By Ryan Coyle (@ryancoyle35)
THe Plymouth Whitemarsh Spring League finished up its second-to-last week of the regular season on Thursday. There’s one more night of hoops (May 30) before the playoffs begin (June 1). CoBL’s Ryan Coyle was there to check on some of the local squads. Here’s his notebook from the sets he was able to get his eyes on:
PW working on chemistry with new-look lineup
After winning the SOL regular season, SOL Tournament, and District 1 6A titles last season, Plymouth Whitemarsh looks in shape to not rebuild, but instead reload.
While key pieces from last year’s team including first team all-league forward and 1,000 point scorer Quidire Bennent and starting center Lincoln Sharpe move on due to graduation, the Colonials return a few familiar faces, including point guard Jaden Colzie.
Reigning District 1-6A champion Plymouth Whitemarsh and Jaden Colzie, above, still like like one of the returning favorites thus far this offseason. (Photo: Ryan Coyle/CoBL)
"I think the biggest thing with us going into next season is just building up that chemistry,” Colzie said. “I think that is one of the biggest things that led to our success last year was how well we played together and how well we knew each other on the court.”
While Bennent and Sharpe are significant losses, the return of Colzie, first team all-league guard Chase Coleman, and the high-energy wing Jah Sayles gives the Colonials some experienced vets to groom some of the young and up-and-coming players on this year’s roster.
“Getting to play another year alongside Chase is great, because last year was just the beginning for us,” Colzie said. I feel like after having a season like we did last year, we know each other really well on the floor now and know what to expect from one another. That is something we can continue to build on to have success again.”
With the loss of Bennent and his massive scoring production from the lineup, Colzie is expecting a few guys to step up and try to fill the void, but he and his teammates are eying a big leap from rising sophomore Mani Sajid. Sajid, a 6-4 Class of 2026 guard showed the ability to knock down open threes and appears to have a growing offensive game that should get better with time as he continues to develop under Jim Donofrio.
Integrating players into new roles and counting on other guys to step up will be one of the keys of PW’s offseason as they approach the winter and get ready for what looks like another year with a roster capable of making a deep run in the district playoffs.
Once a freshman in the starting lineup himself, Colzie knows it is now his turn to use the experience he has picked up over the last three seasons to help lead the Colonials to similar success as a season ago.
“Coach D started me for a reason I think as a freshman,” Colzie said. “It was to get me ready for this moment, this year, to lead the team and continue on the success we have built here. I am looking forward to using everything I have learned to help out my guys and have another big year.”
— Local Division III programs in the market for a 2024 “pure point guard” should look no further than Matt Engle of Central Bucks West. Engle, an honorable mention nominee in the SOL last season, plays with great poise and pace at the lead guard spot. He was able to navigate pressure against a young Imhotep bunch that had a bevy of athletic perimeter players trying to stick him. The 5-10 rising senior didn’t showcase much of an outside offensive game on the night, but in terms of getting his team into offensive sets, making the right reads, and showing the ability to get to the cup, Engle had an impressive performance against several future Division I players.
— Devon Prep rising 6-4 junior Zane Conlon showed on Thursday night why he is one of the more versatile returning pieces in the Catholic League next season. Conlon, who has a solid frame, banged around inside, hit an outside shot, rebounded the ball, and showed the ability to put the ball on the deck. Without top-tier athleticism, it will be a situation to watch this winter in the PCL if he can produce with a heavier workload against top notch competition. Division III programs have already taken notice, but Division II shouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility with a few big seasons ahead.
— Entering his fourth year as a starter for PW, colleges have been keeping tabs on rising senior point guard Jaden Colzie for some time now. After a strong end to his junior season, carrying into the spring AAU circuit, Colzie mentioned he has heard from FDU, Rider, and most recently Princeton. With no visits lined up at the moment, Colzie hopes to continue his hot play with BW Elite at some elite camps over the next few months and during the July Live Periods to land himself a Division I scholarship.
— Chase Coleman is entering his second season at PW and claimed his stake as one of the top guards in the SOL after a strong junior season that saw him earn first team all-league last winter. The 6-2 Coleman has a dangerous first step and uses that quickness to get by defenders en route to the bucket and uses that quickness on the defensive end as well, causing quite a few turnovers against Devon Prep in Thursday’s victory. With an inconsistent offensive game, it is hard to project if he will wind up being a Division I guard, but PSAC schools and other Division II schools should be keeping close tabs.
— Imhotep 20226 forward Zaahir Muhammad Gray might be the proverbial “next up” big-time prospect that comes out of Andre Noble’s program. Still very raw in terms of skill development, Muhamaad Gray has a very high potential that he can continue to tap into. The 6-6 forward showed the ability to finish around the hoop, attack the offensive glass, and guard on the perimeter. Having the ability to play against Justin Edwards in practice every day last year no doubt helped the development of the rising sophomore and he should be in line for a much larger role this winter. He showcased his high level athleticism on the fast break throwing down a monstrous slam late in the second half as well.
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