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Donofrio Classic Report: Thursday, April 9

04/10/2015, 12:15am EDT
By Josh Verlin & Ethan Miller

Josh Verlin (@jmverlin) &
Ethan Miller (@ByEthanMiller)

Here’s a report from Donofrio Classic action at the Fellowship House (515 Harry St., Conshohocken) on Wednesday, April 8:


Game One: Team Hardnett 89, Old School Cavaliers 84 (OT)
The defending champions went down, but they didn’t do so easily. With easily 10 Division I prospects between the two teams, this was the highest-level contest so far, and it was a hard-fought game the whole way through. The Cavaliers led the entire first 30 minutes, but foul issues finally caught up to them. Tony Carr (2016/Roman Catholic) scored 17 of his 27 in the second half and OT to lead Hardnett to the win, getting ample help from Temple signee Levan Alston (2015/Haverford School), who had 23 points. Old School got 21 from Josh Sharkey (2016/Archbishop Carroll), 15 from Lamar Stevens (2016/Roman Catholic) and 13 from Jabri McCall (2016/Martin Luther King), but all three fouled out in OT; Cameron Reddish (2018/Haverford School) also had 17 for the Cavaliers.

Game Two: Bucks County All-Stars 116, LVBR 71
Bucks County sprinted out to a big early lead and never looked back against some of the top players from the Lehigh Valley. It was a 20-point spread midway through the first half and a 65-31 lead at the half for Bucks County, who’s got plenty of Division I talent throughout its roster. Six-foot-8 St. Bonaventure commit Derrick Woods (2015/Pennsbury) led Bucks County with 20 points, Colgate-bound forward David Krmpotich (2015/La Salle HS) and undecided guard Cameron Jones (2015/Pennsbury) had 18 apiece and Temple-bound wing Trey Lowe (2015/Ewing) had 15 as part of six players in double figures. DaShon Giddings (2015/Del-Val Charter) led LVBR with 22 points, while Zay Jennings (2016/Allentown CC) had 11 as the only other member of the team in double figures.


Gilbert opening up recruitment after meeting with Paulsen
It’s been a few weeks of uncertainty for Constitution senior wing and George Mason commit Ahmad Gilbert since GMU fired head coach Paul Hewitt last month, but things are moving forward now that the school hired former Bucknell head coach Dave Paulsen to fill the role.

Gilbert had his first meeting with Paulsen on Friday, and though it was a positive encounter, it wasn’t quite enough to keep him from re-opening his recruitment and making sure he puts himself in the best possible situation in the fall.

“I really thought the meeting went well. I liked what we talked about,” he said. “[But] I’m still going to go up for more visits once I get my release back.”

Gilbert committed to George Mason after a strong summer on the AAU circuit that saw him pick up eight Division I offers, including a few high-major looks. And now that he’s re-opening his recruitment, some of those same schools that were interested then have reached back out.

“As of right now, South Florida and Boston College are both looking at me. Then there are schools in the A10 like Dayton who are looking at me too,” he said. “I’m just going to the place that best fits me as a person on and off the court.”

A 6-foot-6 lefthander, Gilbert has developed a rather all-around offensive game, capable of hitting a few 3-pointers in a row to go along with a solid catch-and-shoot ability in the mid-range. In the off-season, Gilbert wants to continue to improve his offensive abilities, but really he wants to focus on defense.

“I would say I need to focus a lot of defense,” he said. “My coach always tells me defense wins championships, I have to live up to that.”

Silpe looking forward to new start with Donahue
Jake Silpe’s freshman year at Cherry Hill East was the first for head coach Dave Allen, who took over for longtime head coach John Valore prior to the 2011-12 season.

And by the time he finished his high school career, he’d led the Cougars to two South Jersey Group 4 titles and the school’s first state championship game appearance, easily the best stretch in the program’s history.Penn fans are certainly hoping he can bring that kind of success with him to the school’s West Philadelphia campus, starting his college career with another coach at a new gig.

Steve Donahue was hired as the 20th head coach in Penn men’s basketball history last month, taking over for Jerome Allen, who was unable to get the program to double-digit wins in each of the last three seasons.

Silpe said he hasn’t met Donahue in person yet, only spoken with him twice on the phone, but plans to go down to campus next week and formally introduce himself.

“I’ve heard great things about him, he’s a winner, and he is a great basketball mind,” Silpe said before his Bucks County squad crushed LVBR. “It seems like a fresh start, trying to get this program back to the top. I started high school with a new coach, now I’m excited to start college with a new coach.”

Though Silpe, Donahue and the rest of the Quakers will have a ways to go to build on a 9-22 season in 2014-15, there’s hope for the future. Donahue kept on two assistants, Nat Graham and Ira Bowman, about whom Silpe said “it was nice to have them back,” but the real appeal is the talented group of incoming freshman joining a few players who made a solid impact in their first year on campus last year.

Combo guard Antonio Woods, power forward Mike Auger and sharpshooting small forward Sam Jones all played well for stretches during their freshman seasons, and all should be integral parts of the program for the next three years.

“I’ve been to a couple of their games, they’re really good players and I’m excited to join them,” Silpe said. “I think we have a really bright future.”

Jones focused on making big impact at UNLV
Before he steps on campus at UNLV later this summer to begin his college career, Archbishop Carroll senior wing Derrick Jones will be participating in a few all-star events.

The top-30 prospect was left out of the McDonald’s All-American and Jordan Brand all-star games. Instead, he’ll be participating in the Jordan Brand regional game (April 17, Barclays Center, N.Y.), the BallisLife All-American Game (May 2, Long Beach, Cali.) and the Mary Kline Classic (May 30, West Orange, N.J.), trying to prove that he shouldn’t have been omitted from the big national showcases.

“It’s politics...they pick the people they want to see play,” he said. “I’m not mad about it, I’m just going to go out in the regional game and give it my all like I usually do.”

“I’m going to try to get 50,” he added, though a few of his signature highlight-reel slams and out-of-nowhere rejections should do the trick as well.

Jones is clearly much more at ease and comfortable now in interview settings, smiling often as he talked about his plans for the summer and beyond.

“It’s just now I’ve got the college [recruitment] stuff off my shoulders,” he said. “It’s just making my mark at the next level and just doing my best to get myself to the NBA.”

At UNLV, Jones will be trying to help the Rebels back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2013, the last in four consecutive years the program went dancing under Lon Kruger and then Dave Rice. Rice, now going into his fifth year as head coach, led the team to an 18-15 (8-10 Mountain West) record last year.

And they’ll need Jones and their only other incoming recruit--Canadian shooting guard Jalen Poyser--to chip in, especially after freshman guard Rashad Vaughn declared for the NBA Draft.

“We all know what I’ve got to do,” the 6-foot-6, 180-pound wing said. “I’ve got to get stronger, so that’s what I’m going to go there and I’m going to do.

“I’m trying to get Freshman of the Year in my conference...and lead my team to a conference championship game and possibly lead us to the tournament.”


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