Mark Taylor, the first-year coach at St. Benedict’s Prep, continues to stockpile talent as he attempts to return the Gray Bees to national prominence.
Melvin Johnson, a 6-foot-3, 185-pound rising senior wing will come to the Newark school from Rice High School, as will his former Rice teammate Dashawn Smith, a 6-2 senior guard.
“He verbally committed,” Taylor said of Johnson. “They’re going through the admissions process but he will be admitted because of the Rice situation. All the boys from Rice will be considered, whether they play basketball or not. We’re going to help Rice out anyway we can.”
Rice High will likely close, forcing its students to transfer.
Johnson scored 29 points Sunday in the final of the HoopGroup Summer Showcase in which St. Benedict’s beat Teaneck, 82-73.
Along with the Rice duo, Tariq Carey, a rising senior combo guard from Newark East Side, and Isaiah Watkins, a 6-8 center from Canada, are also headed to St. Benedict’s.
They will join fellow newcomer Kevin Mickle, a 6-foot-7, 191-pound sophomore wing from Adelphi Academy in Brooklyn, rising freshman guard Isaiah Briscoe, the top eighth-grader in New Jersey, and returning junior point guard Tyler Ennis, who holds offers from West Virginia, Seton Halland Rutgers and has interest from Kentucky, Georgetown, Providence, Florida, Wake Forest, Virginia Tech and Temple.RELATED CONTENT**St. Ben’s reaching into NYC
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.