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Donofrio Classic Report: Thurs., April 13, 2023

04/14/2023, 1:00am EDT
By CoBL Staff

CoBL Staff (@hooplove215)

CONSHOHOCKEN — The 2023 Donofrio Classic’s semifinals are set, the second night of the quarterfinals taking place in a hot Fellowship House on Thursday night. The tournament has just two days left, Monday's semifinals and the championship game the day afterwards.

Here’s a roundup and notebook from Thursday night’s competition; CLICK HERE for all of CoBL’s 2023 Donofrio Classic coverage:


Game One: Love Basketball 115, Philly Hoop Group 92
The toughness of Love Basketball was too much for a shorthanded Philly Hoop Group, which got big outings from Justin Edwards (2023 | Imhotep Charter) and Ahmad Nowell (2024 | Imhotep Charter) but didn’t have the legs to hang with Alassane Amadou (2023 | SCH Academy), Deywilk Tavarez (2023 | Academy New Church), Nayeem Johnson (2023 | Math, Civics & Sciences) and the rest. Tavarez got Love Basketball going early with five first-half 3-pointers, powering him to a 30-point outing, splitting it with 15 in each half. Johnson helped close it out with 19 of his 29 in the second half, while Amadou added 27 of his own, scoring 23 of those in the second half. That was enough to offset a 39-point outing by Nowell, who hit seven 3-pointers, while Edwards added 20.  

Game Two: Raw Sports 110, NEPA Elite 108
This one is about as good a game as you’re going to see in a spring all-star tournament on an undersized rec court gym. NEPA Elite, the top grassroots program in the northeast corner of the state, was in control for most of the first 35 minutes, taking advantage of their built-in years of chemistry to go up by as many as 20 points behind big efforts from Augie Gerhart (2023 | Hill School), Ben Chilson (2023 | Tunkhannock) and Gabe Tanner (2025 | Perkiomen School). But Raw Sports was boosted by the late arrival of Izaiah Pasha (2024 | TBD), who had been at a practice for his own grassroots program. Pasha scored 11 points in the final six minutes as Raw Sports made its late-game push, getting a couple clutch triples from Googie Seidman (2023 | Haverford High) before Pasha came up with a put-back bucket with seven seconds left to lift Raw Sports to an improbable victory. 

Myles Grey (2023 | Reading) led the way for Raw Sports with an outstanding 36-point effort, including six 3-pointers, hitting all sorts of step-back shots, tough buckets in the lane, getting to the line, you name it. St. Joe’s commit Xzayvier Brown (2023 | Roman Catholic) added five 3’s of his own in a 32-point outing, and Ruben Rodriguez (2023 | Reading) had 15 points for Raw Sports, the defending champs. Tanner led NEPA Elite with 25 points, including a pair of 3-pointers; Gerhart, bound for Penn, had 22 points and a ton of boards, Chilson adding 21 while 14 points from Mason Fedor (2024 | Abington Heights) and 10 from Will Marion (2024 | Abington Heights) rounded out the double-digit scorers.


Myles Grey weighing all sorts of college options

It seems like wherever Myles Grey goes, winning follows. 

After winning the Donofrio Classic last spring with Raw Sports, he finished his senior season at Reading with a state championship and only a single loss throughout the campaign.

Just when his magical run seemed to be coming to an end at the Donofrio Classic Thursday night against a hot shooting NEPA Elite squad, the 5-foot-9 Grey led the charge offensively to help erase a 20-point deficit and escape with a narrow victory. 

“It was our mentality… we just didn’t give up,” he said. 

Myles Grey (above, right) has a healthy group of small-college programs vying for his services. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)

It was a gutsy performance full of stepback threes, acrobatic layups, and energetic defense as Grey inspired his team all night when it looked like they were heading for a blowout loss. 

Grey --  who finished with a brilliant 36-point performance -- showcased all the qualities that have several colleges vying for the guard’s services come fall. 

Not only is Grey receiving interest from Division III schools from multiple states such as York College, Clark University (Mass.) and Kean (N.J), and Elizabethtown, but Division II programs West Chester — who had an assistant coach present Thursday night — and East Stroudsburg University have joined the race. Among his potential suitors, Grey has already made visits to West Chester, Clark and York, with more lined up with the hope of getting them all done in the next week. 

Grey, who hopes to study computer science, is considering several factors along with academics and campus life as he aims to make a decision in the coming weeks. When it comes to on the court factors, a program with a great culture is something he will be looking for. But above all else, Grey is looking for a school that can offer him more of what he’s already had.

“[I want] a welcoming feeling,” he said. “I come from a family, I come from a brotherhood. I definitely want to come into another family, another brotherhood where I can strive and impact the program right away.”

Speaking of that brotherhood, this will not only be the last go around with Raw Sports and the Donofrio Classic, it is also the last time he will play with Reading teammate and fellow guard Ruben Rodriguez, who is committed to play at Rider University next season. After lifting the state championship together, Grey and Rodriguez are now in a position to make a run at back-to-back Donofrio Classic titles, an opportunity that is not lost on Myles Grey. 

“It mIght be our last time playing together so we just got to savor each moment,” says Grey. “It means everything. We play at a high level, we just want to win everything we play in. To finish my career and say I went back to back in Donofrio, that’s definitely an accomplishment.” — Justin Procope


Gerhart gearing up for Penn 

Augie Gerhart won’t officially become a Penn student until late August, but the future Quakers forward and Hill School product is already getting a taste of the college level.

Augie Gerhart (above) has already been getting in some open runs with his future Penn teammates. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)

During the weekends and on Mondays and Thursdays, Gerhart has been heading down to University City to run pickup games with Penn’s current squad.

“It’s a lot of fun playing with them,” Gerhart said. “It’s a lot of great guys. I definitely gotta get bigger, faster, stronger because they’re like full grown men down there, but I’m really, really excited.” 

Gerhart is a 6-8 forward with a polished post game and an improving jumper whose strength sticks out compared to some of the post players Penn has brought in recently. Gerhart said he hasn’t talked to coach Steve Donahue about what his playing time might look like next season. 

The Quakers will return 6-9 forward Nick Spinoso in the front court next season; however, Max Lorca-Lloyd and Michael Moshkovitz both graduate (and are unable to use the rest of their eligibility in the Ivy League due to league rules) and 6-10 sophomore Gus Larson entered the transfer portal.

“Obviously, I have high hopes, but I’m just going to go out there and compete and see where the chips fall,” Gerhart said. “And if not, I’m going to be the best bench warmer I can be, and I just want to help the team however I can.”

Gerhart said Penn’s returners have a house they’ll be staying at during the summer, and they’ve invited Gerhart to come and stay and workout when school lets out. He plans on taking advantage of the opportunity, but also noted he has to work a job this summer as the Ivy League doesn’t hand out scholarships. He did landscaping last summer and isn’t quite sure what work is in store for this summer.

Gerhart, who is headed to Penn’s Wharton School of Business to study business sustainability, renewable energy and environmental science, plans on hitting the weight room, improving his athleticism and 3-point range and improving his game overall when he’s not working.  

He’s shown his ability to get better in two seasons at Hill.

“It’s such a special program. I’m just so fortunate to have played with coach [Seth] Eilberg and the guys,” Gerhart said. “Obviously, it ended pretty unfortunately with the MAPL championship and state playoff game, but I’m just really happy to be able to finish my career there, and I have so much love for this school and for Coach Eilberg. I think the whole season was special for me.” — Owen McCue


Quick Hits

Nayeem Johnson (above) is hearing from D-II and D-III programs. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)

Nayeem Johnson (2023 | Math, Civics & Sciences) had another big night at the Fellowship House, pouring in 29 points during Love Basketball’s win. Johnson has eye catching athleticism and he said his shot is really coming around, knocking down a pair of threes on Thursday.

He averaged 2.1 ppg as a freshman at MCS, 4.8 ppg as a junior and was up over 10 ppg as a senior during a breakout senior campaign, hitting 13-of-39 attempts from three (33 percent).

“My shot is becoming very consistent,” Johnson said. “That is what I thought took a huge jump in my game. … It’s all coming together.

The strong 6-3 guard, who averaged double figures for the first time in his career this past season, doesn’t have an offer yet but he said he is hearing from multiple Division II programs, naming West Chester and East Stroudsburg. Division IIIs Neumann and Delaware Valley are also in pursuit.

“I think I bring a little bit of everything,” Johnson said. “I rebound the ball, box out, defend. I can score, I can pass it. I really feel like I can do everything, and I’m just a leader.”

It sounds like he’s in good shape to play hoops at the next level somewhere next season. In the meantime, he is taking in the last few weeks of his high school career, whether it’s playing hoops at the Donofrio or elsewhere.

“Really this postseason, I’ve been having a lot of fun being in the gym, playing in stuff like this,” Johnson said. “I’ve just been enjoying it all.”

Dior Carter (2026 | Academy New Church) said his team’s seniors were hard on him at times this season. At the same time, he eventually realized it’s because they knew he was good. In his first year after coming from the City School, the freshman won over his older teammates.

Two of whom — Deywilk Tavarez and Jarell Keel — he was out on the floor with Thursday at the Donofrio.

“They mean a lot,” Carter said. “They taught me a lot of things throughout the whole season. They got on me, preparing me for the season. They got on me all season, which is great for me. I did get in my feelings sometimes, but sometimes I had to look at it and suck it up and be like, ‘I’m the youngest one there, so it’s gonna be good for me in the long run.’ They taught me a lot, and I really appreciated them being on my side during the season.”

With seniors Tavarez and Keel and junior Bahsil Laster among those manning the backcourt, the 6-3 Carter spent most of his time as an undersized forward this season. He’s extremely strong and athletic, particularly for a player his age and was able to scrap for points.

ANC coach Kevin Givens said the plan during Carter’s career would be to move him out toward the perimeter. Carter’s plan this summer is to start that trek as he works on his game and plays for Philly Pride’s 15U squad.

“I’m hoping to accomplish working on my ball handling a lot and working on my shooting and being more aggressive,” Carter said. “I feel like it’s all going to come along during the summer. I’m really excited, and I’m going to be on the circuit this year, so there should be some buzz going on.”

Gabe Tanner (above) is playing with the WeR1 16s this spring. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)

Gabe Tanner (2025 | Perkiomen School) said year one with the Panthers under coach Tom Baudinet was a success. The former Mid-Valley standout feels stronger, is moving faster, has felt his athleticism tick up and most importantly feels more confident than ever.

“It was awesome,” Tanner said. “It was the first year doing a new school for me and everything, so the transition was good for me, and it was a lot of fun. Coach B, he’s been working me out, being a lot better and my game improving everyday, so I’m loving it.”

Tanner, who played with the NEPA Elite squad at the Donofrio on Thursday, is also playing with a new grassroots squad this spring and summer. After running with NEPA’s 17U team last season, Tanner is playing for WeR1’s 16U group, where he hopes to show off his improved athleticism by getting to the rim — nearly tossing down a dunk in traffic on Thursday.

Tanner will also be prepping for an expanded role at Perk next season as Thomas Haugh (Florida), Bobby Rosenberger (Saint Francis) and Preist Ryan headed to the next level after the school’s first PAISAA championship.

“I’m ready to take on the role I think,” Tanner said. “Coach B has been talking to me and saying I have to get ready to be a leader and we got a couple returners, me, Demaj, Brant and Macon. I think we’re going to show the new guys how Perk basketball is.”

— There’s no doubt that the Raw Sports squad is the most talented one that Googie Seidman has ever played on. The Haverford High senior has been one of the best players on his grassroots teams with Pro Skills Philly and the most talented on the Fords roster the last couple years, though his older brother John (Franklin & Marshall) might give him a run for his money for best in the family.

Playing with five Division I recruits on Raw Sports is a whole new feel for Seidman, who’s getting ready to play his college ball at D-III Catholic U (D.C.) in the fall. But in two games with Raw Sports he’s been far from a wallflower, taking (and making) quite a few of his usual long 3-balls, including the clutch one in the final minutes of the comeback win.

“It’s really exciting, and they’re just being really really good to me, giving me a lot of opportunities, letting me capitalize and do what I do best,” he said. “They’re all great teammates, they’re telling me to keep shooting, giving me a lot of confidence.”

The Donofrio experience should be a helpful one for Seidman, who’s joining a Catholic squad that went 22-4 this season, without a senior in the main part of the rotation. If the high-scoring guard can crack the lineup, he certainly won’t be getting a high volume of shots that he’s used to with PSB and Haverford; he said he’s working this summer on his defense and handles to make himself as useful as possible this winter. 

“The next level, I think I’m not going to be that guy right off the jump, you have to earn your role and play within a team, learn what to do, learn what not to do,” he said. “I just like playing my role.”

Naji Reid (2023 | League Bound Academy, N.J.) left Imhotep Charter two years ago for Joshua Christian (Fl.), repeating his junior year and moving into the 2023 class, then finished out his high school years in N.J., playing for former NBA guard Ronald ‘Flip’ Murray at LBA. Though he proved himself as a high scorer, dropping 10 3s in one half in a game at Joshua Christian, Reid’s come out of his high school years with his recruitment not quite in the place he was hoping for it to be. Reid said he’s had some conversations with East Stroudsburg, but the JUCO route is something he might have to explore to get to a four-year college. The Philly native was happy to be making his Donofrio debut, even in a losing effort, getting to put his name down with the likes of Kobe Bryant and all the others who’ve played at the Fellowship House before.

“It’s good to be back in the city,” he said. “Last year I was supposed to play but I was down in Florida. It’s lovely, a couple greats played here, so it’s lovely. It’s legacy, I love it.”

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