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The Philadelphia Catholic League, Inter-Ac League, Friends' School League, and various public school leagues in the surrounding Philadelphia suburbs have been churning out Division I hoops talent for a long time, and there's no signs of slowing. There are more than 85 current scholarship Division I players from the immediate Philadelphia area, not counting those from Jersey, the Lehigh Valley, and Harrisburg/District 3 regions.
In fact, there's so many local kids playing D-I hoops, we've had to split the roundup into four parts. Here's the second of four below, featuring kids from the immediate Philadelphia area and a couple from juuuust over the bridge in South Jersey.
Anthony Ochefu (Jr./Stony Brook)
The younger brother of former Villanova standout center and national champion Daniel Ochefu, Anthony is a 6-8, 250-pound power forward, emphasis on the power. The former Westtown big man turned his baby fat into a muscular frame over the last few years, and he’s been a valuable role player for a Seawolves program that’s often near or at the top of the America East Conference. As a sophomore, he averaged 2.7 ppg and 2.5 rpg in 25 games off the bench.
Tim Perry Jr. (R-Soph./Drexel)
The Drexel coaching staff is hoping Perry Jr. can follow a similar career arc for the Dragons as he did as an eventual standout at Cherry Hill East. Perry was a four-year starter inside for the Cougars, but his production often left something to be desired before a breakout as an upperclassman and as a post-grad at the Phelps School. The son of the former NBA big man of the same name, Perry Jr. averaged 2.3 ppg and 3.1 rpg as a redshirt freshman, but has the raw talent to eventually be a fixture in the middle for the Dragons.
Tyree Pickron (Soph./Quinnipiac)
One-half of a tandem of Archbishop Wood products on Baker Dunleavy’s roster, Pickron struggled a bit as a freshman, averaging 2.1 points in 28 games, making just 20 of his 82 field goal attempts. But as Catholic League fans know, Pickron is capable of changing a game from beyond the arc and is a safe bet to improve on his 23-percent clip from three as a freshman. So long as he can do that, he’s the type of guy Dunleavy can count on to make the type of winning plays that will keep him on the floor for extended minutes.
Seth Pinkney (Fr./Quinnipiac)
The other half of the Wood duo at Quinnipiac, Pinkney joins his former classmate Pickron after spending a post-graduate year at esteemed Montverde Academy in Florida. Now set to begin his college career, the 7-footer has a chance to be a game-changer when it comes to protecting the rim. It’s that skill that at one time had Pinkney being pursued by the likes of Georgetown and Syracuse before choosing to join Pickron at QU. If he can credibly stretch the floor like he started to do later in his high school career, expect to see Pinkney on the floor more often than not for the Bobcats.
Daeqwon Plowden (above) has turned into a star at Bowling Green after powering Mastery Charter North. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
Daeqwon Plowden (Jr./Bowling Green)
A late-blooming, somewhat unheralded recruit out of Mastery Charter North, Plowden has quietly put together an impressive first couple years in the MAC. A muscular, high-flying athlete, Plowden has become known for his highlight-reel dunks and blocks, the latter of which earned him two appearances on Sportscenter’s Top 10 as a sophomore. Starting 25 games last season, Plowden averaged 6.9 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 0.9 blocks, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see him in double figures this year as he becomes a fixture in the Falcons’ starting five.
Allen Powell (Fr./Rider)
Powell was perhaps the biggest winner of last year’s Catholic League slate, as the standout La Salle College HS guard went from zero Division I offers--and plans of a post-grad year--to a MAAC scholarship with his steady play for the Explorers. A sweet-shooting combo guard, Powell was a contender for PCL MVP after averaging 16 points per game in league play and leading La Salle to a 12-2 league record. Despite just turning 18 over the summer, reports out of Lawrence indicate Powell may see the floor sooner rather than later as a valuable floor-spacer and secondary ball handler.
Christian Ray (Fr./La Salle)
There wasn’t a more consistent performer in the area high school scene last year than Christian Ray, who averaged 23 points, 11 rebounds, and 3 assists per game while leading Haverford to a perfect record to go with Inter Ac and PAISSA championships. In capturing Inter Ac MVP honors, Ray scored at least 15 points in every game of his senior season. A 6’6” swiss army knife who can play anywhere from the ‘2’ through ‘4’ spots, expect the Gap, Pa. native to see plenty of minutes right away for Ashley Howard and be a leader for the Explorers before long.
Jamir Reed (Fr./Central Connecticut)
One of several Mastery North products in the D-I ranks this year, Reed signed late with Central Connecticut after initially planning to take a post-grad season. Reed was a 1,000 point scorer in high school, and was a first team All-State selection in 5A and also made the All-Public League First Team last year after averaging 22 ppg for Mastery as a senior. A strong-bodied guard with a sweet shooting stroke, Reed is the type of player who profiles to play right away for head coach Donyell Marshall in the NEC.
Jamil Riggins (Fr./Quinnipiac)
The last local product on Baker Dunleavy’s squad, Riggins joins the Bobcats after previously having committed to Binghamton. Part of a five-man senior class at Imhotep that led the Panthers into national contention, Riggins is a versatile 6’6” forward with the strength and defensive IQ to see some minutes at the ‘5’ spot as well. With Riggins alongside Pinkney, it looks as though Dunleavy has the makings of a future standout defensive frontcourt.
Fatts Russell (Jr./Rhode Island)
After a breakout end to his freshman campaign in Kingston, including a couple highlight-reel NCAA Tournament plays at the expense of Trae Young, expectations were high for Fatts Russell heading into his sophomore year. The results were mixed, with the Imhotep product doubling his scoring output to 14.2 ppg including an electric 41-point explosion in a homecoming of sorts at St. Joe’s. But for the season, Russell mustered a field goal percentage of just 33.8. There’s certainly plenty to build on as an upperclassmen, and if he can bolster his efficiency, Russell and teammate Jeff Dowtin will make for one of the A-10’s best backcourts.
Donta Scott (Fr./Maryland)
The reigning Public League Player of the Year after an exemplary four-year career at Imhotep, Scott now takes his hard-nosed winning ways to College Park where he’ll play a key role for a Terps team that expects to compete for a national title this year. Scott led the Panthers to back-to-back state titles as an upperclassman, and the 6-foot-7 do-it-all forward should see minutes at both the ‘3’ and ‘4’ spots as a freshman despite a crowded Maryland frontcourt. If he can continue refining his 3-point stroke and decision-making, his stay in College Park may not last a full four years.
Sam Sessoms (Soph./Binghamton)
Going through most of his high school career without a D-I offer despite consistently high-level play at Shipley, Sessoms jumped on his first offer, committing to Binghamton before his senior year. And Bearcats’ head coach Tommy Dempsey is sure happy he did, as Sessoms made an immediate splash as a freshman, averaging 17.8 points and 3.5 assists per game and capturing Rookie of the Year honors in the America East. The ball will be his once again as a sophomore, and if he can maintain his efficiency and cut down on his turnovers, Sessoms will have a chance to establish himself as one of the top mid-major guards in America.
Josh Sharkey (Sr./Samford)
Another underrecruited guard who jumped on his only offer, Sharkey has sure made Samford coaches and fans happy that they took a chance on him. The 5-foot-10 Sharkey made an impact on the Bulldogs program right away, and in his first year as a full-time starter as a junior, posted per-game averages of 16.3 points, 7.2 assists, and 2.6 steals. A true floor general and a defensive ace on the ball, barring injury Sharkey should finish second in Southern Conference history in career assists and will crack the top-5 in career steals.
Ray Somerville (Fr./Cal State-Bakersfield)
The other Shipley product playing D-I this year, Somerville spurned some CAA and A-10 opportunities to head cross-country and play his college ball in the WAC. A 6-foot-10, 230-pound force in the middle, Somerville averaged a double-double last year at Shipley in leading the Gators to a second straight Friends League runner-up finish behind powerhouse Westtown. There’s minutes to be earned in the Bakersfield frontcourt, and if Somerville can play with a consistent motor and avoid the injury bug, he should see significant time as a freshman.
Lamar Stevens (Sr./Penn State)
It’s hard to believe that Stevens is already a senior at Penn State, as it feels like just yesterday that he was helping lead Roman Catholic to a PCL title as a senior alongside since-departed PSU guard Tony Carr. Stevens made a splash from day-one in State College, having started all 104 games of his career, good for the longest starting streak in America. As a senior, he’ll look to build on averages of 19.9 points and 7.7 rebounds to lead the Nittany Lions to their first NCAA Tournament since 2011. If he can replicate his numbers from a season ago, Stevens will crack the 2,000 point plateau and have a chance to surpass Talor Battle as the leading career scorer in Penn State history.
Myles Thompson (Soph./St. Francis Pa.)
Thompson had a solid debut season for the Red Flash, starting the first 14 games of the season and playing in 33 overall (15.1 minutes/game), averaging 5.6 ppg and 3.4 rpg, making more than 50 percent of his 2-pointers but only 13-of-53 (24.5 percent) from downtown. A 6-6, 230-pound wing/forward out of Camden (N.J.), Thompson could be a real mismatch problem similar to his teammate Braxton if he can improve his outside shooting.
Khalil Turner (above) is set to start at Rider after starring at Sankofa Freedom. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
Khalil Turner (Fr./Rider)
After a standout career at Sankofa Freedom, leading the Warriors to the school’s first-ever PIAA Class A championship in 2019 and becoming the school’s first Division I recruit, Turner arrives at Rider as part of a crowded roster where he hopes his versatility will help him stand out. At 6-7, he’s got point guard skills and has a smooth outside jumper, and can take advantage of mismatches inside. Needs to adjust to the college pace first.
Dennis Tunstall (R-Sr./Towson)
A Willingboro (N.J.) native and Life Center Academy grad, Tunstall is entering his fifth and final season at Towson, where he’s steadily improved each season. An all-CAA Defensive Team selection as a junior, Tunstall averaged 5.7 ppg and 7.7 rpg plus a block per game, starting the final 27 games of the season and playing in 32 overall. Now the 6-8 forward is the grizzled veteran on the Tigers, who went 10-22 last season.
Karrington Wallace (Soph./Central Connecticut)
In his first year of college hoops, Wallace averaged 3.0 ppg and 2.7 rpg for the Blue Devils, playing in 28 games with three starts, averaging 13.5 minutes. A bouncy 6-7 lefty forward, Wallace has the ability to knock down the midrange jumper but his strengths lie on the defensive end, where he can guard wings and bigs alike.
Josh Warren (Sr./Cornell)
One of the Big Red’s captains and leaders is this 6-8 Downingtown West product, who had his best season as a junior, averaging 9.7 ppg, 4.3 rpg, and 2.6 apg. A high school teammate and classmate of Penn’s Ryan Betley, Warren enters his senior year with a shot at 1,000 points (he needs 422, or just above 14 ppg for a 30-game schedule). Warren also displayed some 3-point range for the first time as a junior, hitting 19-of-50 (.380) from deep. That'll help.
Mike Watkins (Sr./Penn State)
Watkins’ junior season (7.8 ppg, 7.4 rpg) didn’t go as well as his sophomore campaign (12.1 ppg, 8.9 rpg), and he lost his starting spot in the lineup down the stretch, finishing the season starting 14 out of 27 games after starting 52 of 62 in his first two years. The powerful 6-9, 250-pound forward is a force on the glass and around the rim (2.2 blocks/game for his career), but needs to avoid his own personal demons to reach his full potential.
Kimar Williams (R-Sr./Rider)
In his first season of availability at Rider after spending his first two collegiate years at Florida International, this former Constitution High standout played in 30 out of 31 games, starting 17. A 6-1 combo guard, Williams averaged 4.1 ppg and 2.6 apg last season, in line with his two seasons at FIU. Unless his shooting numbers drastically improve, he’ll likely have at best a similar role for the Broncs this year.
Isaiah Wong (Fr./Miami Fl.)
After lighting up the Catholic League courts for the last two years, winning back-to-back Catholic League MVP awards –– certainly an impressive accomplishment –– Wong is off to South Beach, where he’ll try to take his impressive scoring talents into the ACC. A silky smooth 6-3 combo guard, Wong could slot in alongside uber-talented junior Chris Lykes (16.2 ppg, 3.2 apg) to form a potent backcourt combo for a program that always has its eyes on March Madness.
Derrick Woods (Sr./Saint Peter’s)
After bouncing around a bit in his first couple years in college, going from St. Bonaventure to Delaware, sitting out a redshirt season, then playing in nine games as a Blue Hen before leaving Newark and winding up in Jersey City, where he’s entering his second year with the Peacocks. Last year, Woods played in 22 games, averaging 4.7 ppg and 2.8 rpg in 12.4 mpg off the bench; the graduation of Samuel Idowu (11.0 ppg, 5.6 rpg) should open up more frontcourt minutes for the former Pennsbury big man.
Sean Yoder (Fr./Navy)
The driving force behind Pennridge’s run to the PIAA 6A state championship game this past spring, Yoder finished as the Rams’ all-time leader in scoring (1,481 points), picking up first team all-state honors as a senior to boot. Now he’s down at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, playing for a Midshipmen squad that’s going into its ninth season under former Penn State boss Ed DeChellis. As one of 11 freshmen on a 22-man roster, Yoder has his work cut out for him this preseason to work his way into the rotation, but if his prior body of work is any evidence, he’ll find his way onto the court sooner rather than later.