Josh Verlin (@jmverlin)
The 2017 edition of the Northeast Basketball League tipped off at the Mayfair Rec Center on Tuesday, with half of the league’s 16 high school teams getting their first run of the spring season.
Here’s a notebook from the evening:
Archbishop Wood's Tyree Pickron (above) set a new personal best with a 46-point outburst on Sunday. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
Wood’s standout junior continues momentum from hot weekend
The last weekend didn’t start out so well for Tyree Pickron.
Playing with his K-Low Elite squad down in an Adidas Gauntlet event in Atlanta, Pickron struggled mightily on Friday, going 0-for-a-bunch from 3-point range. But by the end of the weekend, all everybody was talking about was the 6-foot-3 wing out of Archbishop Wood (Pa.).
Pickron lit up the nets to close out the weekend, going 13-for-18 from deep over his last two games, including a 46-point, 10-for-13 3-point effort in K-Low Elite’s final game of the April live recruiting periods.
“Lonnie [Lowry] and Kyle [Sample], they told me that whatever I’ve got to do to develop as a player, they just let me go so I just took that and ran with it,” Pickron said, crediting the K-Low Elite’s co-directors and his coaches. “And I came out with a big game.”
The 46-point outing was the most Pickron had said he’d scored in any organized game of any sort -- high school, AAU, summer league, whatever. His previous high, he said, was “maybe” 35.
“It was one of those games where I didn’t even know what I had,” he added. “I knew I was up there, but I definitely didn’t know I was at 46, I thought i was maybe at 32, 35, something like that.”
Pickron’s big scoring outburst didn’t earn him any new offers just yet; his current list remains at Drexel, Stony Brook, Robert Morris, Delaware State, Fairleigh Dickinson, Quinnipiac and St. Francis (Pa.). But he did say that Penn State and St. Bonaventure had both reached out to his AAU coaches.
He took that hot shooting from the weekend right onto the courts at the Mayfair Rec Center, missing his first shot but then hitting seven straight -- including five 3s -- to lead Wood to a dominant 88-33 win over Cristo Rey with a 24-point outing.
In Wood’s first game post-Collin Gillespie & Co., the Vikings certainly didn’t miss a beat, getting 15 points from 2019 F Julius Phillips and 14 from Karrington Wallace in the runaway win. But it’ll be on Pickron and fellow rising senior/Division I target Andrew Funk (12 points) to lead the way for the defending PCL and PIAA 5A state champs.
“I’m still getting better as myself, so just trying to find myself to carry everybody else,” Pickron said. “So that’s why I just told (my teammates) to stay mentally focused, because even though that team wasn’t as good as us, we’re going to see somebody [as good] and then I don’t want it to be a shock.”
Dixon sees recruiting hit high-major territory
The most productive underclassman in the area over his first two years of high school ball, Abington’s Eric Dixon is quickly getting recognized on a national stage.
As a sophomore, Dixon was a big reason that the Galloping Ghosts captured the District 1 6A championship, and the two-year starter is on pace to be one of the best ever to wear the Abington uniform. He’s continued his stellar play this summer, as the 6-8, 260-pound lefty with the soft touch was a big reason that WeR1’s 16U squad went 7-1 on the Under Armour Association’s second-oldest circuit over the last two weekends, and college coaches took notice.
Oklahoma State became the first high-major to offer Dixon, doing so after the UAA’s first session in Brooklyn last weekend; Georgetown and Rutgers joined the Cowboys and previous offers from St. Joe’s, Drexel and La Salle this past weekend.
“It feels good, I’ve been working hard over the last year or so and to see it come to fruition like this right now, it feels good,” he said. “I’ve got to keep working.”
Dixon said when he receives an offer, he looks up the school’s head coach and its conference to get a little background. That gives him a little bit of research to do now, with offers from the Big 12, Big East and Big Ten, plus Atlantic 10 and CAA.
Picking up an offer from new Hoyas head coach Patrick Ewing meant a little something extra to the young talented post player -- and even more to his dad, also Eric.
“My dad, he loves basketball, he watched all the old tapes, all the told films,” the younger Dixon said. “He saw (Ewing watching my games) and he was like ‘Eric, do you see him over there? Do you see him?’
“I just know he’s a Hall-of-Famer with a really good post game, that interests me, maybe he could teach me something if I go there,” Dixon continued. “I just know he’s a legend.”
Dixon said he’s anticipating taking unofficial visits to both Georgetown and Rutgers in the next few months, working around the USA Basketball U-16 Training Camp, which begins on June 1st; Dixon will be one of 24 participants vying for a spot on the 12-member team that participates in the FIBA Americas U-16 Championship (June 14-18, Argentina).
-- Central Bucks West looks like it'll put the ball in the hands of point guard Jack Mulhearn the next two years, as the current sophomore looked very solid running Adam Sherman's offense in a four-point win over Father Judge. A 5-11 guard, Mulhearn was in control when dribbling with either hand, keeping his head up while patrolling the perimeter or probing the paint. He also knocked down three 3-pointers en route to 13 points. Look for 2018 guard Shane McCusker to step up quite a bit in the scoring column. The 6-3 shooter with a super-quick release had 13 points of his own, knocking down two 3-pointers but also getting to the line six times (making five).
-- Speaking of Father Judge, it's strange to see Sean Tait's Crusaders take to the floor with Marc Rodriguez not amongst them. The East Stroudsburg-bound guard, the program's first 1,000-point scorer, was watching from the sidelines, but it's a new group that's going to have to figure itself out without Rodriguez, Mike Power (Holy Family) and Matt O'Connor (Moravian) in the rotation. Tait's biggest mismatch on the team is an intriguing 2018 wing who came off the bench this year; at 6-6, Tom Quarry has an even longer wingspan, and can knock down the triple, as he showed with a quartet of 3s in the close loss. His handle needs work when he's not in space, but he can guard numerous positions and can score from multiple spots. He's going to get a lot of small-college interest this year for his potential alone.