CoBL Staff (@hooplove215)
Though Philadelphia is known as a college basketball town primarily for the six Division I schools in the immediate vicinity, there are plenty of great Division II and Division III programs alike in the City of Brotherly Love and its surrounding areas. Four area schools (University of the Sciences, Philadelphia University, Neumann and Dickinson) made it to the NCAA Tournament, and various players were named to a few different national All-American teams.
Here are CoBL’s area small-college honors for the 2014-15 season:
CoBL Small College Co-Players of the Year
Garret Kerr–Sr., University of the Sciences
Aaron Walton-Moss–Sr., Cabrini
Not only did both Kerr and Walton-Moss both win National Player of the Year honors in their respective divisions, they’re both South Jersey products–Kerr from Middle Township and Walton-Moss from Camden. And the two absolutely earned all the honors they’ve garnered this season, making it impossible to pick one over the other as the area’s top small-college player.
Every Division III coach in the area has to breathe a sigh of relief that they won’t have to face Walton-Moss anymore. The 6-foot-1 guard put together one of the more impressive careers you’ll see, averaging 18.4 ppg, 10.2 rpg and 5.6 apg across his four years. His senior year numbers were incredible: 20.6 ppg (24th nationally), 11.7 rpg (fifth) and 8.8 apg (first), with nine triple-doubles–the only player in Division III hoops with more than one.
Kerr, a 6-4 forward, averaged 25.7 ppg and 12.7 rpg, leading University of the Sciences to its first-ever NCAA Tournament berth (they moved over from NAIA in 2000) and first-ever postseason tournament win, when he dropped 40 points against St. Anselm in the NCAA Round of 64. His most noteworthy outing, however, might have been the 27 points he scored against Drexel, including the game-winning 3-pointer as the Devils pulled off a shocking upset over their Division I foe.
What separates these two from the rest of the pack is the way they can absolutely take over a game, and the fact that they do so on basically an every-night basis. They will both leave their respective schools as arguably the best in their respective program’s histories, and have set a new standard for anybody else who steps foot in their gyms.
All-CoBL Small College First Team
Reggie Charles–R-Jr., Holy Family
–The Shippensburg transfer led the Tigers to a 22-8 record, including a 15-4 mark in the tough CACC South, in his first year of eligibility with his new team. A 6-3 guard out of Father Judge, Charles averaged 17.5 ppg and just over five assists per contest while making more than 50 percent of his shots.
Garret Kerr–Sr., USciences
–Kerr finished his outstanding four-year career with 2,434 points and 1,391 rebounds, averaging more than 22 ppg and 12 rpg every time he put on a Devils uniform. Had perhaps the highest-running motor in all Division II basketball, and a great ability to square up to the basket and score from anywhere.
Nick Schlitzer–Sr., Philadelphia University
–The only senior in the Rams’ starting lineup, Schlitzer was second on the team in scoring (17.7 ppg) and assists (2.8 apg), while shooting 47 percent from the floor and 37 percent from beyond the arc. The 6-6 guard out of Pottsville finished his career as a four-year starter for Herb Magee with 1707 points in 119 career games (112 starts).
Aaron Walton-Moss–Sr., Cabrini
–As stated above, there wasn’t much Walton-Moss couldn’t do on the court, and almost nothing he didn’t accomplish in his college career. His 11 triple-doubles over the last two seasons might be the most impressive feat of all.
Gerry Wixted–Sr., Dickinson
–The most skilled big man in the area, the 6-8 Wixted averaged 18.6 ppg and 8.1 rpg, shooting 49 percent from the floor and 42.1 percent from the 3-point arc. Was named the D3hoops.com national Player of the Year for his efforts in getting Dickinson to the NCAA Sweet 16; two-time All-American to boot.
All-CoBL Small College Second Team
Darnell Artis–Jr., Gwynedd Mercy
–The Griffins’ starting point guard was third on the team in scoring (12.1 ppg) but was second in the conference in assists (5.2/game), earning a spot on the all-CSAC First Team.
Joe Brown–Sr., Arcadia
–This 6-5 forward out of La Salle HS (Pa.) led the Knights in scoring (15.6 ppg) and rebounding (7.2 rpg), shooting 52 percent from the floor and had an assist-to-turnover above 1:1 (75:66) to boot.
Cody Deal –Jr., DeSales
–A 6-3 wing, Deal averaged 16.3 ppg and 5.4 rpg while shooting 43.8 percent from the floor; his 90.4 percent rate from the foul line was 10th nationally.
Derek Johnson–Jr., Philadelphia University
–Led the Rams in scoring (17.8 ppg), and threw in 5.6 rpg to boot; 6-6 junior wing leads four classmates who all return as starters next year.
Dom Scafidi–Sr., Rosemont
–The 6-5 post was a big reason the Ravens set a new program record with 11 conference wins, averaging 15.0 ppg and 7.0 rpg to lead his team in both categories.
All-CoBL Small College Honorable Mention
Peter Alexis (Jr., Philly U), Francis Arnold (Jr., Delaware Valley), Joe Bell (Sr., Mansfield), Corey Blake (Sr., West Chester), Sho Da-Silva (Jr., University of the Sciences), Mamadou Diakite (Sr., Immaculata), Brandon Federici (Fr., Franklin & Marshall), Isaiah Gans (Holy Family), Arron Goodman (Sr., Gwynedd Mercy), Whis Grant (Sr., East Stroudsburg), Deshawn Lowan (Soph., Neumann), Malique Killing (Sr., Muhlenberg), Chris Moran (Jr., Delaware Valley) Tyaire Ponzo-Meek (Soph., Wilmington) Matt Tobin (Sr., East Stroudsburg), Shaquan Turk (Sr., Eastern), Vinny Walls (Sr., Cabrini)
CoBL Small College Coach of the Year
Dave Pauley, University of the Sciences
The 15 years that Pauley has spent as head coach of the Devils don’t tell the full story of his involvement with USciences athletics. Pauley joined the staff at what was then called the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science back in 1982 as an assistant coach and has spent the last 33 years with the program, helping it in its transition from NAIA to NCAA in 2000, when he took over for the winningest coach in program history–Bob Morgan, who amassed 598 games from 1968-2000.
Though Pauley, who just surpassed the 200-win mark this season, might never catch his old boss in total victories, he did something this season that Morgan never did in 30-plus years on the Devils’ sidelines: win an NCAA Tournament game. Led by Kerr, USciences went 25-6 overall, including a 17-2 mark in CACC play, earning an at-large bid to the Division II tournament as a No. 6 seed in the East region, downing No. 3 St. Anselm (N.H.) in the first round. For guiding his team to a national ranking and bringing home the first postseason victory in school history–NAIA or NCAA–Pauley is CoBL’s small-area college coach of the year.
Barney Hughes, Rosemont
–The third-year head coach led Rosemont to an 11-7 record in CSAC play, the first time that the sixth-year program had done better than .500 in its conference.
Herb Magee, Philadelphia University
–Magee has done a lot of big things in his 48 years at Philly, including an NCAA national champion in 1970, but he hit a special milestone this year with his 1000th win.
Jim Rullo, Neumann
–Rullo took the Knights to their first-ever NCAA Tournament in just his second year as a head coach, leading them to a CSAC championship in thrilling fashion, a 93-92 overtime win over Cabrini.
Alan Seretti, Dickinson
–Seretti has taken Dickinson from an afterthought in the Centennial Conference to its third consecutive NCAA appearance, with a 24-6 record (13-5 in league play).
CoBL Small College Rookie of the Year
Jair Green (Cabrini)
While the Cavaliers will lose star guard Aaron Walton-Moss (see above) to graduation, the future looks bright for Tim McDonald and staff, with 11 underclassmen on a roster that went 17-10 overall and 13-5 in CSAC play. The 6-foot-4 forward out of Paul VI (N.J.), one of two freshmen from that school (Ivan Robinson was the other) to continue his career at Cabrini, was third on the team in scoring (14.3 ppg) and rebounding (5.6 rpg), making 60 percent of his shot attempts (150 of 250). He wasn’t the only impressive freshman on the squad, either–fellow rookie Tyheim Monroe, a 6-6 forward out of Olney Charter, averaged 12.8 ppg and 8.5 rpg while making half of his shots.
Ed. Note: We regret our original failure to include Franklin & Marshall’s Brandon Federici, who 19.3 ppg and 3.3 rpg for a Diplomats team that went 20-6 overall and 13-5 in Centennial Conference play. A 6-4 guard out of the Lawrenceville School (N.J.), Federici led the league in scoring in his first year, shooting 43 percent overall and 39.3 percent on his 3-pointers.
All-CoBL Small College Rookie Team
Aaron Burton (DeSales)
–The MAC Freedom Rookie of the Year, the 6-foot guard out of Cheltenham averaged 10.4 ppg and 5.9 rpg, shooting 44.6 percent overall and 42.3 percent from beyond the arc, helping DeSales to a 17-10 record.
Flo Da-Silva (USciences)
–The 5-11 guard out of Bishop Eustace (N.J.) averaged 5.6 ppg, 2.4 rpg and 2.3 apg for the Devils, but it was his role as the team’s top perimeter defender that earned him a spot on his squad.
Jair Green (Cabrini)
–The 6-4 forward averaged 14.3 ppg and 5.6 rpg while making an astounding 60 percent of his shot attempts despite a 27.8 percent mark on 3-pointers.
Kevin Larkin (Cheyney)
–Had Cheyney not had such a poor year (2-25 overall, 1-21 PSAC), Larkin, a 6-5 guard from Sussex Tech (Del.), might have earned Rookie of the Year honors thanks to averaging 17.8 ppg and 5.1 rpg, shooting 47.6 percent overall and 40.7 percent on his 3-pointers.
Nick Rindock (Muhlenberg)
–A Lehigh Valley native, the 6-4 guard from Parkland HS averaged 10.2 ppg and 3.9 rpg, shooting 59.4 percent overall and 52.3 percent from the 3-point arc for the rebuilding Mules.
Sardayah Sambo (Widener)
–Sambo, a 6-3 guard from Middletown (Del.), played in eight games last year but got a medical redshirt, then came back to average 10.3 ppg and 5.5 rpg while shooting 53.8 percent from the floor in a full season this time around.