Dahmir Bishop (above, in 2018) has transferred to St. Joe's after starting his college career at Xavier. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
Kevin Callahan (@CP_KCallahan)
In a video produced by Xavier University to introduce recruit Dahmir Bishop to the fans of the Musketeers, the former Imhotep Charter star was interviewed hanging out in his house on Popular Street, the neighborhood barbershop and at the local courts where he learned to ball.
Even the producers of the video had to see the pride Bishop embraced for Philly. They had to feel his heart was in Philadelphia.
Well, it is again.
Bishop has returned home. He transferred to Saint Joseph’s, officially enrolling on Hawk Hill on Friday. The 6-foot-5 freshman guard, whose playing time diminished drastically from the start of the season at Xavier, entered the transfer portal last week.
Bishop said Friday night that he just wanted to play his college ball in Philly.
“I’m excited to be home,” Bishop said. “I just wanted to be back home.”
Imhotep coach Andre Noble is also excited for him.
He is a great kid, I think it was a combination of a lot of things where he wasn’t comfortable,” Noble said. “But ultimately I’m just happy about him being happy about what is going to happen next.”
ishop confirmed he will start classes on Hawk Hill this semester. Unless he is granted an NCAA waiver to start playing in the beginning of next season, Bishop would not be eligible until after the fall semester in 2020-21.
The Hawks could use Bishop’s help this season. The talent gap between Saint Joseph and Duquesne on Wednesday at the Hagan Arena was as wide as City Live Avenue. The 78-60 loss plunged the Hawks to 3-12 and 0-3 in the Atlantic 10 Conference. After losing for the 11th time in the last 12 games, first-year coach Billy Lange said, “I thought our open looks were good. You just have to make them.”
Obviously, that is polite coach-speak for we need to bring in better players.
Well, Bishop is one. He was rated a four-star recruit.
“I feel like Coach Lange is going to get that program turned around in a couple years,” Bishop said.
For Xavier coach Travis Steele, Bishop averaged just 12 minutes in 10 games this season,. He chipped in with four assists and two steals in 11 minutes against Lipscomb on Nov. 30 and grabbed six rebounds on Nov. 22 in 19 minutes against UConn. He last wore the X uniform on Dec. 13 against Western Carolina, but played just three minutes.
Steele told the Cincinnati Enquirer after the Musketeers’ 68-62 loss at Villanova on December 30 about Bishop, who dressed but didn't play against the Wildcats in the disappointing homecoming, "You earn your playing time in practice, I've always said that. I'm gonna play those guys that are gonna help us win."
On Wednesday, Xavier dropped to 12-4 after losing at home in the Cintas Center to Seton Hall. Steele is using predominantly an eight-man rotation that Bishop didn’t crack.
However, over the summer, Bishop averaged 6.0 points and 2.3 rebounds in 22.7 minutes per game during Xavier’s three-game exhibition tour in Spain.
“He is talented, he expects to do well and he is going to work hard for Coach Lange,” Noble said. “Why and what happened at Xavier, I can’t really speak to that with any intelligence. He is just excited about the next opportunity.”
Bishop was named Pennsylvania Sports Writers Class AAAA First Team All-State selection as a junior and a senior.
Last year, he averaged 12 points and 5.5 rebounds as a senior captain for another powerful Noble team that finished 26-6. He scored 20 points in last season’s state title game.
Imhotep claimed the last three PIAA Class AAAA state championships and Public League titles. The Panthers were a combined 88-10 record over those three seasons, going 31-2 in both Bishops junior and sophomore seasons.
“Dah started his junior and senior years for us,” Noble said. “He came off the bench as a sophomore, but he definitely helped that team win too and that team was a top five team in the country and he was a part of that team as well.”
Lange does have promising young players in Cameron Brown, a 6-5 freshman guard who scored 17-point against the Dukes and Myles Douglas, a 6-7 sophomore guard who added 12, to start the rebuild. They’ll also add Gonzaga transfer Greg Foster Jr., who will have three years of eligibility remaining, plus freshmen Jordan Hall (Neumann-Goretti, Pa.), a versatile 6-8 wing, and Anton Jansson (Golden State Prep, Cali.), a 6-11 forward who’s enrolling mid-year this year and will be eligible to play in the fall.
Bishop will be rejoining Imhotep teammate Chereef Knox, a 6-5 freshman guard on the Hawks who played 20 minutes and scored five points against Duquesne in Saint Joseph’s last outing.
“I’m excited about it,” Bishop said about playing alongside Knox again.
After missing the NCAA tourney last year, Bishop was considered a key piece to Xavier’s incoming class. Bishop was ranked by 247Sports as the No. 15 combination guard and the No. 100 overall prospect nationally in 2019.
Bishop held over 20 high-major offers, including Marquette, Texas, Florida, Penn State, Wake Forest, Cincinnati and Rhode Island. At the time, Bishop had said he chose the Musketeers because of Xavier’s winning tradition.
Bishop committed to Steele before his senior season. Lange, who was an assistant coach with the 76ers, wasn’t hired by Saint Joseph’s until late March last year.
“He wasn’t there when Dahmir was going through the process,” Noble said about Lange. “By the time Coach Lange got there Dahmir had already decided his school.”
Prior to this season, Steele said this about Bishop: “Dahmir is an ultra-playmaker. He is athletic and can shoot it, drive it and pass it. He can really score. He’s long and he can really defend on the ball. He’s tough. He’s another guy that can stretch the floor and shoot the ball. He’s good with the ball as well. He can get to the midrange and get all the way to the rim. I think he’s another guy with his size that really fits our mold for guards. He is extremely talented and he has that Philly toughness to him, that blue collar mentality.”
Now Bishop is bringing that Philadelphia toughness back home. He won’t need a video either to see himself hanging around West Philly with his family or playing ball at Shepard Recreation Center with friends to remind him how much the city means to him as a player and a person.
“I’m just really excited about it, I miss those guys,” Bishop said about his family and friends.