CoBL Staff (@hooplove215)
(Ed. Note: This article is part of our 2023-24 season coverage, which will run for the six weeks preceding the first official games of the year on Nov. 6. To access all of our high school and college preview content for this season, click here.)
As always, Philadelphia basketball is everywhere.
Year after year, well over 100 Philly-area ballplayers are spread around Division I rosters, from East Coast to West Coast, North to South, low-major to high-major and everywhere in between. Each fall, CoBL rounds up all of those local prospects to update you on how their careers are going and what’s expected of them in the year to come.
We’ve split the area’s D-I alumni into a four-part list, the whole thing way too big to run all at once. Here’s Part 1 of our 2023-24 CoBL alumni roundup, featuring around 30 players who are on a Division I roster this season.
(If we’re missing someone, let us know: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Sultan Adewale (Fr. | Iona)
A British import who spent his final two years of high school ball at Neumann-Goretti, Adewale saw his recruitment pinball between several different levels before he wound up at Iona after former FDU coach Tobin Anderson took the job in New Rochelle (N.Y.) this spring. The Gaels are hoping for an instant impact from the muscular 6-8 forward, who excels from the mid-range and closer and on the glass.
Archbishop Carroll grad Justin Anderson finishes his career at NJIT this season. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL File)
Justin Anderson (Gr. | NJIT)
The left-hander and Archbishop Carroll grad played his first three years at D-II Bloomsburg before transferring to NJIT last season, averaging 2.9 ppg in 26 appearances (11.3 mpg) for the Highlanders. He’s staying on and utilizing his final year of eligibility for new NJIT head coach Grant Billmeier, a former Seton Hall and Maryland assistant.
Al Amadou (Fr. | Marquette)
Amadou got a jump-start on his college career, heading up to Milwaukee back in May to start training with the Golden Eagles program. The Marquette staff has high hopes long-term for Amadou, a bouncy and versatile 6-9, 200-pound wing forward who spent his last two seasons at SCH Academy following Bishop McDevitt’s closing.
Chris Arcidiacno (Gr. | Villanova)
The Arcidiacono Era has one year left, as Chris plays his grad season a full 11 seasons after his brother Ryan put on the Wildcats uniform for the first time. Chris, a Neshaminy and then Perkiomen School product, played a career-best 22.2 mpg last year, averaging 2.8 ppg and 2.8 rpg while shooting 38.2% (21-of-55) from the 3-point arc; a much deeper ‘Nova squad (with more experienced guards) this year means his role will likely be more limited.
Chris Arizin (Sr. | St. Joe’s)
A walk-on from St. Joe’s Prep, Arizin has played in 16 games over his St. Joe’s career, scoring a total of four points. He played a career-high 10 minutes as a junior last season.
Rahmir Barno (Fr. | Florida Gulf Coast)
The first of quite a few Imhotep products on this list, Barno is set to begin his college career at FGCU, coming off a strong senior season with the Panthers. An athletic 5-11, 170-pound point guard, Barno can really get to the rim in transition and plays with a bounce in his step. He’ll play for a coach in Patrick Chambers who’s had plenty of success with Philly guards.
Griffin Barrouk (R-Soph. | Hofstra)
The West Chester Rustin grad spent the 2021-22 season recovering from a major leg injury and then only got to show a couple flashes in his redshirt freshman year, playing a grand total of 77 minutes for the Dutchmen. He got 41 of those minutes across a three-game stretch in December, scoring 11 points in 14 minutes against UMass, but saw only spare minutes during CAA play. A 6-5 guard, Barrouk has a chance to move into the rotation this year.
Jacob Beccles (Fr. | Cornell)
The first Philadelphia Public League alum (Constitution) to play in the Ivy League since 1980, Beccles comes to Ithaca after a post-grad year at Lawrenceville Prep (N.J.), the 6-4 guard able to prove himself academically and athletically worthy of a spot on the Big Red roster. Beccles has big-time scoring ability, and his size at the guard spot should help him handle the college physicality sooner rather than later.
Garnet Valley and Phelps product Neel Beniwal is a sophomore at San Diego. (Photo: Courtesy San Diego Athletics)
Neel Beniwal (Soph. | San Diego)
A 6-5 wing who played at Garnet Valley and the Phelps School, Beniwal, played in 19 games as a freshman, averaging 2.1 ppg and 1.3 rpg as the sharpshooter didn’t quite get enough attempts (9-of-31) to get an accurate read.
Quin Berger (Soph. | Bucknell)
The younger Berger brother began his college career at St. Joe’s, though he only saw spot action in five games in a deep and young Hawks backcourt. He followed former SJU assistant John Griffin III up to Lewisburg (Pa.) when Griffin got the Bucknell head coaching job this offseason.
T.J. Berger (Jr. | Lafayette)
Berger’s back in a Leopards uniform after spending his first two collegiate years at Georgetown and then San Diego. The 6-4 guard from the Westtown School averaged career highs with 7.7 ppg and 3.8 rpg in 29.3 mpg, but shot just 28.7% (58-of-202) from the 3-point arc, a number which has to improve this season for the Leopards to take a step forward.
Allen Betrand (Gr. | Norfolk St.)
Betrand is at his fourth and final school to cap off his college career, which started off great at Towson (13.6 ppg as a sophomore in 2019-20) but hasn’t been able to find the same level of success since, at both Rhode Island (4.7 ppg) and Rider (6.6 ppg), though he did shoot a career-best 41.1% (23-of-56) from deep last year.
Tyrel Bladen (Gr. | Norfolk St.)
The former Coatesville big man did a grad transfer this offseason from Rider to Norfolk State, where he’ll have two years to play if he wants to use them. The 6-10 post played in 75 games with five starts in four years at Rider, missing the 2021-22 season due to injury; his career best season so far came in 2020-21, when he averaged 5.2 ppg and 4.1 rpg in 16.4 mpg. c
Dylan Blair (Fr. | Army)
The former Downingtown West standout and son of West Chester head coach Damien Blair is one of 25 players on the West Point roster, and one of only two true freshmen (three others came out of the military’s prep school, USMAPS). Suffice to say he’ll have his work cut out for him to crack the rotation, especially with 16 upperclassmen on the roster.
Christian Bliss (Fr. | Virginia)
We weren’t expecting Bliss to be on this list so soon but the George School product reclassified from 2024 to 2023 this summer, got his degree and bounced to Charlottesville, where he’ll be joining a team in need of a point guard following the graduation of Kihei Clark. A 6-4, 200-pound guard, Bliss has a full offensive arsenal and is part of a highly-touted freshman class for Tony Bennett.
Coatesville product Jhamir Brickus is a senior at La Salle this season. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL File)
Jhamir Brickus (Sr. | La Salle)
Hard to believe that ‘Jig’ is already going to be a senior at La Salle, the 5-10 combo guard from Coatesville having put together a solid individual career for the Explorers, though the team hasn’t found a ton of success on the court. He enters his senior year with 796 points (9.3/game), averaging a career-best 9.8 ppg on .473/.382/.789 shooting splits as a junior; like all other true seniors this year (the last COVID group), he’s got two years of eligibility remaining.
Jameel Brown (Soph. | Penn State)
Brown flirted with the transfer portal this offseason after Micah Shrewsberry left Penn State for Notre Dame but elected to stay in Happy Valley and play for Mike Rhoades and staff, who came up from VCU. The 6-4 sharpshooting guard from Westtown saw action in 14 games last year as Penn State made it to the NCAA Round of 32, scoring a total of 12 points in 64 minutes.
Sam Brown (Fr. | Penn)
A four-year starter at Lower Merion, Brown went from a left-handed sharpshooter to a well-rounded guard in his high school years, but now he’ll go from begin ‘the guy’ for the Aces to being just another guy in the Ivy League. If he can prove himself physically, his shot-making ability should translate to some role before long.
Xzayvier Brown (Fr. | St. Joe’s)
One of the area’s top guards while at Roman Catholic, Brown makes the trip over to City Ave to continue his career, playing for his dad — St. Joe’s assistant Justin Scott — in the process. The 6-2, 165-point lead guard enters a crowded Hawks backcourt but has impressed in offseason workouts and practices; he should see some time as a freshman, but it will be tough for him to see huge minutes right away.
Mikeal Brown-Jones (Sr. | UNC-Greensboro)
Brown-Jones benefitted nicely from his move from VCU to UNC-Greensboro between his sophomore and junior seasons, more than doubling his scoring output to 10.1 ppg on an efficient 59.8% from the, playing 21.2 mpg as the Spartans’ first frontcourt option off the bench. Both of UNCG’s starting forwards from a year ago have graduated, so there’s a big opportunity for him to take another big step forward.
Mark Butler (Fr. | Lafayette)
The longtime Penn Charter starting point guard heads up the Northeast Extension to Easton, where he’ll play for another couple Penn Charter alums in head coach Mike McGarvey and assistant coach Sean O’Brien. A speedy 5-10 guard, Butler joins a program whose starting point guard from a year ago, CJ Fulton, transferred to the College of Charleston, leaving the position up for grabs.
Philip Byriel (Jr. | Princeton)
A 6-9 forward out of the Perkiomen School, Byriel has played in 18 games over his first two years at Princeton, including 11 as a sophomore. The Tigers graduated a big ‘23 class, so it’ll be interesting to see if he can join the rotation.
After starting his career at Memphis, John Camden is in his second year at Virginia Tech. (Photo: Courtesy Virginia Tech Athletics)
John Camden (R-Soph. | Virginia Tech)
A Downingtown native, Camden’s officially a Brewster Academy alum though he played at both Westtown and Archbishop Carroll as well. He’s going into his second year at VaTech, having started his collegiate career at Memphis; the 6-8, 220-pound wing/forward saw 183 minutes last year spread across 23 games, scoring a total of 29 points (1.3/game).
Alex Capitano (Sr. | Colgate)
A 6-4 Episcopal Academy product, Capitano hit the transfer portal this offseason but ultimately elected to return to Colgate. He’s played in 19 games over his first three seasons, scoring a total of 43 points in 68 minutes.
Andrew Carr (Sr. | Wake Forest)
Carr, a West Chester East product, didn’t have any difficulty transitioning from Delaware to Wake Forest, putting up new career bests in scoring (10.7 ppg) and rebounding (6.0 rpg) while starting 33 games for the Demon Deacons. The 6-10, 220-pound wing forward has a shot at going pro if he can prove to be a better 3-point shooter than a year ago (33-of-105, 31.1%) combined with his inside/out abilities.
Colin Chambers (Sr. | Penn)
An Episcopal Academy product and walk-on for the Quakers, Chambers has played in eight games in his Penn career, scoring a total of three points in 24 minutes (seven games) last season.
Shaquil Bender (Jr. | Manhattan)
A powerful 6-2 guard out of Abraham Lincoln, Bender was previously at Fullerton College (Cali.), where he averaged 13.6 ppg on .475/.471/.705 shooting splits last year. That earned him a scholarship to Manhattan under new head coach (and Philly native) John Gallagher, where the majority of the roster is new to the school and playing time will be up for grabs.
Adam "Budd" Clark (Fr. | Merrimack)
Clark tore up the city for the last couple years, the 5-10 point guard proving he was one of the best lead guards around, a true three-level scorer who leads by example and by his work ethic. He found himself in a nice spot in Merrimack, which is now fully Division I NCAA Tournament eligible after a four-year transition period up from D-II.
Jack Clark (Gr. | Clemson)
After spending the first four years of his college career at La Salle, Clark went to NC State last season, averaging 9.0 ppg and 6.9 rpg (and turning it over less than one time per game) while starting 17 of 23 games he played in. The Cheltenham product, a 6-8, 200-pound wing/guard, is now at Clemson for his final year of eligibility.
Noah Collier (Jr. | William & Mary)
Collier certainly seems like he’s found his spot at William & Mary, averaging 9.0 ppg and 8.2 rpg last season, starting all 23 games he played in, shooting 48.3% from the floor without taking a 3-pointer. The 6-8 wing out of Westtown, who began his college career with two years at Pitt, scored in double figures 13 times last year, topping out with a 22-point, 16-rebound outing against NC A&T.