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 3 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: email@example.com)
Christian Kirkland (Fr. | Youngstown St.)
It was a breakthrough senior year at Friends’ Select for Kirkland, who helped the Falcons to their best finish in the Friends’ Schools League in quite some time. A 6-9, 225-pound wing/forward, Kirkland joins a YSU squad coming off a 24-10 (15-5 Horizon) season but has to replace most of its production.
Arion Lewis (Sr. | Quinnipiac)
A product of Valley Forge Military, Lewis spent a couple years at Laramie County CC (Wyoming), shooting better than 40% from 3-point range, then went to Delaware State last year but missed the entire season due to injury. He’s popped back up at Quinnipiac, playing for former Hofstra and Fordham head coach Tom Pecora.
Zach Lezanic (Sr. | Army)
A 6-0 guard out of Conestoga (and a prep year at the Hill School), Lezanic hasn’t made his way to the top of Army’s 25-man roster just yet; he played in 11 games (5.8 mpg) two years ago but didn’t make an appearance as a junior.
George School product Gestin Liberis will be a sophomore at Saint Francis. (Photo: Courtesy Saint Francis Athletics)
Gestin Liberis (Soph. | Saint Francis)
This could be a breakout year for the 6-9 George School product, who averaged 2.0 ppg and 1.6 rpg in 30 games last year. The Red Flash don’t have anybody taller than him, nor anybody more experienced in the frontcourt, so the opportunity is certainly there for him to seize.
Demetrius Lilley (Soph. | Penn State)
It was a slow first college year for the former Lower Merion big man, who only played sparingly in five games his debut season in Happy Valley. The offensively skilled 6-9 post, the leading rebounder in Aces’ history, will see if he can find a spot in the rotation under new head coach Mike Rhoades.
Ny'Mire Little (Jr. | Albany)
After coming off the bench in 22 games as a freshman, Little was clearly making progress a season ago, moving into the starting lineup six games into the season and scoring 11 points against Presbyterian, but then an injury cost him the rest of the season. One of just six holdovers on the Great Danes roster, the 6-4 Westtown product has a big role if he’s back to full health.
Jordan Longino (Jr. | Villanova)
A 6-5 product of Germantown Academy, Longino played in 25 games (making eight starts) for ‘Nova last year, averaging 5.0 ppg and 2.1 rpg though he shot just 23.2% (13-of-56) from 3-point range. In a much deeper rotation this year, he’ll need to be more efficient with his shots to see 20+ minutes once again.
Matt Mayock (Fr. | American)
Mayock missed most of his senior year at Westtown with an arm injury, but the smooth-shooting 6-7 wing has plenty of time to get back to full strength for his first college season. He’s joining an Eagles roster with a ton of size — nine players are 6-6 or taller.
Anthony McCall (Soph. | Rider)
A 6-4 wing out of Academy New Church, McCall played in 17 games his freshman season at Rider, scoring a total of 12 points in 68 minutes of action; he also grabbed 16 rebounds.
Seamus McDermott (Fr. | Duquesne)
A 6-2 Holy Ghost Prep grad, McDermott has earned a spot as a walk-on at Duquesne.
Naheem McLeod (Jr. | Syracuse)
It’s a new arena for McLeod, who spent the last two years at Florida State after a year at Chipola (Fl.) College following his graduation from Plymouth Whitemarsh. The towering 7-4 center played in 46 games (16 starts) in an FSU uniform, averaging 3.8 ppg and 2.7 rpg last season, and his size fits in well in the Orange’s famous zone defense.
Former MLK big man Will McNair will finish out his career at Kansas State. (Photo: Courtesy Mississippi State Athletics)
Will McNair Jr. (Gr. | Kansas State)
McNair looked like he’d been finishing his college career up in Providence after three seasons at New Mexico State (2019-22) and one at Mississippi State, but ended up at Kansas State this fall instead after a last-minute change. He’s played in 116 games with 29 starts, his junior year at NMSU (6.6 ppg, 4.9 rpg) the high-water mark thus far from a statistical perspective. There’s no doubt the Martin Luther King grad has the size (6-11, 265) to bang around in the Big 12.
Hysier Miller (Jr. | Temple)
Miller took the expected step forward a year ago, going from a featured reserve for the Owls into the starting lineup, averaging 8.6 ppg, 3.8 apg and 3.1 rpg, though his shooting (.369/.317/.803) needs to improve. The 6-1 point guard from Neumann-Goretti should be one of the Owls’ leaders this season under new head coach Adam Fisher.
Gediminas Mokseckas (Sr. | Campbell)
Mokseckas has had an interesting few years at Campbell: he started 11 out of 23 games as a freshman (4.8 ppg), then came off the bench for 19 games as a sophomore (1.5 ppg) before bouncing back to become a full-time starter last year, averaging 3.4 ppg in 34 starts, playing 23.6 mpg.
Lucas Monroe (Gr. | Drexel)
Monroe’s making the big move from Penn to Drexel, hopping across Market Street for his final collegiate year due to the Ivy League’s no-grad-students rule. Monroe was one of the Quakers’ locker room leaders the last four years, having his best statistical season as a senior as he averaged 4.9 ppg, 6.0 rpg and 2.1 apg in 30 games (25 starts), playing an important defensive role as well.
Justin Moore (Soph. | Drexel)
Moore jumped right in as Drexel’s starting point guard, though a late-season injury meant he only played in 25 games (23 starts). The 6-3 guard, who graduated from Archbishop Wood, averaged 9.6 ppg, 3.2 rpg and 3.1 apg, his 3-point shooting (21.0%) and turnovers (2.6/game) the biggest areas of focus for improvement.
Rahmir Moore (Sr. | Wagner)
A Philly native who started his high school years at Mastery North before graduating from RISE Prep (Ont.), Moore spent his first two years at St. Joe’s (6.0 ppg, 2.7 rpg) before transferring to Wagner, where he averaged 8.3 ppg and 2.8 rpg in 24 games (19 starts). That included his first 20-point game in two years, going for exactly that many against Fordham.
Jaren Morton (Fr. | VMI)
The 6-5 guard and Springside-Chestnut Hill Academy product had a strong senior year for the Blue Devils, and turned that into a spring offer to Virginia Military Institute. The Keydets went 7-25 last year but had one of the youngest, least-experienced rotations in all of D-I hoops; this year will be similar, as 11 of the 17 players on the roster are freshmen.
Gabe Moss (R-Fr. | Delaware)
A significant knee injury cost Moss the second half of his final year at the Hill School as well as his entire freshman year at Delaware. The 6-8, 220-pound forward will compete for minutes up front with VMI transfer Tyler Houser.
After two seasons at Delaware, Jameer Nelson Jr. will play at TCU this season. (Photo: Mark Jordan/CoBL)
Jameer Nelson Jr. (Sr. | TCU)
Nelson’s fourth year of collegiate basketball was by far his best yet from a statistical perspective, proving himself as one of the best scorers in mid-major hoops (20.6 ppg) to go along with 4.6 rpg, 3.6 apg and 2.4 spg. He’s finishing out his college career at TCU after two seasons at George Washington and then two at Delaware, the 6-1 guard and son of the former St. Joe’s great already with 1,452 career points in 102 games (97 starts).
Kachi Nzeh (Fr. | Xavier)
The centerpiece of the George School’s rise from basketball afterthought to area powerhouse, Nzeh begins his college career at Xavier, part of a deep and physical Musketeers frontcourt. The 6-8, 230-pound center is a strong, bouncy big man with a developing face-up game, and should benefit from working with the likes of Jerome Hunter and Zach Freemantle.
Josh Odunowo (Sr. | Columbia)
A 6-6 forward out of the Perkiomen School, Odunowo is only going into his third year of college hoops, as the whole Ivy League sat out the 2020-21 season. He averaged 8.2 ppg as a sophomore in 13 games (7 starts) but saw that output drop to 3.8 ppg last year, even as he played in 29 games with 23 starts.
Andrew Phillips (Fr. | Lafayette)
Phillips finished his tenure at Malvern Prep with two strong years on the hardwood, giving up football after his sophomore season and it paying off with a D-I offer after the April live periods. The 6-4 wing is a skilled scorer with a bit of a ‘tweener’ body, but there’s no denying his production increasing over the last 18 months.
Seth Pinkney (Gr. | Florida International)
It’s the last year of college hoops for the 7-1 Archbishop Wood product, who played his first two years at Quinnipiac before coming to FIU two years ago. A defensive specialist, Pinkney has played in 115 career games (65 starts) but has averaged right around 16 mpg in both locations, putting up 3.7 ppg and 2.5 rpg last year. He has 173 career blocks (1.5/game).
Nisine ‘Wooga’ Poplar (Jr. | Miami, Fla.)
Poplar took a nice jump from his first collegiate season (2.3 ppg) to his second, moving into the starting lineup for the ‘Canes and averaging 8.4 ppg and 3.3 rpg on .470/.375/.867 splits, an efficient secondary/tertiary scoring option alongside Isaiah Wong. With Wong now in the NBA, Poplar seems primed for another jump, the 6-5 MCS grad’s efficiency numbers boding well for him to get into double figures with a few more looks coming his way.
Allen Powell (R-Sr. | Rider)
Powell’s going into his third year as Rider’s starting point guard, less than 70 points from 1,000 in his career, with 111 games (75 starts) already under his belt. The 6-0 La Salle HS grad played exactly 33.7 mpg each of the last two seasons, averaging 10.4 ppg and 2.1 apg as a senior; his 3-point shooting went from 44% three years ago to 36% and then 29.2%, a trend he needs to reverse.
Yazid Powell (Sr. | UTEP)
After one season at Buffalo, the 6-3 guard is finishing up his college career at Texas-El Paso. Powell, who played at Overbrook and Rocktop Academy, averaged 13.0 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 2.7 apg and 1.9 spg in his only year of D-I ball thus far, starting 16 of the 28 games he played last year.
Darryon Prescott (Soph. | Coppin St.)
A 7-0, 225-pound center, Prescott was very much a raw prospect when he was at Math, Civics & Sciences, though there’s no denying the potential in his frame. He redshirted as a freshman at Florida International and then transferred to Coppin State, where he’s the tallest member of the Eagles’ roster.
Luke Rasmussen (Fr. | Lafayette)
A late-blooming 6-7 wing guard, Rasmussen started his prep career at the Hill School and finished it at the Haverford School, where he flashed some real inside-out potential. He took a preferred walk-on spot at Lafayette but it wouldn’t be crazy for him to crack the rotation at some point.
Christian Ray (Gr. | Delaware)
Ray’s entering the fifth and final year of a productive collegiate career, the 6-6 wing out of the Haverford School having played in 117 games with 75 starts, averaging 27.3 mpg over his first four years — three at La Salle and the last at Delaware. His most recent season was his best yet statistically, averaging 9.5 ppg, 8.7 rpg and 2.1 apg with six double-doubles. Never a standout scorer (career 6.7 ppg), he should surpass 1,000 this season (781 currently).
Aaron Reddish (Jr. | Albany)
The younger brother of Cam Reddish is going into his third year at Albany, where he’s played 54 games with eight starts over the last two years. The 6-7 wing guard, who started at Norristown before his family moved to Georgia due to Cam’s career, averaged 23.9 mpg last season, putting up 8.5 ppg and 2.4 rpg on .452/.372/.836 shooting splits.
JJ Riggins (R-Sr. | Quinnipiac)
The 6-6 Imhotep Charter product has been a steady bench presence for the Bobcats the last three seasons following a redshirt year, playing in 75 games with one career start, coming back in the 2020-21 season, and averaging between 9.3 and 11.2 mpg. He averaged 3.7 ppg and 2.4 rpg last year, hitting a career-best 54.7% from the floor.