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Philly Live I: Day Two/Three Notebook (June 17-18, 2023)

06/21/2023, 12:15pm EDT
By Sean McBryan

Sean McBryan (@SeanMcBryan)
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Here’s a recruiting notebook from Sunday’s Philly Live action at Jefferson University and St. Joe's Prep:

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More Philly Live Coverage: Day 1 Standouts | | Day 2 Standouts (Jefferson) | Day 2 Standouts (St. Joe's Prep) | Day 3 Standouts (St. Joe's Prep) | Day 3 Standouts (Jefferson) | Day 1 Local HS Notebook | Day 1 Recruiting Notebook | Day 2 Recruiting Notebook Pt. 1 | Day 2 Recruiting Notebook Pt. 2

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Sam Jankowski, 2024 Central Bucks West

Sam Jankowski (2024Central Bucks West)

Central Bucks West struggled to a 6-16 (4-12 in Suburban One League Colonial Division) finish last season; West is hoping a strong offseason results in it finishing toward the top of the division, which it hasn’t won since the 2017-18 season when the Bucks went 10-2 in the Continental Division and 23-8 overall. 

A big step in reaching that goal occurred Sunday when 6-2 rising senior Sam Jankowski and the Bucks stormed back from an 11-point halftime deficit to defeat Cheltenham — which finished second in the SOL Freedom last season —  46-40 at St. Joe’s Prep.

“We were just trying to get the easiest baskets we could,” said Jankowski, who finished with 11 points, seven rebounds, and three assists. “We just followed our sets and the game plan.”

It would’ve been easy for the team to send it in during an offseason game it was losing by double digits, but it decided the buck stops here and played even harder. Jankowski crashed to the floor while converting an and-one, orchestrated the offense from the elbow, and used his physicality on the boards and defensively to spark the comeback. That’s something Jankowski and the Bucks can build on moving forward.

“I’m just trying to improve,” Jankowski said. “Play against tough competition, try and get wins obviously. We just want to build more confidence for the season coming up. That’s what we’re trying to do during these events.”

Fellow 2024s in 6-3 guard Julian Phillips (16 points, four rebounds) and 6-4 forward Bowen Gugger (six points, five rebounds) also played well Sunday for the Bucks and the classmates hope their senior season becomes something to remember.

“We’re trying to make a big run and improve on what we learned from last season,” Jankowski said. “I feel like we have a lot of experience and know what types of teams we are going to face. I think it’s going to be a good year for us.” 

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Alex Hermann (2024Methacton)

Methacton is 6-3 rising senior Alex Hermann’s team now and it's in good hands.

The Warriors will lose all-league first-team selection Matt Christian and second-team selection Cameron Chilson to graduation; good thing Hermann was a first-team selection himself as a junior in his first season of varsity hoops.

“It’ll be similar to last year,” Hermann said of his leadership role. “But even more so now that we’ll be missing two other leaders. We’re losing a lot of shooting but our defense has improved. I think we’re still a good all-around team.”

Methacton finished second in the Liberty Division behind eventual PAC champion and District 1 runner-up Spring-Ford; it’ll be up to Hermann and younger players stepping into larger roles to keep pace.

“I think all three freshmen will have big roles,” Hermann said. “They’ve improved a lot already just since the season finale. They’re all great scorers and talented players.”

Those three freshmen (now sophomores) are 6-0 guard Mason Conrad, 6-0 wing Wes Robinson, and 5-9 guard Christian Matos. The trio were swing players as JV starters on the varsity roster; Hermann said they “dominated” on a really good Methacton JV team last season.

The potential of the 2026 group was on display Sunday in a 54-38 victory over a solid Shamokin team at St. Joe’s Prep.

Conrad led the team with 13 points, hitting two 3-pointers while also showing verticality in grabbing five rebounds; Robinson is a high-energy battering ram on the wing and had seven points and seven rebounds; Matos hit two 3’s and had two rebounds and a block.

The senior leader — along with guard Anthony Daddazio — continue to build chemistry on the court with the new players as the offseason rolls along.  Individually, Hermann said he’s putting hours in the gym to improve his outside jumper, something that would be a scary addition to an already polished post game.

“I think we’re still in running for [a PAC championship],” Hermann said. “We just beat Spring-Ford in the [Christopher Dock Summer League]. That was big for us. We think we can win that. Then in districts, we want to be a top-eight seed, make a big run there, and hopefully make states.” — Sean McBryan

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Jai’tavius “JJ” Kelly (2025Chambersburg)

Jai’tavius “JJ” Kelly didn’t know he was one of the best track and field athletes in Pennsylvania; basketball was always his first sport.

“Basketball’s my main sport,” Kelly said Sunday. “I just started track last year. I didn’t know I’d be good at it. I just jumped well in basketball so I thought maybe it would transfer.”

Transfer it did; Kelly is already a three-time state champion in the triple jump and holds the Chambersburg school record in the triple and long jumps after two seasons participating in track and field. Turns out he’s pretty good at basketball too.

Kelly was dealing with a sprained ankle — so the athleticism wasn’t too eye-opening — Sunday as Chambersburg defeated Shamokin 51-49; he still finished with 12 points, six rebounds, two assists, two steals and a block.

He said he’s recently been in contact with Penn State, Loyola Maryland, and Mount Saint Mary’s; as of now, he sees basketball as his future rather than the track although the latter is clearly an option.

“I just want an opportunity to go play [basketball] at the next level,” he said.

The 6-6 wing led Chambersburg to a sixth-place finish in District 3 before shocking District 1 champ Plymouth Whitemarsh by 12 points in the first round of the PIAA Class 6A Tournament last season; Kelly tied for a game-high with 23 points and started the game off displaying his jumping ability with a slam.

He led the Mid Penn Conference in rebounding last season and was seventh in blocks; his 17.1 scoring average was also good for seventh in the league. He has the ability to knock down outside jumpers and handle the ball occasionally, two skills he continues to improve in the gym.

“I've recently been getting my jumper down a lot because, growing up a lot bigger than other kids, I was in the post,” he said. “That's why when I get in that area I'm so smooth because I've been working on that since I started basketball. Recently I've been getting my dribbling down and my shot has been falling a lot. My mid range has always been good but my 3 is starting to get a lot better.”

The Trojans’ second-leading scorer in Jacob Bassham (11.1) graduated but with talented 2024s in 6-5 post Jermere Jones — who had double-doubles in both of Chambersburg’s games Sunday — and 6-1 guard Matthew Selmon preparing for their senior seasons the production can be replaced. Colton Cornwell, a 6-4 2026 wing, also had a strong showing Sunday with an 18-point performance.

Kelly and the Trojans hope another PIAA tournament run is in the near future after they picked up their first state playoff win in program history since 1997 last season.

“Most definitely,” Kelly said when asked if Chambersburg can make the same type of run it did last season. “I feel like we just gotta get ourselves back together. We’re going to be a different kind of team next year, but I think we’ll figure it out. We can get there again.” — Sean McBryan

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Tyler Dandrea, 2024 CB East

Tyler Dandrea (2024Central Bucks East)

Central Bucks East made it to the state tournament last season — the first time since 2016 — with seniors Kyle Berndt and Joey Giordano among those leading the way.

The Patriots are in great hands to continue that breakthrough season with Tyler Dandrea and the rest of the 2024 class, which had a nice showing at Philly Live I without primary ballhandler Jake Cummiskey who was out with a broken nose.

“Most of us have played together since the seventh grade,” Dandrea said. “The core group of us have been together for a while.”

Dandrea was a standout on both Day 2 and Day 3 with a 26-point outing and a 19-point, 10-rebound outing — both in wins — for the Patriots Saturday and Sunday. The 6-2 guard along with fellow rising seniors in Cummiskey, Dhruv Mukund, and Miles Demby are readying to lead the team back to where it was last season and even farther.

“Getting back to where we were feels like the minimum,” Dandrea said. “That’s the baseline of where we are trying to get back to. Getting farther is definitely a goal of ours.”

The team has already dealt with adversity and gained some valuable experience playing without one of its best players in Cummiskey; the fact the Patriots figured out how to pick up wins is a good sign.

“He’s definitely the primary ballhandler,” Dandrea said. “It’s forcing me and other guys to take a leadership role in the backcourt. He’s our leader so him being out gives the rest of our team the opportunity to step up into bigger roles.”

CB East’s rising seniors have been playing with each other for a while and aim to get a higher seed in states, something it would’ve had during the COVID season before only district champions made the tournament.

“We expected to be there [last season],” Dandrea said. “We had the players, we had the chemistry. That’s the main thing. We bought into what our coaching staff wanted to do throughout the year. It definitely showed us what we’re capable of, but at the same time we expected to be there.”

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Alex Best (2024Upper Moreland)

Upper Moreland boys basketball has qualified for the PIAA Tournament in four seasons: 1983, 2006, 2013, and 2022.

The Bears would prefer the next appearance to come without a lengthy gap between; the first step is getting back on track within the Suburban One League.

Rising 5-10 senior guard Alex Best joined Upper Moreland from Archbishop Wood for his junior season and built chemistry with all-division first-team selection Jon Clark and second-team selection Colson Campbell, although the Bears finished fourth in the SOL Freedom with a 7-9 divisional record and 13-10 overall record.

“We’re trying to make a deeper run than last year,” Best said. “We have some younger players that I think will step up and help us win games in the season. I think our chemistry is good already after only playing together for about two weeks.”

One of those players is incoming 6-3 freshman Brayden Martin, who hit four 3’s and led the team with 16 points in a loss to Notre Dame-Green Pond Sunday afternoon.

“He’s going to play a big role this year and I think he’s going to have a big season even as a freshman,” Best said.

Clark has graduated, so Best — who was an all-division honorable mention choice — and Campbell will be tasked with running the show. Returning 6-10 post Sean Murphy (who also came from Wood last season) will also play a big role once he returns from a foot injury — he was in a boot Sunday —  that has kept him out of action.

“We still need to work on getting back on defense and rebounding,” Best said. “We are a little undersized, especially without Sean, so we all have to box out and not let anyone sneak in [for rebounds].”

The offseason is the time to improve those types of areas before the official season gets underway; Best has been focusing on being a leader at the guard position as Upper Moreland finetunes throughout the summer.

“Just control the tempo and make smart plays,” Best said. “We’re going to take it one step at a time, but our goal is to win the SOL.” — Sean McBryan

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Michelangelo Oberti (2024Morris Catholic, N.J.)

You have to look up when observing the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel or talking to Michelangelo Oberti.

“My dad is like 6-5 and my mom is like 6-2,” Oberti said. “I come from a pretty tall family.”

The 6-10 big from Italy is in preparation for his senior season with Morris Catholic after averaging 16.8 points, 11.4 rebounds, and 2.9 blocks during his junior year and showed a rare skill set that still has room for improvement Saturday.

Oberti scored 19 points in a win over Chantilly (Va.) by athletically getting up for an alley-oop dunk/finishing slams through contact, knocking down seven foul shots, and hitting mid range jumpers.

He picked up an offer from Rider on June 10 and is in talks with multiple mid-majors; Princeton, NJIT, Columbia, and other Ivy League schools have been looking at him and Oberti took visits to other MAAC schools in Fairfield and Manhattan.

At his height, the soft touch hasn’t come naturally; it’s something he’s dedicated time and hard work to improve.

“I’m still working on it,” Oberti said. “I can knock down the two-pointer pretty easily. I’m able to shoot; the three-pointer is something I’m always developing.”

Oberti is living with one of his AAU coaches during the offseason and plans to workout twice a day with strength and conditioning training throughout the summer

“I still have one more year to work out, get better and get recruited more,” Oberti said. “A bunch of new schools have been talking to me during the summer. I expect more to come. I’m just going to keep working the whole time.”

Oberti is an exchange student so he’s grateful with any Division I offer that comes his way; he realizes the opportunity to continue playing a sport he loves while getting a good education along the way.

“Any offer is great because I’d love to go to college here [in the United States of America],” Oberti said. “I’m aiming to go mid-, high-major. I just want to keep playing basketball and learning as long as I can.” 

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Quick Hits
*Owen McCue and Josh Verlin contributed to this reporting


Colin Treude, 2024 Springfield-Delco

— Led by 2024 forward Colin Treude, Springfield-Delco picked up an impressive win over Constitution on Sunday morning. Treude believes its a sign of things to come this season for the Cougars after a 10-13 (9-8 Central League) campaign in 2022-23.

Treude, a third-year starter, and 2026 guard Luke Valerio return from a 10-13 squad (9-8 Central League) along with 2024 guard Jake Adams, 2024 forward Ryan Johnston and 2025 guard Patrick Flaherty.

“Everybody on this team can play,” Treude said. “We really pride ourselves on defense, so we’re always just outhustling our man, getting every rebound and the shots will fall because we’re talented there, but defensively is where we pride ourselves in.”

Treude, who plays for PSB Philly, said quite a few Division III programs have been in touch. He’s already taken a visit to York and has plans to get on campus at Misericordia and Cabrini.

In his third season, he will direct his teammates on both ends.

“It’s a big responsibility but I love facilitating offensively and defensively, and that’s just going to be my role this year,” Treude said.

With perennial power Lower Merion having quite a few big names departing and reigning champ Radnor’s core gone on to the next level, Treude believes Springfield is one of the teams that can surprise and push for the top of the Central League this season.

“I feel like the league can go any way this year. I feel like we are contenders. We have a very talented squad and I think we can compete with any team in the Central League.”

 Penn Wood narrowly fell 64-62 in the District 1 Class 6A second round to eventual champion Plymouth Whitemarsh last season.

Unfortunately, Penn Wood fell to Coatesville in the playback round and missed the state tournament. The Patriots are working toward a season that ends in a state tournament win like in 2022, when they won their first state playoff game since 2011.

“We’ve been at a pretty consistent level the last five or six years,” Penn Wood head coach Matt Lindeman said after a lopsided victory over Alliance Christian Saturday at Jefferson University. “It’s just about consistency, staying at that level, and trying to get our young kids up to speed with what it takes to compete now like the guys that did it before.”

All-state third-team selection Nasir Washington has moved on to the post-high school world so others will need to replace his production after Penn Wood finished second in the Del-Val League behind Chichester.

“There’s a couple of guys [that will have bigger roles],” Lindeman said. “Donald Hairston was a starter last year but was more of a role player. He’s going to take on a much more major role. We’re excited about what he can do. Our point guard Chris Taylor was a backup last year but those will be our two senior leaders.”

Kivaleon Clarke is another key piece returning in the senior class but plays a bunch of other sports and just finished up competing in the state championship for triple jump — after only picking it up after a month —  so hasn’t been with the team yet.

“He’s going to be an important part of the team once we get him back,” Lindeman said. “We’re excited. We got some young kids that can play. They just need some time to grow up like everyone else.”

— One of the most impressive wins of the day was Unionville putting together a 60-39 win over Union Catholic (N.J.), the defending District 1 5A runner-ups going up against a squad with multiple Division I prospects (and a significant size advantage in the frontcourt) and knocking down 10 3-pointers to jump out to an early lead and never look back. The returning quartet of rising seniors James Anderson, Ryan Brown and Charlie Kammeier plus rising sophomore James Brenner did their thing, but it was rising junior Jack Robbins who was the biggest eye-opener with a 17-point outing. The 6-2 guard knocked down four 3-pointers, and he’ll likely need to fill a big role with the graduations of Robbie Logan and George Napolitano.

“(He’s) really working hard on his game,” Unionville coach Chris Cowles said. “Getting better in all aspects, so you saw that tonight, working on his footwork, shooting and ball-handling and stuff, so he’s able to be more dynamic in the open court.”

— Bonner-Prendergast was just good enough last year to qualify for the final Catholic League playoff spot, but that’s not good enough anymore for second-year head coach Billy Cassidy. The Friars have a five-man senior class in the starting lineup now that former Chester guard Kyree Womack is transferring in, joining a returning group including Nelson Lamizana, Deuce Ketner, Reggie Selden and Kevin Rucker Jr. Womack looked right at home on Sunday afternoon in helping the Friars beat Rutgers Prep, bringing his strong ball-handling and slashing abilities right over.

“He’s a leader, he’s a coach on the floor,” Cassidy said. “High basketball IQ, knows when to attack or slow it up, or get somebody involved, he loves sharing the ball, that’s what you want out of a point guard. And he knows when to go get his if he needs to. We’re very excited to have him.”

Also making a positive impression early on in a Bonner uniform is a promising youngster, rising freshman Kenjai Gaitling. An athletic, 6-2 combo guard, Gaitling is a two-sport star, Cassidy saying he’s likely in line to start at quarterback for the Friars before coming onto the hardwood, where he’s likely to be the first off the bench. 

“Kenjai is a freak of nature, he’s a big-time athlete,” Cassidy said. “He does three workouts a day, whether it’s two football and [then] he’ll come to a basketball [workout]. He’s a coach’s dream, football and basketball. Nicest kid, always wants to learn. It’s great to see him have an impact in the game.”

— Austin Spencer, a 2025  6-3 rising junior, will attend St. Peter’s Prep this upcoming season after transferring from Bergen Catholic, which lost to the Marauders in the NJSIAA Non-Public A boys basketball title game last season.

“I played with a couple of these guys before so hopefully this week we can build some more chemistry,” Spencer said Saturday at Philly Live I.

Spencer is a welcomed addition to St. Peter’s with his lethal shooting on the wing a perfect complement to the multiple drive-and-kick players the Marauders already possess, but he wants to work another aspect of his game moving forward.

“I want to be more of a point guard,” Spencer said. “Shooting has always been a strength of mine. I also want to get a little more explosive.”

Spencer has been in contact with Ivy League schools in Brown and Columbia as well as Maine; others are likely to come knocking once they realize his pure and consistent shooting form regardless of the situation.


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