It’s still early, but as the young 2021-22 season begins to take shape and conference season is soon set to ramp up in earnest, a handful of local small-college players have cemented their places among the top contributors on their squads, in their conferences, and around the area.
Here are a few D-II and D-III players from our coverage region who are off to great starts to the season, focusing on players who played their high school ball in the CoBL area:
Justin Anderson (above) is the third leading scorer in the PSAC. (Photo: Bloomsburg Athletics)
Justin Anderson (Jr./Bloomsburg)
The Archbishop Carroll alum and 6-3 guard is off to a blistering start in his junior season, filling up the basket to the tune of 20.3 points per game, good for third in the PSAC. He’s eclipsed the 20-point mark in three of the Huskies’ last four contests, including a season-high 25 points — plus seven boards — against Goldey-Beacom November 23. Anderson is shooting 39 percent from beyond the arc, and averages 4.5 rebounds and 2.3 assists to boot.
Matt Dade (Soph./West Chester)
There’s plenty of local talent on West Chester, which opened the season 5-0 before dropping its first two league games; the Bishop McDevitt duo of Robert Smith (14.4 ppg) and Jamil Mangio (13.3 ppg) certainly amongst them. But Dade, a 6-5 wing out of Episcopal Academy, deserves his props as well, averaging 1.4 ppg and a team-high 9.0 rpg, while also tying for second in assists (20). He’s got three triple-doubles, including a 23-point, 10-rebound effort against CHC.
Jaden Faulkner (R-Jr./Millersville)
Faulkner has been filling up the statsheet for the Marauders in his redshirt-junior campaign, with 17 ppg, 7.4 rpg, and 5.4 apg to his name thus far. The 6-4 guard isn’t much of an outsider scoring threat, having made just five deep balls in 2021-22, but has made a living in the paint, having racked up at least seven trips to the free throw line in all but one of his seven games this season.
MarkAnthony Fidelis (Jr./Lock Haven)
Fidelis has dropped three or more triples in four of Lock Haven’s six contests this season and is shooting at a clip of just over 40 percent from distance this season. As a result, the 6-1 Maryland native is averaging a team-leading 18.2 points, to go with 5.5 rebounds. Fidelis has been held under 12 points in two of his last three outings, but opened the year with back-to-back-to-back games over 20 points, with his 26 against Chestnut Hill (Nov. 20) leading the way so far.
Lakeem McAliley (R-Fr./East Stroudsburg)
McAliley graduated from Mastery North in 2019, then sat out the 2019-20 season as a redshirt, before the entire PSAC missed the 2020-21 season due to COVID. He’s making up for lost time by leading ESU in scoring (15.3 ppg), adding 5.1 rpg, 14 steals and a team-high nine blocks despite only playing 19.6 mpg as he struggles with some foul issues. He scored 29 points and grabbed nine rebounds and five steals in just 22 minutes against Molloy.
Erik Timko (above) is averaging over 20 points per game while shooting over 50% overall. (Photo: Jefferson Athletics)
Erik Timko (Fr./Jefferson)
Timko was a major part of the Methacton squad that had its eyes on a 2020 PIAA Class 6A state title before COVID shut everything down, and after missing his first year of college, he’s been raring to go. The 6-3 guard started his first game with a 29-point outing and hasn’t let up, going for 34 points twice to average 21.9 ppg while shooting 52.7% overall and 37.9% from 3-point range, with 4.5 rpg. Impressive numbers, especially playing for a Hall of Famer in Herb Magee’s final season.
Vinny DeAngelo (Soph./Swarthmore)
The national Freshman of the Year two years ago for a Garnet squad that had its eyes on a national title, DeAngelo is now one of the leaders for Landry Kosmalski’s group. The 6-0 sophomore guard from Sun Valley is tops on the team in scoring (15.8 ppg) while making 49.5% of his shots for Swarthmore, which is 7-1 (3-0 Centennial) and ranked No. 19 nationally by D3Hoops.com.
Dan Gaines (Sr./Muhlenburg)
Gaines has been impressive in several facets so far this year, ranking among the Centennial Conference’s top three in points (3rd), assists (1st, 4.4) and field goal percentage (2nd, 56.3 percent). He’s also added an average of 5.6 rebounds, 2.8 steals, and a 41 percent clip from three-point range. Aside from his three-point rate, each of those stats is also good for the top mark.
Pernell Ghee (Gr./Del-Val)
A 6-4 wing guard out of Penn Wood, Ghee began his college career at PSU-Abington but has spent the last couple seasons at Del-Val, where he’s become the go-to option for first-year head coach Muhamadou Kaba, whose Aggies are 6-4 (2-1 MAC Freedom) so far. Ghee is averaging 16.4 ppg and 6.5 rpg, making 50.4% of his shots and a nifty 39-of-44 (88.6%) from the foul line. He’s surpassed 20 points five times this season, topping out with a 27-point effort off the bench (his only non-start) at Lebanon Valley.
David Giuliani (Sr./York)
Giuliani began his college career at D-II Merrimack, but has found the perfect spot at York, where he’s in his second year as one of the significant producers for Matt Hunter’s Spartans. The 6-4 forward is averaging 16.1 ppg and 9.1 rpg, both tops on the squad, while shooting 52.1% from the floor. Giuliani’s only had one game with less than 10 points, but has gone for 20-plus twice, including a 24-point, nine-rebound effort against Alvernia and a 15-point, 15-rebound double-double against Messiah.
Ryan Hughes (right) has played a large role in Ursinus' early-season success. (Photo: David Morgan/Stylish Images)
Ryan Hughes (R-Jr./Ursinus)
Hughes has been the epitome of consistent this season as a freshman for the Bears; he’s never played fewer than 30 minutes, never scored fewer than 13 points, and has nabbed at least five rebounds in six of seven games thus far. As a result, he’s logged impressive averages, with team-highs in points (18.0) and assist (3.7), plus 8.4 rebounds, which is good for second on the Bears. Hughes currently ranks third in the Centennial Conference in points and rebounds, and sixth in assists.
Collin Jones (Jr./Lebanon Valley)
Jones is just about two rebounds shy of a double-double, averaging 19.9 points and 7.9 rebounds this season. The 6-4 forward has only appeared in eight of the Dutchmen’s 10 games this year, and has been productive in all of them, never scoring fewer than eight points. Jones’ strong start includes an astounding 32-point, 15-rebound night against Muhlenburg; Jones shot 14-of-23 from the field and 4-of-8 from the free throw line in Lebanon Valley’s 82-66 victory. Jones already has three double-doubles this season, and ranks second in points and fifth in rebounds among MAC Commonwealth competitors.
Brandon McCullough (Sr./Immaculata)
McCullough has been a steady force for the Mighty Macs since his freshman year in 2017-18, and he’s been a double-digit scorer for three straight years, not including the COVID season. Already a 1,000-point scorer, the Avon Grove product is averaging 16.3 ppg this year, shooting 44.4% overall and 43.6% from the 3-point arc, with a positive assist-to-turnover ratio (26:15) as well. He’s within 360 points of the school’s all-time scoring record (Kyle Finklea’s 1,544), but at his current pace, he’s going to be about 60 points short barring a postseason run.
Aziz Parker (Soph./Gwynedd-Mercy)
The 6-foot guard has had his fair share of explosive nights this season, breaking 20 points on five occasions — including outings of 25 and 26 — en route to his 17.1 ppg through nine games. Parker has been most impressive from beyond the three-point arc, where he’s hitting 46 percent of his attempts on the season. The sophomore from Medford Tech (N.J.) has also added 3.4 rpg, and an impressive 88 percent mark at the charity stripe.
Carl Schaller (above) is Gettysburg's leading scorer so far in his freshman year. (Photo: Christy Selagy/CoBL)
Carl Schaller (Fr./Gettysburg)
It hasn’t taken Schaller long to acclimate himself to the college game. After scoring a total of eight points in his first two college games, Schaller found the scoring touch he displayed during his run at Garnet Valley, going for 20 points against Eastern Mennonite and scoring at least 13 in the four games since. That makes the 6-0 guard the Bullets’ leading scorer (13.1 ppg), and he’s shooting 46.5% overall and 40.7% from 3-point range; he also has a team-high 11 steals.
John Seidman (Fr./Franklin & Marshall)
Speaking of Central League alumni who’ve instantly fit in at the college level, Seidman has almost immediately become an invaluable piece for Nick Nichay’s Diplomats. The 6-3 wing guard out of Haverford High School is one of two players to start all eight games this season, and he’s second on the team in scoring (12.8 ppg), rebounding (6.6 rpg) and assists (2.9 apg); a 20-point, six-rebound, six-assist effort against Albright was just his fourth college game.
Jalen Vaughns (Soph./Neumann)
Vaughns, a 6-foot-7 Pocono Mountain West grad, has yet to attempt a three-pointer this season in 10 contests, but still manages to lead the entire Atlantic East Conference with 21.9 ppg. He’s been incredibly efficient from two-point range, though, shooting 65 percent from the field to make up for a 49.2 percent clip at the free throw line. Vaughns’ 7.0 rebounds are also good for second most on the Knights’ roster.