As the high school basketball season began to rollout, Ballboy Hype will be presenting a high school hoops’ guide pertaining to different geographic areas across the country. With many regions such as the DMV, North Jersey, Los Angeles, Greater Philadelphia, Greater New York City and many others loaded with unlimited talent, we look forward to bringing recognition to that specific area’s top teams, players and potential breakout stars. Feel free to let us know in the comment section on what specific area you think should be featured next and be sure to follow @ballbohype on Twitter and Instagram.
Philadelphia’s basketball tradition is one of the oldest in the country with many classic match-ups taking place along with some of the most notable superstars coming out of the city. Nicknamed the “city of brotherly love,” Philadelphia has seen the likes of Wilt Chamberlain, Earl “The Pearl” Monroe, Rasheed Wallace, Aaron McKie, Kyle Lowry and many others all come out of the city to become outstanding professional basketball players.
Still a hotbed today for basketball talent, many fans, college coaches and scouts flock to the city to see some of the nation’s top high school players go head-to-head in classic match-ups in very historic arenas such as the Palestra. Below is a guide on Philadelphia’s top prep programs and recruits that are a must watch this season:
5 NOTABLE TEAMS
The PIAA Class 3A state champions is seeking revenge this season in the Philadelphia Catholic League after losing to Roman Catholic in the championship for the last two seasons. Leading the way for the Saints is Kentucky commit Quade Green and Villanova commit Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree, the only two starters from last seasons’ team. Green — a 6-foot point guard with a deadly perimeter jumpshot — is looking to mentor the young Saints team while Cosby-Roundtree — a 6’9 high-motor forward — will look to maintain the paint on both sides of the floor. The Saints also will look for help in the frontcourt from 6’9 Academy of New Church big man, Marcus Littles, who will provide scoring, rebounding and defense in the paint. Junior guard Noah Warren will provide some outside shooting while senior forward Mike Milsip will be a utility guy for the Saints. Sophomore explosive guard Chris Ings should provide instant offense off the bench for Neumann-Goretti while freshman Ahmad Fair may see some rotational minutes as well.
The Panthers are looking to advance back to the Public League Championship after winning back in 2015. Leading the way this season will be Rhode Island commit Daron “Fatts” Russell and South Carolina commit David Beatty, one of the best backcourt tandems in the city. The 5’10 Russell is a quick guard that blows by defenders and likes to hit the pull-up jumper while Beatty is an athletic guard that does most of his damage finishing around the rim. Robert Morris commit Koby Thomas is one of the most athletic guards in the city as he can be found throwing down monstrous dunks throughout the night. This year’s x-factor will be 6’8 sophomore forward Donta Scott, a versatile big man that can put the ball on the floor and hit shots from the outside. Imhotep also features a few other notable sophomores in Dahmir Bishop, Chereef Knox, Jamil Riggins and Fatayn Wesley while freshman Elijah Taylor — a 6’8 big man — will compete for minutes in the frontcourt.
One of the most talented teams in the country, Westtown is led by No. 2 big man in the country, Mo Bamba, a 6’10 highly skilled recruit that is being recruited by Duke, Kentucky, Michigan, Texas and many others. Joining Bamba is top 10 junior Cameron Reddish, a 6’7 athletic combo guard that possesses a NBA guard skillset. Reddish is also a target for programs such as Duke, Kentucky, Syracuse and many others as he has the potential to become a big-time scorer. Arizona commit Brandon Randolph is one of the nation’s best shooting guards that can light it up from beyond the arc and has good size for his position. Senior forward Anthony Ochefu, the brother of former Villanova center Daniel Ochefu, is a Stony Brook commit that is an active big man that runs the floor really well. Central Dauphin East transfer Jake Forrester is a 6’9 athletic forward that holds offers from Penn State, St. Joe’s, Temple and Richmond and will be a force in the paint for Westtown.
The Vikings is will look to contend in the Philadelphia Catholic League against schools such as Neumann-Goretti, Roman Catholic and Archbishop Carroll. Leading the charge will be senior point guard Collin Gillespie, a 6’1 above average shooter that plays with a competitive spirit. Right now, Gillespie holds two offers from Albany and Maine and could hear from more schools with a strong senior campaign. Joining Gillespie will be 6’3 junior wing Tyree Pickron who will look to provide scoring for the viking from his outside shooting and slashing skills. 6’9 junior forward Seth Pinkney, who has offers from Temple and UMass, is a developing big man whose huge wingspan will be a nightmare for opposing teams. Senior shooting guard Matt Cerruti will be asked to provide some outside shooting for Wood while junior forward Karrington Wallace will look to help Pinkney in the frontcourt.
The District 3 Champions are paced to make another run after losing to Pittsburgh’s Allderdice in the semifinals of the PIAA Class 4A state playoffs. Led by Top 25 senior guard Lonnie Walker, the Red Knights will look to the Miami commit for majority of their scoring and leadership. Berks Catholic transfer Tyrone Nesby Jr. gives Reading a significant 1-2 punch that could help them in the state playoffs. Nesby a 6’5 athletic wing that has the ability to knock it down from beyond the arc, averaged 15 points per game last season as a junior at Berks Catholic. Another transfer, Justin Hummel, a 5’9 senior from Fleetwood will be the floor general for the Red Knights and will often be seen using his quickness to blow by defenders.
After winning the Philadelphia Catholic League two consecutive seasons, the Cahillites are looking to group after losing seniors Nazeer Bostick, Tony Carr and Lamar Stevens — who are all now playing at Penn State. Leading the way this season for Roman will be 6-foot senior Dakquan Davis who was the team’s sixth man last season. Davis is a streaky shooter from the outside and can also put pressure on opposing guards on the defensive end. Fels transfer Allen Bertrand will bring much needed scoring to Roman as he is tough, hard-nosed wing who can finish in the lane. The 6’3 Bertrand — who holds offers from nearby LaSalle and St. Joe’s — is paced for a breakout season in the Catholic League as he is capable of scoring from all over the court. Freshman Lynn Greer III come to Roman with much buzz after playing for Team Final throughout the summer and also being invited to the USA Basketball Minicamp in Colorado. Greer, the son of the former Temple Hall-of-famer Lynn Greer Jr., is a 6’1 combo guard that plays with a high IQ who likes to hit the pull-up jumper. In the frontcourt, Roman should see some strong play from 6’5 forward Seth Lundy, an athletic sophomore that saw limited action last season.
TEN NOTABLE PLAYERS
Mohamed Bamba (Uncommitted/Westtown School, PA)
The 6’11 forward is as skilled as any big man in the country and has the ability to become a big time star down the road. UConn, Duke, Kentucky, Michigan, Texas and Harvard are recruiting the athletic center the hardest right now, although he intends on signing in the spring.
Quade Green (Kentucky/Neumann-Goretti, PA)
Green single-handlely was one of the best performers this summer after leading his PSA Cardinals team to the Nike EYBL Peach Jam Championship. Although not the most athletic guard , the Kentucky commit is one of the most efficient as he has a deadly perimeter shot and also has a knack for making those around him better.
Lonnie Walker (Miami/Reading HS, PA)
The Miami commit is a gifted athlete that possesses a NBA-Ready body due to his wide shoulders and solid frame. Blessed with an amazing leaping ability, Walker is an amazing finisher in the lane and has the ability to step beyond the arc and hit the perimeter jumpshot.
Cameron Reddish (Uncommitted/Westtown School, PA)
A top 10 player in his class, Reddish is a big guard that can abuse smaller guards do to his size for the position and his ability to score in multiple ways. Duke, Kentucky, Syracuse, UConn, Maryland and many others have offered the 6’7 guard as he has the ability to play multiple positions at the next level.
Brandon Randolph (Arizona/Westtown School, PA)
The talent at Westtown is unmatchable and Randolph is part of the reason due to his outside shooting and ability to finish at the rim. The Arizona commit has good size for his position and competes at a high level, especially during clutch moments.
Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree (Villanova/Neumann-Goretti, PA)
At 6’9, Cosby-Roundtree is an energetic forward that plays hard on both ends of the floor and shows development in his face-up game. The Villanova commit progressed very well over the summer showing he could be a threat on the offensive end and is capable of finish strong on opposing defenders.
David Beatty (South Carolina/Imhotep, PA)
The 6’3 South Carolina commit is an capable playmaker that uses his uses his athleticism to get to the rim and finish. Although a streaky shooter, Beatty has nice elevation on his shot and should not be left open around the perimeter.
Clifton Moore (Indiana/Hatboro-Horsham, PA)
A late-bloomer on the scene, the 6’10 Moore had an amazing summer where he did not have a chance to play on the sneaker circuit, but had a chance to impress some big name college coaches in less-heralded events. At his size, Moore has a nice touch from the perimeter that extends out past the three-point line and can also put the ball on the floor, causing matchup problems for opposing big man.
Daron Russell (Rhode Island/Imhotep, PA)
The lightning-quick point guard is the main catalyst for the Panthers as he likes to slice and dice through defenses for pull-up jumpers and tricky layups. The Rhode Island commit is effective from beyond the arc with his quick release although he is at his best when in attack-mode.
Marcus Littles (Uncommitted/Neumann-Goretti, PA)
An imposing force in the paint, the 6’9 Littles has the ability to finish around the basket through a few post moves and putback layups. At his size, Littles also has the ability to fight for rebounds as he able to get into position to block out opposing big men.
FIVE NOTABLE FRESHMAN
Mikeal Jones (6’7 Forward, Girard College, PA)
A transfer from Roman Catholic who decided to reclassify to the class of 2020, Jones is a versatile forward that has the ability to put the ball on the floor, guard the post, connect on perimeter jumpers and slash the basket while finishing at the rim.
Lynn Greer III (6’1 Guard, Roman Catholic, PA)
The 6’1 freshman is an effective perimeter shooter and also has exceptional court vision on the floor. With offers from Penn State and Tulane even before he played his first season of high school basketball, Greer could easily become one of the next big names out of the Philadelphia Catholic League.
AJ Hoggard (6’3 Guard, Archbishop Carroll, PA)
A natural bulldog on the court, the physical guard is known for his slick ball-handling moves and is always in attack mode. At this stage, Hoggard is a solid perimeter shooter and has solid court vision, but could blossom into a big recruit very soon.
Lance Ware (6’8 Forward, Life Center, NJ)
Ware is a 6’8 high-motor freshman that has good size for the position and one who plays above the rim. Although Ware will most likely need to beef up, the versatile guard does have a solid skillset that will most likely transfer to the next level.
Jyare Davis (6’4 Guard, Sanford, DE)
A big guard that is capable of scoring in a variety of ways, Davis has already experience playing at the high school level as an eighth grader for Sanford. At 6’5, Davis is very aggressive on going after rebounds and has the ability to finish through contact.
FIVE POTENTIAL BREAKOUT STARS
Justin Anderson (6’3 Guard, Archbishop Carroll, PA)
A transfer from Academy of New Church, Anderson has a new home at Archbishop Carroll where he will look to lead the Patriots. Anderson is a lefty that shoots really well from the perimeter and off the pull-up while also having a quick step that he uses to blow by defenders to get into the lane.
Allen Bertrand (6’3 Guard, Roman Catholic, PA)
Bertrand has the prototypical qualities of a Philadelphia guard as he is a tough competitor and does most of his work in the lane where he can finish over defenders. Although he likes to slash to the basket on most plays, Bertrand also has a solid perimeter jumper that is not to be taken lightly.
Sean Simon (6’3 Guard, LaSalle, PA)
Simon is an absolute sniper from beyond the arc who stretches the floor for his teammates. At a true wing, Simon moves really well without the ball and is developing into a multidimensional scorer in the half-court setting.
Donta Scott (6’7 Forward, Imhotep, PA)
Although teammates Russell and Beatty will provide most of the scoring, Scott could easily be the third scoring option as he is as versatile as they come. Scott is a great slasher for his size and also can shoot from the outside, making him a mid-high level prospect right now.
Eric Dixon (6’7 Forward, Abington, PA)
A strong physical specimen in the low block, Dixon has a polish low-post game where he can finish with either hand. One part of Dixon’s game that impresses many is his ability to knock down the turnaround mid-range jumper, a move he likes to use very often.
Photo: Bradley C Bower/Philadelphia Inquirer