Josh Verlin (@jmverlin)
For the last few years, the DePersia twins, Rob and Nick, were a force to be reckoned with in South Jersey. Playing alongside each other in the Haddonfield HS backcourt, they helped the Bulldogs to two South Jersey Group 2 title game appearances, winning 98 games during their four years in high school.
So, they figured, why change things up too much for college? And so last week, Rob and Nick decided they would stay local and committed to Division III Rowan University, just 20 miles from home.
"It's close to home so our family and other supporters can come watch," Nick said. "The school is continuously becoming bigger and improving. Loved the coaching staff, had a strong connection with them."
This past season, Rob and Nick each averaged over 15.8 ppg, leading the Bulldogs to a 23-7 record and appearance in the SJ Group 2 title game, where they lost to Camden.
The two had a sizable list of interested area Division II and Division III schools on them, including D-IIIs Rensselaer Polytech (N.Y.), Roger Williams (R.I.), Kean (N.J.) and Cabrini (Pa.) as well as D-IIs Chestnut Hill (Pa.), Georgian Court (N.J.) and Felician College (N.J.). But the opportunity to stay close to home and play right away was too tempting to turn down.
Not surprisingly, the two have opted to both study the same subject (engineering), though Rob also plans on a minor in criminal justice.
"It's a great academic school that has our majors and is really close to home," said Rob, who at 5-11 is slightly shorter than his brother and plays more of the point guard role of the two. "Financially they gave us a good package, and with the coaching staff they have we can be really successful and have some great connections there."
Nick, at maybe a shade over six feet, tends to be the scorer, though they two have each scored 1000 points in their high school careers.
It's no surprise they ended up choosing to play another four years together.
"All the schools that were looking at us wanted us together," Nick said. "I feel like we play great together and bring the best out of one another."
Last season, the Profs went 16-10 overall, with a 10-8 record in NJAC games, under 19th-year head coach Joe Cassidy, who has had a very successful two decades since taking over for current La Salle coach John Giannini in 1996 following a national championship that year.