By Andrew Robinson (@ADRobinson3)
The college basketball season is still ramping up, but it’s never too early for standout performers.
With a slew of games coming up in the next few weeks thanks to some holiday-break tournaments, it felt like a good time to find some CoBL-area alums in that crowd. We’re taking a look at men’s and women’s teams, but right now, we’re only looking at Division I and outside the Big Five.
Here’s a quick look at some locals off to good starts with their respective teams.
Alexa Brodie (Gr. | Colgate)
Brodie opted for comfort over change for her fifth season of eligibility and the resurgent Raiders are glad the three-time team captain did. The CB South alum is playing 34 minutes per game, averaging nine points per contest and 2.6 assists per game for her 3-0 team. Brodie stuck with Colgate through some tough seasons and so far, seems to be reaping the reward.
Jameel Brown (So. | Penn State)
After a standout high school career at the Haverford School and Westtown, Brown rarely saw the floor the Nittany Lions last season, appearing in just 14 games. He's averaging 9.3 ppg through four games under new head coach Mike Rhoades this year. Brown's been impressive from deep, knocking down 11-of-16 attempts from long grange.
Merrimack's Budd Clark was the Northeast Conference Rookie of the Week. (Photo: Courtesy Merrimack Athletics)
Adam “Budd” Clark (Fr. | Merrimack)
It seemed like a given that wherever Clark ended up at the next level, it wouldn’t take him long to leave a mark. The 5-foot-10 guard from West Catholic has started all four games out of the gate to start his college career, scoring double-digits three times and carrying an even 12.0 ppg average. He’s also getting teammates involved with a 3.25 assists per game mark as a mainstay on the floor playing 33 minutes per contest. He was named the Northeast Conference Rookie of the Week on Nov. 13.
Rahsool Diggins (Jr. | UMass)
The breakout may have arrived for the Archbishop Wood product in his second season with the Minutemen. Diggins has started all three games so far this season, is shooting 40.9 percent from three and averaging 16.3 ppg. His best game as a college player came on Nov 13, Diggins posting 22 points in 30 minutes during a 102-81 win over Quinnipiac.
Justin Edwards (Fr. | Kentucky)
Edwards is averaging 9.5 ppg and 5.3 rpg in the Wildcats’ 3-1 start. The Imhotep Charter product had a season-high 16 points in his team’s win over Texas A&M-Commerce and already has three double-digit scoring outings in four games, getting the starting nod in all four.
Deja Evans (Fr. | Albany)
The Archbishop Wood alum hasn’t needed long to find a role with the Great Danes, showing her prowess for rebounding translated to the college game. The 6-foot-2 forward has started all four games so far, posting 7.3 ppg and 8.5 rpg highlighted by a season-high 12 boards on Nov. 16 against St. Bonaventure.
Katilyn Flanagan (So. | Holy Cross)
Flanagan almost made the transition from high school to college look easy last year, so naturally a year of experience would only heighten the poised point guard’s impact. The Plymouth Whitemarsh alum is scoring about the same three games into her sophomore year, although she’d be the first to say her shooting numbers could be better, but “Flan” has almost doubled her assists per game from 2.9 to 5.3. She’s also playing more, adding about four more minutes per game after averaging 30.4 as a freshman.
Paige Mott (Sr. | Northwestern)
The 6-foot-1 forward has always been good getting the ball off a glass but she took it to a new level with a 20-rebound effort, plus 13 points, in the season opener against UIC. Mott, an Abington Friends School alum, is averaging close to a double-double on the season, sitting at 9.7 ppg and 11 rpg through three games. The Wildcats are coming off a lopsided loss at Notre Dame last time out, but they’ll continue to need Mott to be a presence inside.
Wooga Poplar (Jr. | Miami, Fla.)
Poplar opted to return to the Hurricanes following last year’s Final Four run and it’s clearly benefitting all parties. The Math, Civics and Sciences alum’s NBA Draft stock seems to be improving by the week and the U is getting plenty from the 6-foot-5 guard through his 18.8 ppg on extremely efficient numbers. Poplar has hit 59.3 percent of his threes (16-of-27) and is hitting 50 percent overall from the floor this season.
Marcus Randolph (Jr. | Saint Peter’s)
A change of scenery looks to have paid off for the Archbishop Wood alum. Randolph has come off the bench in all three games he’s played with the Peacocks but the 6-foot-5 guard has been a spark posting 10.7 ppg. The Richmond transfer is coming off his best game of the season, going for 18 on 6-of-10 shooting in 26 minutes off the bench on Nov. 15 against FDU.
Daniel Skillings (So. | Cincinnati)
The Roman Catholic alum is fresh off a career day, pouring in 25 points on 8-of-12 shooting with nine boards in Sunday's 90-66 win over Northern Kentucky. Skillings, who had a runout dunk that made the team's X account, is putting up good numbers through four games. The athletic 6-foot-6 wing is averaging 14.5 ppg - nearly triple his freshman season average - and eight rebounds in 26 minutes per game.
Bella Smuda (RS-Jr. | Liberty)
She's not just doing it with blocks. The 6-foot-6 Smuda is putting together the best statistical season of her career thus far and doing it as a first-time starters. Smuda, a Downingtown East alum, is putting up 10.3 points, nine rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.5 blocks per game through four contests and is on pace to shatter most of her career best marks.
Maddie Vizza (Sr. | Northeastern)
It’s been a welcome return to form for the sharpshooting Germantown Academy alum. Injuries limited the Huskies guard to just nine total games and 107 combined minutes over the last two seasons after a CAA All-Rookie freshman year. Vizza, or “Threeza” as she was known at GA and with the Comets, has started all four games this season, averaging 8.3 ppg on 10-of-17 shooting from deep in 26 minutes per game.