By Joseph Santoliquito (@JSantoliquito)
The idea initially was to wait until sometime in January or February to choose a college destination. But something pushed that time clock up a few notches, and Khaafiq Myers, Neumann-Goretti’s quicksilver 5-foot-10, 165-pound point guard, has decided to attend St. Joe’s, giving an oral commitment to Hawks’ coach Billy Lange on Friday.
He made it public Tuesday on social media.
Khaafiq Myers (above) announced on Tuesday that he had committed to Saint Joseph's. (Photo: Mark Jordan/CoBL)
Myers chose St. Joe’s over offers from Binghamton, La Salle, Drexel, George Washington, North Carolina A&T, Florida Gulf Coast and UMass.
Myers becomes the first recruit for Lange’s 2024 class.
“I was originally thinking about committing in January or February, but I just sat down and thought to myself what I really wanted to do and coach Lange recruited me the hardest of all the schools,” said Myers, who averaged 11 points and four steals last season while battling nagging injuries that curtailed the number of games he played in to 22. “Some things, I thought, were just right and this is just right, because this summer I was unsure what I wanted to do, if I wanted to stay close to home or not. It’s why I was looking at January or February to commit. I told coach Lange on Friday and made it public (today) on social media.
“This is super-relaxing. I can focus on the season. We want to bring the triple crown back to Neumann-Goretti like we did two years ago, when I was a sophomore. I was thinking about Temple, and Temple was always ahead. St. Joe’s, at the time, wasn’t applying the pressure then. We were talking and they hit me up every day. Coach Lange picked it up during the spring and this past summer. I’m happy. I’m going to a great school.”
Myers will join locals Shawn Simmons II and Roman Catholic’s Lynn Greer III, Xzayvier Brown and Anthony Finkley, Camden’s Dasear Haskins and Rasheer Fleming and Shipley’s Will Lange currently on the Hawks’ roster. Billy Lange is entering his fifth season as the Hawks’ coach, and the program has steadily improved from 6-26 his first year to 16-17 last season, with big expectations for the year ahead.
“Coach Lange is the coach that I’m most comfortable with, besides Temple’s (former) coaches, and they run the kind of offense we run at Neumann-Goretti,” Myers said. “Coach Justin (Scott, a Hawks' assistant coach) played a big role in this, too. They stayed with me. St. Joe's runs five out and they run fast. I didn’t know whether I wanted to stay close to home, and when I went there, I felt St. Joe’s was the perfect fit.
Through the years, Arrigale has noticed through the years that when college recruiters are lurking, players tend to play a little out of their character. He won’t have to worry about that with Myers.
“St. Joe’s is getting a bargain with Khaafiq,” the Saints’ legendary coach Carl Arrigale said. “The reason why he is not talked up more is because he’s been a little injured lately the last few years. He did not play a full season last year. Everyone knows how talented he is. He will have a chance to show who he really is.”
Myers said he heads into his senior season healthier than he’s been in the prior two years, though he missed large stretches of the grassroots season this summer due to various injuries. And his decision gives him peace of mind to focus on his senior year.
“I wasn’t sure it was going to happen this soon,” Arrigale said. “But it did not surprise me, because that’s where he was leaning. I hope he’s happy. That’s the main thing. I want my players to be happy. Now he can concentrate on his senior year and enjoy his high school year.”
Joseph Santoliquito is a hall of fame, award-winning sportswriter based in the Philadelphia area who began writing for CoBL in 2021 and is the president of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be followed on Twitter here.