The second session of Philly Live 2021 kept the gym at St. Joe’s Prep humming from morning until night on Saturday, with all four courts active for a full 12 sets of hoops. The Division I coaches swarmed to Philly to see some of the top prospects in the Northeast, and there was no shortage of talent to watch.
Here’s the second half of our coverage from Saturday; a notebook featuring recruiting coverage from the day's action:
Jaden Collins (above) has heard from nearly two dozen schools since making his Rutgers Prep debut earlier this month. (Photo: Rich Flanagan/CoBL)
Jadin Collins (2023 | Rutgers Prep, N.J.)
For his first two seasons, Jadin Collins learned from two of the premiere guards in N.J. Playing at powerhouse Roselle Catholic, Collins played sparingly but he took that as an opportunity to learn from a pair of high-level prospects who were ahead of him in the rotation: Corey Floyd and Simeon Wilcher.
Floyd is a UConn commit and member of a loaded Team Final U17 squad that features Jalen Duren, Emoni Bates, Dereck Lively, Justice Williams and Jameel Brown. Wilcher holds offers from Auburn, UConn, Kansas, Ohio State and Oregon, to name a few. The high-scoring backcourt of Floyd (16.5 ppg) and Wilcher (12.4) spearheaded the Lions offense and accrued the majority of the minutes. However, Collins did make 10 appearances with his best game coming against Westfield with six points and six steals.
While Collins was the odd man out, he learned as much as he could the explosive guards and what he needed to do to take his game to the next level. It benefitted him greatly.
“They showed me what a high-level basketball player is,” Collins said. “Those two are like family to me and really showed me that there is a lot of talent out there. They taught me that I need to get better to get to that level and get even better from there.”
With only so many minutes to go around, Collins decided to transfer to Rutgers Prep (N.J.) in pursuit of a starting role. He is bringing more than his 6-1 muscular frame with him; he is bringing the experience that Floyd and Wilcher shared with him. Collins had 21 points in a 72-60 loss to Gonzaga College High School (D.C.) on Saturday. He showcased his assortment of dribble-drive moves including a great hesitation that continually allowed him to get into the lane. A central move he also possesses is driving to the baseline and falling into a smooth fadeaway, which he hit quite a few times against the longer front line of Gonzaga.
The scoring ensemble he put together is indicative of what he learned from Floyd and Wilcher but it’s his defensive prowess that has caused his recruitment to take off.
“My defense starts my offense,” Collins said. “It gets it going and I take pride in my defense. I want it to stand out the most.”
He took two charges and forced a handful of turnovers in Rutgers Prep’s press around the halfcourt line. Head coach Matt Bloom emphasizes defense and Collins, at least for one game, is showing he has what it takes to be successful in this system. The combination of scoring ability combined with strong defensive principles has led to offers from Marist, St. Peter’s, Rider, La Salle, Radford and Drexel. He took an official visit to Drexel on June 25.
Additionally, he has received interest from a laundry list of schools: Colgate, Air Force, NJIT, Dartmouth, Brown, Temple, Columbia, Harvard, Princeton, Penn, Albany, Fordham, St. Joe’s, and Penn State.
Rutgers Prep has produced its share of D-I recruits, most recently Villanova’s Trey Patterson. The Argonauts boast quality prospects in 6-5 2022 forward Donovan Long (14 points, eight rebounds) and 6-2 2022 sharpshooter Ryan Pettit (eight points), and Collins fits in nicely with the rest of the team.
Heading into his first year as a starter, his goal is to find ways to be effective and contribute at both ends, a staple of what Rutgers Prep has been known for in recent years.
“I want to do a little bit of everything,” Collins said. “It comes down to defense and getting my teammates involved. I want to be able to score, rebound, share the ball and defend the best player. My thought process is to shut the best guy down.”
Shane Lancaster (above) has been playing his summer ball with Delaware-based WeR1. (Photo: Matthew Ryan/CoBL)
Shane Lancaster (2022 | St. John’s College, D.C.)
Being the leader of any team is hard, but try being the leader of one of the nations best high school basketball programs; St. John's (D.C.) rising senior Shane Lancaster is tasked with that role.
Lancaster, who has been on varsity as a freshman, spent his first year being mentored by four-star NC State freshman Casey Morsell and his sophomore year under the wing of Ishmael Leggett, currently at Rhode Island. Now as a senior and the oldest player on the roster, Lancaster has shifted into the role that Morsell and Leggett played for him as an underclassmen.
“Just telling people who to guard, getting matchups right, making sure people are on help side,” Lancaster said. “Not just doing it while I’m on the court but also while I’m on the bench as well.”
Although Lancaster lives in Bowie, Md,, the 6-4 190-pound guard no longer plays his AAU ball with local Team Durant; rather, he suits up for Delaware-based Under Armour program WeR1. Lancaster feels like WeR1 is a better fit for him and his growth, and he also has the privilege of playing under head coach Terrell Myers, a former St. Joe’s guard and overseas profesional.
“He played at the guard position in college, pro, so he teaches me a lot of things that I need to be successful at the guard position,” Lancaster said. “So I’m thankful for him and yeah he’s a great coach.”
Lancaster, who has a sturdy build, had a strong showing on Saturday in St. John’s win over Trinity Prep (Fla.), scoring at least 12 points, showing his ability to shoot, score inside, handle the ball, and get to the free throw line. Over the summer Lancaster has been trying to improve all facets of his game, particularly playing defense for 94 feet and applying pressure on the ball for the entirety of the contest. He is trying to improve his endurance so he can ‘keep playing hard.’
Lancaster has been considered a D-I player for quite some time now, picking up his first three offers, Bryant, Mount St. Mary’s and Robert Morris, over a year ago when college coaches were first able to contact the class of 2022. Since the initial three offers, Lancaster has also received offers from Navy, Loyola (Md.), Wagner and Army, the latter three coming during the Philly Live I & II timeline. Lancaster has continued to hear equally from all the schools that have offered him.
Along with the schools that have offered him, Lancaster has been in communication with Iona, Elon, Columbia, La Salle, Princeton, Dartmouth, Marist, and William and Mary.
The talented guard has taken unofficial visits to Navy, Princeton, East Tennessee State, and Loyola (Md.), and had nothing but great things to say about all four schools.
When it comes to where Lancaster will play his college ball, he won’t know until around the winter time of the basketball season, understandably taking his time making an incredibly important decision. Lancaster is looking for a school where he can play early so he can learn fast and be able to help his team win. He is also searching for a program that will help him in all parts of life.
“Great academics, that’s a main thing,” Lancaster said. “A school that’s going to help me be the best I can be spiritually, socially, physically and athletically, and most importantly in the classroom and preparing me for life after college.” -- Matthew Ryan
— The past week or so has been pretty busy for Roman Catholic guard Khalil Farmer. Farmer entered Philly Live I with seven total D-I offers, but increased that number to 10 after his showing in the event. Niagara, Hofstra, Drexel, and Saint Peter’s are the four new schools to offer the 6-3, joining Boston University, Albany, Robert Morris, Marist, Binghamton and NJIT. Every school that has offered the rising senior has remained in contact with him and the Philly native recently took an unofficial visit to Drexel and is trying to plan an unofficial to Boston University.
Farmer had a big game Saturday in his team's victory over Gill St Bernard’s (N.J.), scoring a team-high 24 points, knocking down threes, scoring inside and getting to the charity stripe.
The talented guard is still unsure when he will start to cut down his college options, but he knows what kind of program he is looking for.
“Just a place that I can call home,” he said. “That’s going to challenge me academically and athletically. And just a family environment and just a coaching staff that’s gonna push me to get where I want to be, on and off the court.”
— Soon-to-be senior at Montgomery (N.J.), Ryan Curry had a solid performance in his second game on Saturday, scoring at least 14 points, delivering some nice passes including a full court dime towards the end of his squads 53-46 loss to St. Elizabeth (Del.). This offseason Curry, who plays his summer hoops with Jersey Force, has been getting in the gym to work on his body and putting up lots of shots.
The 6-1, 170-pound point guard doesn’t have any offers, but has been in communication with programs at every level of college basketball. Curry has heard from D-I programs such as Army, Airforce, Virginia Military Institution, New Hampshire, and Colgate — where he may be heading to on Wednesday for their team camp. Curry has also heard from D-II Georgian Court (N.J.) and D-III programs Ursinus, Randolph-Macon (Va.) and Catholic University (D.C.).
— Archbishop Wood has been searching for a viable big man since 7-1 center Seth Pinkney (Florida International) roamed the paint in 2018 and they appear to have finally found it in Carson Howard. The 6-7 2023 forward comes over from Lacey (N.J.) after avg. 18.7 points, 12.7 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game as a sophomore. He posted 13 points and 13 rebounds in a win over Potomac (Va.) on Saturday. Howard may not have a polished post game just yet but his ability to seal defenders and use his leverage to score inside is key to his success.
“It starts with footwork then moves to being tough and physical. It’s the footwork to get the position on the defender and being tough enough to keep the position followed by a soft tough off the glass.”
The Vikings boast a wealth of skilled guards in Justin Moore, Mike Knouse, Tyson Allen, Jalil Bethea and Josh Reed, but Howard could be integral to another Philadelphia Catholic League title run. Having already acquired an offer from St. Peter’s, Howard is excited to helping “build a lot of chemistry” and “trying to help the team win.”
— Bethlehem Catholic has been at its most potent in recent years behind a versatile big man like Ryan Young, who just finished his redshirt junior season at Northwestern. The Hawks roster does not feature that kind of forward but there are several guards who are looking to find ways to be successful on the perimeter and display their comfortability in the post as a way to make up for the lack of size. One of those is 6-2, 165-pound guard Edixon Gomez-Blanco. The rising senior lefty had at least nine points in Saturday’s 61-52 loss to Miami-Southridge (Fla.). His family emigrated from the Dominican Republic in 2019. Prior to coming to the U.S., he actually spent time with the Dominican Republic national team. As a sophomore, he was receiving interest from Duquesne and Mt. Saint Mary’s before tearing his anterior cruciate ligament and missing the entire season. He is back healthy and recently East Stroudsburg has shown interest as he heads into his second full season as a starter.