CoBL Staff (@hooplove215)
MEDIA, Pa. -- With the July live recruiting periods just three days away, Philly Pride hosted a high-level AAU affair at Cardinal O’Hara High School for several programs from the Philadelphia area and beyond.
Here’s a notebook from the event:
St. Joe's commit Jared Bynum (above) showcased his 3-point shooting ability and a strong on-ball presence on Sunday. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
St. Joe’s commit Bynum already preparing for college
It’s been a pretty solid offseason thus far for Jared Bynum.
The Georgetown Prep (D.C.) rising senior got his recruitment over with first, committing to Saint Joseph’s back in March. With that out of the way, he helped the D.C. Blue Devils 17Us to a 7-5 record on the Under Armour circuit in April and May before guiding his high school squad into the championship of the DeMatha (Md.) summer league.
Even though Georgetown Prep wasn’t able to defend its championship from a year ago, falling to St. John’s College (Md.) in the final last weekend, Bynum was generally pleased with the way his team fared against the other top teams in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC) and beyond.
“That’s the top summer league in the area, the best teams in the area play in it like DeMatha, St. John’s, Gonzaga, all the teams that say they’re the best high school teams in the area,” Bynum said. “Those teams are always playing, there’s always a lot of people come out and the stands are always packed. Playing in the summer league at DeMatha in D.C. is a big deal.”
While the rest of his D.C. Blue Devils teammates are looking at the coming three weeks as something of a final chance to get out in front of literally hundreds of Division I coaches at once and impress, Bynum has no such worries regarding this summer.
Instead, he’s free to work on his game and his body in order to make an immediate impact at St. Joe’s next fall; with Shavar Newkirk slated to exhaust his eligibility in 2017-18 and Lamarr Kimble only a year behind, the Hawks’ coaches will have to rely on Bynum early on to be a steady presence at point.
“I’m eating a lot better, eating a lot healthier, a lot more vegetables, a lot more protein, so doing that, just keeping my body right, my body in shape and my conditioning has improved as well,” he said. “I’ve talked to (the St. Joe’s coaches) about it a little bit, they’ve been giving me some tips and stuff to do, stuff their players do and what they eat and their meal plans, I take some from that and some from what my trainer is giving me at home and I put it all together.”
When he arrives on City Avenue next summer, Bynum won’t be the only D.C. Blue Devil alumnus playing in the City of Brotherly Love -- and he certainly won’t be the most well-known.
Markelle Fultz, the No. 1 pick in the recent NBA Draft, is expected to be one of the centerpieces of the rebuilding Philadelphia 76ers; it was during his 17U circuit year with the Blue Devils back in 2015 that he cemented his place as one of the top prospects in the country.
“I worked out with him a few times before, we talked a little bit, but playing with the Blue Devils, he’s been around a couple games, so we’ll sit down and talk sometimes,” Bynum said. “ We’re not really as close as a lot of people think [just] because we came from the same team, but we’re pretty cool, he’s a good friend of mine, I’ve known him when I was younger as well. It’s pretty cool that he’ll be playing in Philly and I”ll be playing in Philly as well.”
Prep’s Arizin the latest in a hoops-heavy family
Before Gabe Arizin turned 10 years old, he already understood what his last name meant in this city’s basketball scene.
Gabe’s grandfather, Paul Arizin, was one of the great players of his time. When the Villanova product ended his 15-year long professional career -- mostly spent with the Philadelphia Warriors -- in 1965, he was third on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. A Naismith Hall of Fame selection in 1978, he was picked to the league’s 50 Greatest Players list in 1996 and was in the inaugural Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame induction class in 2004.
And when you’re 6-foot-3 with the last name Arizin, it’s pretty obvious where the bloodlines run.
“Well I meet people who are like, older people and they are like, ‘you’re Paul Arizin’s grandson?’” said the younger Arizin, a rising junior at St. Joe’s Prep. “They never say anything bad about him.”
Paul passed away in 2006, when Gabe was in the first grade, but Gabe still has many fond memories of his grandfather.
“He was really a down-to-earth guy. He lived in a small house,” Gabe Arizin said. “Great dude. If you knew him, you wouldn't see him like a basketball player.”
Paul’s son and Gabe’s father, Mike Arizin, also played college basketball; two years at William & Mary and two at La Salle.
Mike was courtside at O’Hara on Sunday, watching Gabe play with the Jersey Shore Warriors’ 16U squad, sitting at the scorer’s table and keeping a keen eye trained on his son. Gabe Arizin, a 3-point specialist, knocked down a pair of treys in a win over the NY Jayhawks’ 16s, though that’s not what his father is focused on.
“He texts me every night and says, ‘if you are standing still you are doing something wrong,’” Gabe Arizin said. “‘It's all about defense, and the shots will come, get easy buckets.’”
Arizin’s own college recruiting journey is just underway; since the June 15 date when college coaches can start contacting directly with rising juniors, the 4.0 GPA student has heard a bit from Penn and Lafayette as well as Virginia.
As a sophomore at Prep, Arizin became one of the rare underclassmen to not just see time under longtime head coach William “Speedy” Morris but started the entire season alongside juniors Darius Kinnel, Kyle Thompson and Ed Croswell as well as senior Brian Griffin.
With the four returners joined by former Eastern (N.J.) big man Jacob O’Connell, a 6-11 rising junior center, expectations are rising for a Hawks squad that won 15 games last year and went 8-5 in the Catholic League. Arizin’s personal expectations are rising as well after averaging a touch over five points per game as a sophomore.
“I want to average north of 10 points this year,” he said. “We have a good, strong four with Darius, Kyle and Ed, and the big kid coming in, but...I need to contribute a lot.”
Frankie Policelli (above) is entering high-major territory of late, at 6-8 with terrific shooting ability. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
-- One of the hotter names on the recruiting trail this spring and summer has been 6-foot-8 wing Frankie Policelli (NY Jayhawks/New Hartford, N.Y.), as the versatile swingman has helped lead the Jayhawks to an undefeated record thus far. With his tremendous play of late, Policelli has inserted himself firmly into the high-major conversation, and mentioned George Washington, Old Dominion, UMass, South Carolina, Tulane, Washington, and Rutgers as the schools making him a priority entering July; only South Carolina is yet to offer.
Last month, during the dead time of AAU season, Policelli was able to visit Rutgers’ campus, and said he’d like to set up visits to George Washington, UMass, South Carolina, and potentially Washington after the upcoming July live recruiting periods. At his size and possessing the ability to both handle the ball and shoot it from deep, schools are viewing him more as of late as a jumbo guard who can play anywhere from the ‘2’ to the ‘4’.
Currently sitting on the fringe of the Power 5 and the top mid-major conferences, Policelli was very honest about what he thinks he needs to do this month to cement his stock as a high-major recruit.“I feel like I have to just be more physical and more dynamic, a lot more decisive and play with confidence,” he said. “Sometimes I don’t always play with confidence, but if I just go out there and play my game and play really really hard, and just play a lot more physical, then I think I can make that leap to the next level.”
-- When the DC Blue Devils 17U squad took on the Jersey Shore Warriors, rising senior L.J. Owens took charge of the game for the Blue Devils with 13 points, nine of which came from beyond the arc, to go along with three assists and three steals. A 6-3 combo guard, Owens took on the role of secondary ball handler under St. Joe’s commit Jared Bynum. Owens averaged 22 points per game as a junior for the Severn School in Maryland, who were eliminated by St. Paul's in the conference semifinals. Owens is seeing quite a bit of D-I attention; he has received offers from American, Navy, Loyola (Md.), Towson, William & Mary, Howard and Quinnipiac with further interest from VCU, Davidson, George Mason, Navy, George Washington, American and more; thus far, Owens has only visited George Mason and GW. Playing with the Blue Devils on the UAA circuit marks a significant step up in competition for Owens, who previously played for Maryland Elite, an independent team. “We play good competition on the circuit, so you’ve just got to come play hard and be ready to work, or you lose,” he said. “I think I’ve gotten much better from last year, coming into this year.”
-- Anwar Gill, a 2019 shooting guard out of Gonzaga High School (D.C.), led the Blue Devils against the Jersey Shore Warriors with 15 points, as well as six rebounds. In the coming varsity season, Gill will be handed the keys to castle after the departure of the squad’s star point guard, Chris Lykes, who is starting his freshman season at Miami (Fl.). Gill is already in contact with St. Joe’s, Kansas State, Holy Cross, and George Washington, though he’s waiting on his first offer. Even though he will start his junior year in the fall, Gill plays with DC’s older team, along with almost all rising seniors. “It’s a good experience, I can definitely hang with the big kids, and I’m starting to shine,” he said.” Gill was forced to recover from a broken foot in the spring, so AAU will provide the 6-4 guard with valuable reps in preparation for his new leadership role at Gonzaga.
-- A 6-2 guard with smooth outside shot, Tyler Bertram is trying to show he can do more than just gun it from deep; he managed to do that for the NY Jayhawks’ 16Us, knocking down at least three 3s in both games today, but also coming up with five assists in a close loss to the Jersey Shore Warriors’ 16Us. Bertram decided to make the move from Cooperstown (N.Y.) to Vermont Academy (Vt.), where he’ll repeat his junior season and enter the Class of 2019. “The competition, I want to play against that top competition” he said, “and obviously the exposure, but mostly I want to play that competition all the time.” Bertram recently picked up his first offer, from NJIT, last month -- on his birthday, though only by coincidence. He said he’s also been hearing from a variety of schools in the America East, Patriot League and Ivy Leagues as well as a few A-10s.
-- No D-I schools are currently recruiting Team Speed’s rising junior Noah Syer, but he hopes that will change once he joins the Neumann-Goretti Saints this fall. Formerly of Sterling High in South Jersey, Syer is a 6-7 power forward, which might be exactly what the Saints need. With future Villanova Wildcat Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree graduating, Syer will be joining rising senior Marcus Littles in Neumann’s frontcourt next season. Known for his hustle and rebounding abilities, Syer hopes to develop a presence down low in the Catholic League and continue Neumann’s success in the state tournament. “A lot of kids go D-I from Neumann,” Syer said. “I’m hoping this will be a good opportunity to get exposure.”
-- One of the more prolific scorers on display Sunday was Overbrook/Philly Hurricanes rising senior Yazid Powell. A transfer from Boys Latin, Powell dropped 28 points against Philly Pride’s 16u team. Whether it was hitting deep 3’s or gliding to the basket from the wing with ease, Powell was certainly turning some heads in the crowd. At 6-2, Powell even caught a few rim-rattling alley oops in transition. D-II East Stroudsburg is the only school yet to reach out to Powell, but with a few more outings like that, expect his list to grow.
-- It was certainly a productive day for N.Y. Jayhawks wing forward Chris Ledlum, who’s seeing his stock rise over the course of his 16U season. The 6-6, 210-pound Ledlum scored 30 points and grabbed 12 rebounds between his team’s two games, doing everything from hitting from deep to slashing to the rim and even scoring on a post-up opportunity or two. The St. Peter’s (N.Y.) product, who boasts a 97 GPA on a 100 scale, picked up his first three offers last month from NJIT, Binghamton and Stony Brook, while also hearing from Princeton, Yale and Denver after schools could first contact rising juniors on June 15. Though academics are his biggest priority at the next level, Ledlum wasn’t ready to say he was hoping to go Ivy League, saying his options were still entirely open at this point.
-- At a shade under 6-7 and 200 pounds, West Genesee (N.Y.) Luke Sutherland knows that how he projects at the next level will depend on how much he grows over the next 12-18 months. A stretch-forward with a super-quick release on the catch, Sutherland is a long-armed post player who runs the floor well. He’s still waiting on his first offer, but he’s been hearing so far from a bunch of D-Is, naming Loyola (Md.) and George Mason as two who had been in touch. He wants to work this summer on his lateral quickness to be able to guard ‘1’s and ‘2’s“I can see myself playing more like a ‘3’, like a small forward, more of like a swing forward,” he said. “Depends on growth and everything, depends on the program I end up [in].”