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Donofrio Classic Report: Weds., March 27, 2024

03/28/2024, 10:15am EDT
By Josh Verlin

Josh Verlin (@jmverlin)

The 2024 Donofrio Classic continued Wednesday night, the third of the five first-round nights to take place over this week and into next, with 25 games ultimately determining the champions come April 16 at the Fellowship House in Conshohocken.

CoBL will be there for coverage every night as we get our recruiting coverage started this offseason; CLICK HERE to access our 2024 Donofrio hub. Read ahead for game recaps and a notebook featuring several of the players who took the court Wednesday night:


Game One: Philly Hoop Group 104, Danny Rumph 96

In a game that featured way too much talent for a first-round matchup, Philly Hoop Group rode five double-digit scorers to a win in a game that was tightly contested for the first 30 minutes before a late run helped create some space down the stretch. Deuce Maxey (2025 | Archbishop Wood) was stellar, hitting six 3-pointers as part of a 26-point effort; Kevair Kennedy (2025 | Father Judge) closed strong for a 20-point outing, while Zaahir Muhmmad-Gray (2026 | Imhotep Charter) was close behind with 18 of his own. In the middle, Thomas Sorber (2024 | Archbishop Ryan) had 14 points for Philly Hoop group and had close to triple-double numbers with bunches of rebounds and blocks as he went head-to-head with Shareef Jackson (2025 | Roman Catholic) in a rematch of the Catholic League championship game. Jackson held his own for Danny Rumph with 15 points and a good helping of boards and assists, though it was his Cahillites teammate Robert Cottrell (2024 | Roman Catholic) who led the way with a 30-point outing, including five second-half 3-pointers; West Chester commit Larenzo Jerkins added 14 points as well.

Game Two: L&L Running Rebels 109, Hunting Park II 84
A game that was close for the first 30 minutes or so became a blowout at the end, as L&L’s deep roster wore down a Hunting Park group that was only seven deep and relied heavily on its top five. Jaen Chatman (2025 | Blair Academy, N.J.) led the way for the group from the Lehigh Valley with 28 points, while Jayden Thomas (2024 | Parkland) added 16, Jake Pukszyn (2026 | Liberty) scored 12 and Sebastian Fermin (2024 | Putnam Science, Conn.) chipped in 10 of his own. Imhotep Charter junior Carnell Henderson led Hunting Park II with a 31-point outing to match his jersey number, knocking down six 3-pointers, while Josiah Hutson (2025 | Cheltenham) added 17 and Kamal Mason (2027 | Cheltenham) chipped in 14 and Nazir Tyler (2027 | Father Judge) scored 10 points.


Imhotep’s Henderson ready for a big step up in responsibility

As a sophomore at Imhotep Charter, Carnell Henderson was a deep reserve, not quite ready to make a varsity impact. As a junior, he moved into the rotation for Andre Noble’s Panthers, making a mark on a team that won the Public League, District 12 5A and PIAA Class 5A state titles yet again.

Carnell Henderson (above) is going to have to be one of Imhotep's primary scorers as a senior. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)

Henderson knows that a similar jump is coming for his senior year, a talented 2024 class ready to move on and leaving a big hole in the rotation. Which makes this an important summer for the 6-foot-3 guard, one of the more underrated talents in the city, who could go from another cog in the Panthers’ machine to one of its stars.

“This upcoming summer [I want to] just get better, because I know I’ve got to take on a bigger role, a way bigger role, going into my senior year,” he said. “Seeing as how Ahmad Nowell, Ma’Kye Taylor, Jeremiah White, all the seniors are leaving, I’ve got to be prepared.”

Henderson looked the part on Wednesday night. He knocked down six 3-pointers, including five in the first half, to boost him to a 31-point outing to lead all scorers in a loss for Hunting Park II. 

Imhotep will need that kind of effort with consistency next season, with Nowell off at UConn, Taylor at Albany and White off at a TBD college. Henderson is part of a strong returning group, along with sophomore guard RJ Smith, sophomore wings Latief Lorenzano-White and Zaahir Muhammad-Gray and freshman forward Zion Green, among others. 

They’ll all need to carry the torch most recently held by Nowell and Co., though it’s a torch passed down from one tough ‘Tep senior class to the next.

“They work really hard, they work on their games every day, and I’ve just got to do what they do, and do it better,” Henderson said, then realized that might be setting the bar unachievably high. “Maybe not better, but…”

The idea was clear. 

“(Noble) just told me to stay in the gym, keep working, they’re going to need me next year real bad,” he added.

Henderson’s going to play this summer with Brad Wanamaker (BW) Elite’s 17U squad, sticking with the Hoop Group Showcase League program after playing with their 16s last summer. In tournaments over the coming months, he’ll hope to show college coaches that he’s going to be ready to contribute to their programs the following year; so far, he said, he’s gotten some interest from a few Division I programs, but nothing concrete just yet.

“Just doing everything I can to help us win,” he said. “Defending, rebounding, scoring, everything. The whole nine yards.” 


Parkland’s Jayden Thomas honing in on college pick

This was a season of making up for lost time for Jayden Thomas

Jayden Thomas (above) and Parkland made it to the state championship game. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)

The 6-foot-2 Parkland senior guard missed his entire junior year with a broken leg suffered in September 2022, coming back rusty last summer, making the jump from a sophomore on the JV squad to a senior playing varsity with a whole lot of lost time in between. 

“Summer league was rough, that was my first time playing organized basketball again,” he said. “The first half of the season was a little rough but then I hit my stride and the coaches had a lot of trust in me to go out and play my game.”

Thomas ended up being a major piece for Parkland this season, starting on a team that won the District 11 title and made it all the way to Hershey before losing to Central York in the PIAA 6A state championship game on Saturday.

Just five days later, he was making his Donofrio debut for the L&L Running Rebels, scoring 16 points in a win over Hunting Park II. He’ll be back in Conshohocken next Wednesday night for a second-round game against Positive Image Blue, which advanced in its own first-round win on Tuesday.

“It’s my first time playing,” he said of the 62nd annual all-star event. “It’s fast-paced, a lot of good guys on the other team and it’s going to be great competition next round.”

Also on Thomas’ mind is settling into his collegiate plans. He’s unsure if he’s playing spring AAU this year, noting that he might have his college commitment done by then, and he noted there’s a leader in the race for his services.

“DeSales is my number one right now,” he said. “A couple other D-IIIs [are involved], but that’s really it.”

It’s no surprise that DeSales head coach Scott Coval has taken a liking to Thomas. Coval’s son Nick is another one of the 10 seniors graduating from the Parkland roster this year, the Trojans’ all-time leading scorer headed down to Davidson to play in the Atlantic 10.

Coval has been DeSales’ coach for 31 seasons, winning exactly 570 games at better than a .670 clip; the Bulldogs have made six NCAA Tournament appearances in his tenure, most recently in 2022. 

“It’s a great program, they’re a winning program, they get far every year,” Thomas said. “This year they lost in the conference championship but it’s a winning program, I want to go win and I want to be on the court. I missed last year, obviously, so I want to go be on the court.”


Quick Hits
Zach Campbell (2024 | Dobbins Tech) is closing in on a college decision, something he plans on making in April after an unsigned seniors’ showcase at Imhotep Charter in a couple weeks. The 6-3 left-handed shooting guard said he’s got a strong group of four D-III schools currently recruiting him in Elizabethtown, Penn State-Brandywine and Penn State-Abington as well as Springfield College (Mass.), which he recently visited for an overnight; he’s also recently been to Elizabethtown. Campbell said his decision will likely come down to a coaching staff that wants to push him, as well as the campus and atmosphere. 

Robert Cottrell (2024 | Roman Catholic) named three Division III schools as those he was talking to at the moment, though it didn’t sound like he was close to a decision. Arcadia, Marymount (Va.) and Alvernia were the schools he said were recruiting him at the moment, but  noted that Roman coach Chris McNesby had sent film out to other schools, and he was waiting to see if anybody else was interested. The 5-foot-9 point guard, who helped Roman to back-to-back PCL championships in his upperclassman seasons, also said he’s looking for an AAU team to play with during the spring, after which he’ll gauge his collegiate options.

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