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Philly Live II: Day One Standouts (June 24, 2022)

06/25/2022, 12:15am EDT
By CoBL Staff

CoBL Staff (@hooplove215)

The second weekend of Philly Live kicked off on Friday at Jefferson University with eight sets of games on four courts running from noon until about 9 p.m. to kick off the three-day event, which will continue at both Jefferson and St. Joe’s Prep on Saturday. The CoBL staff was on hand to take in all the action, watching almost every game that took place at the Gallagher Athletic Center over the course of the afternoon and evening.

Here’s who stood out to our staff from Sunday’s games:

Dylan Blair (2023 | Downingtown West)

In Downingtown West’s 49-47 victory, Blair came up clutch down the stretch. With under 1:30 to go, the 5-foot-11 guard buried two free throws to tie the game, and following a Jake Warren steal, Blair made a layup with 10.1 seconds left that would end up being the game-winner. Blair finished Friday’s game with 16 points, scoring 12 in the second half. He did a fantastic job driving inside and getting to the free throw line, where he went 6-for-7. 

Xzayvier Brown (2023 | Roman Catholic)

One of the top players in Philadelphia, Brown continued his strong play from Philly Live I on Friday. The 6-foot-2 guard scored 22 points in his team’s 67-63 win over Roselle Catholic (N.J.). In addition to Brown’s ability to get inside and score at the basket, he was able to score from the perimeter, specifically in the second half. Brown’s first nine points of the second half were all 3s, and after a couple of layups, he made a step-back jumper where he got fouled and made the free throw to put Roman up by two with less than 1:30 left.

Rutgers Prep's Jadin Collins goes up for a shot Friday. (Photo: Owen McCue/CoBL)

Jadin Collins (2023 | Rutgers Prep, N.J.)

In Rutgers Prep’s 10-point win over Archbishop Wood, Collins scored 25 points, trailing only his teammate Cameron Piggee (37 points) for the game-high. The 6-foot-1 guard did a terrific job getting to the basket, per usual, and even threw down a dunk in the first half. Collins also knocked down two 3s and made five free throws. Following the game, Collins picked up offers from Lafayette and NJIT, which now join almost a dozen programs that have offered Collins a Division I scholarship.

Justin Edwards (2023 | Imhotep Charter)

Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes was among those watching Edwards and the Panthers lock down a short-handed Roselle Catholic squad on Friday. Edwards had 15 first-half points punctuated by fastbreak windmill dunk before getting a breather for a good chunk of the second half as Imhotep ran away with things. During his time on the floor, he knocked down a three, drove to the hoop and attacked the rim. Edwards’ defense is constantly impressive as the 6-7 five-star recruit gets low and locks in like very few others on that end.

Liam Gorman (2023 | Gloucester, N.J.)

Against Abington on court four, Gorman was Gloucester’s workhorse on the offensive end. In his team’s 68-54 loss, Gorman scored more than half of the Duke’s points, finishing with 31. Gorman had five 3s in the loss and also was able to score inside and get to the free throw line. 

Virgil Hall (2023 | Imani Christian) 

Hall was a force inside for Imani Christian in its  60-59 loss to Salesianum (Del.). The 6-8 forward showed off nice versatility playing with his shoulders squared to the basket, along with backing down defenders. Hall scored 18 points on the day, including a couple of thunderous one-handed jams. He used his wide shoulders, not shying away from contact. Hall finished through contact on multiple occasions for a couple of and-ones. He set solid screens for his guards and was smart with his rolls to the basket. Hall is a smart defender as well, using his long arms to block shots and using his body well to box out defenders on the defensive glass. 

James Jones (2023 | East Catholic, Conn.)

A 6-foot-6 wing, Jones was the primary ball handler for East Catholic in its loss to Archbishop Ryan on Friday. He showed tremendous vision and acted as a playmaker before scorer, though he still filled it up with 23 points. His size allowed him to pass at different angles to find the open man and he showed off a quick, smooth shooting stroke with five threes. An under-the-radar recruit after not playing for a circuit team last summer, Jones has heard from a few Division I programs, including Penn and St. Joe’s.

Holy Ghost Prep's Seamus McDermott, left, and Holy Spirit's Jahmir Smith match up Friday. (Photo: Owen McCue/CoBL)

Seamus McDermott (2023 | Holy Ghost)

There wasn't a player in the gym as hot from deep as McDermott on Friday. In two games, the rising senior hit a combined 13 threes with a smooth stroke and quick release. McDermott had 26 points to go along with 8 three-pointers in Holy Ghost’s 66-61 win over Montgomery (N.J). He then followed up that performance with 5 threes against Holy Spirit (N.J), all of them coming within a few minutes of each other in the first half. His off-ball movement allowed him to get so many wide-open looks. The point guard also did a good job of running the offense at times and getting his teammates involved in transition. 

Cameron Piggee (2023 | Rutgers Prep, N.J.)

Friday’s game against Archbishop Wood won’t be one Piggee will soon forget. After scoring a game-high 37 points to lead the Argonauts to an 82-72 win, Piggee picked up his first two Division I offers from Lafayette and NJIT. The 6-foot-2 guard was unstoppable on the offensive end, getting to the basket at will, where he was able to finish through traffic. Piggee also scored outside of the paint, showing his pull-up jumper/floater while knocking down at least three 3s.

Jahmir Smith (2023 | Holy Spirit)

No matter what player Holy Ghost put on Smith, they couldn’t stop him from getting to the rim. The pesky floor general from Holy Spirit led his team to a 59-58 win over Holy Ghost, scoring a team-high 16 points. Smith lived in the paint, especially in the second half when he took over. The football player used his body to seek contact on every drive. Smith also showed off a solid midrange jumper on a couple of occasions. He was an alert on ball defender, moving his feet with every move made by the opposing teams guards. He was able to poke the ball away from behind on multiple occasions which led to easy buckets on the other end for his team. 

Zion Stanford (2023 | West Catholic)

West Catholic used a balanced attack to take down Rutgers Prep on Friday and fellow 2023s Shemar Wilbanks-Acqui, Budd Clark and MJ Branker certainly deserved praise for their performances as well. Stanford distinguished himself with a 22-point outing, 18 of which came in the first half. The powerfully built 6-5 wing uses his strength to finish through contact near the rim. He also stepped down and knocked down a three. On defense, his highlight play was a block in transition as he went up with two hands and showed great body control to avoid fouling.

Darren Williams (2024 | Archbishop Ryan)

Williams’ arrow came in pointing up and Friday’s performance in a win over East Catholic was no different. Williams put up 30 points, rarely missing in the contest. He made six threes, knocking down a handful of catch-and-shoot long balls from the corner and pulling up off the bounce. The lefty also attacked the basket, blowing by his defenders on multiple occasions. Williams is also an aggressive rebounder and often grabs the board and gets going to start the fastbreak. Williams’ (6-4) defense was also something of note as he fought through screens and used his length to get his hand on some shots that appeared to be open looks at first.

Robert Wright III (2024 | Neumann-Goretti)

Wright shot the ball really well for N-G in Friday’s win over Hayfield (Va.), knocking down three triples in the first half. He scored 17 of his 19 points in the first half, including a buzzer beater three to end the period, to help the Saints distance themselves before pulling away in the second half. Wright’s strength and fearlessness were once again on display in his tough takes to the basket. His willingness and ability to drive into and through traffic also opened up shots for his teammates.

Honorable Mentions:
Jordan Atkins (2023 | Rutgers Prep, N.J.), Jalil Bethea (2024 | Archbishop Wood), Matt Christian (2023 | Methacton), Sean Curely (2023 | Neshaminy), Ryan Everett (2024 | Archbishop Ryan), Anthony Finkley (2023 | Roman Catholic), Ayden Hagan (2023 | Gloucester, N.J.), Jermai Herring (2023 | Roman Catholic), Kellen Ingram (2024 | Abington), Greg Jones (2023 | Hayfield, Va.), Larenzo Jerkins (2024 | Neumann-Goretti), Deuce Maxey (2025 | Archbishop Wood), Rylan Muniz (2024 | Executive Education), Khaafiq Myers (2024 | Neumann-Goretti), Ahmad Nowell (2024 | Imhotep Charter), Liam Rardin (2023 | Abington), Thomas Sorber (2023 | Archbishop Ryan), Bruce Smith (2023 | Neumann-Goretti), Joey Suarez (2023 | Downingtown West), Akil Watson (2023 | Roselle Catholic, N.J.)

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