The 2023 Donofrio Classic got underway Monday night, with the first of five first-round nights to take place over this week and into next, with 25 games ultimately determining the champions come April 18 at the Fellowship House in Conshohocken.
CoBL will be there for coverage every night as we get our recruiting coverage started this offseason; CLICK HERE to access our 2023 Donofrio hub. Read ahead for game recaps and a notebook featuring several of the players who took the court Monday night:
John Clemmons (above) and Just Clean It had an easier game in the second game of the evening. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
Game One: Old School Cavaliers 104, Just Cool It 102
The Donofrio Classic started with a bang, a hard-fought game that was nip-and-tuck most of the way through, the Old School Cavs just barely pulling it out at the end after Just Cool It missed a pair of foul shots in the final 10 seconds, then got the rebound but couldn’t get a clean look at the rim before the Cavaliers stole it away in the last three or four seconds. The Cavaliers were led by a core of players from Chichester and Neshaminy; Chi’s Zaiyin Keys (19 points), the senior’s twin brother Akhir Keys (14 points) and their classmate Vince Wildrick (17 points) all played well, though the leading scorer was Paul VI (N.J.) sophomore Manny Joe Samuel, who had 27 points, while Engineering & Science’s Nile Mosby had nine points, a strong day on the glass and a handful of blocks. Just Cool It, which was built around a core of Rocktop Academy players and was coached by Rocktop’s Sam Rines, got 26 points from Ryan Archey, 17 from Earle ‘E.J.’ Greer, and 15 from Archbishop Wood junior Josh Reed.
Game Two: Just Clean It 95, BW Elite White 71
A group of seniors and juniors playing under Archbishop Wood assistant Tom Boyd didn’t have too much trouble with a BW Elite White squad that was Brad Wanamaker’s 15U group, all just finishing up their freshman year of college. So despite the former Roman Catholic and Pitt standout himself coaching, the age gap was just too much, JCI never quite able to put BW Elite away by more than 20-24 but BW Elite never really able to cut much into a gap that was 25 at the midway point. All 10 JCI players scored, without a true standout in the group; Garnet Valley sophomore Jake Sniras had 15 points and Caravel Academy (Del.)’s duo of junior point guard Dom Wyatt (13 points) and senior wing John Clemmons (12) joined him in double figures. BW Elite got 28 points from Germantown Friends freshman Jordan Dill, the two-year varsity starter with 1,000 points under his belt, while Upper Dublin freshman Kobe Bazemore added 15 and Cheltenham’s 6-7 forward Peyton McClendon added 12 in the second half.
Perkiomen School’s Addesa ready to re-introduce himself to college coaches
It’s been an interesting couple years for Alfredo Addesa.
Alfredo Addesa (above) is playing for Team Final this summer. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
The 6-foot-10 native of Milan, Italy, who’s just finishing up his junior year of high school, was at the Perkiomen School this past year, his first at the Pennsburg boarding school. It was just his second year in the States, having gone to Doane Academy (N.J.) the year before, following in the footsteps of a few other young Italian hoopers who’ve come to play high school ball in the Garden State before going into the collegiate ranks.
“We play way different in Europe,” he said. “It’s more of a slow game, less athletic, more thinking, shooting, you know? Here it’s very very fast and you need to work a lot to be quicker on defense and offense.
“This year I’m getting used to it, this year. Last year was really difficult for me.”
Addesa looked comfortable enough making his Donofrio debut, scoring 12 points for Old School Cavaliers, with plenty of rebounds and a couple blocks along the way.
Addesa was along for the ride as the Panthers won the PA Independent School (PAISAA) state championship and got to play in GEICO Nationals, the most successful season yet for Tom Baudinet’s program. But Addesa’s role was largely as a deep reserve, Perkiomen’s deep and talented senior-laden frontcourt making it tough to break into the rotation in a significant way.
That doesn’t mean that he regrets his decision to leave New Jersey for the Keystone State — just the opposite, in fact.
“It was really good,” he said. “I grew a lot: mentally, physically, technically, everything. I’m so happy to go there.”
The biggest draw for Addesa was the ability to go up against senior forwards Thomas Haugh (Florida) and Preist Ryan (uncommitted), among others, every single day in practice. Haugh, a bouncy 6-9 stretch-forward, and Ryan, a muscular 6-8 combo forward, showed Addesa what it took to play Division I hoops, especially on the defensive end.
“When I came to (Perkiomen) this year I couldn’t stop them,” he said. “And now after six months of working every day, now I can. It’s all them, they helped me a lot this year, really.”
Addesa will also be with a new grassroots program this summer, as he’s joined Team Final to play on the Nike EYBL. After playing with Team Rio on the Under Armour circuit a year ago, he had some Division I interest, from the likes of Lafayette, Boston U, Princeton, and others. That interest mostly fizzled away during the season, but he’s hoping that the progress he’s made behind the scenes will show itself on the courts during the April, June and July live periods.
“I’m working now from this summer on defense, to be quicker, I’m working on my physique,” he said. “I want to be a stretch-(four), to shoot, dribble.” — Josh Verlin
Logan McKee (above) will do a prep year at the Phelps School and enter the class of 2024. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
Garnet Valley’s McKee prepping at Phelps School
Logan McKee realized last season at Garnet Valley that basketball was more than just a game to him.
He stopped playing soccer after his freshman season. He started getting a little more serious as a sophomore. By his junior season, the 6-foot-6 guard was enamored with the sport.
”Last year, it really clicked for me that I really wanted to do this,” McKee said. “I’m a little sad that it happened late because I could have trained more like I do now and get into this game.”
McKee’s high school basketball career concluded in the second round of the PIAA Class 6A tournament two weeks ago. The All-Central League honorable mention thinks he still has some work to do however before heading to the next level.
He decided before this season that he would take a prep year. He’ll play at Phelps School next season with hopes of improving his stock.
“I call it the business of basketball for me,” McKee said. “That’s what I say. I’m trying to go professional, Division I, so I see Phelps as a way to get there.”
McKee said he had some Division II interest this season, mentioning West Chester as one of the schools who reached out. He will play his grassroots ball with Delaware Ignite again this summer.
The future Phelps School guard trains with former professional basketball player Aaron Johnson, where he’s worked out with a few top high school talents. That helped his ambition grow.
McKee has some nice size for the guard position. He can shoot it from deep and put it on the floor. His hope is to keep adding onto his game with an extra year to prepare.
“I feel like overall, building on what I have,” McKee said of his goal at Phelps. “I feel like I already have a decent base but I want to add onto the base. I want to improve my ball handling, improve my shooting to a point where people look at me and just think, ‘Alright, that’s a player. — Owen McCue
Younger Murray ready for next level
Chase Murray described his older brother Maurice as a “pretty big deal back in the day” when he suited up for Timber Creek (N.J.).
The older Murray brother bounced around to a few junior college programs after leaving Timber Creek in 2018 and now is trying to find a home at a four-year school. He’s also made sure Chase, five years his junior, put himself in position to succeed at the next level.
“He took a stumble in the classroom,” Chase Murray said. “He’s one of the best basketball talents that I’ve ever seen, so he really got on me about staying in the classroom.”
The wisdom from his older brother has paid off for Chase, who holds a pair of college offers at the moment.
Chase, a 6-10 forward, spent three seasons himself at Timber Creek before playing at Paul VI (N.J.). He shot up past his brother during his sophomore year when he reached about 6-7.
“He came home from school, and he was like, ‘Wow, when did this happened?” Murray said.
Chase spent this past season doing a postgrad year at Feltrim Academy (Fla.), where he got a taste of what college life will be like. There were four workouts per day, beginning at 7 a.m. and Murray felt their impact. Murray noted the strength he added helped him improve his handles and ability to drive to the basket.
The Sicklerville, N.J. native currently has offers from D-IIs Bloomfield (N.J.) and Elizabeth City (N.J.). He took a visit to Bloomfield, and noted he liked the community-feel to the program. There’s no football team on campus so the hoops squad is the top dog. He hopes to get on campus at Elizabeth City some time in April. Southeastern New Hampshire and Georgian Court have both reached out to him as well.
“I can do a little bit of everything, shotmaking, playmaking, driving, finishing and passing,” Murray said. “So I feel like I can add a little bit of everything, but if you key in on one goal, I can do whatever you want me to do.” — Owen McCue
Ryan Archey (above) (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
— Ryan Archey (2023 | Rocktop Academy) ended up making his way to the area from Gwynn Park (Md.) to do a postgrad season at Rockop. While playing for Gwynn Park as a senior he stood out during an event at West Chester against PCL power Neumann-Goretti and caught Rocktop’s Sam Rines’ attention. The 6-foot-1 guard recently picked up a DI offer from Delaware State and a D-II offer from Augusta University (Ga.) within the last two weeks. He has a visit to Delaware State planned for next week. Wagner is another Division I program he’s been in touch with. Archey has a really good feel for the game. He said he watches a lot of Chris Paul and Darius Garland. Delaware State’s staff said they love his pull-up jumper and ability to create for himself and others. “It was a good experience,” Archey said of his time at Rocktop. “We traveled all over the country and we played the best from every area. It’s been a great experience, playing in front of coaches and learning the game from Sam.
— Joey Callahan (2023 | Bishop Eustace, N.J.) was talking to Arcadia, Albright, Cabrini and Penn State-Abington but it seems like Arcadia and Albright are the favorites for the 6-2 shooting guard from South Jersey. Callahan, who visited Albright on Monday and then came right to Conshohocken for the Donofrio opener to chip into JCI’s victory, said he really likes Albright’s campus and coach Rick Ferry, while he also had a good connection with Arcadia head coach Adam Van Zelst. Callahan said a decision is likely coming within the week.
Vince Wildrick (above) hit three 3-pointers in Old School Cavaliers' win. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
— Akhir Keys and Zaiyin Keys (2023s | Chichester) are intent on going to college together, and it seems they’re down to two options: Penn State-Abington and Albright. They already visited PSU-Abington but are heading up to Albright in a couple weeks, after which point they’ll make their decision, Akhir said. Their classmate, 6-4 forward, Vince Wildrick (2023 | Chichester), another starter on Chichester’s Del-Val League championship squad, said he hadn’t heard from any colleges yet but was hoping to use Donofrio to get in front of some D-III coaches, and is eyeing playing in the April live periods if that doesn’t pan out.
— John Clemmons (2023 | Caravel Academy, Del.) has a few different options as his high school career draws to a close. The 6-5 wing guard said he’s gotten some interest from Division II programs like Millersville and Wilmington University, plus interest from D-III Cabrini (which now needs a new coach), but he’s also been hearing from some prep options, which he’s also considering. Clemmons said he’ll be playing with WeR1 in April and will see what his options are after the April live periods are and go from there.