David Beatty (above) is one of 90+ CoBL-area alums playing Division I ball this season. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
CoBL Staff (@hooplove215)
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 90 current Division I players from the immediate Philadelphia area, not even counting those from the Lehigh Valley, and Harrisburg/District 3 regions, or all the Jersey kids.
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 first of four below, featuring kids from the immediate Philadelphia area and a couple from juuuust over the bridge in South Jersey.
Chris Arcidiacono (Soph./Villanova)
Brother of former Villanova star Ryan Arcidiacono, Chris followed the family tradition and took his talents to Villanova. Arcidiacono had a stellar high school career at Neshaminy, playing on varsity for all four years and averaging 18.4 ppg, 4.4 rpg, and 2.7 apg on 42% FG shooting and 34% 3PT shooting throughout his career. The 6-3 guard, who did a prep year at the Perkiomen School, didn’t get much playing time as a freshman, only logging 19 total minutes. The Wildcats have a lot of quality wing depth, so it’s unclear how much playing time Arcidiacono will see this upcoming season.
David Beatty (Sr./La Salle)
Last season, Beatty led the Explorers with 10.7 points per game, earning himself All-Big 5 Second Team honors. Entering his senior season, the Imhotep Charter alumnus figures to be one of the main scoring options on the wing under third-year head coach Ashley Howard. A strong, bouncy 6-3 guard, Beatty finished the 2019-2020 season on a high note, scoring in double-digits in the Explorers final six games on the season. If Beatty is able to improve his three point percentage from last season (33%), the Explorers could move their way up the Atlantic 10 standings this season.
Ryan Betley (Grad./Cal)
Betley, a Downingtown West grad, is out in the PAC-12 for his final season of college ball after a strong four years at Penn, one season of which he spent on the sideline with an injury that necessitated his move West, as the Ivy League doesn’t have redshirts. In 22 games last season, Betley averaged 11.6 ppg and 5.8 rpg; in the two seasons before his injury, he averaged 13.4 ppg and shot 39.4% from 3-point range on nearly six attempts per game. That shooting ability, and his veteran presence, is what will get him on the court at Cal.
T.J. Berger (Fr./Georgetown)
A 6-4, 170-pound shooting guard, Berger was at one point a Penn commit before he re-considered his options and wound up in the Big East, playing for Patrick Ewing. The son of Westtown head coach Seth Berger, T.J. started for his dad and made his name as one of the area’s best 3-point shooters, a combo guard who serves as a capable secondary ball-handler and has good size defensively. With the team’s top two leading scorers and several other key contributors gone, the minutes are available.
Allen Betrand (Jr./Rhode Island)
Barring a transfer waiver that’s yet to be granted by the NCAA, Betrand will be taking a redshirt this season. The 6-5 guard spent the last two years at Towson, going from reserve as a freshman (4.6 ppg/2.2 rpg) to a full-time starter as a sophomore, where he averaged 13.6 ppg, 2.7 rpg and 1.4 apg, shooting 44.1% from the floor and 38.7% overall. The Roman Catholic grad, who’s been on an upward trajectory since his early high school years at Samuel Fels, should be a nice fit in the A-10 whenever he’s able to hit the court.
Dahmir Bishop (Soph./Saint Joseph’s)
Another Imothep Charter alum (get used to seeing that), the former four star recruit transferred from Xavier to St.Joseph’s in January of 2020 and received a waiver to be immediately eligible under Billy Lange this winter. Bishop appeared in 10 games at Xavier, averaging 1.6 points and 2.5 rebounds per game before hitting the transfer portal. Bishop is regarded as a three-level scorer, with elite athleticism, and the ability to be a lockdown perimeter defender. If things are able to get turned around on Hawk Hill, expect Bishop to be a big part of that.
Tyrel Bladen (R-Soph./Rider)
A 2018 Coatesville Area product, Bladen played in 22 games in his first year of competition at Rider, scoring just under a point per appearance in a total of 100 minutes of court time. The Broncs do have to replace the production of Tyere Marshall (12.9 pg/8.0 rpg) and Fred Scott (12.6 ppg/5.2 rpg) up front, and there isn’t another proven forward on the roster. So Bladen, a 6-10, 230-pound forward, will have a chance to see his minutes skyrocket this year if he can emerge from the pack.
Jair Bolden (Gr./Butler)
The former Westtown point guard is in his third and final school in his Division I journey. Bolden started his career at George Washington, where he played in 67 games (40 starts) over two years, averaging 11.2 ppg, 3.1 apg and 3.0 rpg as a sophomore. He then transferred to South Carolina, playing in 30 games (15 starts) last year and averaging 8.5 ppg, 2.4 rpg and 1.4 apg. Now he's gone the grad transfer route to Butler, where he'll play with senior point guard Aaron Thompson (7.2 ppg/4.7 apg) in the Big East.
Octorara grad Tarojae Brake (above) is a D-I player for the first time after starring at the D-II level. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
Tarojae Brake (Grad./Saint Peter’s)
Octorara isn’t technically in our coverage range anymore, but they were when Brake was in high school, so we’ll count it. He makes the tough jump up from D-II to D-I after a strong career at Lock Haven and Kutztown; last season with KU, he averaged 16.0 ppg and 4.4 rpg, shooting 41.1% overall and 35.8% from the 3-point arc. It’ll be interesting to see how the 6-3, 185-pound guard adjusts to life at the D-I level, on a team that didn’t have anybody average more than 8.5 ppg a year ago.
Jhamir Brickus (Fr./La Salle)
Brickus steps onto campus on West Olney Avenue after accumulating 2,531 points in a standout career at Coatesville High School where he was the programs all-time leading scorer. The 5-11 guard has a knack for getting to the rim and finishing in traffic over taller defenders despite his size. A blur in the open court, Brickus should be able to compete for minutes in the La Salle backcourt as early as this season.
Jon Bol Ajak (R-Fr./Syracuse)
After a redshirt year, Bol Ajak is ready to contribute to the Syracuse frontcourt. The 6-10, 215-pound Westtown graduate, who spent most of his high school years at Church Farm, is a true ‘5’ who can defend and finish around the rim, but he also was showing off a much-improved outside shot by the time he finished his prep career. As his body matures and skills develop, Bol Ajak has a chance to develop into a strong player in the ACC.
Izaiah Brockington (R-Jr./Penn State)
After a decent freshman year at St. Bonaventure (4.3 ppg/1.2 rpg), Brockington bet on himself and hit the transfer market, which paid off when he landed in the Big Ten. In his first year on the court with the Nittany Lions, the 6-4 lefty carved out a solid reserve role, averaging 8.1 ppg in 20.8 mpg, shooting 44.5% overall but only 26.7% from deep. His best outing came in his hometown, dropping 23 points on 9-of-15 shooting in a win over Iowa at the Palestra on Jan. 4, one of the high-water marks for a team that seemed destined to dance.
Mikeal Brown-Jones (Fr./VCU)
After spending his first two seasons of high school ball here in Philly at Girard College, Brown-Jones went down to IMG Academy (Fl.), where he played a much higher level of competition. That’s what the 6-8, 220-pound forward needed, and he comes to VCU an impressive prospect, especially for the Atlantic 10. Choosing the Rams over high-major offers, Brown-Jones is a combo forward who’s at his best from the mid-range and closer, though he certainly can stretch the floor with his shooting, and he’s a versatile defender as well.
Rasheed Browne (Jr./Texas A&M Corpus Christi)
Another local standout who flourished at the Community College of Beaver County, Browne makes his debut at the D-I level with the Islanders. The 6-2 combo guard out of Neumann-Goretti avg. 14.0 points and 9.2 assists for CCBC a year ago, which included a 31-point game against fellow high-level JUCO, Harcum College. He is no stranger to winning as evidenced by his three PIAA Class 3A and two Philadelphia Catholic League titles, and the Islanders are hoping Browne can help them win their first Southland Conference since 2007.
Antwuan Butler (Jr./NJIT)
Butler’s going to be playing the last two years of his college career much closer to home, after starting off at Austin Peay in Tennessee. The 6-0, 195-pound point guard known as ‘Booty’ played in 59 games for the Governors over the last two years, starting all 32 as a sophomore, a year in which he averaged 6.4 ppg and 3.3 apg, shooting 36.3% overall and 34.5% from 3-point range. Butler already got an NCAA waiver to play this year, and should immediately provide support for the Highlanders in their first year in the America East Conference.
Hakim Byrd (Fr./Marist)
The former Neumann-Goretti guard joins a Marist program in need of a momentum shift under third-year head coach John Dunne, after going a combined 19-42 (13-25) in his first two years. They do have most of their roster back from a year ago, but could use the impact of the 5-10, 160-pound speedster, a true point guard who can shoot well from the outside and thrives in transition. Byrd is also a strong on-ball defender, and should earn minutes for that trait alone.
Episcopal standout Alex Capitano (above) is hoping to help keep Colgate at the top of the Patriot League. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
Alex Capitano (Fr./Colgate)
The Raiders have become one of the top programs in the Patriot League under Matt Langel, the former Penn standout and Temple assistant. They’ve got another good one in Capitano, a 6-4, 195-pound guard who had a consistently strong high school career between two seasons at Great Valley and three at Episcopal Academy after reclassifying. Capitano has good instincts and athleticism defensively, and can score either with the ball in his hands or working without it. The Raiders are only playing league games, so it’ll be interesting to see how Langel handles his freshmen.
Andrew Carr (Fr./Delaware)
If you didn’t see Carr play last year, look out. The former West Chester East standout became one of the area’s best all-around players last year, a 6-10 stretch-forward who can bring the ball upcourt and defend the rim, and whose best asset is his 3-point abilities (or his dunking). It looks like Delaware got an absolute steal, and Carr’s got the size and length to potentially be a pro if he continues to work on his body and game. Super-high upside.
Rodney Carson (Soph./New Orleans)
The 6-3 guard out of Cheltenham known for his athleticism and bounce appeared in 29 games his freshman year for the Privateers. Carson averaged 14.5 minutes per game during his freshman campaign while scoring 3.2 points a game and averaging 1.4 rebounds a contest. Carson will be competing for minutes in the backcourt with a veteran roster that has 11 additional players listed as guards on the roster.
Myles Carter (Sr./Delaware State)
A four-year varsity player at Delaware State, Carter found his footing last year, going from a small-time contributor to a much more significant reserve role, averaging 9.1 ppg while hitting 46.3% overall and 42.2% from 3-point range; that was good enough for fourth on the team in scoring, but tops in both of those shooting numbers. The 6-1, 170-pound guard went to the Academy at Palumbo, a small school in the Public League's second division.
Cyrie Coates Jr. (Jr./Texas A&M Corpus Christi)
Coates is joining Browne in the Islanders program after a successful sophomore season at the Community College of Beaver County where he avg. 10.8 points, 7.1 assists and 4.1 assists. The 6-6 forward was a standout at Overbrook, where he avg. 17 points as a senior, was named an All-Public League National Division First Team selection and led the Panthers to the 2018 PIAA Class 4A second round.
Noah Collier (Fr./Pittsburgh)
Collier reports to Pittsburgh and Head Coach Jeff Capel after a standout career at the Westtown School (Pa.) where he was a four year varsity player, and three year starter. A 6-8 forward coming from one of the elite prep schools in the country, Collier has been going up against division one standouts for years (Cam Reddish, Mo Bamba, Brandon Randolph) and should be able to step into the ACC and play right away. Scoring over 1,000 career points and compiling a 100-28 career record in his high school career, Collier brings a winning pedigree with him to the ACC.
Tyree Corbett (Jr./Alcorn State)
The former Abraham Lincoln standout begins his first season at the D-I level after two solid seasons at the Community College of Beaver County. The 6-7 forward avg. 13.5 points and 10.5 rebounds per game at CCBC and is hoping to make his way into the rotation as a junior. In high school, he began at Frankford but transferred to the Railsplitters and helped them make a run to the 2018 PIAA Class 6A Tournament title game against Roman Catholic. The Braves have expectations Corbett can deliver a much-needed boost, similar to performances he had while at Lincoln like the 29-point, 20-rebound performance he posted versus Neshaminy in the state quarterfinals.
Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree (Sr./Villanova)
Last season, Cosby-Roundtree saw a significant decrease in his minutes as he went from 20.5 minutes per game in 2018-2019 to only 7.7 in 2019-2020. The 6-9 forward will be competing with reigning Big East Freshman of The Year, Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, as well as redshirt freshman Eric Dixon in the Villanova front court this year, and he’s yet to practice with a shin injury. Cosby-Roundtree, along with Jermaine Samuels and Collin Gillespie will be pivotal in leading the Wildcats this year on and off the floor as the program's three scholarship seniors.
Traci Carter (Gr./Hartford)
Certainly one of the more seasoned vets in all of Division I hoops is Carter, who’s beginning his sixth season of college basketball. Carter got an extra year of eligibility after sitting out three semesters between transferring from Marquette to La Salle midway through the 2016-17 season. The 6-1 guard who played at Roman Catholic and Life Center (N.J.) only lasted one season at La Salle before going the grad transfer route to Hartford, for whom he averaged a career-best 9.7 ppg and 4.9 apg while starting all 33 games (and playing 33.0 mpg).
Matthue Cotton (Jr./Yale)
Cotton was on the verge of a breakout year with Yale, which will take this season off along with the rest of the Ivy League. As a sophomore, the 6-5 left-handed wing out of Eastern (N.J.) averaged 7.6 ppg as a reserve, shooting 40.8% overall and 35.2% from the arc.