SPRINGFIELD — Philly Pride’s entire group was on display on Saturday at Cardinal O’Hara, as the Under Armour-backed travel program put on a series of scrimmages pitting Pride against Pride all day long.
CoBL was there to watch action on both courts; below is a recruiting notebook featuring players CoBL hadn’t caught up with in a while (or had never spoken with before), CLICK HERE for standouts from the event:
Gilhool ready for big move to Westtown
It feels like it’s only a matter of time until Matt Gilhool goes big-time.
The young forward out of Elizabethtown (Pa.), located midway between Lancaster and Harrisburg, has been one of the more promising prospects to come out of the region in some time. At 6-foot-10 and 210 pounds, the lanky post is much more comfortable in his frame than most his height and age, with an expanding game that all suggests the best is still very much yet to come.
Matt Gilhool (above) will be suiting up for the Westtown School for his junior year. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
After playing for his hometown school for two years, Gilhool made it official this month that he’ll be transferring to the Westtown School. In doing so, he’ll be taking a major step up in competition and exposure, going to play for head coach Seth Berger and a Moose program that annually plays a national schedule, with several recent alumni currently starring in the NBA.
“I’m super-excited,” he said. “I love my old school, but I think Westtown’s going to bring me a lot of new opportunities, and I’m pumped.”
Gilhool is far from the first impressive young big man that Berger will have coached in his decade-plus at the West Chester boarding school. High-level posts Mo Bamba, Daniel Ochefu, Georgios Papagiannis, Franck Kepnang, Jon Bol Ajak and most recently Dereck Lively II have all learned under Berger for some or all of their high school years, and Gilhool becomes next in line.
Down the line, Gilhool projects as a high-level stretch-big, potential he flashed when knocking down a pull-up 3-pointer on Saturday, to go along with several impressive post buckets that displayed his good footwork and coordination as well as his ability to score with either hand. He’s also a strong rim protector, with timing, reach and patience, and can put the ball on the floor to start the break.
“I’m trying to get more confident with ball-handling and my shot,” he said. “I want to be able to attack the hoop and make moves going towards the hoop, so I feel like that’s something I want to get better at. If I can get that down, I can get a lot down.”
Last weekend (April 8-10) was Gilhool and Pride’s first big tournament on the Under Armour 16U circuit, where he got a chance to test himself against other high-level big men for the first time since last summer. But there’s a big difference between the 15U games and 16U, as many of the more physically-developed freshman post players play up. Dominating the rest of District 3 is one thing; doing it against future high-major posts is another.
“I need to take my time when I’m in the post, that’s something I learned,” Gilhool said. “I rush a lot, so I’m missing a lot of easy shots, so if I slow it down and I know that since I’m so long, that it’s hard for them to shoot over me, so I have to use my height to my advantage.”
Despite his impressive upside and already-present talent, Gilhool is still waiting on his first Division I offer. He’s been hearing from Penn State, Temple, Rutgers and La Salle thus far; it’s only a matter of time before someone extends a scholarship opportunity.
“I’m really looking forward to it,” he said. “I’ve seen everyone else around me getting offers. It’s going to be a big confidence booster for me.”
Guidinger’s hoops background paying off
What happens when you combine an NBA big man with a collegiate point guard? In Greg Guidinger’s case, quite an interesting hoops prospect, indeed.
Greg Guidinger (above) is the latest basketball-playing member of his family. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
The sophomore at Central York High School is the son of Jay and Khai Guidinger, who both played at NAIA Minnesota-Duluth in the late 1980s and early 1990s; Jay, a 6-10 center, went on to play for the Cleveland Cavaliers for two seasons. Being raised in a basketball family, with two older siblings playing college basketball, Greg was bound to grow up on the courts.
“I love the game, I’m very passionate about it,” he said, “so of course I’m going to play.”
Greg’s oldest sibling, Jinda Guidinger, plays for D-II Minnesota State University; middle sibling Gabe Guidinger plays at D-III Juniata College.
The youngest Guidinger spent the first 13 years of his life living with his family in Wisconsin, his dad’s home state. But when the Guidinger patriarch got a promotion, that meant moving the family to York, Pa.
Now a 6-6, 185-pound wing guard with a wingspan a few inches closer to seven feet, Guidinger has turned into a Division I recruit, his background giving him plenty of versatility on the court. In two games with the Pride’s 16s, he showed off a versatile handle, smooth shot, and ability to play inside as well as he can lead the fast break.
“Growing up, being the bigger kid, I was able to develop my footwork around the rim [with my dad],” he said, “but being able to pass the ball, handle the ball, finding the open guy, getting into open lanes, is stuff I learned from my mom.
“But I also have two older siblings, so looking at them, watching them grow up and develop their games, I wanted to develop my game as well. So I’ve had amazing role models and people that have definitely helped me become the player I am today.”
Guidinger picked up his second Division I offer last week, from Robert Morris, to go along with one from Toledo. But high-majors are calling: Pitt, USC, Davidson, Quinnipiac, Rice, Bradley and Boston U are the schools Guidinger said have reached out to his coaches, and it’s only April of his sophomore year.
“The biggest thing my dad has preached to me as I’m coming up and starting to get these offers is [that] I’m not going to college tomorrow,” he said. “So it’s good to stay humble, stay grounded, appreciate the moment, and just be a high schooler.”
This isn’t Guidinger’s first season on the 16U level, as he played up last year with the York Ballers program. But the Under Armour Association should provide a new level of competition for him, allowing him to get a feel for what to work on during his junior season.
Guidinger missed the first half of his sophomore year with a ruptured ankle ligament, helping Central York overcome a 1-9 start to finish 11-11. With him back in the fold, along with high-level 2025 Ben Natal on the roster, the Panthers will have high hopes for the 2022-23 season.
“I definitely want to keep improving my post game, being able to translate it at the highest level,” Guidinger said, “because I’m tall, I’m long, [having] footwork, strength will help me inside [...] shooting-wise, I’ve been able to shoot the ball so translating that into being able to shoot off the dribble, incorporating maybe a combo move or coming off of a screen.
“And getting stronger, that’s the biggest thing I think for me right now is improving my physical strength.”
— After playing on the 17U circuit last year, Daniel Springman had a feeling he’d want more time at the prep level before heading off to college. So even as he was playing his senior year at The Haverford School, the 6-8, 200-pound forward was looking at various post-graduate options, ready to move into the Class of 2023. He ended up finding a great one: Springman will head off this fall to Brewster Academy (N.H.), one of the top prep school programs in the country over the last 15 years or so.
“It was something that I’ve been thinking about since last year,” he said. “I definitely wanted it for academic growth as well as physical, I need to put on weight and I need to build up my skills, but I also feel like it’ll benefit me greatly academically.”
According to the Brewster basketball page on the school’s website, the program has sent 170 alumni to Division I teams since 2001, including current pros Will Barton, Donovan Mitchell, . T.J. Warren, Devonte’ Graham and more. Playing the New England Prep School Athletic Council (NEPSAC), the top prep school league in the country, will pit Springman against numerous future high-major players and pros.
“Playing with competition like that is going to be game-changing,” said Springman, who mentioned Dickinson as one of several high-academic Division IIIs who’ve reached out recently. “I haven’t played with such consistently good players and I feel like that’ll be especially great for my growth.”
— On Friday, Mark Butler received his second Division I scholarship from Florida Gulf Coast University. After nine years at the helm of the Penn State program and a short stint as an assistant coach at La Salle, Pat Chambers was named head coach of the Eagles on March 15 and he reached out to Butler via familial connections.
Butler, a rising senior at Penn Charter, is close family friends with former Penn State standout and current Cleveland Cavalier Lamar Stevens, who gave Chambers a direct connection to Butler.
“[Lamar Stevens’] dad, Lou Stevens and my dad are really close friends,” Butler said. “Pat Chambers asked Lou Stevens for my number and he called me and said ‘we want to formally reach out.’”
Shortly thereafter, in the same conversation Chambers offered Butler a scholarship to be “his point guard of the future.” Butler is currently holding an offer from George Washington and has been talking to Towson, Fordham, Rhode Island and Penn State. The 6-0 guard is using the summer to develop more as a scoring threat at all three levels but specifically as 3-point shooter and says he’s been putting up 500 3-pointers every day before practice with the Philly Pride 17u national team.
— Horace Simmons is coming into this summer developing his shot off the dribble, which would make the 6-5 guard that much more dangerous on the offensive end.
“I’m working on being able to handle the ball and create my own shot,” Simmons said about his area of focus for the summer. “I want to be able to take people off the dribble and create plays for myself and others.”
In a matchup against 302’s 17s, Simmons scored 18 points including making 4-5 3 pointers and a couple of assists showing why schools like Marquette, Richmond, George Washington, St. Josephs, Sienna, and most recently Mt. St. Mary’s have all already offered the rising La Salle College HS senior a scholarship.
“I’m looking for somewhere I fit well,” Simmons said about what he wants in a program. “Somewhere I can be successful and be the best basketball player I can be.”
— During the high school season Ty Burton was a part of the most successful team in Lampeter-Strasburg’s history but this summer, the rising junior is focused on becoming a better defender and playmaker. Right now, the 5-9 guard has a penchant for knocking down long distance shots, in his game against Delco’s 16s he knocked down four 3-pointers, but also showed that he can finish in the paint and mid range as well. Burton currently holds one offer from Manhattan but hopes to build on that list this summer. He also has interest from a couple of Ivy League schools in Penn and Columbia.