Josh Verlin (@jmverlin)
I’ve been thinking for a while about where to start when it comes to writing about the first five years of City of Basketball Love.
All along, my policy has been to be as honest and forthright as possible, so I’ll go with that -- when I think about the last five years, it’s somewhat overwhelming. Mostly because of you -- the players, parents, fans and coaches that make up CoBL’s readership and support base.
How can I put into words what this has become?
I never could have expected, when I made the decision that night five years ago tonight (June 2, 2012) to start up the site with Andy Edwards, that it would last this long; for those unaware, I was preparing my first year of law school at the time. It ended being my only year.
This year was supposed to be my third of being a lawyer. Instead, I’m going into my seventh overall covering basketball in this city -- six with CoBL, and my introductory season with Philahoops. I’m certainly not complaining.
By far, the best part of the last five years has been getting to know and become part of the Philadelphia basketball community. Not that you need to be told this, but it’s a vibrant, energetic, diverse, constantly-shifting landscape in and around the city, full of folks who are absolutely obsessed with basketball.
That includes the coaches, no matter at what level, no matter if head coach, associate head coach, assistant coach or otherwise; the players, from the stars to the last guy on the bench; the parents and friends, all slightly crazy about their kids, but it’s understandable; and of course the journalists and scouts and videographers who populate the baselines and sidelines and spend literally endless hours debating the minor points between Player A and Player B, loving every second of it.
Without all of you, there would be no CoBL.
I don’t think “thankful” or “grateful” even go far enough to describe how I feel. I don’t want to get too sappy here in my professional world -- writing about myself is not my most comfortable style, though I feel like this time you all deserve to get a little glimpse behind the curtain -- but my whole life growing up I had a tough time fitting in anywhere. CoBL has given me an in to a world where I feel accepted...even if my actual basketball abilities are pretty terrible. (If I could go back in time and tell 10-year-old Josh one thing, it would be to spend more time out on the driveway hoop with my dad).
If you’re someone I talk to on even the most infrequent of occasions, still count yourself amongst the group I’m thanking personally. There are far too many names to type.
The coaches, for helping me out with my basketball acumen, sharing the tricks of the trade, what they're looking for in recruits; the journalists (I'll mention two, Josh Newman and Mike Jensen, who have both been invaluable mentors the last few years, but there are a lot more -- Mike Bullock, Matt Chandik, Aaron Carter, Matt DeGeorge, Andrew Robinson, Marc Narducci, you've all helped me whether you knew it or not) who give pointers about everything from interviewing to lede writing.
Every year that passes with CoBL brings with it new lessons, certain changes, fresh experiences.
What’s becoming more of a joy each season is getting to see each new class come up through the high school ranks and beyond, with many of the young men we covered in high school succeeding at the college level. Now, for the first time, student-athletes we covered in both high school and college are getting ready to start their professional careers either on or off the court.
Getting to tell their stories not just in a specific snippet of time but as they develop from one level to the next, deal with setbacks and triumphs alike -- that’s something I look forward to every day.
Just as enjoyable has been watching my former writers flourish as they move beyond CoBL. The writers from the first two years, like Andrew Koob, Anthony Bellino, Andrew Albert, Garrett Miley, Jeff McDevitt, Jeff Neiburg, all going on to do great things in the media realm. Getting to see their bylines in all sorts of places, on sports at all levels, moving up in the professional world, and know that we all got our start together means CoBL has been a success on multiple levels. And we’ve got some current writers on the team who will be that next group to go out and do big things.
People keep asking me what’s next for me, when I’m going to move onto something “bigger.” To be honest, I have zero plans or interest to. I don’t want these first five years to become the only five years. I want to keep growing it, past 10 years, past 15 years, past 20 years. It’ll take a few more advertising partners and a few more camps, but we’ll be able to add more writers, grow the organization, continue doing what we do best.
And it’s really become a family business. My mom, Shelley, deserves unending thanks for helping keep the business side of CoBL running smoothly, not to mention helping out at all of our camps. My amazing girlfriend Abby designs our flyers, advertisements and Snapchat filters.
As we move into Year Six, we’ll be slightly changing our in-season coverage, moving away from typical “game story” coverage and providing more feature-based coverage of all levels; this won’t be a massive change, as we’ll still be at just as many games, but gone will be those collegiate “Quick Reports” and our stories will be less game-detail-oriented and more looking at the players, coaches and teams themselves.
We hope that you enjoy the upcoming year’s coverage, and as always, we appreciate any and all feedback. See you on the courts!
Tag(s): Home High School Recruiting Staff Events Catholic League Public League South Jersey Delaware Division II Division III Recruiting HQ 2016 Profiles 2017 Profiles 2018 Profiles COBLog Nazeer Bostick Donofrio Classic Archive Jeff Neiburg Jeff McDevitt Garrett Miley Teddy Bailey Josh Verlin Archives Ahmad Williams Cameron Reddish Dylan Painter Josh Sharkey Vinny Dalessandro Tarojae Brake Xzavier Malone Jair Bolden DeAndre Hunter Brett Foster LaPri McCray-Pace Austin Chabot Ryan Daly Ryan Betley Vaughn Covington Nick Alikakos Eric Ayala Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree Dakquan Davis Quade Green Daron Russell Andrew Albert Justin Allen Jack Goodwillie Jeff Griffith Andrew Koob Ethan Miller Aron Minkoff Dan Newhart Anna Pitingolo Tom Reifsnyder Ari Rosenfeld District 1 Inter-Ac Friends' League Tony Carr Jaekwon Carlyle Devante Cross Stevie Jordan Zane Martin Jabri McCall Paul Newman Sam Iorio Lonnie Walker Evan-Eric Longino Taylor Funk Eli Brooks Lamar Stevens Lamar Hamrick Tommy Funk Shane Stark Talek Williams Jordan Money D'Andre Vilmar Tyree Pickron Seth Stankiewicz Kyle Stout David Beatty Simeon Fryer Devon Goodman George Gordon Tucker Lescoe Kyle McCloskey Jake O'Neill Jonas Stakeliunas Chuck Champion Kiyon Hardy Justin Ryder Jacob Walsh Juanir Moore Jonathan Hevelow Jahmi Bailey-Green Nasir Bell Jamal Hunt Jr. Joe Stinson Josh Warren Mikey Dixon Koby Thomas Mitchell Northam Zay Jennings Matt Trabold Mohamed Bamba Marc Rodriguez Collin Gillespie Jesse McPhearson Marquis Collins Arnaldo Toro Izaiah Brockington Charlie Brown Myles Powell Jacquez Casiano Jalen Gabbidon DeAireus Brown Matthew Mancuso Brandon McGlynn Cory Greer Cliff Joseph Matthue Cotton Marcus Littles Maurice Murray Justin Anderson Marlon Hargis Nehemiah Mack Bryce Allen Pat Andree Freddie Killian Cal Reichwein Riley Thompson Billy Warren Isaiah Carpenter Mark Flagg Terrell Jones Fred Taylor Jack O'Connell Kairi Jones Damon Wall Emil Moody Colin Daly Rasool Samir Kyson Rawls Noah Warren Jamar Sudan LJ Stansbury Devin Hill Jaquan Arrington Qadir Burgess Jarrod Stukes Matt Paulus Eli Alvin Mike Millsip Luis Reyes Bobby Planutis Arvelle Jones Tyere Marshall Tim Toro Kobe Gantz Christian Ray Kyle Thompson Nysir Marshburn Ryan McTamney Danny Duffey Connor Laverty Kevin Brown Mike McFadden Brian Furlong John Rigsby Michael Li Julian Wing Nazhir Goldston Ja'wan Collins Ty Salone Max Wagner Michael Cusatis Khalil White Matt Woods Joseph O'Brien Markus Stevenson Cole Storm Temi Aiyegbusi Keinan Oxner James Leible Dan Modestine Myles Cale Christian Kelly Matt Cerruti Justin Fleming Jacob Bodenger Kevin Newbert Najja Hunter Justyn Mutts Trevon Duval Keith Washington Rasheed Browne Jordan Allen Sedee Keita Darryl Caldwell Conner Delaney Lucas Monroe 2019 Profiles Nysier Brooks Moe Williams 2020 Profiles District 3 Sean Good Sam Sessoms Austin Gilbertson Mike Cubbage Matt Faw Justin Jaworski David Kachelries Matt Kachelries Timmy Perry Ethan Miller Anthony Johnson Kobi Nwandu Aiden Newell Keith Braxton Peyton Wejnert Antwuan Butler Austin Kennedy Malik Velmar Malik Curry Paul Brown Walt Harvey Sa'eed Nelson Seth Pinkney Ajiri Johnson Ja'Zere Noel Dylan Higgins Eric Dicrescenzo Cameron Hoffman Trevon Alderman Reggie James Rodrique Massenat Kodye Pugh Jordan Camper Leeron Wills-Worthy Ryan Legler Dom Guerrera Stephen Pianovich Anthony Guilardi Noah Ehlin Grant Gibson Jake Wilson Donovan Spencer Lucas Olshevski Michael Bullock Thomas Primosch Miks Antoms College Division I Delaware Drexel La Salle Penn Penn State Saint Joseph's Temple Villanova Big 5 CoBL 5 Andrew O'Connor Kevin Troilo Rich Flanagan Anthony Dabbundo Alex Bonner Eugene Rapay Khaleeq Campbell J.J. Melchior Dan Remolde Connor Lynch Max Buchdahl Randy Bell Matthew Gnias Jelani Mauge Wontrell Hammond Jack Coolahan Keyon Butler Khari Williams Kharon Randolph Bernard Lightsey Konrad Kiszka Ahmadu Sarnor Mason Williams Tyler Norwood PIAA Rankings Myles Robinson Antone Walker Eric Dixon Robbie Heath Christian Lane Charlie Martin Ahmin Williams Tariq Ingraham Ryan Holmes Tamir Green Maurice Waters Matt Carson Malik Archer Tymair Johnson Saheed Peoples Kwazhere Ransom Edward Croswell Tyrese Martin Kevin Anderson Isaiah Wong Allen Betrand Sean Simon Chareef Knox Jamil Riggins Seth Lundy Mark Bradshaw A.J. Hoggard J'yare Davis Jack Brown Zach Crisler Samba Diallo College Exposure Camp Daeqwon Plowden Anthony Ochefu Elijah Kiah-El Fahmir Ali Camp Alumni Daniel Weiss Alex Karras Nasair Powell Myles Bunyon Darius Kinnel Conor Bresnahan Michael Bealer Tymir Cooper Chucky Drummond Colin Flach Kyle Sullivan Khadafy Bilal Derek Heiserman Addison Howard Brandon McCullough Trey Smith Mike Drumgo-Sharpe Jordan Parks Da'Quan Granberry Nexxt Level Shootout Mikeal Jones Underclassman Camp Angad Ahluwalia Ahmad Bickley A.J. Catanzaro Rashaad Anderson David Angelo Ryan Boyd Matt Carter Anthony Shepperd Matiss Kulackovskis Pernell Ghee Will Colleran Avery Close Casey Decker Eric Esposito Jake Giles Hunter Herschell James Hines Denelle Holly Lucas Hudson Jacob Hunt Darien Simmons Jesse Saul Patrick Robinson P.J. Ringel John Zamichieli Mikey Esquilin Ethan Norton Clifton Moore John Harrar Justin Steers Ryan Coyle Will Slover Schedule/Standings BAL Constitution Calvary Christian Faith Christian Jenkintown Phil-Mont Christian Plumstead Christian Church Farm Holy Ghost Prep Lower Moreland New Hope-Solebury Valley Forge Bristol Delco Christian Devon Prep Christopher Dock MaST Charter Morrisville Catholic League Archbishop Carroll Archbishop Ryan Archbishop Wood Bishop McDevitt Bonner-Prendergast Cardinal O'Hara Conwell-Egan Father Judge La Salle College HS Lansdale Catholic Neumann-Goretti Roman Catholic St. Joe's Prep West Catholic Central League Ridley Conestoga Garnet Valley Harriton Radnor Lower Merion Penncrest Upper Darby Strath Haven Marple Newtown Springfield (Delco.) Haverford High Ches-Mont American Octorara West Chester Rustin Oxford Unionville Great Valley Kennett Sun Valley Ches-Mont National Avon Grove Bishop Shanahan Coatesville Downingtown East Downingtown West West Chester East West Chester Henderson Delaware Valley Academy Park Chester Chichester Glen Mills Interboro Penn Wood Friends' Schools Abington Friends Academy New Church Friends' Central Friends' Select George School Germantown Friends Moorestown Friends Shipley School Westtown School Inter-Ac Episcopal Ac. Germantown Ac. Haverford School Malvern Prep Penn Charter SCH Academy Pac-10 PAC-10 Frontier Phoenixville Upper Perk Pope John Paul II Pottstown Pottsgrove PAC-10 Liberty Spring-Ford Methacton Perkiomen Valley Owen J. Roberts Boyertown Public League A Constitution Del-Val George Washington Imhotep Martin Luther King Math, Civics & Sci. Public League B Audenried Bartram Ben Franklin Boys' Latin Central Eng. & Sciences Frankford Freire Charter Northeast Simon Gratz Sankofa Southern West Philadelphia Public League C Dobbins Fels Future Kensington Lincoln Mastery North Olney Overbrook Parkway CC Prep Charter Robeson Sayre Strawberry Mansion Public League D Edison Esperanza Franklin LC KIPP DuBois Masterman Mastbaum Tech Mastery South Motivation Palumbo Randolph Roxborough Swenson World Communications Public League E Bodine Bracetti CAPA Elverson Franklin Towne GAMP Maritime Phila. Academy Parkway Northwest Parkway West Penn Treaty Rush Science Leadership Tacony Academy Suburban One SOL American Cheltenham Norristown Plymouth Whitemarsh Springfield (Mont.) Upper Dublin Upper Merion Upper Moreland Wissahickon SOL Continental Central Bucks East Central Bucks South Central Bucks West Hatboro-Horsham North Penn Pennridge Souderton Quakertown SOL National Abington Bensalem Council Rock N. Council Rock S. Harry Truman Neshaminy Pennsbury William Tennent Phelps School Calvary Baptist The Christian Academy Joey Monaghan Jesse Turkson Jaeden Dungee Quentin Beasley Eli Cosme Daniel Dark Richard Dean Ryan Fitzpatrick Damir Fleming Justin Kupa Miguel Gamble Justin Gans Daniel Tecce Tyler German Jordon Harrington Dylan Haslett Brandon Starr Ky'Ree Perkins Brady Wilson Tyrone Nesby Tyler Michels Dillon Larkin DaQuan Morris Aidan Ellwood Charles Hudson Kevin Dodds 2016-17 Preview Zahree Harrison Tyreese Watson Alex Serrano Casey Caruso Luke Godzieba Nicholas Hines Garrett Markey Antoine Sidote William Melson Ward Roberts Michael Ottomano Jameson Kolb Jalen Hayes Shane Henehan Tajir Asparagus Luke Baldini Devyn Baltimore Alex Capitano David Duda Matthew Dade Maurice Coppedge Kobe DeVine Josh Fisher Tommy Gardler Theo Henry Jayden Walsh Sean Yoder Daijon Womack Julius Phillips Stephen Payne Christian O'Donnell Jacob O'Connell Jake Nelson Michael Mulville Abraham Deng Joe Varhula Khalif Turner Alfred Mitchell Semaj Mills Wayne Jefferson Jr. Luke House Benjamin Rittenhouse Andrew Funk Jaquill Stone Girard Other String Theory Arion Lewis Khai Champion Ray Somerville Malik Slay Andrew King Lynn Greer III Jailen Jamison Write for CoBL Jack Forrest Austin Laughlin Austin Petolillo Jack Clark Drew Friberg Collin MacAdams Chris Arcidiacono Andrew Sims Karrington Wallace Kris Shields Magd Abdelwahab Bryce Barrouk Greg Barton Travis Stoll Harrison Eichelberger Amear Johnson Jerry Kapp Dean Noll Stuart McAvoy Ahmad Fair Naadir Wood Elijah Taylor Fatayn Wesley Jhamir Brickus KeShaun Hammonds Jeffrey Woodward Deuce Turner Amin Bryant Christian Ings Casey Jack Naheem McLeod Connor O'Brien