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 our picks for standouts from Saturday’s action at St. Joe’s Prep:
Samuel Brannen (2023 | Kings Fork, Va.)
Kings Fork’s 6-0 guard was the leading scorer for the team in their win over Neumann Goretti with 17. Brannen was able to hit multiple threes, as well as score inside. Brannen used his smooth stroke on the outside to help score his 17 points and flashed his athleticism when making moves to the basket. Brannen contributed on the defensive end as well, using his quick footwork to play solid perimeter defense on the Neumann Goretti guards.
Isaac Cole (2025 | West Catholic)
Isaac Cole will be moving into a more prominent role in West Catholic’s rotation following some graduations from last year’s team, and he looks poised to replace some of the production. The rangy 6-6 wing stood out on defense in West’s matchup against Hayfield. Whenever he was the primary defender on fellow Division prospect Greg Jones, Cole’s length made running offense difficult. On the offensive side, Cole’s greatest quality is his cutting instincts and ability to find open space in half-court possessions. He finished with 15 points and went 3-5 from 3-point territory. After the game against Hayfield, Cole picked up his first Division I offer from Hampton.
Chris Fields (above) is a strong-bodied wing forward with a well-rounded game. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
Chris Fields (2023 | King’s Fork, Va.)
Kings Fork’s 6-foot-6, 220-pound forward showed his physical strength and determination Saturday. Fields used his strength and power to score tough baskets in the paint against Neumann Goretti, which resulted in a win for Kings Fork. Fields had 10 points and also made his presence known on the defensive end by playing tough defense in the paint and on the perimeter. Fields showed good athleticism and was able to move around swiftly, primarily when finishing around the rim.
Tristan Guillouette (2024 | St. Joseph’s Prep)
The St. Joe’s Prep big man knows how to go to work from the high or low post, using his 6-9, 240-plus pound frame with a mix of agility and strength to get to his spots, and he’s got soft hands and footwork around the rim. He was 6-of-8 from the floor and 6-of-6 from the foul line for an 18-point outing, grabbing eight rebounds, dishing out three assists and grabbing a steal and a block as Prep fell by three.
Jalen Harper (2024 | St. Joseph’s Prep)
One of the youngest rising juniors in the area (he doesn’t turn 16 until December), Harper averaged 6.5 ppg for the Prep last year, but he blew past that on Saturday in a close loss to East Catholic. The 6-2 combo guard finished with 19 points and four rebounds, showcasing a smooth ability to get to the rim and finish even through contact and using odd angles off the glass, and his 3-point shot looked smooth as he was 1-of-3 from deep. The Prep backcourt is deep, but Harper’s showing he can play with any of them.
Dezmond Hopkins (2024 | Patriot School, Va.)
The 6-0 guard dropped 18 points in a 54-48 loss to Ramapo, but he showed the versatility in his offensive game. Hopkins was able to get to the basket as well as hit his outside jumpers. The three ball was working for Hopkins, but his offensive game didn’t end there, he was able to get to the basket and finish at the rim. Hopkins showed a good offensive tool set, as well as playing solid defense on the perimeter.
Greg Jones (2023 | Hayfield, Va.)
During Hayfield’s 71-66 loss to West Catholic, Jones finished with 19 points, doing most of his work at the rim. He was at his best whenever he could grab defensive rebounds and push the ball up court via the pass or the dribble. The rising senior is very fluid and never looks out of control on the basketball court, which is why he has quite a handful Division I offers pending. Defensively, Jones did a good job staying in front of various players on West Catholic’s side.
James Jones (2023 | East Catholic, Conn.)
We’ve had Jones in our standouts several times during these Philly Live sessions, and the 6-6 wing guard continues to earn it. A major piece of East Catholic’s 2021-22 state championship squad, Jones is a multi-talented perimeter piece who plays point for East Catholic, and his eight assists he dished out in a win over St. Joe’s Prep showed he was plenty comfortable with the ball in his hands and facilitating the offense. He also showed he can score it, finishing with 16 points on several drives and a couple 3-pointers, displaying tremendous versatility all over the court. No offers yet, due to a lack of exposure, but there’s no doubt he’s a Division I ballplayer.
Daemar Kelly (2023 | Penn Hills)
As a Pittsburgh native who plays for Team Final, Kelly is no stranger to the tough competition in the Philly area. The 6-5 wing proved his dominance on Saturday afternoon, recording 26 points to go along with four rebounds in the team’s 70-44 victory over Bethlehem Catholic. Kelly drained his first deep triple on Penn Hills’ opening possession and the rest of the game flowed through him, finishing 7-of-9 from distance. Coming up with key rebounds and protecting the rim, Kelly was also a force on the defensive end with his length, quick hands and athleticism caused fits for the young Bethlehem Catholic forwards.
Zach Kirk (2024 | Octorara)
Kirk put Pope John Paul II’s defense under constant pressure on Saturday. The rising junior finished with 25 points during a 56-53 buzzer-beating loss. For most of the game, Kirk was in attack mode, putting his head down and finishing through contact with either hand. He had most of his success either driving from the right elbow, where he had multiple crafty finishes with his right hand or attacking from the left corner off of a pump fake or hesitation to get in the lane and finish strongly with his left hand. When the game was coming down to the wire, Kirk showed off some of his range, knocking down two threes, including one off the dribble where the 6-0 guard created space with a step-back before nailing a game-tying trey. Kirk plays AAU with Lancaster Elite, and during the summer, he is emphasizing improving as an on-ball defender.
Devon Nelson (2025 | Pope John Paul II)
Nelson’s Saturday morning started with a bit of excitement as he nailed the buzzer-beater three to give Pope John Paul II a 56-53 win over Octorara. But before that, the rising sophomore was carrying the scoring load for PJP, finishing with 16 points. The 6-1 guard, who plays AAU for Gibbs Elite, went into the summer looking to improve as a jump shooter, and it paid off in Saturday's contest. Nelson was also effective driving past defenders on his way to the basket and looks poised to be a breakout player for PJP heading into this season.
Izaiah Pasha (2023 | Cardinal O’Hara)
Another rising senior who’s seen his name appear on these writeups more often than not lately, Pasha continued his strong stretch of play in a 76-69 win over Gill St. Bernard’s on Saturday afternoon. The 6-5 wing guard, who was just making his O’Hara debut this time last year, looks much more comfortable with the ball in his hands than he did a year ago, with a smoother all-around game and feel. He was 9-of-15 from the floor, including 3-of-6 from 3-point range, en route to a 24-point outing, grabbing 11 rebounds along the way, and was playing in ‘attack’ mode all game long. Pasha’s pull-up 3-point jumper still could use some work, but he’s excellent off the catch and attacking the rim.
Giancarlo Peguero (2023 | Gill St. Bernard’s, N.J.)
Going up against Pasha in the O’Hara-Gill game, Peguero certainly held his own, as the 6-5, 205-pound wing showed he can also be a three-level threat and physical presence in the post. Peguero, who played for the Puerto Rico U-18 team earlier this month at the FIBA Americas tournament, thrived on getting into the paint and finishing around the rim, including several second-chance buckets, but also hit a couple mid-range pull-ups and was 2-of-4 from 3-point range, as well as 9-of-12 from the line, for 29 points. Peguero said that Siena had reached out, and Rutgers, which offered last year, remains in contact.
Samson Reilly (2024 | East Catholic, Conn.)
After recently just returning to the court after breaking his foot twice and missing all of spring ball, Reilly stud out Saturday with his shooting prowess. Reilly exploded for 27 points in East Catholic’s 75-72 victory over St. Joe’s Prep. Reilly finished 7-8 from the floor while also going 8-10 from the line. He did almost all his damage on the outside, going 5-6 from three point range in the win. The 6-1 guard flashed his smooth shooting form and quick release from behind the arc. On top of his slick shooting performance, Reilly played good defense throughout the game, even contesting some shots at the rim.
Ruben Rodriguez (above) skies for the dunk on Saturday at St. Joseph's Prep. (Photo: Dan Hilferty/CoBL)
Ruben Rodriguez (2023 | Reading)
In Reading’s 51-37 victory over White Plains (N.Y.), Rodriguez was unquestionably the best player on the floor, dropping 17 points. The rising senior got into the lane when he wanted, scored efficiently inside the arc, and most importantly, controlled the game's pace. Rodriguez credits his time playing with the U18 Puerto Rican national team in FIBA for his improved ability to control the game. Against White Plains, Rodriguez found open teammates consistently, finishing with six assists. The 6-1 guard made drop-off passes around the rim and outlet passes in transition and found the open man on the perimeter after drawing double teams. Rodriguez also grew about two inches heading into the summer. The additional height plus added explosiveness has made the right-handed speedster more inclined to finish above the rim than in years past.
Trey Rogers (2023 | Pope John Paul II)
Last season, Trey Rogers' game was predicated on being a catch-and-shoot player, but during this upcoming season, he’ll be one of two seniors on the team, so he’ll have to take a more active role as a playmaker. And in Saturday’s win over Octorara, he did just that as he finished with five assists, and he was vital to Pope John Paul II running their offense on seemingly every possession. The 5-11 guard also showed off the shooting stroke during the game, drilling two three-pointers en route to his ten points during PJP’s Saturday morning set. The rising senior plays AAU with Eastern PA Elite, where he’ll be using the rest of the summer to continue to improve his playmaking skills.
Zion Stanford (2023 | West Catholic)
So far, during the Philly Live period, it has almost been inevitable that Stanford will end up on a standouts list. This Saturday, the rising senior continued his impressive play. In West Catholic’s 71-66 win against Hayfield (Va.), Stanford had 26 points showing off his versatile offensive game. He scored with his back to the basket or while running the break. The 6-5 wing also passed out the post well and drained two threes. His highlight sequence from West Catholic’s early afternoon matchup included a straight-line drive from the top of the key for a two-handed dunk through traffic, and on the following defensive possession, he blocked a shot at the rim with two hands. His play during both sessions of Philly Live has heated up his recruiting, as he most recently earned offers from Rider, NJIT, and Hampton.
Josh Benka-Coker (2026 | Bethlehem Catholic), Dylan Blair (2023 | Downingtown West), Alex Cercado (2023 | Bethlehem Catholic), Adam ‘Budd’ Clark (2023 | West Catholic), Preston Fowler (2025 | East Catholic, Conn.), Donovan Fromhartz (2025 | Downingtown West), Myles Grey (2023 | Reading), Jalen Hornsby (2024 | St. Joseph’s Prep), Devon Johnson (2023 | Overbrook, N.J.), Hunter Johnson (2024 | Cardinal O’Hara), David King (2023 | Hayfield, Va.), Matthew Kinzler (2023 | St. Peter’s Prep), Nick Losada (2023 | Gill St. Bernard’s, N.J.), Jaron McKie (2025 | St. Joseph’s Prep), Bruce Smith (2023 | Neumann-Goretti), Lucas Thaler (2023 | Octorara), Jackson Tindall (2023 | St. Peter’s Prep), Jake Warren (2023 | Downingtown West), Shemar Wilbanks-Acqui (2023 | West Catholic), Robert Wright III (2024 | Neumann-Goretti)