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.
Seton Hall signee Jared Rhoden drops 33 on Anfernee Simons and IMG
By ADAM ZAGORIA NEW YORK — Entering the matchup between Our Saviour Lutheran and IMG Academy at the Big Apple Basketball Invitational on Saturday afternoon, the highest-profile player was IMG guard Anfernee Simons.
But Seton Hall signee Jared Rhoden ended up stealing the show.
Rhoden went off for game-high 33 points, including six three-pointers, as the Bronx high school downed the Florida postgrad team, 95-90, in an exciting uptempo affair at Xavier High School.
“He can shoot the ball, he can shoot,” Simons, who is considering colleges like Tennessee and N.C. State along with the NBA Draft, told ZAGSBLOG. “He’s real crafty with the ball and he plays hard.”
The 6-foot-6, 200-pound Rhoden was unable to watch the second half of No. 13 Seton Hall’s 74-61 victory over Georgetown earlier Saturday, and was relieved to hear that they won.
“I needed them to win that one, I was watching them on the way here actually,” Rhoden said. “I watch every game almost and I try to see how I can fit in. I love the energy that they play with. I know they were down 23-11 today and saw they bounced back and were up [about] 15 at the half. I love watching Seton Hall play, it’s something I enjoy.”
The Pirates are looking to make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament this March, and Rhoden plans to follow them closely during the postseason.
“Yeah, definitely and I’m going to be there every step of the way cheering my guys on all the time,” Rhoden said.
As for next season, when seniors Desi Rodriguez, Angel Delgado, Khadeen Carrington and Ish Sanogo will be gone, Rhoden looks like he could step in and provide some offensive punch, especially from deep, where he has a silky smooth shot.
“Shooting’s always been a part of my game,” he said. “I’ve been in the gym putting up a lot of shots at practice with Coach P. Early this morning, we put up about 100-200 shots. Shooting’s always been something that I’ve done well.”
Rhoden is shooting about 41 percent from deep and averaging about 29 points per game. He dropped a season-high 46 on Putnam Science Academy (CT) and hit the game-winning three in that game.
As for whether he can help follow Rodriguez’s role on the wing, Rhoden said: “I’m not sure what they have planned for me. I just want to go in there and work as hard as I can and earn my minutes.”
Said Our Saviour coach Peter Wehye: “He shoots the ball. High motor, high-energy. He’s a versatile guy that can play inside and out. He can help rebound the basketball. I think Seton Hall is getting a great steal. I think coach [Kevin] Willard and coach Shaheen Holloway, they got a great kid. Besides that he’s a great student and a great person.”
Asked about the comparison to Rodriguez, who should have some interest from NBA teams, Wehye said, “Desi was a big transitioning to a three, and he’s versatile. So I think they’ll use them in the same way.”
Rhoden and fellow Seton Hall signee Anthony Nelson, a 6-4 point guard from South Kent (CT) talk “every couple of days.”
“We just talk about our future and things that we shared together over the the summer [with the NY Lightning AAU team] and stuff like that,” he said.
Asked if they’re trying to recruit anyone else, Rhoden said, “We haven’t really recruited anyone else. WE kind of just stuck with what we have, and anybody else that is excited to join us, then they’re more than welcome.”
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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.