Photos by James Quinn /Video by Rich Flanagan
BY RICH FLANAGAN
DREXEL HILL-Archbishop Carroll’s basic offense invokes similarities of one that captivated the nation in 2008.
Watch closely and observe the specific nuances that allow the Patriots the freedom to not only find one open shot but multiple over the course of one possession. Dean Coleman-Newsome isolates himself with a wing post-up and as soon as the Bonner-Prendergast defender drops down to double, the senior guard - who has run and studied this offense for four seasons - immediately kicks it out to Blake Deegan, who pumps that defender in the air and smoothly sinks a three-pointer.
On another possession, Coleman-Newsome catches the ball at the elbow then passes it back out to freshman point guard Ian Williams. With the Friars failing to close out in their 3-2 zone, Coleman-Newsome sprints to the wing and Williams finds him for yet another open trey. While the offense looks so simplistic, Coleman-Newsome could have caught it and went reverse to Jake West, who was waiting wide open in the left corner. An essential element to the Patriots offense is constant motion with something always happening on the opposite side, which ensures at least one open look is available while the defense is busy watching the player with the ball in their hands.
Archbishop Carroll Senior Blake Deegan. Photo by James Quinn for PSD
Archbishop Carroll Freshman Guard Ian Williams. Photo by James Quinn for PSD
Head coach Francis Bowe has implemented the same offense that Davidson utilized when four-time NBA Champion and the Association’s all-time three-point leader Stephen Curry took college basketball by storm and advanced to the Elite Eight. This is how Bowe wants his offense to be run and this is how the Patriots have been able to frustrate defenses for much of the season.
“We picked it up from Bob McKillop at Davidson and the one thing is, since we live in a world where there’s so much four out one-on-one or drive and kick, we have a team that really believes in sharing the ball,” Bowe said. “Screening is a lost art so we’re a tough guard but at the same time we have guys who can shoot the ball. When we’re on, results like this happen.”
With Coleman-Newsome at the forefront of the offense, the Patriots knocked down 11 three-pointers en route to a commanding 65-45 victory over Bonner-Prendergast on Monday night. The 6-foot-4 guard, who missed his entire sophomore season with a knee injury, drilled four three-pointers and finished with a game-high 26 points. Coleman-Newsome certainly isn’t Curry, but the way Bowe puts him in position to be successful within the offense while he methodically dissects what the defense is going to do next has been remarkable.
“The basis of the offense is movement of bodies and screening hard,” Coleman-Newsome said. “A lot of PCL teams like to play aggressive defense, so we have put in a lot of slips, and we’ve gained an understanding of what to do when they’re under or overplaying. Coach Bowe also gives me the green light to take it when a guy can’t guard me.”
Deegan, who hit four treys on his way to 16 points and added 12 rebounds, came off a down screen as the ball was skipped to the right side and he was all alone for a jumper from deep. Later, Coleman-Newsome hit a triple, one of five in the first quarter, and Archbishop Carroll (10-4, 3-2 Philadelphia Catholic League) was out to a 14-4 lead at the 3:14 mark. Coleman-Newsome, as was the case throughout, caught the ball at the high post and quickly turned to score past Bonner-Prendergast forward Brady Eagan to make it 24-10 in the second.
Archbishop Carroll Senior Dean Coleman-Newsome. Photo by James Quinn for PSD
From a brutal knee injury that cost him an entire year of his high school career to moving to the epicenter of the Patriots’ offense with the departure of Moses Hipps, who transferred to McEachern High School (Ga.), Coleman-Newsome has reinvented himself every season based upon the personnel around him, and Bowe was open about how he wanted his talented leader to facilitate the offense.
“It’s about maturity because a lot of senior guards generally think they have to take over the game or make a play off the get-go,” Bowe said. “When I spoke to him in the fall, I said, ‘I know you can take a lot of kids off the bounce but to be honest, they’re going to crowd the lane on you so let’s get some motion going and guys are opening up.
While the Patriots run perhaps as sophisticated an offense as there is in the vaunted Philadelphia Catholic League, isolating Coleman-Newsome at the top of the key with two guards in the corners and the other two players on the court as far down on the wings as possible may be the best formation in Bowe’s arsenal. He hit consecutive treys and the Patriots led 30-16 then on the ensuing possession he took his defender to the right and found freshman Nasir Ralls for the eighth three-pointer of the first half and the lead was up to 17 with 2:25 left before halftime.
As a freshman, Coleman-Newsome played alongside John Camden (Virginia Tech), Anquan Hill (St. Bonaventure) and Tairi Ketner, who is playing at Albany and whose brother, Deuce is a starter for the Friars, and helped that team nearly knock off Archbishop Wood in the league quarterfinals. That season, Archbishop Carroll fell in the second round of the PIAA Class 4A Tournament and last year he was at his best during the Patriots run to the state semifinals.
The experience and newfound perspective he has gained over the course of four terrific yet difficult seasons has prepared him to lead this particular group.
“I learned maturity and patience,” Coleman-Newsome said. “When I was a younger guy, I just wanted to go, go, go but now I’m patient and understanding when to get my shot or not. Those are the biggest things I’ve learned at Carroll.”
Deuce Ketner led the Friars with 16 points and eight rebounds while Reggie Selden scored 12 points. Selden hit the first three-pointer of the night for Bonner-Prendergast (9-4, 1-4) at the 1:27 mark of the third quarter and cut the Patriots deficit to 45-26. Susquehanna University commit Seamus Rogers entered the game in the third and scored five points, but his biggest play came as he jump-stopped at the foul line and found Coleman-Newsome for a trey from the wing that pushed Archbishop Carroll’s lead to 50-29 entering the fourth quarter.
With a plethora of options navigating inside an offense that helped spur the career of the greatest shooter of all-time, the Patriots feel they are building toward something this season. After a trip to the state semifinals last season and a large contingent of that team back, Archbishop Carroll wants nothing more than to return to the Palestra, a place it has not been since 2018 when Bowe’s predecessor, Paul Romanczuk – who now coaches at Malvern Prep – roamed the sideline.
Coleman-Newsome is Curry in this example and with him at the helm of this systematic attack, the Patriots think they can continue to push the program on a return to prominence.
“I believe we can go far,” Coleman-Newsome said. “Our shooters are really good at doing what they do. I need to understand when to get them the ball, which will open the lane for our guards who can get downhill. Teams are going to have to close out on our shooters and won’t be able to help as much.”