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Donofrio Classic Report: Monday, April 13

04/14/2015, 12:00am EDT
By Jeff Neiburg, Josh Verlin

Jeff Neiburg (@Jeff_Neiburg) &
Josh Verlin (@jmverlin)
--

Here’s a report from Donofrio Classic semifinal action at the Fellowship House (515 Harry St., Conshohocken) on Monday, April 13:

~~~

Game One: Team Hardnett 98, Team Philly 94
One of the more entertaining games of the entire tournament featured a wild final minute that saw Team Philly turn an eight-point deficit into just two with 30 seconds remaining, and a chance for a go-ahead bucket--before Ahmad Gilbert (2015/Constitution) saved the day with a steal and 3-point play that gave Hardnett the cushion it needed to hold on. Temple commit Levan Alston (2015/Haverford School) continued a strong tourney with 30 points, Gilbert and future Rutgers football player Manny Taylor (2015/Roman Catholic) had 16 each and Tony Carr (2016/Roman Catholic) had 15 for Hardnett. Samir Doughty (2015/Math, Civics & Sciences) had 25 for Team Philly, while Devin Liggeons (2015/Imhotep Charter) had 16 and Mike Watkins (2015/Phelps School) had 14.

Game Two: Raw Sports All Stars 87, Bucks All Stars 82
Trailing 56-45 midway through the second half, Raw Sports used a big 19-5 run to help turn the game around and held off a furious rally at the end, when Bucks had multiple 3-point attempts miss by Cameron Jones (2015/Pennsbury) and Trey Lowe (2015/Ewing) to tie the game. Caesar Dejesus (2015/Impact Academy) led the way for Raw Sports with 21 points. Jahaad Proctor (2015/Harrisburg) added 20 points. Milik Gantz (2015/Bishop McDevitt) and Lonnie Walker (2017/Reading) also scored in double figures with 19 and 16 points, respectively. Lowe led all scorers with 25 points and Jones tallied 14. Mekhi Bryant (2015/Pennsbury) pitched in 11 for Bucks and Jake Silpe (2015/Cherry Hill East) scored 10 points while being hampered by foul trouble in the second half.

-- Tuesday’s championship between Raw Sports and Team Hardnett will tip at 7:30 at the Fellowship House.

~~~

Team Philly core runs one last time
Kyle Sample didn’t go to his senior prom at Northeast High School. Instead, he went to the Bob Gibbons AAU tournament to help Lonnie Lowry coach.

Sample played for Team Philly during his first three years of high school at Cardinal Dougherty, and has been with the program ever since, totaling 12 years this year.

On Monday night, one of the program’s most talented, toughest groups played its last game together, losing in the semifinals of the Donofrio Classic.

It was the swan song for Penn State-bound big man Mike Watkins, Florida International guard Kimar Williams, Wagner’s Devin Liggeons and others like Samir Doughty, Sean Lloyd and Dymir Logan.

“It’s bittersweet,” Sample said. “No amount of games as far as coaching can sum up what these guys mean to me and what we’ve been through together. We’ve spent so many days together in hotel rooms or in vans, talking about life conversations and basketball conversations. It’s crazy.”

This current group joins the likes of Reggie Redding, Kyle Lowry, Maalik Wayans, Lavoy Allen, Shane Clark, Amile Jefferson, and more, as players who came through the Team Philly program en route to the next level.

“We feel as though that’s something our program has really done, try to get kids ready for the next level,” Sample said. “All these kids are ready. These losses and all these lessons that they’re going through, bottom line it’s going to teach them to play harder at the next level.”

That’s been the trademark of the core of this group, which Sample has been with for three years, playing hard. They weren’t always the most talented, but they usually outworked their opponents. And they never gave up.

Just like in Monday’s semifinal. Liggeons hit a couple of big 3-pointers late to almost turn around an eight-point deficit with just over a minute to go.

Sample said that watching kids grow over the years is one of the best perks.

“You watch them mature, you watch them go from boys to men,” he said. “Samir Doughty, Mike Watkins, the way they’ve matured - Kimar, no one expected him to be where he is today - just to watch these guys grow. Sean Lloyd, he’s a man.

“Dev Liggeons is one of the best players I’ve ever coached that no one talks about. He’s the oozie. Whenever he gets it going - the shots he made there at the end - he can do that at any given time.”

The future of the program is bright as well. Also playing Monday night, and playing on the U17 team this year are rising seniors Devon Goodman (Germantown Academy) and Ryan Betley (Downingtown West), as well as sophomore Koby Thomas, who will transfer to Imhotep next year and is one of the area’s best sophomores.

“Koby’s new, but potential-wise he’s probably our best prospect in the whole program right now,” Sample said. “The things that he can do in transition, the things that he can do defensively with his length, it’s scary. And he hasn’t even tapped into his potential yet.”

Pennsbury’s Bryant headed to Maryland JUCO
Before he can go to one of the Division II schools that was recruiting him out of high school, Pennsbury (Pa.) 2015 G Mekhi Bryant needs to get his grades in order.

So after graduating this spring, he’ll be going to Baltimore City (Md.) Community College to do just that.

“I couldn’t go anywhere because of my academic situation, and they seemed like they were a really good academic type of school,” he said. “Basketball is always going to be here, so if I could do something academically, that would be great.”

A strong, athletic, 5-11 combo guard, Bryant was a key part of Pennsbury’s varsity squad for the last three seasons, helping the Falcons to a 2014 PIAA District 1 AAAA championship appearance in 2014 and the semifinals this year as well as the state quarterfinals.

He was getting heavily recruited by both Holy Family and Caldwell, a pair of CACC schools, and is hoping they’ll both still be in the picture when he’s ready to leave Baltimore City College in a year or two.

“I really like both of them, I’ve still got them in the back of my head,” he said. “I talk to them every day and let them know what my plans are.

“Hopefully I can do one year and just get out of there, but if I can do two, that would be great too and we’ll go from there,” he added.

While it’s his schoolwork that’s driving him to the junior college route, Bryant will still need to continue to work on his game to make himself attractive to those schools when he is able to qualify academically.

“I think I need to work on a couple of things like finding my spots on the court and stuff like that,” he said.

“Because, truly, I think I’m a big man, I can just go to the basket, but I’m a little small down there,” he added with a laugh. “So I’ve got to be able to find my spots and choose wisely.”

Gantz commits to Harcum
Bishop McDevitt senior guard Milik Gantz had been heavily recruited throughout his high school career to play basketball at the Division I level.

But the 1,000-point scorer who averaged 18.3 ppg, 8 rpg and 8 apg, announced Monday that he’d be starting his college career at suburban Philadelphia junior college, Harcum College.

“When I took the visit last week, I just looked at the whole school,” Gantz said. “It’s an old school, it used to be an all-girls school. Just taking the tour, it was really nice. Meeting the teachers helped me a lot, they said once I get there, they’re going to be on me. I took that into consideration and I think Harcum was a great choice for me, I can bond with the team, one of my friends plays for them, Anthony Wright.”

Gantz, a first-team all-state selection, helped lead McDevitt to this year’s state quarterfinal before losing to eventual champion Neumann-Goretti, 76-71. He had a triple-double that night, scoring 16 points while adding 13 rebounds and 10 assists.

Before his senior year, Gantz had previously held offers from Manhattan, Rider, Drexel, Radford and Boston University, but his recruiting trail got cold.

He’ll have a chance to prove himself the next few years.

Harcum, which started its basketball program in 2005 with coach Drew Kelly, has turned out a few Division I basketball players in recent years, like Charles Okwandu (UConn), Berend Weijs (Maryland), Ivan Cruz Uceda (Miami, Fla.), Jordan Goodman (New Mexico), Shevon Thompson (George Mason) and plenty of others.

Gantz said he was conscious of that, and is hopeful he can use his two years at the Bryn Mawr school to help elevate his game.

“I’m just looking to get better day-by-day,” he said. “Hopefully in the next two years I can get to that higher level, if it’s mid-major, low-major or high-major. I can just get better as a player and student and go on and play basketball.”


Recruiting News:

Jeff Neiburg (@Jeff_Neiburg) &
Josh Verlin (@jmverlin)
--

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

~~~

Game One: Team Hardnett 98, Team Philly 94
One of the more entertaining games of the entire tournament featured a wild final minute that saw Team Philly turn an eight-point deficit into just two with 30 seconds remaining, and a chance for a go-ahead bucket--before Ahmad Gilbert (2015/Constitution) saved the day with a steal and 3-point play that gave Hardnett the cushion it needed to hold on. Temple commit Levan Alston (2015/Haverford School) continued a strong tourney with 30 points, Gilbert and future Rutgers football player Manny Taylor (2015/Roman Catholic) had 16 each and Tony Carr (2016/Roman Catholic) had 15 for Hardnett. Samir Doughty (2015/Math, Civics & Sciences) had 25 for Team Philly, while Devin Liggeons (2015/Imhotep Charter) had 16 and Mike Watkins (2015/Phelps School) had 14.

Game Two: Raw Sports All Stars 87, Bucks All Stars 82
Trailing 56-45 midway through the second half, Raw Sports used a big 19-5 run to help turn the game around and held off a furious rally at the end, when Bucks had multiple 3-point attempts miss by Cameron Jones (2015/Pennsbury) and Trey Lowe (2015/Ewing) to tie the game. Caesar Dejesus (2015/Impact Academy) led the way for Raw Sports with 21 points. Jahaad Proctor (2015/Harrisburg) added 20 points. Milik Gantz (2015/Bishop McDevitt) and Lonnie Walker (2017/Reading) also scored in double figures with 19 and 16 points, respectively. Lowe led all scorers with 25 points and Jones tallied 14. Mekhi Bryant (2015/Pennsbury) pitched in 11 and Jake Silpe (2015/Cherry Hill East) scored 10 points for Bucks while being hampered by foul trouble in the second half.

-- Tuesday’s championship between Raw Sports and Team Hardnett with tip at 7:30 at the Fellowship House.

~~~

Team Philly core runs one last time
Kyle Sample didn’t go to his senior prom at Northeast High School. Instead, he went to the Bob Gibbons AAU tournament to help Lonnie Lowry coach.

Sample played for Team Philly during his first three years of high school at Cardinal Dougherty, and has been with the program ever since, totaling 12 years this year.

On Monday night, one of the program’s most talented, toughest groups played its last game together, losing in the semifinals of the Donofrio Classic.

It was the swan song for Penn State-bound big man Mike Watkins, Florida International guard Kimar Williams, Wagner’s Devin Liggeons and others like Samir Doughty, Sean Lloyd and Dymir Logan.

“It’s bittersweet,” Sample said. “No amount of games as far as coaching can sum up what these guys mean to me and what we’ve been through together. We’ve spent so many days together in hotel rooms or in vans, talking about life conversations and basketball conversations. It’s crazy.”

This current group joins the likes of Reggie Redding, Kyle Lowry, Maalik Wayans, Lavoy Allen, Shane Clark, Amile Jefferson and more as players who came through the Team Philly program en route to the next level.

“We feel as though that’s something our program has really done, try to get kids ready for the next level,” Sample said. “All these kids are ready. These losses and all these lessons that they’re going through, bottom line it’s going to teach them to play harder at the next level.”

That’s been the trademark of the core of this group, which Sample has been with for three years, playing hard. They weren’t always the most talented, but they usually outworked their opponents. And they never gave up.

Just like in Monday’s semifinal. Liggeons hit a couple of big 3-pointers late to almost turn around an eight-point deficit with just over a minute to go.

Sample said that watching kids grow over the years is one of the best perks.

“You watch them mature, you watch them go from boys to men,” he said. “Samir Doughty, Mike Watkins, the way they’ve matured - Kimar, no one expected him to be where he is today - just to watch these guys grow. Sean Lloyd, he’s a man.

“Dev Liggeons is one of the best players I’ve ever coached that no one talks about. He’s the oozie. Whenever he gets it going - the shots he made there at the end - he can do that at any given time.”

The future of the program is bright as well. Also playing Monday night, and playing on the U17 team this year are rising seniors Devon Goodman (Germantown Academy) and Ryan Betley (Downingtown West), as well as sophomore Koby Thomas, who will transfer to Imhotep next year and is one of the area’s best sophomores.

“Koby’s new, but potential-wise he’s probably our best prospect in the whole program right now,” Sample said. “The things that he can do in transition, the things that he can do defensively with his length, it’s scary. And he hasn’t even tapped into his potential yet.”

Pennsbury’s Bryant headed to Maryland JUCO
Before he can go to one of the Division II schools that was recruiting him out of high school, Pennsbury (Pa.) 2015 G Mekhi Bryant needs to get his grades in order.

So after graduating this spring, he’ll be going to Baltimore City (Md.) Community College to do just that.

“I couldn’t go anywhere because of my academic situation, and they seemed like they were a really good academic type of school,” he said. “Basketball is always going to be here, so if I could do something academically, that would be great.”

A strong, athletic, 5-11 combo guard, Bryant was a key part of Pennsbury’s varsity squad for the last three seasons, helping the Falcons to a 2014 PIAA District 1 AAAA championship appearance in 2014 and the semifinals this year as well as the state quarterfinals.

He was getting heavily recruited by both Holy Family and Caldwell, a pair of CACC schools, and is hoping they’ll both still be in the picture when he’s ready to leave Baltimore City College in a year or two.”

“I really like both of them, I’ve still got them in the back of my head,” he said. “I talk to them every day and let them know what my plans are.

“Hopefully I can do one year and just get out of there, but if I can do two, that would be great too and we’ll go from there,” he added.

While it’s his schoolwork that’s driving him to the junior college route, Bryant will still need to continue to work on his game to make himself attractive to those schools when he is able to qualify academically.

“I think I need to work on a couple of things like finding my spots on the court and stuff like that,” he said.

“Because truly I think I’m a big man, I can just go to the basket, but I’m a little small down there,” he added with a laugh. “So I’ve got to be able to find my spots and choose wisely.”

Gantz commits to Harcum
Bishop McDevitt senior guard Milik Gantz had been heavily recruited throughout his high school career to play basketball at the Division I level.

But the 1,000-point scorer who averaged 18.3 ppg, 8 rpg and 8 apg, announced Monday that he’d be starting his college career at suburban Philadelphia junior college, Harcum College.

“When I took the visit last week, I just looked at the whole school,” Gantz said. “It’s an old school, it used to be an all-girls school. Just taking the tour, it was really nice. Meeting the teachers helped me a lot, they said once I get there, they’re going to be on me. I took that into consideration and I think Harcum was a great choice for me, I can bond with the team, one of my friends plays for them, Anthony Wright.”

Gantz, a first-team all-state selection, helped lead McDevitt to this year’s state quarterfinal before losing to eventual champion Neumann-Goretti, 76-71. He had a triple-double that night, scoring 16 points while adding 13 rebounds and 10 assists.

Before his senior year, Gantz had previously held offers from Manhattan, Rider, Drexel, Radford and Boston University, but his recruiting trail got cold.

He’ll have a chance to prove himself the next few years.

Harcum, which started its basketball program in 2005 with coach Drew Kelly, has turned out a few Division I basketball players in recent years, like Charles Okwandu (UConn), Berend Weijs (Maryland), Ivan Cruz Uceda (Miami, Fla.), Jordan Goodman (New Mexico), Shevon Thompson (George Mason) and plenty of others.

Gantz said he was conscious of that, and is hopeful he can use his two years at the Bryn Mawr school to help elevate his game.
“I’m just looking to get better day-by-day,” he said. “Hopefully in the next two years I can get to that higher level, if it’s mid-major, low-major or high-major. I can just get better as a player and student and go on and play basketball.”


Recruiting News:

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