Roman grad Allen Betrand (above) is one of dozens of former CoBL-area high school standouts now playing D-I hoops. (Photo: Mark Jordan/CoBL)
Josh Verlin (@jmverlin)
(Ed. Note: This article is part of our 2018-19 season coverage, which will run for the six weeks preceding the first official games of the year on Nov. 6. To access all of our high school and college preview content for this season, click here.)
Philly hoopers are everywhere.
While many of the city's prep stars stick around for their collegiate years, there are plenty more who leave the city confines for school, quite a few of which become stars at the next level.
Here's Part 1 of a list of CoBL-area alumni who are playing Division I ball this season somewhere other than the City 6 (those who are sitting out this season due to transfer are not included):
Chase Audige (Fr./William & Mary)
A native of Coram, N.Y. who played his high school hoops at the Hill School in Pottstown, Audige is an athletic 6-4 wing guard who’s an excellent 3-point shooter, hitting 40 percent from deep as a high school senior. He should compete for significant minutes right away on a Tribe squad that graduated three senior starters, including two guards.
Allen Betrand (Fr./Towson)
In the span of two years, Betrand went from a little-known sophomore at Fels to a standout senior at Roman Catholic, where he averaged 14.2 ppg as a senior on the PCL and state champion Cahillites. His aggressive, attack-the-rim style fits right in with the mindset Pat Skerry has installed in his Tigers
Tyrel Bladen (Fr./Rider)
Originally an Eastern Kentucky commit, Bladen re-opened his commitment in the spring after Dan McHale’s firing, and found a landing spot several months later as one of many local products on the Broncs. A 6-9 big out of Coatesville who’s more of a long-term prospect, Bladen’s got an uphill battle to make a big impact as a freshman, with a number of talented and experienced forwards on the roster.
Keith Braxton (Jr./St. Francis Pa.)
In his first two years at St. Francis, Braxton has established himself as one of the top players in the Northeast Conference, earning all-NEC First Team honors as a sophomore after averaging 17.2 ppg, 9.5 rpg and 3.3 apg; the 6-4 guard had a league-high 15 double-doubles. With the whole starting five back, the Red Flash (18-13, 12-6 last year) are certainly favorites to go dancing, with Braxton leading the way.
Nysier Brooks (Jr./Cincinnati)
A 6-10 forward and Philadelphia native who played his high school ball at Archbishop Carroll and then Life Center Academy (N.J.), Brooks has played in 68 games in his first two seasons at Cincinnati, starting two. Despite seeing time in every game, he’s been a relatively minor part of the rotation thus far, averaging 2.6 ppg and 2.3 rpg in 9.7 mpg as a sophomore (35 games, 2 starts), but that could change now that he’s an upperclassman.
Antwuan Butler (Fr./Austin Peay)
The 6-0 point guard known as “Booty” spent his first three years of high school at Delaware Valley Charter, which he helped lead to a Public League championship as a sophomore; after Del-Val closed in 2017, he spent his senior year of high school at Cardinal O’Hara, where he averaged 18.5 ppg as O’Hara had its best season in six years.
John Carroll (R-Sr./Hartford)
A native of Dublin, Ireland but a product of the Hill School, Carroll put together a career year as a redshirt junior in 2017-18, averaging 15.2 ppg and 6.4 rpg to earn second-team All-America East honors. A skilled 6-8 forward, Carroll has averaged 9.9 ppg through his first 91 career games, battling through a torn ACL suffered five games into his sophomore year (2015-16) which also clearly affected his play the following season.
Chuck Champion (Jr./Loyola Md.)
Champion, a 6-3 guard and graduate of Friends’ Central, saw a significant jump from his freshman year at Loyola (4.8 ppg, 1.6 rpg) and his sophomore year, when he was second on the team in scoring (11.5 ppg), with 2.8 rpg and 1.6 apg as well. With Andre Walker having graduated, Champion will be looked at as one of the go-to scorers for the Greyhounds as a junior.
Matt Cotton (Fr./Yale)
Cotton’s prep career saw him start at Academy of the New Church, where he spent two seasons before going to Jersey prep powerhouse St. Benedict’s for his junior year. He then came home for his senior year, attending Eastern (N.J.), and now he’ll begin his college career at Yale, where he’s one of five freshmen on the Bulldogs’ roster -- but the 6-4 left-handed guard has a good chance to see minutes early.
Samir Doughty (R-Jr./Auburn)
It’s been more than three years since Doughty graduated from Math, Civics & Sciences Charter, but the electric 6-4 scoring guard has only played one season of college ball so far: in 2016-17, when he averaged 9.0 ppg and 3.6 rpg as a redshirt freshman at VCU. He then transferred to Auburn, losing his sophomore season in the process, and now will suit up for head coach Bruce Pearl in the SEC, for a team coming off its best season (26-8, 13-5) since 1998-99.
Anthony Durham Jr. (R-Sr./Rider)
A 2014 graduate of Abington Senior High, Durham has been part of the Broncs’ rotation for his whole career, playing in 23 games off the bench as a freshman before an injury forced him to redshirt his second year on campus. The 6-3 combo guard’s minutes took a big leap last season from 12.8 to 26.8 as he averaging 7.0 ppg, 3.6 rpg and 2.9 apg -- all career highs -- in 32 games (31 starts).
Malik Ellison (R-Jr./Pitt)
After sitting out last season for an NCAA-mandated transfer year, Ellison is ready to suit up and take the court for a Pitt program with a new head coach (Jeff Capel) trying to build off its worst season in 30 years (8-24, 0-18 ACC). A 6-6 wing out of Life Center (N.J.) and the son of former 11-year NBA center Pervis Ellison (also his high school coach), Ellison averaged 7.4 ppg, 2.9 rpg and 2.6 apg in 57 games spread over two years at St. John’s.
Matt Faw (Soph./Holy Cross)
The Upper Merion graduate only averaged 4.3 points a contest in his freshman year last season, but shot 49.5 percent from the field and 47.7 from beyond the 3-point arc. The 6-9 wing-forward should see his minutes increase and perhaps his production as well. Faw has the chance to turn into a serious threat in the Patriot League from all three levels.
Caleb Fields (Fr./Bowling Green)
A defensive-minded, 6-2 guard out of Wildwood Catholic (N.J.), Fields picked Bowling Green over offers from NJIT and Binghamton, and now he looks poised to make an impact sooner rather than later for the Falcons. Field won the Non-Public ‘B’ South Jersey Player of the Year award, averaging 21.1 ppg and 4.6 rpg on a 26-3 team, best in Wildwood Catholic history.
Mark Flagg (Soph./St. Francis Pa.)
In his first season at St. Francis, Flagg got into all 31 games, starting nine, averaging 6.0 ppg and 4.1 rpg while hitting exactly half of his shots from the floor. Though Flagg showed his ability to stretch the floor to the 3-point arc while at Pennsbury, the 6-9, 200-pound stretch-forward only took six triples as a rookie, making only one.
Former Westtown big man Jake Forrester (above) is now at Indiana University. (Photo: Mark Jordan/CoBL)
Jake Forrester (Fr./Indiana)
A bouncy, 6-9 forward who plays the game with a smile seemingly always on his face, Forrester spent his last two years of high school at the Westtown School, averaging 12.2 ppg and 9.0 rpg as a senior. The central Pa. native now joins a Hoosiers program coming off a mediocre 16-15 (9-9 Big Ten) season, and he’ll be one of six freshmen on the roster.
Andrew Funk (Fr./Bucknell)
The taller of the two Funk brothers at 6-4 and around 180 pounds, Funk is a combo guard with a smooth outside shot, who picked Bucknell over Delaware and Penn, among six other scholarship offers. The Archbishop Wood product averaged 18.5 ppg as a senior, with 56 3-pointers, with six games of 25-or-more points along the way.
Tommy Funk (Jr./Army)
A 6-0 point guard out of Archbishop Wood, Funk set the tone for his college career in his first game two years ago, dishing out five assists against one turnover in 33 minutes -- against Oregon. In two years, he’s piled up 327 assists (5.3/game), setting the Army program record and leading the Patriot League with 172 dimes (5.7/game) as a sophomore to go along with 10.8 ppg and 3.1 rpg. At this pace, he’ll blow by the Army career assist record (479) potentially as early as this season, and will also join the school’s list of 32 current 1,000-point scorers.
Ahmad Gilbert (R-Jr./Rider)
Gilbert came to Rider by way of Minnesota, where he averaged 2.7 ppg and 1.5 rpg in 36 games (six starts) for the Golden Gophers, though his role dropped from his freshman year to sophomore, precipitating his departure. The 6-6 wing out of Constitution (Pa.) reunites with friend and former high school teammate Kimar Williams, among many other Philly natives, on the Broncs’ roster.
Quade Green (Soph./Kentucky)
There was some speculation earlier this offseason that Green was going to leave Big Blue Nation and head closer to home, but the 6-0 guard out of Neumann-Goretti quashed those rumors and said he’d be staying at UK. As a freshman playing for John Calipari, Green averaged 9.3 ppg and 2.7 apg while playing 25.6 minutes in 34 games (13 starts).
John Harrar (Soph./Penn State)
Heading into his senior year at Strath Haven, Harrar seemed more likely to be playing high-major football than collegiate basketball, but a late grab by Penn State turned out to be the right called. The powerful 6-9 forward averaged 1.6 ppg and 2.1 rpg in 27 games as a freshman, but he started the last eight as the Nittany Lions won the NIT, averaging 3.1 ppg and 5.9 rpg during that stretch.
Mike Holloway (Sr./Fairleigh Dickinson)
The younger of the two Holloway brothers, who were quite the frontcourt for Schalick (N.J.) in their high school days, Mike Holloway has had a strong first three seasons at FDU. He averaged 9.4 ppg and 5.7 rpg as a freshman and increased all of his numbers year over year, averaging 13.4 ppg and 7.0 rpg plus 1.2 apg as a junior. Enters his senior season with 1,058 points and 589 rebounds in 93 career games with 91 starts and is on pace to finish in top 10 on FDU’s scoring list and top 5 in rebounds.
Rashaan Holloway (R-Sr./UMass)
Though Rashaan left high school a year before his brother, a redshirt his first year has them finishing their collegiate careers at the same time -- and they’ll meet on Dec. 21 in Amherst (Mass.) for the first and only time in college. An oversized (6-11, 310-pound) big man who’s always been skilled, Holloway has averaged 8.3 ppg and 4.6 rpg in his career despite only averaging 16.0 mpg due to foul and conditioning issues.
DeAndre Hunter (R-Soph./Virginia)
Coming off of a redshirt freshman year, Hunter turned heads last year, winning ACC Sixth-Man of the year, and scoring just under 10 points a game. The 6-7 Friends’ Central graduate has been talked about as a possible first round selection in the 2019 NBA Draft due to his length and production off the bench last year. Hunter will be looked upon as one of college basketball’s breakout stars this upcoming season.
Justin Jaworski (Soph./Lafayette)
After becoming the first boys basketball player in Perkiomen Valley history to earn a Division I scholarship, Jaworski did his alma mater proud. The 6-1 guard averaged 10.8 ppg, 2.2 rpg and 1.7 apg, hitting 43 percent from the floor while playing in 29 games (13 starts), and is part of an impressive trio of sophomores for the Leopards to build around.
Ajiri Johnson (Fr./Rider)
A bouncy 6-8 forward, Johnson was an instant fan favorite at Bonner-Prendergast for his highlight-reel dunks and blocks; by his senior year, where he averaged 11.1 ppg and 10.4 rpg for the first Friars team to make the PIAA tournament, he also had a workable mid-range jumper in his arsenal. His athleticism and motor will earn him time right away at Rider, though he’s still a young talent on an experienced squad.
Cameron Jones (R-Jr./Saint Peter’s)
After playing nearly 20 mpg as a freshman in 2016-17, Jones took a voluntary redshirt the follow season to clear up a crowded Peacocks backcourt. He returned to the court last year, averaging 6.1 ppg and 2.6 rpg in 22 minutes, while his 3-point shooting improved from 30.8 percent to 34.9 percent. A 6-3 guard out of Pennsbury, Jones will have his chance this preseason to earn a starting role for new head coach Shaheen Holloway.
Stevie Jordan (Jr./Rider)
A 6-0 point guard who was PIAA AA Player of the Year in 2014-15 as a junior at Conwell-Egan, Jordan immediately became an integral part of a Broncs squad that was best in the MAAC last season. As a sophomore, Jordan averaged 12.6 ppg and a league-high 5.9 apg, earning him second team all-MAAC honors; he also flirted with a couple triple-doubles. Enters his junior year with 729 career points and should easily reach 1,000 this year.