthony team this weekend in the Dan Finn Classic. I have spoken with Coach Kelly a few times during this basketball season and he is as kind, helpful, and willing to talk as you can imagine. All the more impressive when you consider his day job...

Politi Article on Mike Kelly

The picture above of the Saint Peter's team with Mike Kelly is courtesy of

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Saint Pat's-Life Center Cancelled; Philly's Top Teams Keep Rolling

The top high school team in America was slated to play in South Jersey last night. Unfortunately for fans, the match-up between Kyrie Irving's Saint Patrick's team and Dion Waiters' Life Center Academy was canceled. Michael Gilchrist of Saint Pat's, considered the top junior in America, remains out of the lineup due to injury. As mentioned on here last week, top 50 junior LaQuinton Ross is now at Life Center, where he will give them another perimeter threat alongside the Syracuse-bound Waiters.

Two of Philadelphia's top teams had important wins last night. Despite 28 points from Brian Weldon, Interboro couldn't keep pace with Penn Wood. The Patriots got 23 points from Aaron Brown, 17 points from Will Brown, and 12 points from Shawn Oakman in the 69-55 win at Interboro. Plymouth-Whitemarsh escaped a close game at Norristown to remain undefeated this season. The frontcourt of Jaylen Bond and CJ Aiken combined for 49 of PW's 59 points in their 59-56 win. SJU-bound forward CJ Aiken had 22 points while junior Jaylen Bond had 27.

In other Philly area games, junior John Johnson had 21 points as Girard College blew past Jenkintown 47-29. Neshaminy was able to hold off a late rally by William Tennent to win 44-42. Sophomore guard Ryan Arcidiacono paced Neshaminy with 20 points. Academy of the New Church had a convincing 66-45 win against Germantown Friends at home last night. They were led by Savon Goodman's 16 points and 8 boards.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Penn Wood Takes Care of Business Against Chester

Penn Wood took advantage of strong front-court play to dispose of Chester 64-45 today at Saint Joseph's University. I was on hand through three quarters of play today and have observations on some of the standout performers.

Aaron Brown- Penn Wood: During pre-game warm-ups, Brown couldn't buy a jumpshot, but that all changed once the action began. In the opening quarter, Aaron knocked down two 3-pointers and converted in close for an athletic layup. Brown is a 6'4, strong, physical, impressively athletic perimeter player. He thrived in the back-and-forth nature of this game. In the second quarter, he leaked out on the break and threw down a rim-rattling two-handed jam where he rose way above the rim. In this game, Brown demonstrated a desire to shut his man down on the defensive end. While pressing, Brown did not let Chester's speedy guards blow past him, using impressive lateral quickness and lower-body strength to stay in front of his man. Midway through the second quarter, Brown picked up his second foul on a technical and sat until the half. Aaron started the second half the same way he started the game, by knocking home a 3-ball from the corner. In December, Brown told Pat Stevens of NBE Basketball Report that he was looking at Providence, Richmond, La Salle, Temple, and Saint Joseph's. He finished the game with 18 points. Brown has all the makings of a very solid college player.

Shawn Oakman- Penn Wood: Oakman (pictured above) is a two-sport athlete, and a player probably considered a better prospect in football than basketball. Standing at 6'8 and checking in around 250 pounds, it is easy to see why. Oakman is as physically imposing a high school big as you're likely to see. On a team loaded with players that can score the ball, Oakman does not get too many touches on the offensive end. When he did get touches, he was aggressive in attacking the basket. In the first quarter, Oakman got the ball on the low block and spun past his man to score on a short bank-shot. Shawn also displayed a soft shooting touch with excellent rotation from the free-throw line. Chester's post players tried their best against Oakman, but he was simply too tall and strong for the Clippers. The junior finished the game 6 points and right around 10 rebounds.

Will Brown- Penn Wood: Every time Will drained a shot from deep, the announcer would announce his name as "Downtown Will Brown," which was fitting for the senior guard. Will finished the game as the high-point man for the Patriots with 20. Just like Aaron Brown, Will had two 3-pointers in the first quarter. He showed great range with his jumper, even completing a 4-point play in the first half when fouled as he drained a 3 right in front of the Chester bench. Will Brown had a great showing today.

Maurice Nelson- Chester: This was my second time seeing Maurice Nelson. The 6-foot guard was not in the starting line-up for the Clippers, but provided quite a boost for the team when he entered in the second quarter. Off the bat, he banked in a 3 from the corner. Maurice paced Chester with 17 points, despite sitting the entire first quarter. Maurice provided one of the game's funnier moments when he stepped to the line after someone was fouled around the basket. He stepped to the line and drained the free throw. The only problem with the shot is that he wasn't supposed to be at the line. Another Chester player was fouled. That player then stepped to the line and missed the front end of the one-and-one with Nelson standing behind the play with a smile on his face.

Picture of Shawn Oakman above courtesy of

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Echenique to Transfer

Rutgers sophomore post player Greg Echenique is set to transfer from the Scarlet Knights. Echenique is one of the most highly touted recruits that head coach Fred Hill has brought in over the past couple of years. The 6'9 sophomore, out of New Jersey's Saint Benedict's Prep, averaged roughly 12 points and 7 rebounds so far this season. The question that begs to be asked now is this: Is this yet another strike against head coach Fred Hill? Is it possible that current sophomore Mike Rosario now considers a transfer? Due to several key recruiting misses and abysmal Big East records during his seasons as head coach, Hill has appeared to be on a seat that's getting hotter by the day. The loss of Echenique is likely to make that seat even hotter. Nothing has been reported in terms of a possible destination, but he is sure to be a coveted transfer.

Photo Courtesy of

Thursday, January 7, 2010

LaQuinton Ross to Life Center Academy

Numerous sources, including, are reporting that high school junior LaQuinton Ross is transferring into Burlington New Jersey's Life Center Academy. Ross is transferring into LCA from Murrah High School in his native state of Mississippi. Ross was once considered a top 5 prospect nationally in the class of 2011, but his stock has dropped fairly dramatically in the past year. He is still widely considered a top 50 prospect however. Ross is a lanky 6'7 small forward who will join Syracuse-commit Dion Waiters at Life Center Academy. Ross played at the Reebok summer camps at Philadelphia University each of the past two summers. In the summer of 2008, he outplayed a number of highly regarded rising seniors. This past summer, he did appear to have lost a step and lacked the fluidity that made him such an attractive prospect. Still, there are not many high school players his size that have his perimeter skill set.

Life Center Academy hosts Saint Patrick's, the number one high school team in America, on Tuesday January 12th. Hawk Hill Hardwood will be on hand for that game.

Photo Courtesy of

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Aiken Has Another Double-Double; Newbill Fills it Up

CJ Aiken and Jaylen Bond led Plymouth-Whitemarsh to their 8th straight win earlier this evening. Aiken had 22 points and 14 rebounds while junior Jaylen Bond led PW with 23 points. The Colonials are now 8-0.

In the past roughly 24 hours, Strawberry Mansion senior DJ Newbill had two stat-stuffing performances. Mansion ran all over Bodine today, with Newbill notching a triple-double. His 19 points, 10 boards, 10 assists, and 5 steals paced Mansion in the blowout. If that performance sounds impressive, check this out. 19 points, 10 rebounds, 5 steals, and 5 assists in the first half of yesterday's win over Hope Charter. Newbill finished that game with 37 points. Talented sophomore Khyree Wooten had 13 points and 10 rebounds as well for Mansion in the win.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Sneaker Villa Classic Today at Saint Joseph's

A day after the Hawks suffered a humiliating 70-62 defeat to Princeton, the Hawks' home court hosted the Sneaker Villa Classic. Four games were played on Hawk Hill today. Friends' Central defeated Phelps 61-55 behind a double-double by sensational sophomore Amile Jefferson. Amile had 13 points and 13 rebounds in the win. Junior Devin Coleman, another Saint Joseph's recruiting target, also had 13 points.

Despite 31 points from Pitt-commit John Johnson, Harrisburg bested Girard College 76-74 in overtime. Johnson is a tough, gritty, deceptively athletic scoring guard who should certainly find his niche in the Big East.

Imhotep Charter was hammered 57-23 by Bishop Loughlin out of New York City. Loughlin was led by senior forward Jayvaughn Pinkston (pictured above), a Villanova commitment. Pinkston had 19 points in the win and will be a huge help inside for Nova next year.

In the day's final game, Strawberry Mansion beat North Catholic 78-77 on a DJ Newbill 3 pointer at the buzzer. Newbill led Mansion with 30 points. Mansion also got a dozen points out of sophomore wing Kyhree Wooten who recently told Alex Schwartz of Northstar blog that he has interest from the Hawks. North Catholic got 20-plus points out of Jaleel Mack and Mike Terry.

The article from Northstar is linked below. In the article, Amile Jefferson and Juan'ya Green claim Hawk offers. Wooten claims interest from the Hawks and lists Temple as his favorite.

Northstar Blog-Green, Jefferson, and Wooten Updates

Friday, January 1, 2010

Savon Goodman Can Play

Yesterday Hawk Hill Hardwood gave you a recap of Wednesday's Academy of the New Church game against Plymouth-Whitemarsh. Plymouth-Whitemarsh was led by MVP CJ Aiken, junior forward Jaylen Bond, and senior guard Whis Grant. Today we will look at three of Academy of the New Church's players: junior center Malcolm Gilbert, junior big Roc Christmas, and sophomore forward Savon Goodman.

Malcolm Gilbert- Malcolm is a 6'11 center for Academy of the New Church who I had seen twice prior to this game. He did not get much in the way of touches or minutes in this game. Malcolm's offensive game is raw at this time but he is already quite a defensive presence. In this game, he scored a bucket, had a few rebounds, and at least one big-time block. Again, Malcolm's minutes were limited in this game. He is a player with all kinds of college options. The Hawks are involved with Malcolm, as are a number of other schools. This game was not a particularly strong performance, but the talent, size, and athleticism are certainly there for Malcolm to be a legitimate college center.

Rakeem Christmas- Roc is one of the most highly-regarded post players nationally in the junior class. Christmas is currently looking at five colleges: Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, Georgetown, and Florida International. In this game, he showed glimpses of the talent that has so many college coaches salivating. First of all, Roc looks more like a college junior than a high school sophomore. He is already built to play in the post at the college level. Toward the end of the game, he had a block on the fast break that demonstrated his athleticism and tenacity. He plays with a bit of a mean streak, one that you are likely to either love or hate. Roc was very frustrated throughout this game, and that is reflected in the fact that he only scored five points in the outing. Christmas is likely to be one of those players that is much better at the college level than the high school level due to the very nature of the game.

Savon Goodman (pictured above)- While Christmas gets most of the attention for Academy of the New Church, it was Goodman who starred in this game. Goodman, a 6'5 sophomore forward, won MVP honors for his team in this game, scoring 20 points. Goodman scored most of his points at the rim in this outing, either on dunks or acrobatic layups. Like Christmas, Goodman looks nothing like a high school player. Goodman likely projects as a 3 at the college level, and like Plymouth-Whitemarsh's Jaylen Bond, he will have to continue to work on his perimeter skills. He did demonstrate an ability to put the ball on the court and drive past his man. A number of college coaches, including SJU's Phil Martelli, Rutgers' Fred Hill, and La Salle's Dr. John Giannini, were in attendance. Goodman has a while to go before making a college decision, but it is likely that he will have nearly every school in America interested in his ability. Savon has elite level athleticism and showed an understanding of the game, both offensively and defensively. On one play in this game, he met PW's CJ Aiken a good six inches above the rim. Keep in mind that Aiken has hops and is a solid four inches taller than Savon. The only player in Philadelphia in the junior class that will give Savon a run for his money for top billing was also in attendance. Friends' Central's Amile Jefferson was in attendance for the game although his team was not playing. Savon and Amile are two names that you are likely to hear for a long time.

Photo Courtesy of