CoBL Staff (@hooplove215)
(Ed. Note: This article is part of our 2021-22 season coverage, which will run for the six weeks preceding the first official games of the year on Nov. 9. To access all of our high school and college preview content for this season, click here.)
Philadelphia basketball is everywhere.
More than 100 student-athletes who are from the Philadelphia area are playing Division I hoops this year, spread throughout many of the country’s 30-plus conferences and 350-plus D-I programs. There are players in their seventh year of college, those primed for a breakout year, those who’ve already become legends at the schools they attend, and everything in between.
We’ve split the area’s D-I alumni into a five-part list, including four segments of returning players and one of the true freshmen who are going off into their first year of D-I hoops. Here’s Part 1 of our 2021-22 CoBL alumni roundup, featuring 20 players who aren’t in their first year of collegiate basketball.
(If we’re missing someone, let us know: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Neshaminy and Perkiomen School product Chris Arcidiacono (above) is one of more than 100 area products playing D-I ball this year. (Photo: Mark Jordan/CoBL)
Chris Arcidiacono (Soph./Villanova)
Younger brother to Wildcat alumnus and 2016 National Champion, Ryan Arcidiacono, Chris has been paving his own path under head coach Jay Wright. The 6-3 guard saw just 19 minutes of action in his freshman year, but saw a lot more floor time last season in 13 games played. Injuries to teammates opened the door for Arcidiacono and awarded him with the opportunity to start in all four of Nova’s postseason games. Look for the guard to have even more time on the floor this year heading into his third season as a Wildcat.
David Beatty (Gr../North Carolina A&T)
After three seasons with the Explorers, Beatty will move on to play down in Greensboro for the Aggies. Now with his third different team in his collegiate career, Beatty will look to make the most of his final season as a graduate student. Last season for the Explorers, the 6-2 guard averaged 8.8 pts and 2.3 reb in 22.5 minutes. The Aggies finished last season with a 11-10 (7-1) record battling it out in the MEAC, but they’re now in the Big South for the first time. As one of four grad students on the roster, the veteran guard will try to make an immediate impact in the Aggies backcourt.
T.J. Berger (Soph./San Diego)
Transferring over after just one season at Georgetown, the 6-4 shooting guard will want to make an immediate splash in sunny San Diego. Son of Westtown head coach, Seth Berger, T.J. established himself as one of the area’s top 3-point shooters coming out of high school. In 15 games played for the Hoyas, Berger scored 21 points in 70 minutes of action. A combo guard with good size and the capability to handle the ball, Berger will hope to get more minutes in his first year at San Diego.
Dahmir Bishop (Jr./Saint Joseph’s)
Bishop began his college career at Xavier, where he struggled to break into the Musketeers’ rotation and transferred midway through his freshman year. The athletic 6-4 Imhotep product had a much larger role in his first year with St. Joe’s, playing in 19 games (13 starts) and averaging 7.7 pts, 3.1 reb and 1.3 ast in 27.6 minutes. But he only shot 32.2% overall and 28.7% from 3-point range; those numbers have to improve for both his individual and team success.
Tyrel Bladen (R-Jr../Rider)
Bladen took a nice step forward from his first to his second year on the floor, upping his averages from 0.8 ppg/1.0 rpg to 5.2 ppg/4.1 rpg, playing 16.4 mpg in 23 games (3 starts). A 6-10 forward out of Coatesville, Bladen is a smooth athlete with good length and touch around the rim, and he flirted with several double-doubles during league play. Unfortunately, he tore his ACL in early October and will miss the 2021-22 season.
Jhamir Brickus (Soph./La Salle)
Brickus was one of the most productive guards in District 1 for four years at Coatesville, scoring over 2,000 points, but college scouts weren’t sure the solid-bodied 5-11 guard was going to be able to do so at the mid-major Division I level. He certainly proved he belonged in his freshman year at 20th and Olney, starting 22 of 25 games and averaging 8.8 ppg, 3.4 apg and 1.8 spg, shooting 49.7% overall and 32.9% from 3-point range. Brickus’ progression will be a big key for the Explorers this year as they aim to move up the A-10 standings in Ashley Howard’s fourth season.
Jon Bol Ajak (R-Soph./Syracuse)
In his third year with the Orange, Bol Ajak is still waiting for his chance to really make an impact on the court. The 6-10 center out of the Westtown school redshirted in 2019-20 and then played sparingly in 10 games a year ago, scoring a total of two points in 51 minutes, even with Bourama Sidibe sidelined due to injury; it doesn’t help that Sidibe returned for his fifth year of college.
Izaiah Brockington (above) transferred to Iowa State this offseason after two years at Penn State. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
Izaiah Brockington (Sr./Iowa State)
It was an interesting offseason for Brockington, who left Penn State, went back to Penn State, then left Penn State and settled at Iowa State as a graduate transfer. The lanky 6-4 lefty out of Archbishop Ryan is now in his third school in five years after starting at St. Bonaventure, then becoming a Nittany Lion for the last two. He started 24 games as a redshirt junior, averaging 12.6 ppg and 4.9 prg while shooting 43.0% overall and 27.9% from 3-point range. He joins first-year head coach T.J. Otzelberger and a Cyclones program in desperate need for talent after a 2-22 (0-18) season.
Mikeal Brown-Jones (Soph./VCU)
A player to watch since all the way back to his freshman year at Girard College HS, Brown-Jones only scratched the surface of his potential as a freshman at VCU, averaging 2.3 ppg and 2.1 rpg in 25 games off the bench for the Rams. The versatile 6-8 wing forward has the potential to become a pro with the right development, so it’ll be interesting to see how he’s progressed from last year to this, especially if he can become a reliable 3-point shooter after only going 2-of-11 from deep last year.
Rasheed Browne (R-Jr./North Texas)
It’s been a long journey for Browne since graduating from Neumann-Goretti in 2016, from Daytona College (Fl.) and Beaver County (Pa.) at the JUCO level to last year at Texas A&M-CC, where he played six games and then suffered a season-ending injury. Now he’s landed at UNT, where the 6-2 guard will bring his sharp shooting abilities to the Mean Green, who went 18-10 (9-5 C-USA) last year and beat Purdue in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament after capturing the C-USA championship.
Antwuan Butler (Jr./NJIT)
One of the more experienced members of the Highlanders’ roster, Butler enters his fourth year as a Division I guard with 77 games (47 starts) under his belt, nearly 1,800 minutes on the court. Last year, he averaged 6.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg and 2.0 apg, and though he hasn’t been the high-scoring guard he was at Del-Val Charter and Cardinal O’Hara, the 6-0, 205-pound lead guard known as ‘Booty’ has proven himself a valuable on-court presence at both Austin Peay and NJIT.
Hakim Byrd (Soph./UMBC)
A 5-9 point guard out of Neumann-Goretti, Byrd had a strong freshman season at Marist, playing in 21 games (9 starts), averaging 8.4 ppg, 2.0 rpg and 1.9 apg, with seven double-digit performances, including a 20-point game at Manhattan. But he decided to leave this offseason, settling at UMBC. With the Retrievers, he joins a program that’s coming off a 14-6 season, with recent memories of NCAA Tournament success, along with several other transfers.
Alex Capitano (Soph./Colgate)
On a deep, veteran, NCAA tournament squad last year, Capitano only saw action in six games, flashing some potential in scoring a total of 15 points in just 22 total minutes. A 6-4 wing guard out of Episcopal Academy, Capitano scored over 1,500 points in his high school career, and he’s got three-level scoring ability plus can play multiple perimeter spots. Quite a bit of that rotation is back for another go, but there are some minutes up for grabs. Capitano’s in the mix.
Andrew Carr (Soph./Delaware)
It feels like Carr is right on the edge of a breakout season, and the West Chester East alum has some serious potential that’s maybe not getting enough attention regionally. An above-the-rim athlete at 6-10, Carr has range out to the 3-point arc, making 8-of-28 (28.6%) as a freshman, when he averaged 8.2 ppg and 3.6 rpg in 15 games (10 starts). With a full offseason to work on his body and really acclimate to the college game, Carr could be in for a nice jump in production and awareness.
Rodney Carson Jr. (Soph./New Orleans)
Carson appeared in 25 games for the Privateers in his sophomore season. The high flying 6-3 guard started in 15 games averaging 8.1 pts and 1.9 reb in 25.1 minutes of action. Carson notched a career high of 16 points in 26 minutes of action against SFA. Carson’s numbers have steadily improved since his freshman campaign, but will look to make more of an impact in the Privateers backcourt heading into his third year of eligibility. His bounce and playmaking ability should put him in a position to be a starter once again this season.
Myles Carter (Gr./Delaware State)
A 6-1 guard out of the Academy at Palumbo, one of the Public League's non-'A' programs, Carter has put together a solid growth course during his four years at Delaware State. After averaging less than one point per game as a freshman just about two as a sophomore, he averaged 9.1 ppg as a junior and 15.0 as a senior, with 5.0 rpg and 1.7 apg while starting 15 out of 18 games, a full-time starter for the first time in his career. With a full season, he's got a shot at 1,000 points (622 entering the year); 13.5 ppg over a 28-game season gets him there.
Matt Cerruti (Gr./Albany)
This is Cerruti’s first and only appearance on this alumni roundup, but he’s certainly earned his way here. The former Archbishop Wood off-guard was a Division II recruit out of high school, and he spent his last four years at Lock Haven, though the Bald Eagles (along with the rest of the PSAC) took the 2020-21 season off. As a junior in 2019-20, he averaged 16.3 ppg and 4.5 rpg and shot 46.2% from 3-point range and 84.8% overall, and should be able to transfer his abilities to the Division I level.
Chuck Champion (Gr./Albany)
Playing in his sixth and final year of college hoops is Champion, a 6-4 guard out of Friends’ Central. Champion started his college career at Loyola (Md.), where he played in 96 games with 63 starts over four years, though he took a redshirt season as a senior due to injury. He played 17.8 mpg during his first year at Albany, starting two of 16 games while averaging 6.1 ppg and 2.5 rpg; his 48.2% mark from the field was his best in college, though his 26.7% mark from 3-point range was his worst.
Noah Collier (Soph./Pittsburgh)
Another Westtown school product, the 6-8 forward was ready for ACC play during his freshman year after coming out of one of the top prep schools in the country. In his freshman season, Collier notched 103 minutes of action in 12 games. He tallied just 9 pts, 15 rebs and 4 ast but the athletic forward will aim to get more playing time heading into his second season as a Panther. Collier played with and faced off against some of the country’s top D-I player’s in high school, so playing in the ACC against some of the conference's best is nothing new to him. Pitt finished off last season at 10-12, but Collier and the Panthers will try to make a name for themselves as one of the underdogs in the ACC this season.
Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree (Gr./Villanova)
One of Nova’s top players, Cosby-Roundtree will unfortunately be missing his second straight season as he continues to recover from stress fracture surgery on his left tibia, which threatens to end his basketball career. The athletic 6-9 forward has been battling with leg injuries since 2019 and has had to undergo four surgeries in the past five years. Cosby-Roundtree recently made the decision to sit out this season, which provides more opportunities for Jermaine Samuels, Eric Dixon, and Brandon Slater to step-up in his absence.
Traci Carter (Gr./Hartford)
One of the more seasoned vets in all of college basketball, Carter is heading into his seventh season of college basketball. Carter got an extra year of eligibility after sitting out three semesters since transferring from Marquette to La Salle midway through the 2016-17 season. The 6-1 guard only lasted one season at La Salle before taking the grad transfer route heading to Hartford. After two seasons with the Hawks, Carter has been granted one final year of eligibility after last year’s COVID season. Last season, Carter played in all 24 games tallying 11.7 pts, 3.5 reb and 2.5 stl in 31.8 minutes.