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 4 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: email@example.com)
Ajiri Ogemuno-Johnson (above) has improved his output over his time at Rider. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
Ajiri Ogemuno-Johnson (Sr./Rider)
Another high school hooper out of Bonner, out of Nigeria, the 6-8 forward is heading into his fourth year playing for the Broncs. In his junior season Ogemuno-Johnson started in 21 out of 23 games, averaging about 20 minutes of action. The big man tallied 7.7 pts, 5.1 reb and shot 60.6% from the field; showing significant improvement from his first two seasons at Rider. Ogemuno-Johnson numbers should continue to rise and expect him to be another key starter in the Broncs rotation this season. Rider sat at the very bottom of the MAAC standings last season (5-13), and are looking down the barrel of another tough schedule upcoming this season.
Tyree Pickron (Jr./LIU)
After three seasons at Quinnipiac, the 6-3 guard transferred this past year to Long Island University. Last season at Quinnipiac, Pickron played in 13 games while getting two starts. He averaged about 10.5 mpg, but saw his minutes and numbers drop from his sophomore year with the Bobcats. The Archbishop Wood product will look for a more increased role with his new team this season.
Seth Pinkney (Soph./Florida International University)
Pinkney is another former Archbishop Wood Catholic player to also transfer out of Quinnipiac. The towering 7-1 center played just two seasons for the Bobcats before transferring this past year to FIU. Last season for Quinnipiac, Pinkney started in 21 of 22 games while averaging 8.0 pts and 4.8 reb in 23.2 mpg. The big man will work hard to make a good first impression with his new team heading into the season.
Daeqwon Plowden (Sr./Bowling Green)
Heading into his fifth year of eligibility, Plowden has been a consistent starter for Bowling Green over the past three seasons. The guard/forward started in all 26 games he played in last season, notching 30 minutes of action a game. Plowden averaged double-digit points for the second straight season putting up 13.4 pts, 7.8 reb and 1.2 ast. At 6-6, Plowden had a big year being named Third-Team All-MAC for the second straight season. He tallied a career-high 26 points in the MAC Tournament against Akron.
Allen Powell (Jr./Rider)
A 6-2 guard out of La Salle College HS, Powell started in 13 of 23 games for the Broncs in his sophomore season. Powell saw his minutes rise in his second season, averaging 28.7 per game while notching 8.3 pts, 1.0 reb and 1.7 ast. Heading into his third season, Powell’s numbers will work to keep momentum as a key member of Rider’s backcourt.
Christian Ray (Jr./La Salle)
La Salle head coach Ashley Howard brought Ray in as one of his first recruits to become a leader for the Explorers, and it’s a role Ray has grown into, now as a second-year captain. The 6-6 wing out of Haverford School hasn’t put up the big numbers that he did in high school just yet but increased his production year-over-year to average 7.5 ppg, 6.0 rpg and 1.4 apg last year, shooting 50.3% overall but only 29.5% (13-of-44) from the 3-point line. He’s got three years of eligibility left.
Jamil Riggins (R-Soph./Quinnipiac)
Riggins is in his third year of college, but thanks to last year’s COVID waiver, he’s still got four years of eligibility remaining. The 6-6, 240-pound wing forward out of Imhotep Charter played in 17 games last season (1 start), averaging 3.2 ppg and 1.7 rpg. A reliable 3-point shooter in high school, he was 0-for-5 from deep last year but don’t be surprised if he starts knocking some down.
Daron 'Fatts' Russell scored nearly 1,600 points in four years at Rhode Island. (Photo: Mark Jordan/CoBL)
Fatts Russell (Gr./Maryland)
One of the most dynamic guards in the Atlantic 10 the last four years at Rhode Island, Russell scored 1,594 points (13.4/game), dished out 411 assists (3.5/game) and picked up 213 steals (1.8/game), and then decided to give it one more go with a grad year at Maryland with some familiar faces (see: Scott, Donta). A jet-quick 5-10 point guard, Russell’s key will be scoring efficiency, as he shot 35.6% overall and 28.1% from 3-point range in a URI uniform.
Donta Scott (Jr../Maryland)
If there’s a high-major product from this area that maybe doesn’t get quite enough attention, it’s Scott. A 6-8, 230-pound wing out of Imhotep Charter, Scott put together a nice freshman season at Maryland (5.9 ppg, 3.6 rpg) and then built on it, averaging 11.0 ppg, 5.9 rpg and 2.0 apg while shooting 49.8% overall and 43.8% from the 3-point arc on 112 attempts. Another similar step forward and he could be making a pro consideration next spring.
Sam Sessoms (Sr./Penn State)
Sessoms’ college career has been all about proving he belongs. First it was that he belonged at the D-I level, which the Shipley product proved by scoring 1,000 points in two years at Binghamton. Then it was about proving he can play at the Big Ten level, and his role as sixth man last year (8.2 ppg, 2.3 apg, 1.3 spg) proved he could do that. This winter it will be proving he can succeed as a starter at that level, and seeing if he can lead a team to the NCAA Tournament.
Ray Somerville (R-Fr./Cal State-Bakersfield)
A 6-10 center out of the Shipley School, Somerville is in his third year of college, though he retains his redshirt freshman eligibility. After redshirting his first season, he appeared in 12 games last year, averaging 1.3 ppg and 1.1 rpg. The tallest member of the Roadrunners’ roster is hoping to make a bigger impact this time around.
Elijah Taylor (Soph./Notre Dame)
In his first year at Notre Dame, Taylor sat out the season due to surgery on an ankle injury, though he’s still listed as a sophomore on the Irish roster. A 6-8, 240-pound power forward out of Imhotep Charter, Taylor is a physical inside presence who was developing a faceup game by the end of his high school years, and should give Notre Dame some needed bulk in the paint.
Myles Thompson (Sr./St. Francis Pa.)
A fourth-year senior with another year of eligibility remaining after this one, Thompson brings a ton of experience back with him to the Red Flash roster. A 6-6 wing guard out of Camden (N.J.), Thompson has played in 85 games thus far, with 65 starts, including 51 out of 52 games the last couple years. His raw numbers didn’t change much from sophomore to his junior year, as he averaged 10.1 ppg and 5.4 rpg last year, but his shooting percentage dropped from .469/.706/.338 as a sophomore to .368/..698/.246 last year.
Taj Thweatt (Soph./West Virginia)
A powerful 6-7, 210-pound forward out of Wildwood Catholic, Thweatt played in nine games in his freshman year at WVU, scoring four points in 23 minutes of action. The Mountaineers’ frontcourt is deep but not terribly experienced, so Thweatt will have a chance to earn more minutes this season.
Lance Ware (Soph./Kentucky)
A top-50 prospect in his class out of Camden (N.J.), Ware played in 21 games with three starts at UK as a freshman, averaging 2.0 ppg and 3.0 rpg. A 6-9, 225-pound forward whose biggest impact in high school came on the defensive end of the floor, Ware has the ability to be a similarly high-level defender even at the elite collegiate ranks, thanks to his wingspan, lateral and vertical athleticism, and his instincts. If his offensive game comes around, watch out.
Jahlil White (Fr./Temple)
A versatile 6-7 wing guard out of Wildwood Catholic (N.J.), White was expected to be a big piece for the Owls last season. Unfortunately, a torn MCL in the preseason forced him to undergo surgery that cost him the year, though he’s back at full strength this fall and expected to be a member of the backcourt rotation due to his versatility on both ends of the floor.
Isaiah Wong (Soph./Miami Fl.)
Last year, we wrote that a strong end to Wong’s freshman season (7.7 ppg/3.0 rpg) was perhaps a hint that greater things were ahead. Indeed, the 6-3 guard out of Bonner-Prendergast became one of the top scorers in the ACC just like he had been in the PCL, averaging 17.1 ppg while hitting 43.1% overall and 34.7% from 3-point range, adding in 4.8 rpg and 2.4 apg. The next goal is to improve on Miami’s 10-17 (4-15) finish from last year, the third straight losing season under Jim Larranaga.
Jeff Woodward (Soph./Colgate)
Woodward debuted last season as Colgate’s backup center and held that spot all year long, playing 16.1 mpg in 15 games for the Patriot League champs, then got some March Madness attention by making the “too small” gesture after an NCAA bucket. The 6-11, 265-pound big man out of Methacton averaged 8.0 ppg, 4.3 rpg and 1.9 apg, topping out with a 15-point, six-rebound, three-assist effort against Boston U. He might not start for a couple years due to depth, but he’ll clearly be productive when he’s on the floor.
Sean Yoder (Jr./Navy)
The all-time scoring leader at Pennridge (1,481 points), Yoder arrived at the Naval Academy two falls ago. He’s played in 44 games over the last couple seasons, though his playing time and scoring dipped from his freshman season (15.0 mpg, 2.9 ppg) to sophomore season (9.7 mpg, 1.8 ppg), and his 3-point shot (22.7%) hasn’t been there like it was in high school. The 6-3, 200-pound guard certainly has the stuff to be a productive Patriot League player.
Cameron Young (Soph./Bowling Green)
A bouncy 6-6 wing out of Neumann-Goretti, Young is a sophomore with all four years of eligibility remaining. He’s coming off a solid debut season for the Falcons, playing about 10 minutes over 26 games with one start, averaging 2.3 ppg and 2.7 rpg. That included one double-digit outing, a 12-point game against Central Michigan, showing that he’s capable of bigger production this time around.