CoBL Staff (@hooplove215)
(Ed. Note: This article is part of our 2017-18 season coverage, which will run for the six weeks preceding the first official games of the year on Nov. 10. To access all of our high school and college preview content for this season, click here.)
The countdown is on to the start of the 2017-18 college basketball season, with less than six weeks of practices remaining until the country’s 350-plus Division I programs take the court for meaningful action for the first time since April.
This week, we’ll be going through the City 6 from a number of lenses, taking a look at some big-picture storylines before we go through each program in detail over the next couple of weeks.
CoBL-Area Alumni to Watch (Pt. 1)
We step away from the City 6 to bring updates on local prospects playing D-I ball around the country
Mohamed Bamba (Fr./Texas)
A 7-foot post player with a near 8-foot wingspan who blocks shots, rebounds, runs the floor and can step out and hit 3s, Bamba is an absolute freak of nature and one of the best pure prospects in the game. His stay in Austin, Tex. and playing for Shaka Smart is expected to last just one year -- after that, the NBA will come calling for the Westtown School product, currently projected as the No. 5 pick in the 2018 draft by ESPN.
Imhotep's David Beatty (above) will be expected to slide right into a big role at South Carolina. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
David Beatty (Fr./South Carolina)
Beatty came to Imhotep Charter last year from St. Benedict’s (N.J.), and was part of a powerhouse Panthers squad that stomped through the field on the way to Public League and PIAA Class 4A championships. Now the aggressive 6-3 scoring guard will be playing for head coach Frank Martin for a Gamecocks program that’s coming off a Final Four appearance but has a number of key pieces to replace, including its two leading scorers.
Keith Braxton (Soph./St. Francis Pa.)
A Delsea (N.J.) native who did a post-grad year at the Lawrenceville School, Braxton had an impressive first collegiate season. The 6-4 wing guard averaged 13.1 ppg and an astounding 8.6 rpg, tops amongst all freshmen nationally, while hitting 53.2 percent of his shots and 25-of-57 (43.9 percent) from 3-point range, getting named NEC Rookie of the Year as well as an All-Conference Second Team selection.
Izaiah Brockington (Fr./St. Bonaventure)
The Archbishop Ryan grad surprised many when, instead of going to prep school at Woodstock Academy (Conn.) like he’d intended, he instead snapped up a scholarship from the Bonnies, and will be starting his college career this fall -- as originally intended, when he committed to NJIT last fall before re-opening his recruitment in the spring. A 6-4 lefty, Brockington is an above-the-rim slasher who can also knock down open 3s.
Nysier Brooks (Soph./Cincinnati)
Brooks spent his sophomore season at Archbishop Carroll and then went the prep school route, playing at Life Center (N.J.) as a junior and then Advanced Prep International (Tex.) as a senior. Now, the mobile 6-11 big man is back at Cincinnati for his sophomore season after averaging 2.4 ppg and 1.6 rpg in 8.5 mpg, seeing action in 33 of the Bearcats’ 36 contests. Cinci’s frontcourt starters, Kyle Washington and Gary Clark, are both seniors this season.
Jair Bolden (Soph./George Washington)
The second Westtown alum to appear on this list -- there will be a few more -- is Bolden, who’s entering his second season in the nation’s capital. He moved into the starting lineup midway through his freshman season, starting all but one of the Colonials’ final 17 games (senior day) as they went 11-6 during that stretch. For the season, he averaged 4.8 ppg and 1.9 apg in 17.9 mpg, hitting 36 percent of his shots (33.3 percent from 3).
Jaekwon Carlyle (R-Fr./Hampton)
A bouncy 5-11 combo guard out of Imhotep Charter, Carlyle spent last season on the sidelines, and will have four years of eligibility remaining when he suits up for the Pirates this fall. His first game will come at home against Rider and former AAU teammate Stevie Jordan on Nov. 10.
Tony Carr (Soph./Penn State)
One of a much-heralded group to come from Philly to State College over the last few years, Carr has perhaps the highest individual expectations of the group. A 6-4 point guard out Roman Catholic, Carr started all 33 games as a freshman, averaging 13.2 ppg, 4.8 rpg and 4.2 apg to earn a spot on the Big Ten All-Freshman squad. But now he’s got to attempt to lead a Nittany Lions program into the upper half of the conference as a sophomore, certainly no small task.
Chuck Champion (Soph./Loyola Md.)
Champion became a bigger and bigger part of the Greyhound rotation as his freshman season progressed. Over the first 20 games, he played 15.3 minutes (three starts), averaging 3.4 ppg and 1.3 rpg. The Friends' Central product, a 6-2 sharpshooter, then started the final 10, averaging 7.9 ppg and 2.2 rpg while hitting a solid 36 percent from beyond the arc. That's given him a big boost of confidence this offseason.
Archbishop Carroll alum Ryan Daly (above) tore up the CAA in his first season in college. (Photo: Mark Jordan/CoBL)
Ryan Daly (Soph./Delaware)
No area product enjoyed as strong of a freshman year as Daly, as the Archbishop Carroll grad absolutely tore up the CAA en route to winning league Rookie of the Year and all-conference third team honors. His first seven games were relatively slow, as he averaged 8.5 ppg and 5.4 rpg, but after four consecutive double-digit outings he moved into the starting lineup and averaged 18.3 ppg, 8.1 rpg and 2.7 apg while playing an astounding 37.8 mpg over the final 21 games of the season.
Trevon Duval (Fr./Duke)
One of the best hoop prospects ever to come out of the First State, Duval’s stay at Duke is only expected to last one season. A McDonald’s and Jordan Brand All-American, he was ranked as the consensus No. 1 point guard in the 2017 class, averaging 16.7 ppg and 7.7 apg for IMG Academy during his senior year. The 6-3 point guard has played with the utmost confidence since a young age, and there’s little he can’t do with the ball in his hands.
Nana Foulland (Sr./Bucknell)
Coming out of small Berks Catholic, Foulland has made a big impression on the Bucknell Bison program during his three years there. The 6-foot-9, 225-pound post has already racked up 1,222 points, 662 rebounds and 151 blocks in his college career, winning Patriot League Player of the Year honors as a junior (15.0 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 2.1 bpg). With all five starters back, the Bison are the clear favorite to defend their league title.
Tommy Funk (Soph./Army)
Funk got thrown into the fire at West Point, where his college career began with a game against Oregon -- though he played 33 minutes, with an assist-to-turnover ratio of 5:1. He started all 32 games that season, averaging 9.1 ppg, 4.8 apg and 3.0 rpg, though his shooting numbers both overall (.354) and from 3-point range (.299) left something to be desired. Archbishop Wood product looks set to have a strong career in the Patriot League.
Quade Green (Fr./Kentucky)
Green went out on the AAU circuit last summer to prove he was one of the nation’s top point guards and did just that, rising up to a top-25 prospect and eventually committing to Kentucky. The latest great guard out of Neumann-Goretti, Green was part of four consecutive PIAA Class 3A championships, though the Saints lost in the last three PCL championship games. A 6-0, 180-pound lead guard, Green is an excellent ball-screen, drive-and-kick point guard who also is a terrific outside shooter.
Mike Holloway (Jr./Fairleigh Dickinson)
In his first two seasons at FDU, Holloway has scored 642 points (10.4/game) and grabbed 372 rebounds (6.0/game), making an efficient 57.4 percent of his shots. Now an upperclassman, the Schalick (N.J.) alum is one of three returning starters for the Knights, and one of three forwards 6-7 or taller who played at least 15 minutes per game last season. Former NEC All-Rookie selection now has his sights on earning all-league honors.
Rashaan Holloway (above) and his brother Mike both have big expectations for the 2017-18 season. (Photo: Mark Jordan/CoBL)
Rashaan Holloway (R-Jr./UMass)
The elder Holloway brother is on the verge of his own breakout season. As a redshirt sophomore, he averaged 10.4 ppg and 5.8 rpg, but did that in under 20 minutes of action (19.0 mpg). He actually shot better from the floor (62.3 percent) than from the foul line (58.0 percent). The key for the 6-11, 310-pound center is his conditioning, but if he can continue to get himself in better and better shape and play 25 mpg, he’ll put up some really impressive numbers.
DeAndre Hunter (R-Fr./Virginia)
With the Cavaliers’ depth on the wing last season, Hunter took a redshirt to add muscle to his lanky 6-foot-7 frame; now, he’s ready to step up and become an instant player-to-watch in the ACC. The former Friends’ Central star missed his sophomore year of high school with a broken leg but bounced back in a big way as a junior and senior, regaining his status as one of the area prospects with the highest ceilings. Could be an NBA wing, but likely not for a few years.
Justin Jaworski (Fr./Lafayette)
Jaworski led Perkiomen Valley on a magical ride last season, as the Vikings not only won the Pioneer Athletic Conference championship and advanced to the PIAA tournament but beat Roman Catholic in the first round before bowing out to Reading. Jaworski, a tough 6-1 combo guard who was also a standout wide receiver on the gridiron, is the school’s first-ever Division I boys’ basketball player. He averaged 22.2 ppg as a senior.
Cameron Jones (R-Soph./Saint Peter’s)
Stuck in a crowded, senior-laded Peacocks backcourt a year ago, Jones took a redshirt to preserve his eligibility as Saint Peter’s went 23-13 and won the CIT postseason championship. Now he’s back on the court and expected to take a much bigger role than he saw as a freshman in 2015-16, when he averaged 4.7 ppg and 2.0 rpg in 30 games (one start). The 6-3 Pennsbury product made a names as a gunner in HS but shot 30.8 percent from ‘3’ as a freshman.
Stevie Jordan (Soph./Rider)
The 2015 PIAA Class 2A Player of the Year after his junior season at Conwell-Egan, Jordan spent his senior year at Advanced Prep International (Tex.) before coming back to the area at Rider, where he impressed during his freshman campaign. The MAAC’s assist leader (5.6 apg) also scored 11.7 ppg and grabbed 4.0 rpg in 29 games (27 starts). The Broncs graduated four senior starters, so Jordan’s going to have a lot more on his shoulders for his sophomore campaign.
Matt Klinewski (Sr./Lafayette)
A 6-8 Eastern (N.J.) product, Klinewski has been a major contributor in each of the last two seasons for the Leopards after spending his freshman year as a rather deep reserve. Last year, he averaged 16.0 ppg and 6.0 rpg while converting on 51.3 percent of his shots, a nice clip considering how many of the power forward’s attempts are mid-range jumpers. Enters his season just 18 points shy of 1000 and needs 114 rebounds to get to 500.