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Villanova Team Camp Notebook (June 19)

06/20/2015, 1:15am EDT
By Josh Verlin

Josh Verlin (@jmverlin)

Every year, Villanova brings in some of the best high school programs from Philadelphia, New York and the D.C./Maryland/Virginia (DMV) region for a two-day team camp on the Main Line.

The 2015 edition tipped off on Friday night, with four sets of games going on five courts split between the Pavilion and the Davis Center.

Here’s a notebook from the night’s action:


Archbishop Carroll not bothered by roster flux
Over the last three seasons, Archbishop Carroll basketball became almost synonymous with Derrick Jones, the super-athletic wing who developed into one of the best prep dunkers and shot-blockers in the country.

Now Jones is gone, taking his high-flying act to UNLV, while big man Ernest Aflakpui--who missed the majority of his senior year with a knee injury--departs for Temple.

But they’re not the only ones who it looks like head coach Paul Romanczuk will need to replace for the 2015-16 season. Rising junior David Beatty and rising senior Josh Sharkey, both starters from last year’s PIAA Class AAA runner-up squad and Division I prospects in their own right, were not at the event, as rumors have swirled about both transferring to different schools.

Earlier in the night, reported that Beatty could potentially be headed to New Jersey powerhouse St. Benedict’s, while several potential landing spot names have swirled around Sharkey--none solid enough to identify just yet.

Romanczuk wouldn’t comment directly on either player, saying “it’s a long summer, you never know what’s going to’ll play out and we’ll coach the guys that are committed to Archbishop Carroll basketball and that’ll be fun.”

The good news for Romanczuk and Carroll fans is that, despite the heavy defection, the Patriots have far from a bare cupboard.

Rising senior guard Ryan Daly (pictured), who has Division I offers from Penn, Hartford and Brown, looks ready to be the featured piece of the offense, scoring 26 points against Hudson Catholic, including the game-winning free throw in double overtime.

That Daly, who averaged nearly 13 ppg as a junior, should be in for a big season is not much of a surprise; the son of former Bonner head coach and Penn State assistant Brian Daly has a great head for the game and has turned himself into a versatile and crafty scorer. What did stand out was the amount of length that Romanczuk has at his disposal, even despite the graduations of the 6-foot-7 Jones and 6-9 Afalakpui.

Daly is no slouch in that department, at 6-4; also in the starting lineup were his brother, rising junior Colin Daly (6-3), rising senior John Rigsby (6-4) and rising junior forward Jesse McPhearson (6-6), plus point guard Zaheem “Zy” Garrett. Off the bench came 6-5 sophomore Keyon Butler, 6-4 sophomore Devin Ferrero and 6-5 freshman Donte Scott, plus 6-6 senior, Alex House.

It was a common sight to see a Hudson Catholic player surrounded down low with two or three of those Carroll teammates at one time, and it certainly helped them out in the win.

“I like our team size and length, and we’ve got a lot of it,” Romanczuk said.

The Patriots won their second game of the night as well; though summer camp victories mean basically nothing in the fall, this had to feel good for a rather inexperienced group.

“Having lost as much as we lost in a senior class and having to rely on a lot of younger kids  who don’t have a lot of experience for us, they’re at least starting to figure out how we’d like them to play, how we’d like them to compete.” Romanczuk said. “(Hudson Catholic) really tried to challenge us, which was good, and we accepted the challenge.”


Reading’s Walker continues to add offers
It doesn’t matter where he’s playing--Lonnie Walker’s offer list continues to grow.

While the Reading (Pa.) rising junior was getting ready for the Villanova team camp, Stanford and UCLA offered. After his first game of the camp, his dad informed him that Ohio State had also joined previous offerees Villanova, Indiana and Holy Cross in extending a scholarship.

“They’re very great schools, especially Stanford, a high-academic school, which me and my father are looking for,” he said. “Ohio State has D’Angelo Russell coming out of there; really good college. And Stanford, I think I’ve seen them play against Miami (in the NIT), they played very good team ball.”

One other school that had reached out certainly had Walker’s attention--North Carolina, who also reached out to Walker’s father. And though the high-major offers are now becoming the norm for one of the top prospects in the region, hearing from schools like the ones he did on Friday still gets him just as excited as when schools were first calling on him a year ago.

“Oh my gosh, of course,” he said. “Especially coming from where I’m coming from, all the kids that I play against from different schools, they go to Albright College, Alvernia University, some get low-major. Whenever I hear like, Villanova offered me, I was like ‘oh my god,’ I told everyone in the whole world. It’s a moment that you really can’t explain.”

Speaking of Villanova, the Wildcats certainly are making a good impression on Walker, and it’s clear that he’s a priority for Jay Wright and staff in that 2017 class. Wright was in the gym as Walker dropped 28 points in a 76-72 win over Archbishop Wood, displaying the scoring touch and mature on-court demeanor that has all those schools interested in his services.

Walker described his relationship with Villanova and the team as “very comfortable,” saying that he’s “(talked) to their players, talked to some of their coaches. We’re starting our relationships, getting a lot closer.”

In ESPN’s recently-released rankings for the Class of 2017, Walker was put in the No. 12 spot and given a five-star ranking, putting him in fairly rare air on the national scene. That publicity has gotten his name exposed to plenty of colleges--but they’re not the only ones. Walker said that some prep schools had reached out to his father in hopes of prying him away from his hometown school, but it certainly doesn’t seem like he feels any need to leave.

“I stayed home and I’m still getting high-major just shows that no matter where you go, as long as you put in the work, anything can happen.” he said. “You’ve got so many kids who just go to prep schools or leave their own state to go play with a different team...I like representing my hometown.”


Quick Hits
--While Ryan Daly is going to lead the way for Archbishop Carroll this year, he’s going to get some help from John Rigsby. The scrappy, 6-4 lefty is a solid 3-point shooter but certainly winds up with a good number of offensive rebounds, and does a great job of getting to the line. He’s one of a very few returning players with varsity experience, so expect him to be one of the leaders on that young Patriots squad.

--Leading the way for Hudson Catholic in that losing effort was rising sophomore guard Jahvon Quinerly, who had 14 points and likely double-digit assists. The 6-2 point guard already has great size to play on the ball at the high-major level, and his ability to see the floor and dish out of the lane was well beyond his years. St. John’s, Seton Hall, Villanova and Rider have all offered, and expect many more to once he hits the 17U AAU circuit, likely next year.

--Academy New Church rising sophomore Matthue Cotton had a strong game in ANC’s 63-50 win over St. Raymond’s, dropping 25 points in the win. The 6-3 lefthander is at his most comfortable around the perimeter, but is becoming more assertive in attacking the basket when he has a lane. Cotton needs to work on developing his ability to go right and quicken his release, which will make him a much more dangerous scorer.

--St. Joseph’s Prep got its first offseason work in at Villanova, and the results are promising despite the fact that the program has lost SJU-bound Chris Clover. Senior forward Pete Gayhardt, a Notre Dame lacrosse commit, is one of two returning starters, along with Chris Montie, but the rest of the lineup will be all newcomers. While last year’s Hawks were almost all seniors, this year’s team could even feature some underclassmen--forward James Leible, a 6-7 forward who plays with the New York Lightning on the AAU circuit, looks more than ready to contribute at the varsity level.

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