Dahmir Bishop (above) committed to Xavier last Friday, becoming the fourth member of the Musketeers' 2019 class. (Photo: Tyler Sandora/CoBL)
Tyler Sandora (@tyler_sandora)
When Dahmir Bishop and five other freshman came into the Imhotep Charter program in 2016, they had a goal to continue to turn the Panthers into a truly perennial national powerhouse. It’s not as if they had to start from scratch; under head coach Andre Noble, ‘Tep had already won multiple state champions and become one of the premier programs in the area.
With two straight years as a top-25 team in the country according to USA Today, the Panthers have done just that, with Bishop playing a big role in the team’s success the last two years, each of which ended with a state championship.
After years of hard work and playing with both his high school team as well as K-Low Elite on the Adidas circuit, Bishop has improved his game mightly. As his game improved, his recruiting began to take off last spring and his stock continued to rise in the summer. Bishop ended his recruitment last Friday night, committing to Xavier and head coach Travis Steele over the likes of Penn State, Wake Forest, Rhode Island, and Florida.
“I just like the plan Coach Steele told me he had for me, and the rest of the incoming 2019 class,” Bishop said. “I liked how honest Coach Steele was with me, telling me he wasn’t guaranteeing anything with me. I have to work for everything, just like here in high school, that’s what I’ve been told.”
This is Steele’s first class as a head coach, as he succeeded Chris Mack back in March when the latter left for Louisville after 14 years at Xavier, nine as a head coach.
Steele, formerly the associate head coach, has spent the past 10 years on the Xavier staff. He was named one of the top two recruiters in the Big East by Sporting News, due to the recent recruiting classes he has put together as an assistant for the Musketeers.
“[Coach Steele] is a great person,” Bishop said. “You can just tell if you talk to him for 10 minutes. He has a great vibe and a great personality.”
Bishop wrapped up his first and only official visit at Xavier on September 8, where he had an idea going into his visit to the Cincinnati institution of around 4,500 undergraduates that it was where he would want to be next fall.
“The whole visit was great,” Bishop said. “Going into detail with Coach Steele and the style of play and everything. Player development, I noticed that I need a lot of that. I felt that I fit the system that they play with now, and I love when they told me about the player development so I knew I had to make it official.”
Bishop is the only guard currently in Xavier’s 2019 class, with the other three commits all over 6-foot-8. He joins Zach Freemantle (Bergen Catholic, NJ), Daniel Ramsey (Deerfield-Windsor School, GA), and Dieonte Miles Walton-Verona, KY) to make up the fourth-best recruiting class in the country, according to 247Sports.
At 6-4, Bishop expects to come in and play behind high-level guards such as Quentin Goodin and Naji Marshall, assuming they stay for the 2019-20 season and don’t depart early to pursue professional careers.
Bishop is dangerous in the open floor and is a crafty scorer. He’s got a good feel for the game and can make some highlight reel plays around the basket. At Imhotep, where he’s surrounded with tons of talent, he’s been able to rely on stars around him to help contribute.
His junior year, Bishop started to separate himself as one of the go-to playmakers on the state champion Panthers team. He scored from all three levels, and was reliable night in and night out. He does need to improve on his strength, as he’s 176 pounds right now, but hopes to put on about 10-15 more pounds by the end of his senior year.
“He’ll stay in the gym,” Noble said of Bishop. “I was impressed...the day of his commitment, he was in the gym working hard. If he continues to work, he can be great.”
The Musketeers are coming off a 29-6 season which saw them claim a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament, only to fall to Florida State in the second round. Gone from that team are guards J.P. Macura and Trevon Bluiett, who led the team in most offensive statistical categories a year ago.
With Steele at the helm, and a solid recruiting class including Bishop, the future continues to look bright for a Musketeers program that has gone to the NCAA Tournament 15 since since 2001, including seven Sweet 16 appearances during that time. Xavier hopes to have its sixth 20-win season in a row this upcoming year, and continue that trend when Bishop gets to campus.
First, though, comes one final year at Imhotep, where he and classmates like Donta Scott, Chereef Knox and Jamil Riggins Jr. -- all Division I hoops recruits -- hope to capture a City of Palms championship and finish the year atop those USA Today rankings for the first time.
“I have a lot of work to do,” Bishop said. “I want to come in ready to make the impact they need me to make.”