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July Live Period: City 6 Recruiting Needs

07/12/2017, 12:15am EDT
By Josh Verlin & Graham Foley

Temple coach Fran Dunphy (above) and the rest of the City 6 coaches will hit the recruiting trail hard over the next three weeks. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)

Josh Verlin (@jmverlin) &
Graham Foley (@graham_foley3)
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Here’s a quick look at each of the City 6 and how their recruiting picture is shaping up as the July live recruiting period starts:
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Drexel Dragons
Current Scholarship Players: 13
Graduating 2017-18 Seniors: 4
2018 Commitments: 0
Open Scholarships: 4

Biggest Need(s) for 2018: Shooting Guard
When Tyshawn Miles, Sammy Mojica, Austin Williams and Miles Overton all exhaust their eligibility after the 2017-18 season, head coach Zack Spiker will have a team that’s almost entirely “his” as he heads into what will be his third season in 2018-19. And he’s already got a fair bit of balance: there’s young size in the frontcourt with incoming freshmen Timmy Perry Jr. (6-10) and Jarvis Doles (6-9) plus sophomores Alihan Demir (6-9) and James Butler (6-8), and he’ll have plenty of ball handlers in current sophomore Kurk Lee Jr. plus juniors Tramaine Isabell and Troy Harper.

Off the ball, the only true shooter that the Dragons have is current sophomore Kari Jonsson, a 6-3 wing from Iceland who made 43.6 percent of his 149 3-point attempts last year, but the rest of the CAA is going to start honing in on Jonsson every time he gets across halfcourt. Harper made 36.8 percent of his 3-point attempts as a freshman at Campbell but just 29.3 percent as a sophomore, and after sitting out last year it’s unclear which version will emerge as a redshirt junior. Spiker and his staff need an off guard with some size who can really shoot, which is one reason they’ve focused in heavily on Archbishop Wood senior Andrew Funk. With the other three scholarships, look for them to chase another guard, a wing and a big man, but it’s a class the Dragons staff can afford to be versatile with.

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La Salle Explorers
Current Scholarship Players: 13
Graduating 2017-18 Seniors: 5
2018 Commitments: 1
Open Scholarships: 4

Biggest Need(s) for 2018: Guard/WIng, Rebounding Post
Explorers head coach John Giannini loves to say he looks for guards who can “dribble, pass and shoot,” and the last few years he’s had roster stocked with several options who could all play multiple backcourt spots and make his offensive attack multi-faceted. But with Amar Stukes, Johnnie Shuler and wing B.J. Johnson all about to exhaust their eligibility, and Pookie Powell a year behind them, Giannini’s backcourt in 2018-19 will consist of current incoming freshman Jamir Moultrie and junior redshirt-to-be Traci Carter at point, with rising sophomores Saul Phiri and Isiah Deas plus incoming freshman Dajour Joseph on the wing.

La Salle has extended offers to a number of wings in the 2018 class, including local targets like Cheltenham’s Jack Clark and St. Benedict’s shooting guard Matt Cotton. They already have one committed player for the class in Mainland Regional (N.J.) post Osun Osunniyi, who’s about to go do a prep year at Putnam Science (Conn.), but with Demetrius Henry and Tony Washington both slated to graduate in 2018, they’ll only having incoming freshman Miles Brookins and raw 7-2 center Cian Sullivan in the frontcourt along with Osunniyi next year; they could go for a college-ready body in the frontcourt as well.

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Penn Quakers
Current Scholarship Players: N/A
Graduating 2017-18 Seniors: 6
2018 Commitments: 0
Open Scholarships: N/A

Biggest Need(s) for 2018: Wing, Forward
Penn head coach Steve Donahue has overhauled the Penn program with youth -- rising sophomores Devon Goodman, Ryan Betley and A.J. Brodeur led the Quakers’ charge from 0-6 in league play to the Ivy playoffs, and Donahue’s staff is bringing in a highly-regarded group that includes DC-area guards in Jelani Williams and Eddie Scott plus Moon (Pa.) big man Jarrod Simmons and 7-3 Mark Jackson, who’s spent the last two years on a Mormon mission in France. Along with junior guards Antonio Woods, who returns this season after missing a year-and-a-half due to academic issues, plus Jackson Donahue and forward Max Rothschild, the Quakers will have a tough rotation to crack right away for any freshman in 2018.

So after bringing in two rather large classes by necessity in 2016 and 2017, the Penn staff can afford to be pickier for this 2018 class. They’ve already got depth at point guard (Woods/Goodman/Williams), off guard (Betley/Ray Jerome) and a potentially great frontcourt in second team All-Ivy and Brodeur and Simmons, with Rothschild as well. While Scott has the potential to be a great Ivy wing, they could use some depth behind him, getting the high-academic Matt Cotton would be a coup. Another big body would be nice up front for depth, but if they don’t get someone it shouldn’t be a problem. It’s a good sitaution for Penn to be in, that’s for sure.

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Saint Joseph’s Hawks
Current Scholarship Players: 13
Graduating 2017-18 Seniors: 3
2018 Commitments: 1
Open Scholarships: 2

Biggest Need(s) for 2018: Shooting guard/wing, Center
Injuries wracked St. Joe’s last year to the tune of an 11-win season, but Phil Martelli has a group that could challenge for the Atlantic 10 title this year, and a strong 2018 class could mean its best chances are still a year or two out. Starting guard Shavar Newkirk, who went down with a torn ACL in December, played in too many games to get a redshirt and will be a senior this year; starting wing James Demery and reserve big man Jai Williams will graduate after this season. But the rising star on the roster is only a sophomore, 6-7 wing Charlie Brown, and there’s a good young core as well: a talented trio of stretch-forwards in redshirt sophomore Pierfrancesco Oliva plus incoming freshmen Taylor Funk and Anthony Longpré, an athletic 6-6 guard in sophomore Nick Robinson, already-committed 2018 guard Jared Bynum. That group will be led in 2018 by senior point guard Lamarr Kimble, and will have some other pieces as well (Markell Lodge, Lorenzo Edwards, Gerald Blount) who all stand at least 6-6.

So what does this Hawks program need? Well, though the frontcourt has quite a few horses in the stable, most of the St. Joe’s big men are shooting specialists who aren’t necessarily terrific rebounders (outside Lodge, who doesn’t quite give them what they need offensively). St. Joe’s has gotten involved with several forwards like Seth Pinkney and Ryan Young who are more true interior players with good size who can still run the floor hard, though Pinkney is more of a defensive threat and Young more offensively skilled. While Bynum looks ready to take the reigns at point after Kimble graduates, and both Robinson/Brown are capable ball-handlers, it could help the backcourt out to get another combo guard in the mix to play alongside Bynum and give him a rest at point as they progress together.
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Temple Owls
Current Scholarship Players: 13
Graduating 2017-18 Seniors: 2
2018 Commitments: 0
Open Scholarships: 2

Biggest Need(s) for 2018: Forward, Shooter
There’s going to be a big gap of minutes left in the Temple rotation after this year, as starting point guard Josh Brown and starting ‘4’ man Obi Enechionyia are going to be exhausting their eligibility, and those nearly 70 minutes per game won’t be filled entirely by those behind them. The center rotation will be then-senior Ernest Aflakpui, junior Damion Moore and sophomore Justyn Hamilton, with current incoming freshmen Dre Perry and J.P. Moorman on the wing, and a backcourt of current junior Shizz Alston, sophomores Alani Moore and Quinton Rose and freshman Nate Pierre-Louis.

The Owls’ most reliable shooter has been Enechionyia, as the 6-9 forward brings a different dimension to the frontcourt than anybody else they have; with him gone, they’ll need better shooting out of the guards. Moore made 41.4 percent from deep as a freshman, but after that it was a dropoff to Alston (34.5 percent) and even more to Rose (30.0 percent); Perry and Moorman are more slashing combo wing/forwards than they are perimeter threats, and it remains to be seen how much of a shooter Pierre-Louis is. Adding another quality backcourt piece and a forward who can stretch out to the perimeter would help Fran Dunphy and his staff fill in the gaps.

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Villanova Wildcats
Current Scholarship Players: 13
Graduating 2017-18 Seniors: 0
2018 Commitments: 2
Open Scholarships: 0

Biggest Need(s) for 2018: Point Guard

On the surface, it appears that the Wildcats do not have room for more freshmen in 2018-19 to join SG Brandon Slater and SF Cole Swider. However, Villanova is continuing its recruiting process, going after five-star recruits Jahvon Quinerly and Cameron Reddish, with the possibility that more roster spots open up in the near future. Juniors Jalen Brunson and Mikal Bridges may forgo their senior seasons and declare for the 2018 NBA draft. Redshirt sophomore Tim Delaney, who missed last season with a torn labrum in his left hip requiring a third surgery in two years, has questions about his health going forward. And Phil Booth, who played just three games last season and is expected to be a redshirt junior, could choose to graduate in 2018. If Booth and Brunson both leave, the Wildcats would just have Archbishop Wood’s Collin Gillespie at the point and would need to add a ball-handler like Reddish or Quinley.

If Booth does officially become a redshirt junior, it would mark the third time in Jay Wright’s time as head coach at Villanova that he coaches a roster without a scholarship senior. But the Wildcats have talent to back up their youth. Donte DiVincenzo will be relied upon more as a backup point guard, completing a backcourt with Brunson, Booth and Gillespie. Freshman Jermaine Samuels will team up with Bridges on the wing, while redshirt junior Eric Paschall will be the team’s ‘4’ though he can play the ‘3’ in a bigger lineup. Redshirt freshman Omari Spellman will take over as the team’s primary center after missing last season due to an academic issue with the NCAA. He will be joined by sophomore Dylan Painter and freshman Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree.

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