50 States in 50 Days: Pennsylvania
Fans and coaches from around the country zero in on Philly
As the season draws closer, Five-Star is previewing the high school basketball scene in all 50 states. Each day, we will focus on one state, highlighting the top teams, players and games of the upcoming season. Today, we focus on Pennsylvania. So, did we pick the top teams or did we snub your alma matter? Did we find the best players, or is there someone flying under the radar, ready to make noise? Let us know in the comments below.
In terms of Pennsylvania basketball in 2011-2012, all eyes will be on Philadelphia...as always. The Philly area consistently has the best teams and players in the state, meaning that’s where all the big-name college coaches will be looking. But is Philly the only dominant region in the state, or are there players from outside the City of Brotherly Love that are just as good? Let’s find out.
Five teams to watch:
Chester: Erikk Wright is the returning hero for the defending Class AAAA champions. He led the Clippers with 22 points in the title game, but will have to start scoring at a high level all year to replace the loss of senior Lamon Church. Rondae Jefferson made some noise this summer with Team Final, so expect him and Richard Granberry to step up as well.
Friends’ Central: Amile Jefferson is rapidly rising on the wish lists of many D-I coaches, but many haven’t heard of his teammate Karonn Davis. The point guard is strong and already polished on the offensive end. Also, don’t count out sophomore stud Conrad Chambers to have a big season.
Imhotep Charter: Imhotep has claimed two of the last three Class AA titles, and three out of four is in reach with seniors Khyree Wooten and Brandon Austin returning. Whooten is a wing that broke out toward the end of last year and Austin is a combo guard whose crossover will break the ankles of even the best defenders.
Mount Lebanon: 2011 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette athlete of the year Luke Hagy is back for his senior season to try and lead the Blue Devils back to the state title game. He plays three sports, but on the on the basketball court he can fill up all areas of the stat sheet. Tyler Roth will be the other go-to player for Mount Lebanon. He is a skilled shooting guard who will join Hagy in a loaded backcourt.
Sts. Neumann & Goretti: As a freshman last year, Ja’quan Newton showed that on a given night, he could lead the Saints offensively. Imagine what he could do as a sophomore. Add junior swingman John Davis, who can both score and rebound, and Sts. Neumann & Goretti have legitimate state title hopes.
Five players to watch:
Amile Jefferson (Friends’ Central): Jefferson is a tremendous combo forward that might end up being the best player to come out of Philadelphia this year. He has a nice shooting touch but can also play around the rim with a physical post-up game. UConn, Maryland, NC State and Syracuse are among the schools to have offered.
Ryan Arcidiacono (Neshaminy): Unfortunately for all the college coaches out there looking for a solid point guard, Arcidiacono is already committed to Villanova. To make matters worse for opposing Big East coaches, he possesses all the intangibles. ESPN’s scouting report sites his confidence, competitiveness and feel for the game as his greatest assets. Oh...and he can shoot the three.
Daniel Ochefu (Westtown): Ochefu will join Arcidiacono on Jay Wright’s squad next year, giving Villanova a scary in-state recruiting class. The center can play facing the basket or with his back to it and is already quite disciplined for a player his age.
Savon Goodman (Constitution): Goodman made news earlier this year when he de-committed from Viallanova, so for once, a Philly high schooler is on the market. The slashing scorer is being hounded by Arizona, UCLA, Kentucky, Louisville and others. Whoever winds up with him will have a player that can get points from anywhere on the floor.
Devin Thomas (Central Dauphin): Wake Forest has been looking for a reason to get excited for a few years, and Thomas might be that reason. He’s not the biggest power forward you’ll see, but he can rebound, run the floor and score in the post. ESPN says the future Demon Deacon is a three-star, but he is probably the best player in Harrisburg this year.
Paul Arizin (LaSalle)
DeJuan Blair (Schenley)
Sam Bowie (Lebanon)
Kobe Bryant (Lower Merion)
Wilt Chamberlain (Overbrook)
Dionte Christmas (Samuel Fels)
Chuck Cooper (Westinghouse)
Pat Cummings (Johnstown)
Chuck Daly (Kane Area)
Bob Davies (John Harris)
Brad Davis (Monaca)
Fran Dumphy (Malvern Prep)
Hank Gathers (Dobbins Tech)
Armen Gilliam (Bethel Park)
Tom Gola (LaSalle)
Aaron Gray (Emmanus)
Eddie Griffin (Roman Catholic)
Richard Hamilton (Coatesville Area)
Mike Iuzzolino (Altoona Area)
Rick Jacson (Neumann Goretti)
Scoop Jardine (Neumann Goretti)
Buddy Jeannette (New Kensington)
Bo Kimble (Dobbins Technical)
Maurice Lucas (Schenley)
Kyle Lowry (Cardinal Dougherty)
Aaron McKie (Simon Gratz)
Earl Monroe (John Bartram)
Gerry McNamara (Bishop Hannan)
Donyell Marshall (Reading)
Earl Monroe (John Bartram)
Jameer Nelson (Chester)
Billy Owens (Carlisle)
Geoff Petrie (Springfield)
Pooh Richardson (Benjamin Franklin)
Malik Rose (Overbrook)
Mustafa Shakur (Friends' Central School)
Maurice Stokes (Westinghouse)
Bob Sura (G.A.R. Memorial)
Jack Twyman (Central Catholic)
Rasheed Wallace (Simon Gratz)
Hakim Warrick (Friends’ Central)
Alvin Williams (Germantown Academy)
Tyreke Evans (American Christian)