Jordan Longino (above) and GA play two games in this weekend's Pete & Jameer Nelson Classic. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
Josh Verlin (@jmverlin)
Of the several dozen events that Jeremy Treatman’s Scholastic Play-By-Play organization puts on over the course of each high school season, there’s none as big as the Pete & Jameer Nelson Classic, certainly at least in terms of the number of games and overall length of the event. The Nelson Classic has grown to encompass three games of days spread over a four-day weekend, at three different locations.
Below you can find the full event schedule, as well as a brief glimpse of each of the game’s best days and players.
Friday, Dec. 27
Haverford High vs. West Catholic (10:15 AM)
Pennsbury vs. HS of the Future (12 PM)
Haverford School vs. Cardinal O’Hara (1:45 PM)
Unionville vs. Friends’ Central School (3:30 PM)
Archbishop Carroll vs. Abington (5:15 PM)
Malvern Prep vs. Rutgers Prep (7:00 PM)
Roman Catholic vs. Imhotep Charter (8:30 PM)
Saturday, Dec. 28
St. Joseph’s Prep vs. Bishop Shanahan (12 PM)
Cherokee (N.J.) vs. Episcopal Academy (1:45 PM)
Shipley vs. Unionville (3:30 PM)
Abington vs. Math, Civics & Sciences (5:15 PM)
Norristown vs. Germantown Academy (7 PM)
Cheltenham vs. Bishop McDevitt (8:30 PM)
West Chester University
Downingtown West vs. Pennsbury (4:30 PM)
West Chester East vs. Chester (6:15 PM)
Coatesville vs. Malvern Prep (8 PM)
Monday, Dec. 30
St. Joseph’s Prep vs. Penncrest (11:45 AM)
Abington vs. La Salle (1:30 PM)
Malvern Prep vs. Norristown (3:15 PM)
Bishop McDevitt vs. Germantown Academy (5:00 PM)
Coatesville vs. Cheltenham (6:45 PM)
Chester vs. Haverford School (8:30 PM)
Games to Watch
Haverford School vs. Cardinal O’Hara
Dec. 27, 1:45 PM, Jefferson University
This game should be good either way, but it’ll be especially good if Haverford School has one or both of junior Christian Clover and sophomore Jameel Brown, two guards who’ve each missed the last few games due to injury. With the pair of D-I recruits alongside junior guard Tyler Seward, another scholarship-level target, Fords coach Bernie Rogers has one of the more talented scoring trios around, along with several other upperclassmen who might specialize in other sports but still provide useful on the hoops court. Meanwhile, O’Hara is off to an undefeated 6-0 start including 2-0 in the PCL, and has a strong four-member backcourt led by senior Tre Dinkins, though juniors Anthony Purnell and Adrian Irving are all capable bucket-getters, and all can defend. Expect this one to be high-scoring and fun, though that’s a common theme with the games listed below.
Malvern Prep vs. Rutgers Prep (N.J.)
Dec. 27, 7:00 PM, Jefferson University
Talk about high-scoring, fun games; both Malvern Prep and Rutgers Prep love to get up and down the court and put the ball in the hoop, and they’ve each got a lot of players who can do so. Malvern Prep is led by Bucknell-bound senior Kieves “Deuce” Turner, but he’s got plenty of help from the likes of senior guard Spencer Cochran and junior guard Rahdir Hicks. Rutgers Prep, coached by former La Salle Director of Basketball Operations Matt Bloom, is stacked with Division I talent, including senior guard Nico Galette (Sacred Heart), juniors Trey Patterson and Noah Harris, and sophomores Otega Oweh and Ryan Pettit. Patterson –– a 6-8 wing with offers from Villanova, Memphis, and many other Big Ten/ACC/SEC schools –– is the stud, but all the others can play, too.
Roman superstar Jalen Duren (above) will match up with Imhotep's Elijah Taylor in an eagerly-awaited post battle. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
Roman Catholic vs. Imhotep Charter
Dec. 27, 8:30 PM, Jefferson University
The best battle of two big men you’re going to see in this area, as Roman’s five-star sophomore Jalen Duren goes up against Imhotep senior Elijah Taylor, a 6-8 Notre Dame commit. Those two are sure to go at it all game long in a game that will also have some serious PCL/Pub bragging rights on the line. Imhotep’s taken some bumps in the early season, but expect Andre Noble’s crew to be ready to take on Duren, fellow standout sophomore Justice Williams and the rest of Matt Griffin’s Cahillites.
Coatesville vs. Malvern Prep
Dec. 28, 8:00 PM, West Chester University
Malvern Prep’s second game of the Nelson Classic pits the Friars up with another talented backcourt. Coatesville senior and 5-10 scoring dynamo Jhamir “Jig” Brickus is just a couple buckets from hitting 2,000 for his career, just a couple games after his brother and backcourt mate, DaPree Bryant, got to 1,000. Fellow seniors John Proctor and Brickus’ cousin Donovan Brickus give them a deep starting five that can run and gun with anybody. Brickus will bring his high-scoring act to a to-be-determined campus next year, while Bryant will be playing football at Villanova.
Cheltenham vs. Bishop McDevitt
Dec. 28, 8:30 PM, Widener University
Another terrific backcourt battle pits the Panthers, one of the District 1 6A hopefuls, against Bishop McDevitt, which has its sights set on the PCL title after making the semifinals last year. The Panthers feature two Division I commits in point guard Zahree Harrison (St. Francis Pa.) and wing Jaelen McGlone (Rider), though Harrison has missed the early part of the season with a knee injury; his return for this weekend is still up in the air. McDevitt boasts a senior backcourt of its own in Robert Smith and Ahmir Harris, plus versatile wing forward Jamil Manigo.
Coatesville vs. Cheltenham
Dec. 30, 6:45 PM, Widener University
This could be a preview of the District 1 6A championship game, or at the very least a semifinal. Both of these programs have been building towards such a run for a few years, and you can bet they’ll want to establish some early bragging abilities with this matchup near the end of Monday’s slate. If Harrison is back, the matchup between him and Brickus will be one to watch; if not, sophomore Justin Moore will get his chance to prove himself against one of the best senior guards around. Both of these teams can handle the other’s pace and athleticism, so this will come down to the little things: rebounding, turnovers, and efficient shot selection.
Delaware-bound wing forward Andrew Carr (above) is the player to watch on West Chester East. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
More Players to Watch*
Alex Capitano –– Sr./SG, Episopal Academy
Bound for Colgate next fall, Capitano is a 6-4 shooting guard who can score from all three levels. A strong outside shooter, he’s also an effective rebounder and has a good post game, and he’s greatly improved his handle over the last two years.
Andrew Carr –– Sr./SF, West Chester East
Carr is a 6-9 wing/forward who plays something of a ‘stretch-5’ for the Vikings, who use him all over the court. He’s a good outside shooter when he’s not rushed, and he’s good at getting to the basket when facing up from the high post. Also becoming a better creator off the bounce.
Anquan Hill –– Jr./C, Archbishop Carroll
One of two future D-I big men in the Carroll frontcourt, Hill is a rapidly-developing 6-9 center who can defend the rim and also can step out and knock down the occasional 3-pointer.
Ed Holland III –– Jr./SG, Friends’ Central
Holland’s offer list is more than a dozen long, full of programs from the Atlantic 10 and a few other leagues, and for good reason. The 6-5 wing guard’s best asset is his outside shooting, but he’s got plus length and is an improving all-around scorer and willing rebounder.
Tairi Ketner –– Sr./PF, Archbishop Carroll
Paired with Hill up front for the Patriots is “Huss” Ketner, the son of former UMass standout and NBA big man Lari Ketner. Ketner is a burly 6-7 interior player who’s got a soft touch around the rim with plus hands and footwork.
Jordan Longino –– Jr./SG, Germantown Academy
One of the best perimeter prospects in the area, Longino recently pulled in an offer from Villanova to join a growing list of high-majors. He’s a versatile 6-4 wing with a smooth scoring ability from all over the court, and he’s become a dangerous passer when driving, making him even more efficient on the offensive end.
Nisine Poplar –– Jr./G, Math Civics & Sciences
Before his sophomore season, Poplar was a complete unknown in local hoops circles. A little more than a year later, he's one of the best prospects in the entire Public League. Four of the City 6 have offered the talented, athletic scoring guard (Drexel, La Salle, St. Joe's & Temple), along with six other programs.
John Seidman –– Jr./G, Haverford HS
The Fords’ do-it-all junior wing shoulders a big load for Haverford, as their primary ball-handler, offense-creator, inside and outside scorer. They’ve got other guys who can put the ball through the hoop, but Seidman is the table-setter for an 11-deep attack.
Jake Timby –– Sr./PG, La Salle College HS
The Explorers’ only returning starter from a year ago is their sharpshooting point guard, who recently committed to D-III Catholic University. The 5-10 lefty is a strong outside shooter who doesn’t need much room to get off his shot.
Trevor Wall –– Sr./G, St. Joe’s Prep
The Prep’s lead guard is their 6-2 senior, who’s one of the better scorers in the entire Catholic League. Wall is just an okay outside shooter, but he’s got a million ways to get to the rim from anywhere on the court, and he’s not afraid to absorb contact and get to the line. Also a good floor general who finds his teammates open for 3s. He’s on the D-I/D-II fringe at the moment.
Manir Waller –– Sr./G, Abington HS
Waller, an athletic 6-2 combo guard, has become the Ghosts’ standout player this season after the graduation of two D-I seniors. Excels at getting to the basket and finishing through traffic; already has a pair of D-II offers with more schools watching.
*Some of these teams I haven’t seen in basically two years, so I’m not sure who their players to watch are just yet. Apologies if I leave anybody out. We’ll be doing plenty of write-ups from the event.
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