BY DONALD HUNT
College basketball season will be tipping off for the Philadelphia City 6 teams this month. Each team will use the early portion of their schedule to prepare for conference play. In addition, there will be the Big Five Classic, a triple-header tournament format including Drexel University for the first time. The tournament will take place on Saturday, Dec. 2nd at the Wells Fargo Center. There are a lot of Philadelphia area players competing in this classic. These should set the stage for an exciting college basketball season.
Villanova appears to be loaded that could help them make another trip to the NCAA tournament. Second-year head coach Kyle Neptune has three outstanding players with shooting guard Justin Moore, small forward Tyler Burton and power forward Eric Dixon. Moore, a 6-5 graduate student, has been named to the Jerry West Award watch list that honors the best shooting guard in Division I. He averaged 13.5 points and 3.5 rebounds a game. Burton, a 6-7 graduate student, is on the Julius Erving Award watch list that recognizes the top small forward. He averaged 19.0 points and 7.4 rebounds a game. Dixon, a 6-8 redshirt senior, has been chosen to the Kareem Abdul Jabbar Award watch list, which honors the top center. He’s capable of playing power forward and center for the Wildcats. He averaged 15.4 points and 6.6 rebounds a game. These three players will help the Wildcats play at a high level in the Big East.
Villanova Forward Eric Dixon. (PSD photo by Ryan Nix)
Villanova Forward & Germantown Academy Grad. Jordan Longino. (PSD photo by Ryan Nix)
Two local players to watch are 6-5 junior guard Jordan Longino and 6-8 graduate student Hakim Hart who will play in the backcourt. Longino was a standout at Germantown Academy. Hart played his high school basketball at Roman Catholic.
New Temple head coach Adam Fisher will spend his first year putting his stamp on the Owls’ basketball program. The Owls are led by 6-1 junior guard Hysier Miller from Neumann-Goretti. Miller has the ability to penetrate and hit the open man. He averaged 8.6 points and 3.7 assists a game. Jahlil White is a solid defensive player who can take the ball to the basket. White, a 6-7 redshirt junior forward, averaged 5.8 points and 5.1 rebounds a game.
Steve Settle III, a 6-10 redshirt junior forward, transferred to Temple from Howard University. A year ago, Settle helped the Bison win the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference title and land a spot in the NCAA tournament. Settle could shoot from three-point range and fill the lanes on the fastbreak.
Zion Stanford, a West Catholic product, guided the Burrs to their first-ever PIAA Class AAA state title last season. Stanford, a 6-5 freshman guard, could earn some playing time this season.
Temple University New Basketball Coach Adam Fisher. (Photo by Zamani Feelings)
Temple University Point Guard and Neumann-Goretti Grad. Hysier Miller. (Photo by Zamani Feelings)
Saint Joseph’s could make a big impact in the Atlantic 10 this season. The Hawks are led by 6-2 junior guard Erik Reynolds II and 6-6 graduate student Cameron Brown. Reynolds was the league’s second leading scorer (19.6 ppg) last season. He was selected to the A-10 preseason all-conference first team. Brown received preseason all-conference third team honors. Hawks head coach Billy Lange has two great all-league players.
Saint Joseph’s has plenty local flavor on its team. Lynn Greer III will take care of the ballhandling duties. Greer, a 6-2 junior guard, played his scholastic basketball at Roman Catholic. Another former Roman Catholic standout who could make a difference is 6-2 freshman guard Xzayvier Brown. Last season, Brown led Roman Catholic to the Catholic League championship.
There should be some exciting conference games on Hawk Hill this season.
St. Joseph's University Guard Lynn Greer lll. (PSD photo by Mike Nance)
Roman Catholic Grad Xzayvier Brown. (PSD photo by Mike Nance)
La Salle head coach Fran Dunphy has two players in Khalil Brantley and Jhamir Brickus that should give the Explorers some scoring and leadership. Brantley, a 6-1 junior guard, earned preseason second team All-Atlantic 10 recognition. He averaged 14.3 points and 4.1 steals a game. Brickus, a 5-11 senior guard, is a terrific ballhandler. He averaged 9.8 points a game while handing out 91 assists.
Former Archbishop Wood star Daeshon Shepherd can score from the perimeter and go inside and help out on the boards. Shepherd, a 6-5 junior guard, averaged 6.1 points and 4.6 rebounds a game.
The Explorers will use the preseason to build a good foundation in the A-10 competition.
La Salle Guard Daeshon Shepherd (PSD photo by Zack Beavers)
Penn head coach Steve Donahue will face some great teams in the Ivy League like Yale, Princeton, Cornell and Brown.
The Quakers will depend on 6-1 senior guard Clark Slajchert and 6-9 junior forward/center Nick Spinoso for some steady play in the backcourt and frontcourt respectively. Slajchert is the team’s top returning scorer (13.6 ppg). Spinoso can the Quakers consistent play around the basket. He averaged 8.8 points and 5.6 rebounds a game last season.
Penn has a couple of notable local players with former Friends’ Central star Eddie Holland III and Lower Merion product Sam Brown, the son of former Philadelphia 76ers head coach Brett Brown.
UPenn's Leading Scorer Clark Slajchert. (PSD photo by Kathy Leister)
Drexel forward Amari Williams could make the Dragons a contender in the Coastal Athletic Association. Williams was named the CAA Preseason Player of the Year. The 6-10 senior forward averaged 13.7 points, 8.8 rebounds and 2.2 blocked shots a game last season.
The Dragons were picked to finish third in the conference. Drexel head coach Zach Spiker has great point guard in Justin Moore from Archbishop Wood. Moore, a 6-3 sophomore, averaged 9.6 points and 3.2 rebounds a game. He also dished out 77 assists last season.
Drexel University Sophomore Guard & Archbishop Wood Grad. Justin Moore. (PSD photo by Zack Beavers)