CoBL Staff (@hooplove215)
The second weekend of Philly Live 2022 continued on Saturday with action at Jefferson University and St. Joseph’s Prep running all day long, with a total of seven courts going from morning until night packed with talent from around the region and a little further away. The CoBL was all over the event, with reporters at both venues.
Here’s Part 1 of a recruiting notebook featuring action from St. Joseph’s Prep on Saturday; click here for Part 2:
Greg Jones (2023 | Hayfield, Va.)
Though he’s got the prototypical collegiate wing’s build, Greg Jones didn’t grow up just shooting hoops. Instead, a well-rounded athletic background helped mold the 6-foot-6, 190-pound wing into a high-level basketball prospect.
Greg Jones (above) has seen a explosion of offers over the last few months. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
“I played five sports when I was younger: tennis, baseball, soccer, basketball, and football,” Jones said. “I played baseball until I was a sophomore and some people say I am as good as a baseball player as I am a basketball player — but I find basketball a lot more fun.”
For a player with multiple Division I offers, that is saying a lot.
Jones, one of the leaders on Hayfield’s unbeaten 2021-22 season which culminated in a Virginia Class 6A state championship, showed his scoring prowess Saturday in a 64-60 loss to Roman Catholic with 21 points, showcasing his ability to score at all three levels. He was able to create his own shot, pulling up from the midrange and 3-point territory, and was also able to finish at the rim with several nice finishes while also running point and setting up the offense at times.
That combination of length, athleticism and talent is why he’s been a hot name on the recruiting trail, with recent offers from JMU, Harvard, George Washington, and Towson to join those from Fairfield, American and Radford. Jones credits both his play with New World on the Adidas circuit and strong play in a summer league at DeMatha High School (Md.), streamed to coaches, as major reasons why it’s all coming together.
“It’s been great honestly,” he said. “Sometimes it can be a lot, getting all these random numbers texting and calling you, but I appreciate all the coaches showing interest in me.”
The multi-positional perimeter threat said he’s starting to hear from high-majors as well, with West Virginia, Wake Forest and Georgetown reaching out.
So far, he’s already been on the campuses of Towson, West Virginia, George Washington and Radford. While Jones hasn’t been on any official visits yet, he did mention Harvard and JMU as two schools that he was planning on seeing on a multi-day visit after the recruiting season concludes in July.
In a college program, Jones is looking for “somewhere where I feel at home [...]I just want to feel comfortable, and not out-of-place. From the basketball standpoint, I want coaches who will look out for me, coaches that care about me and my development.”
Jones said he wants to make his decision “sometime before the high school season,” saying he wants to “enjoy his last high school season” so he doesn’t have to worry about a decision hanging over his head. — Dennis Olson
James Jones (2023 | East Catholic, Conn.)
Watching Jones play, it’s hard to believe there are many better prospects in the 2023 class who are still waiting on their first Division I offer. The 6-6, 175-pound wing guard has a long, athletic frame and the game to match, which he showcased as East Catholic took out St. Joseph’s Prep 75-72 in one of the best games all Saturday afternoon.
Not quite a late bloomer and certainly no raw prospect, Jones is a product of the pandemic and some unfortunate circumstances, losing his entire spring of AAU after he was supposed to play for an out-of-state team that it turned out he wasn’t allowed to suit up for. In a recruiting cycle when many coaches weren’t paying attention to 2023s until this year, that put him behind the eight-ball.
“I just think I never really played on the circuit, live period, nothing,” he said. “[Plus] COVID my freshman and sophomore year, so.”
So, Jones enters the second June live period still very much being discovered by college coaches, despite the fact that he’s every bit the Division I prospect. He was terrific in East Catholic’s win over the Prep, finishing with 16 points on 6-of-11 shooting, hitting his only two 3-pointers, while dishing out eight assists and grabbing three boards, with a block for good measure.
Playing with the ball in his hands, he got to the hoop with ease, made dishes on the move and some excellent interior feeds, displaying the athleticism that runs in his family; his uncle, Tebucky Jones, won a Super Bowl with the Patriots in 2001. A versatile wing guard, Jones looks every bit the modern perimeter piece, and he did it against a Prep squad that has plenty of future Division I talent.
“[I play the] ‘1’ through ‘3,’ really,” he said. “I don’t want to tie myself to just one position. I just like playing basketball.”
That continues a strong run of play from last weekend, when East Catholic — the defending Connecticut Division I state champs — played well at Philly Live I, garnering Jones some fairly strong interest from mid-majors: he mentioned Siena, Saint Peter’s, UPenn and Dartmouth having reached out, “just to name a few.”
It feels like it’s only a matter of time before a scholarship (or several) come rolling in, and Jones can sense that he’s close.
“It’s good to see hard work finally paying off,” he said. “My first real live period [...] getting interest, getting looks, it’s great.” — Josh Verlin
Giancarlo Peguelo (2023 | Gill St. Bernard’s, N.J.)
Peguelo had quite an opportunity in his first year at Gill St. Bernard’s last season, getting to work with one of the best groups of wings anywhere in the country. Last year’s Knights’ roster boasted 6-8 Mackenzie Mbagko, a Duke commit, and 6-7 2024 Naasir Cunningham, now with Overtime Elite, plus incoming Georgetown freshman Denver Anglin, a 6-2 guard and one of the best shooters in the country.
For the Puerto Rico native, who was spending his first season off the island, it was a major learning experience. Now with all of them gone, it’s his time to shine.
“It’s a great opportunity because last year I didn’t get to showcase what I can do,” the 6-foot-5, 205-pound wing said, “so I’m just trying to take advantage of that and have a great year this year.”
Peguelo played well for Gill in a 76-69 loss to Cardinal O’Hara on Saturday afternoon, scoring 29 points and grabbing seven rebounds. The muscular ‘3’ man played downhill, getting to the bucket over and over as he went back-and-forth with O’Hara star junior Izaiah Pasha, who finished with 24 points of his own in leading the Lions to the win.
When he made his Gill debut last year, Peguelo picked up offers from Rutgers, Seton Hall and Dayton, but he said of that trio, only the Rutgers staff is still in touch, checking in every few weeks. The only new school on his recruitment is Siena, who reached out after last weekend’s Philly Live I showcase.
As he aims to impress new schools and get his recruitment rolling in the right direction, Peguelo said he wants to showcase his versatility, and that he’s working on improving his ball handling and his 3-point shooting; he was 2-of-4 from deep against O’Hara.
Earlier this month, he had the opportunity to play for Puerto Rico in the U-18 FIBA Americas tournament, where he averaged 9.5 ppg and 4.3 rpg as PR finished in fifth place in the eight-country event.
“That was a great experience,” he said. “I got to learn a lot from different countries and all that stuff, so that was nice. [...] It made me better in the aspect of being more patient, doing more pump fakes and things like that, reading the game.” — Josh Verlin
— So far, Sam Wright (2023 | Lower Merion) is only hearing from one Division III program — but it’s a good one to hear from. Randolph-Macon (Va.) the defending D-III national champs, have begun communicating with the Aces’ 6-1 guard, a major part of their District 1 6A championship and run to the PIAA semifinals this spring. Wright said he wasn’t aware of the Yellow Jackets’ recent history and they didn’t mention it on their first phone call, but it proved a nice surprise when he looked them up.
“It seems to be like they really want to build you as a basketball player and as a man too,” he said. “and I really like that, and they seem very welcoming and I really like the energy of the coaches.”
The sharpshooting rising senior is set to be a valuable secondary scoring option to Penn commit Sam Brown this season, but Brown is currently sidelined with a broken foot, leaving Wright as Lower Merion’s most experienced player on the court. He’s trying to take advantage of the increased shots to work on his mid-range game as he works on his athleticism off the court.
— Samson Reilly (2024 | East Catholic, Conn.) spent eight weeks working his way back from a broken foot to get cleared two days before East Catholic played in the state championship game, practiced twice and then played — only to promptly break his foot again as East Catholic won the championship. That cost him the entire spring, and he’s only just recently returned to the court. He looked right back in form in East Catholic’s win over St. Joe’s Prep, going 7-of-8 from the floor (5-6 3PT, 8-10 FT) en route to a 27-point outing. Due to his injury, college coaches aren’t too aware of the 6-1 combo guard yet, but that’ll change if he shoots like that on the Under Armour circuit with Middlesex Magic this July.
Reilly comes from a hoops family — his father Luke is East Catholic’s coach, and his brother of the same name is a senior on the squad; his uncle, Joe Reilly, is Wesleyan’s head men’s coach, and his cousin Joey Reilly plays at Sacred Heart.
— Overbrook (N.J.) 2023 G Devon Johnson is hearing from a number of small-college programs at the D-II and D-III level, and he showed why with a 25-point outing including six 3-pointers in a win over White Plains (N.Y.) on Saturday afternoon. The 6-0 guard had a compact shot that worked well, and also attacked the basket well off the bounce, making unselfish plays in the lane when the White Plains defense collapsed. Johnson said he’s talking to D-II Bloomfield and D-IIIs including Union College (N.Y.) and St. Elizabeth (N.J.), and is working on his explosiveness.