Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
By ALEX KLINECHESTER, Pa. — On Friday, numerous Northeast stars came to play at Widener University in Pennsylvania as fans packed the stands for the Jameer Nelson Classic.
Among the teams participating, a number of players stood out from teams such as Friends Central (PA), Math, Civics & Sciences (PA), Patterson (MD), Chester (PA), St. Joseph’s Prep (PA) and many more.
Here is a breakdown of the recruitment of some of the standout players from Friday’s action.
Villanova’s Jay Wright and Jason Donnelly, as well as N.C. State’s Mark Gottfried and Rob Moxley, checked out 2012 forward Amile Jefferson and Friends Central defeat Neshaminy (PA), which was
without Villanova signee Ryan Arcidiacono – who is out for the season with a herniated disc in his back. Jefferson is focused on the Wolfpack and Wildcats, along with Temple, Stanford, Ohio State, UConn and others. No decision date is near and no schools are in the lead.
Speaking of Jefferson, his backcourt tandem of Conrad Chambers and Karonn Davis are making noise. With an impressive start to the year, both are hearing from schools. Davis, a 2013 guard, has an offer from Albany, along with Rider, N.C. State, Yale and Princeton expressing interest. The junior has visited both Rider and Albany – who are fighting for a number of top Philadelphia guards – and Davis likes both schools. Chambers, a 2014 point guard, listed offers from Seton Hall, Providence, Rutgers, Iowa State, Temple and Drexel, with interest from Villanova and West Virginia. Chambers, who has visited just about every school on his list, has two early leaders in his recruitment. “Rutgers and Villanova are standing out to me because of their coaching staffs,” he said. “The coaches are really good guys.”
At 7-0, Chester is making another run at a state title. Led by 2013 forward Rondae Jefferson, the team is flourishing. Jefferson has not established any sort of college list and hasn’t been focusing on his recruitment at all. “My mom mainly handles that,” he said. “She handles the calls, while I work on my game and grades.” While he has no official school list, Jefferson knows that some schools pursuing him are, “Pittsburgh, Georgetown, Oklahoma, Texas, Rutgers, Temple, Villanova and St. Joe’s.”
He also attended a Syracuse basketball game earlier in the year as his AAU coach, Rob Brown of Team Final, has sent a number of players to upstate New York, including Dion Waiters, Trevor Cooney and Rakeem Christmas. While the talented athlete isn’t focused on schools, he has an idea of when he would like to commit. “I’d like to make my decision my senior year on my birthday, Jan. 3rd,” he said. If Jefferson holds true to his statement, he will make his decision in just about one year. Villanova watched him on Friday night, as well – and the Wildcats have offered.
A player who is beginning to breakout is Miles Overton, a 2013 wing from St. Joseph’s Prep. Overton, the son of Doug Overton – a former NBA and local basketball star – has begun to make a name for himself. After being in the shadowt of teammate Steve Vasturia, a Notre Dame commit, it is officially Overton’s time to make a name for himself with the spotlight off of Vasturia. Despite a St. Joe’s Prep loss to Lower Merion, the junior showed strong signs playing in front of Drexel’s Bruiser Flint and Villanova. He currently has offers from, “VCU, Virginia Tech, Drexel, San Francisco, James Madison and LaSalle,” with interest from, “St. John’s, Villanova, Kansas, Virginia, Notre Dame and Arizona State.” He has recently visited Drexel and James Madison; with hopes of making a trip toVillanova soon. The Dragons are making a big run; however, as Overton said the CAAsquad and La Salle are recruiting him the hardest.
A new name to the Pennsylvania basketball scene is highly-tougted Horace Spencer. A 6-foot-8 power forward from William Tennent, Spencer is a true project. At the same time, he showed spurts of athleticism to go along with solid rebounding and a high energy on the floor. The word that fits Spencer’s size and skill is potential as he compares to a power forward version of Kentucky freshmanMichael Kidd-Gilchrist because of his ability to finish inside, alongside his energy on offense. This has led to some early interest as he is receiving some interest from, “North Carolina, USC, Virginia Tech, Temple and some others.” While it may be early on, the Michael Jordan effect has hit Spencer, whose dream school is North Carolina because of MJ. As Boston College checked out his game, Spencer will more than likely be a high-major target. He may not be at the level of stud freshman bigs Stephen Zimmerman and Karl Towns, yet. In a few years; however, he could be a very good player.
Another new name on the scene is Math, Civics & Sciences – who is loaded with young talent. Led by 2013 combo forward Jeremiah Worthem, the team is extremely talented.Worthem has offers from, “Temple, La Salle, Drexel and St. Joe’s,” with interest from, “Penn State, Rice, Marist, Marshall, Boston University and Boston College.” He visited Temple a month ago alonside Amile Jefferson and Rondae Jefferson. Worthem says that Temple and St. Joe’s are recruiting him the hardest.
Two up-and-coming studs for MCS are Basil Thompson and Malik Starkes. Thompson, a 2014 small forward, is hearing fromDrexel, Boston University and Nebraska early on. Starkes, a 2014 combo guard, may be the hidden star of Pennsylvania regardless of class. At 6-foot-4, he makes an extremely exciting guard who can score and is a menace with his on-ball defense, which led to multiple steals and scores. His basketball IQ is fairly high and he has great court vision for a sophomore. Starkes lists interest from, “Stanford, Nebraska, Temple, St. Joe’s, La Salleand Drexel.”
Last, but not least, was Aquille Carr – the talented 2013 point guard from Patterson. Despite getting called for four fouls in the first nine minutes of the game, the junior had an impressive second half filled with three-pointer and layups at the basket. While he has not taken any visits, Carr has a top five of, “Memphis, Kentucky, UConn, Texas and Seton Hall.” He is high on these schools because he, “likes the offense for guards and how they move it around through their guards.” With no decision looming anytime soon, he stated that a choice will likely be made in the spring of his senior season.
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
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.