CoBL staff (@hooplove215)
The first weekend of Philly Live 2022 tipped off Friday at Jefferson University, with all four courts going from 12 PM until well into the evening. The CoBL staff was on hand for every set, checking out a mix of some of the area’s local talent as well as some teams from the Mid-Atlantic and beyond who came to town to show off their stuff in front of dozens upon dozens of college coaches, from Division I through Division III and more.
Here’s a notebook featuring recruiting coverage from Friday’s action; click here for coverage of some area high school programs, and click here for some of our staff’s picks for standouts from Friday’s action:
Izaiah Pasha (above) is attracting solid interest thanks to his well-rounded game. (Photo: Matthew Ryan/CoBL)
Izaiah Pasha (2023 | Cardinal O’Hara, Pa.)
Last season, Pasha was the focal point on a Cardinal O’Hara team that finished 14-12 (6-7 PCL) and made it to the Catholic League playoffs. He averaged team-highs in points per game (17), rebounds per game (6.8), assists per game (3.7) and blocks per game (2) while defenses zeroed in on him. Now, he is entering his biggest offseason yet and is generating buzz in the recruiting world.
Pasha currently has four offers — La Salle, Siena, Saint Joseph’s and Towson — and has heard from high-major programs such as Mississippi State, Georgia, Wake Forest and Xavier. He has an unofficial visit scheduled for Towson on Monday and has already taken an official visit at St. Joe’s.
“Coach [Billy Lange]. That’s the main thing I really liked about it the most,” Pasha said about St. Joe’s. “He’s a great coach. He made me feel welcome. That’s the main thing.”
At 6-foot-5, Pasha is a big guard that can do everything. In O’Hara’s 73-69 win over Math, Civics & Sciences, Pasha showed his versatility by blocking shots, grabbing rebounds and getting his teammates involved.
“That I’m actually a point guard. A 6-5 point guard, combo guard,” Pasha said of what he wants to show people this summer. “I can control the team. I really can do everything on the court. I just want to show my athleticism, my IQ and more so my rebounding and my getting stronger.”
The rising junior is making the most of this offseason, going to the gym twice a day along with practice.
“I stay in the gym. So I just stay in the gym, work on my game every day,” he said. “Work on pick and roll stuff, trying to master the pick and roll. Work on passing, work on shooting. And just staying in the weight room and working on my bounce.” — Matthew Ryan
Jalil Bethea (above) showed off his defense and maturity in Wood's first Philly Live game. (Photo: Joseph Santoliquito/CoBL)
Jalil Bethea (2024 | Archbishop Wood, Pa.)
The Archbishop Wood 6-4, 165-pound junior-to-be had them all looking at him, from North Carolina State, to Temple, La Salle, Towson and new Villanova coach Kyle Neptune as the shooting guard showed great dexterity with both hands and a deft shooting touch.
What Bethea may have demonstrated most of all to the college coaches watching is that despite his lithe frame, he is very physical. In Wood’s dominant 71-40 victory over Salesianum at Philly Live, Bethea dropped 23 points, hitting numerous 3s, while also showing he can drive to the basket.
Louisville, Miami, Penn State, Virginia Tech, Virginia have contacted him, along with Robert Morris, Jacksonville, Temple, St. Joe’s, VCU, Fairfield, Bryant and Albany. He has not gone on any visits yet, but he has been contacted by the schools mentioned. Robert Morris, Jacksonville, Temple, St. Joe’s, VCU, Fairfield, Bryant and Albany have offered him.
“Once you’re between those four lines, you have no friends except your teammates and that’s the way I play,” said Bethea, who had no problems pushing around some Salesianum players who tried to get into his grill. “Someone is going to come at me, I’m going to go right back at them. A big priority this summer was working on my on-ball defense and instead of making three moves to get by someone, I’m trying to cut that down to one move.”
There were some amazing plays Bethea made cutting to the basket against Salesianum. He showed great body control and he also showed something else that only coaches may spot. After he made a bad pass, Bethea didn’t sulk over it. He went right back down on the defensive side and manned up.
Something else he also did that coaches liked: After a teammate missed a 3-point shot, Bethea went over and patted the teammate in the butt, no doubt whispering a word of encouragement in his ear.
“Colleges are looking at me as a shooting guard,” said Bethea, who wears a size 14 shoe. “We lost to Archbishop Ryan by one point last year at home, and it’s something you remember. If we would have won, we would have played at the Palestra. We were real young last year.
“I want to show college coaches that I’m not just a shooter. I want to show college coaches that I can do other things, too. I want to show them I can play tough. I don’t mind showing that side. It’s where I grew up and how they play the game.”
Josh Reed (above) is working on extending his jump shot, his handle and his free throw shooting heading into his junior year. (Photo: Joseph Santoliquito/CoBL)
Josh Reed (2024 | Archbishop Wood, Pa.)
The Philly Live program stated Reed was 6-4, but Reed quickly corrected that when he stood next to Archbishop Wood teammate Bethea. He’s actually 6-3, but he weighs 181 pounds and physically looks like a Division I defensive back.
The junior-to-be point guard came off the bench for the Vikings last season, and teamed with Bethea, could arguably be the best high school backcourt in the area in this coming season.
Bryant, William & Mary, St. Peter’s, Lehigh and Lafayette have shown interest and contacted Reed, but he has not received any college offers yet. This summer, his priority is working on extending his jump shot, his handle and his free throw shooting.
Against Salesianum, in Wood’s dominant 71-40 victory, Reed played very strong, physical defense, showed great judgment in disturbing the ball to teammates and when the opportunity presented itself, was not afraid to put his head down and drive to the basket.
Reed also showed a propensity to charge the basket and help rebound, taking off some stress for 6-8 senior-to-be teammate Carson Howard. When he was not kicking out to start the fastbreak, he was the one grabbing the rebound and starting the break himself.
It showed versatility and that he’s not afraid to do some of the dirty work underneath.
Offensively, there was one sequence when, for a quick second, Reed saw a sliver of an opening to beat his man at the top of the key and drive the lane for an easy layup. It’s a move, he admits, he probably would not have taken last winter playing for Wood.
“I came off the bench last year and I learned a lot,” Reed said. “I learned a lot from Justin Moore, especially. I wasn’t really confident in myself last year. This year I want to be more confident in my shot and how I run the team. I have to do that, because I’m a leader now.
“I know the guys will be looking to me to lead this team and I’m ready to do that. As a team, I think we’re right there with everyone else. We’re together and working hard, and I want to make college coaches notice.
“I want to show college coaches that I’m a dog. I’m not afraid to rebound, I’m not afraid to play defense, I’m not afraid of doing all of the little things. I think those are the things college coaches like.”
Thomas Sorber (above) has been developing his 3-point shot this offseason. (Photo: Joseph Santoliquito/CoBL)
Thomas Sorber (2024 | Archbishop Ryan, Pa.)
Thomas Sorber laughed when someone pointed out on Friday at Philly Live at Jefferson University that he was not launching 3s the last time they saw him at the Palestra, in the Catholic League championship against Neumann-Goretti last February.
In fact, the imposing 6-9, 250-pound Archbishop Ryan senior-to-be did not hit his first 3-point shot last season until the Raiders reached the PIAA 5A state playoffs in March, when he hammered home a trey in Ryan’s playoff-opening 75-48 victory over West York.
Last December, Sorber received an offer from Georgetown, joining Bryant, St. Joe’s, Drexel, La Salle and Richmond with offers, while Villanova, Xavier, Virginia, Penn State and Pitt have shown interest and contacted Sorber.
Sorber had his hands full and then some in Ryan’s 75-52 loss to New Jersey powerhouse Camden on Friday night. He was facing Camden’s 7-1 Aaron Bradshaw and he held his own. Sorber was more physical than the lean Bradshaw, and he has surprisingly quick feet for someone his size, which enabled him to move around Bradshaw down low.
Defensively, Sorber was a force in the middle. Even against Camden, during set pieces, the Panthers still had to move around his large frame to get to the basket.
Offensively, there were a few times Bradshaw got the better of Sorber, swatting a few shots away. But Sorber unreeled a different side that he is working on this summer—a 3-point shot. As he showed last season, Sorber is often too strong to stop around the rim through contact.
“Shooting is a part of my game that I want to improve on,” said Sorber, who has a big-game mentality, scoring a team-high 17 in the Catholic League championship game last season against Neumann-Goretti. “I want to be able to hit my 3-ball more consistently and trying to get to the rim from the elbow. I want to work more on my post moves and my defense. I want to be faster down the court.
“I think I can score at any moment, but I am a team player. I want to show college coaches that I can pass and that I am a team player. I can play through my teammates. I’m looking forward to this season coming up. I don’t know if (Ryan) coach (Joe Zeglinski) is going to allow me to shoot 3s (he laughs), but that’s what the summer is for.” —Joseph Santoliquito
Isaiah Hynson (above) has been working on his ball handling and defense heading into his junior year. (Photo: Matthew Ryan/CoBL)
— With college coaches able to contact members of the class of 2024 directly starting on June 15, Salesianum’s has heard from numerous programs over the last few days. La Salle, Delaware, UMass and Providence all reached out, and Colorado State contacted his coach at some point. Despite the interest, no schools have offered Hynson yet.
The lefty 6-4 guard had a solid showing in his team’s 65-50 loss against East Catholic (Conn.), scoring at least 14 points. He was able to score at all three levels and had some particularly crafty moves inside. Last year was Hynson’s first year playing point guard, so this offseason, he’s working on some things that are crucial to play the position.
“I got to get better handling the ball, making the right reads and also playing defense,” Hynson said. “Last year, I wasn’t really a defensive guy. I was a big guy, slow, kind of fat. So I’m trying to get in shape, move my feet more. Stuff like that.”
— With one offer in his pocket (Saint Joseph’s), Jake Warren has garnered interest from schools such as Siena, UMBC, Princeton, Richmond, Lehigh and Lafayette. The 6-10 rising senior from Downingtown West is planning on taking an official visit to Lafayette in a couple of weeks and will probably go to Siena at the end of June.
St. Joe’s has remained in contact with Warren, and he visited them during the year for the Mount Saint Mary’s and Rhode Island games. He plans to visit them again when the students return to campus in the fall.
“The arena. The atmosphere in that arena is really nice,” Warren said of what he likes about St. Joe’s. “I love [that] the whole student body gets out for the games and stuff.”
— Haverford High rising senior Googie Seidman picked up his first offer last week, from D-II West Chester (Pa.). He’d been hearing from the Rams’ staff for two months while playing in WCU’s spring league, and finally picked up the offer from head coach Damien Blair on a visit there.
“No, I was not expecting it,” he said. “It was pretty awesome. I was just super-excited, super-thankful. I know I worked really hard for it, so I was really thankful.”
Seidman, whose older brother John is fresh off a terrific freshman season at Franklin & Marshall, is also hearing from a host of strong Division III programs, including Catholic, Franklin & Marshall, Ursinus and Gettysburg; the 6-1 guard, best known as a strong 3-point shooter, said he’s also talked to Drexel head coach Zach Spiker, a Havertown resident, about a potential walk-on spot.
— Seidman’s classmate, Brian Wiener, is garnering a good amount of Division III interest in his own right. The 6-0 guard said he’s been talking to Cabrini, Arcadia, Catholic, and Scranton, who all like his combination of shooting ability, unselfish play, toughness and hustle. Wiener led Haverford with 17 points in a win over Mastery North on Friday to open up Philly Live, and he’ll have to take an increased scoring load this year as he moves into the starting lineup.
— Central Bucks East rising senior Kyle Berndt is an intriguing prospect for schools at the next level; the 6-4 wing has good length for a combo ‘3’ and ‘4’, and he’s lanky but plays tough. Berndt said he’s hearing from DeSales, WPI, and Marymount (Va.) thus far, and he showed good versatility in an 11-point, six-rebound, three-assist effort in a win over Timber Creek. Once he gets in a college weight room and builds onto his frame, he could definitely be a good small-college wing/forward.