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BOYS BASKETBALL: 2023-24 Philadelphia Sports Digest All-Area Boys Basketball Team

By Rich Flanagan, 05/22/24, 11:30AM EDT


Photos: Zack Beavers, Zamani Feelings, Kathy Leister, Lennie Malmgren, Mike Nance, Ryan Nix, Allie Riches, Krystal Williams

By: Rich Flanagan

A heralded 2024 class cemented itself as one of the best ever in southeastern Pa. A multitude of players will leave their respective programs with historic accomplishments on their résumés before heading to new programs this summer. Meanwhile, upperclassmen and underclassmen alike will carry the mantle heading into next season as the next crop of stars look to make their mark after bursting onto the scene this year.

As this high school campaign officially concludes, we look back on the basketball season that was with our first annual Philadelphia Sports Digest All-Area Boys Basketball Team:

2024 Player of the Year:

Thomas Sorber, Archbishop Ryan

Sorber changed the trajectory of his career and the Raiders program when he transferred in from Trenton Catholic (N.J.) following his freshman season. The 6-foot-9 big man led Archbishop Ryan to a pair of Philadelphia Catholic League title game appearances and PIAA Class 5A state semifinal berths.

He averaged 18.9 ppg, 10.9 rpg and 4.6 bpg this season and leaves the program as the all-time leader in points (1,484), rebounds (873) and blocks (359). The Georgetown commit also holds the program record for points in a single game as he poured in 41 against Rutgers Prep (N.J.) to go along with 16 boards and nine rejections. The three-time Pa. All-State 5A First Team selection recorded 47 career double-doubles and is arguably the best player to don an Archbishop Ryan uniform and leaves a legacy of success.

First Team:

Jalil Bethea, Archbishop Wood

Bethea came in as a freshman behind the likes of Rahsool Diggins and Daeshon Shepherd but once he entered the rotation as a sophomore, he quickly rose to one of the premier scorers in the area and eventually a Miami (Fla.) commit. The 6-5 senior guard avg. 22.7 ppg, 7.0 rpg and 3.4 apg this season in leading the Vikings to the PIAA 6A semifinals.

PSD First-Team, Jalil Bethea, Archbishop Wood - PSD Photo by Kathy Leister

He could erupt at any moment, like he did with a 40-point performance against Corona Centennial (Cal.) in the Hoophall Classic at Springfield College (Mass.). Bethea surpassed Diggins for the all-time program scoring record and finished his career with 1,683 points. The two-time Philadelphia Catholic League MVP and All-State Class 6A Player of the Year was one of the most dynamic scorers during his tenure but also one of the best shooters as evidenced by his 75 three-pointers this season and 250 career makes from behind the arc. 

John Mosco has put together an array of impressive guards from Collin Gillespie to Andrew Funk to Diggins to Justin Moore, but Bethea may be the best of this group.

Shareef Jackson, Roman Catholic

While Jackson isn’t the most outspoken prospect in Cahillites storied history, he has certainly delivered since arriving at the intersection of Broad & Vine. The 6-7 junior forward avg. 17.2 ppg, 10.1 rpg, 3.0 apg and 1.4 bpg in leading Roman Catholic to a second consecutive Philadelphia Catholic League title and an appearance in the PIAA 6A quarterfinals. He shot 58.2 percent from the field this season and showed vastly improved range by hitting nine three-pointers, two of which came in the league final at the Palestra. He converted the game-tying basket to force overtime in that contest and has been a constant ever since entering the starting lineup as a freshman. The All-State 6A First Team selection enters his final season with two league titles and a state title to his name along with 864 career points and 665 rebounds.

PSD First-Team, Shareef Jackson, Roman Catholic - PSD Photo by Krystal Williams

Darren Williams, Archbishop Ryan

Williams was a freshman who played sparingly on the Archbishop Ryan team that made it all the way to Hershey in 2021, but the 6-4 Florida Gulf Coast commit rose to become both an elite shooter and scorer in his three seasons as the Raiders lead guard.

He avg. 16.8 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 2.4 apg and 1.8 spg, and led the Philadelphia Catholic League with 92 three-pointers made. In crunch time, head coach Joe Zeglinski looked to the smooth lefty to deliver whether that was putting the ball in the basket or creating for a teammate like Sorber or Jaden Murray. He drilled the game-winning jumper from the elbow against St. Joe’s Prep in the league quarterfinals then nailed the go-ahead three-pointer with 30.8 seconds left in regulation of the Philadelphia Catholic League Championship Game.

PSD First-Team, Darren Williams, Archbishop Ryan - PSD Photo by Mike Nance

Williams ended his career third all-time at Archbishop Ryan with 1,286 points - six behind former standout and New Orleans Pelicans guard Izaiah Brockington – and 219 three-pointers. He and Sorber helped engineer the best three-year run in program history and will always be remembered for that.

Matt Gilhool, Penn Charter

Gilhool was the biggest impact transfer this season for a variety of reasons and propelled the Quakers to their first outright Inter-Ac League title since 2004. The 6-11 junior forward won Inter-Ac MVP after avg. 15 ppg, 9.3 rpg, 1.1 apg and 1.5 bpg while shooting 57.1 percent from the field.

PSD First-Team, Matt Gilhool, Penn Charter - PSD Photo by Zamani Feelings

He scored 389 points this season and has scored 1,118 for his career, which has included stops at Elizabethtown and Westtown. He scored in double figures in 21 games with six 20-point performances, including a season-high 28 points against Episcopal Academy on Jan. 30. The talented forward, who holds offers from Syracuse, Iowa, Temple, Maryland, Penn State, Cincinnati, Virginia Tech, Rutgers, Mississippi State, Pittsburgh, West Virginia, and Miami (Fla.), closed the season with 19 points and 11 rebounds against Westtown in the PAISAA Tournament quarterfinals.

Bahsil Laster, Academy of the New Church

Laster began his career at Archbishop Wood and helped the Vikings reach the 2022 PIAA 6A title game in Hershey but chose to look for a change of scenery, which he found in Bryn Athyn.

The 6-5 senior wing blossomed into one of the better all-around players in the Friends Schools League, leading the Lions to their first league crown since 2009. He avg. 16.1 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 4.6 apg and 1.9 spg, and shot 45 percent from the field. He posted 14 points, eight rebounds and six assists against Friends’ Central School in the FSL title game, 27 points against Malvern Prep, and 19 points, seven rebounds and three steals against The Phelps School in the PAISAA semifinals. 

PSD First-Team, Bahsil Laster, Academy of the New Church - PSD Photo by Lennie Malmgren

He closed out his career with 1,006 points and is deciding between a variety of programs including La Salle, Lafayette, Williams & Mary, St. Bonaventure, and Hampton.

Second Team:

Kevair Kennedy, Father Judge

The Crusaders made their first trip to the Philadelphia Catholic League semifinals since 1999 due in large part to the development of Kennedy, who put together his best performance in the league quarterfinals at Archbishop Wood.

The 6-2 junior guard set the Father Judge postseason scoring record with 33 points, which included a Philadelphia Catholic League record 18 made free throws. Even more impressive, he sank 17 of those in the fourth quarter to seal the victory. He had a breakout season and early performances like his 17-point, eight-assist and four-steal game against PIAA 6A champion Central York in the Diane Mosco Shootout were indicative of the season that was unfolding. 

PSD Second-Team, Kevair Kennedy #5, Father Judge - PSD Photo by Kathy Leister

He avg. a team-leading 17.3 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 6.0 apg and 2.0 spg while shooting 45.1 percent from the floor, and an even bigger year could be in store next season.

Larenzo Jerkins, Neumann-Goretti

Jerkins was part of the Saints program for two seasons but was only able to play one year as the PIAA ruled he was ineligible due to transfer rules. Regardless of what transpired there, he used that full season of practice with Khaafiq Myers (St. Joe’s), Robert Wright III (Baylor), Sultan Adewale (Albany) and Amir Williams (Hofstra) as fuel for a dominant senior campaign. The 6-6 West Chester University commit avg. 15.9 ppg, 10.4 rpg, 2.0 spg and 1.5 bpg in leading Neumann-Goretti to the Philadelphia Catholic League semifinals and PIAA 4A quarterfinals. He had 23 points, 15 rebounds and three blocks against two-time state champion Lincoln Park and tallied 25 points and 13 boards against Scranton Prep in his final high school game. He scored 445 points this season and was the unquestioned leader of the Saints after Myers was lost for the season with a torn ACL.

PSD Second-Team, Larenzo Jerkins, Neumann-Goretti - PSD Photo by Krystal Williams

Zane Conlon, Devon Prep

The Tide captured their second PIAA 3A title in three seasons and Conlon was the key piece in what turned into another emphatic March run.

PSD Second-Team, Zane Conlon, Devon Prep - PSD Photo by Mike Nance

The 6-4 junior forward avg. 17.6 ppg, 8.9 rpg, 2.8 apg, 1.5 spg while shooting an astounding 53.6 percent from the field. He had 20 points and eight rebounds in the state final against Franklin Area and scored in double figures in every game this season (10 20-point performances). The All-State 3A First Team and Second Team All-Catholic pick recorded 12 double-doubles on the year, including a 14-point, 17-rebound game against Cardinal O’Hara in the Philadelphia Catholic League playoffs where he tied the school record for rebounds.

The versatile big man also helped Devon Prep win its first District 12 title (and first district title since 2012). He enters his final season with 615 career points.

Kevin McCarthy, Episcopal Academy

The Army West Point commit was a four-year starter for the Churchmen and quickly developed a knack for scoring in bunches, mostly from the outside. The 6-4 senior guard made 90 three-pointers while also avg. 19.5 ppg, 6.4 rpg and 2.0 apg this season in leading Episcopal Academy to the PAISAA Tournament quarterfinals. The three-time All Inter-Ac First Team selection scored 20 or more points in 11 games with a season-high 31 points against The Pennington School (N.J.). 

PSD Second-Team, Kevin McCarthy, Episcopal Academy - PSD Photo by Allie Riches

He knocked down 232 three-pointers over four seasons and his 1,504 career points puts him eighth on the all-time list at Episcopal Academy.

Ryan Williams, Malvern Prep

Williams had a case as the Inter-Ac’s most talented scorer over the last three seasons, and he delivered in his final season by avg. 22.0 ppg, 6.1 rpg, and 2.7 apg in guiding the Friars to the PAISAA Tournament.

Over his three seasons as a starter, Wiliams recorded 32 games with at least 20 points, including four 30-point performances, all coming this season including a career-high 34 vs. Parkland in December. He even avg. 20.9 ppg during the Inter-Ac slate and scored 20 or more points in six league games with a 33-point performance against Penn Charter on Jan. 17.

PSD Second-Team, Ryan Williams, Malvern Prep - PSD Photo by Allie Riches

He was named All Inter-Ac First Team three straight years which included 50 victories and a pair of shared league titles. The Northeastern University commit culminated his career with 1,463 points, fifth all-time in Malvern Prep history.

Tristen Guillouette, George School

After being ruled ineligible for his final season at St. Joe’s Prep, Guillouette shifted course and found a spot at George School under Ben Luber, taking an open starting forward spot vacated by Kachi Nzeh (Penn State).

The 6-9 forward bound for Florida Gulf Coast avg. 18.4 ppg, 10.5 rpg and 1.5 bpg, and shot 60 percent from the field (142-237). Furthermore, he shot 119-166 from the free throw line as his assortment of post moves gave opposing bigs fits, leading to extra opportunities from the charity stripe.

He posted 15 double-doubles this season, including 29 points and 14 rebounds versus The Peddie School (N.J.) and 29 points and 11 boards against Rocktop Academy. He tallied 405 points, 203 rebounds, 32 blocks this year and finished his career with 889 points.

PSD Second-Team, Tristen Guillouette, George School - PSD Photo by Zack Beavers

Honorable Mention:

Josh Reed, Archbishop Wood

The Drexel commit had the best statistical season of his career by avg. 18.9 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 3.4 apg and 1.8 spg.

The 6-3 senior guard, who shot an astonishing 60.7 percent from the field, was an All-State 6A Second Team pick after scoring in double figures in all but two games this season. He shot 16-22 from the field on his way to a career-high 38 points to go along with 10 rebounds and five steals against Benton High School (Ark.) in the King Cotton Classic at the Pine Bluff Convention Center (Ark.). He scored 20 points in the state semifinals against Parkland.

PSD Honorable Mention, Josh Reed, Archbishop Wood - PSD Photo by Kathy Leister

Ian Williams, Archbishop Carroll

While only a sophomore, the 5-11 floor general led an inexperienced Patriots team to the PIAA 4A title game and is poised to lead the talented group once again as a junior.

He avg. 13.1 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 6.3 apg and 2.2 spg while shooting 50.7 percent from the floor. He drilled 25 three-pointers in an offense that finished with 205 makes from deep this season.

He led the Philadelphia Catholic League with 189 assists, yet scored in double figures in 22 games.

He’s as multifaceted as any point guard in the area.

PSD Honorable Mention, Ian Williams, Archbishop Carroll - PSD Photo by Krystal Williams

Jaron McKie, St. Joe’s Prep

The son of the former Temple standout and 2000-01 NBA Sixth Man of the Year is writing his own story on Girard Avenue and possesses perhaps the best shooting form in the Philadelphia Catholic League. The 6-3 junior guard was named All-State 6A First Team after leading the Hawks with 18.1 ppg to go along with 6.0 rpg, 2.3 apg and 1.7 spg. He nailed 63 three-pointers on a 41.7 percent chip. He had a season-high 28 points against West Catholic and scored 16 points against Archbishop Ryan in the quarterfinals.

PSD Honorable Mention, Jaron McKie, St. Joe’s Prep - PSD Photo by Zack Beavers

Bryce Rollerson, Germantown Academy

The Patriots have a litany of alums who have put together prolific scoring careers and Rollerson is the next name to add to that list.

The 6-foot junior guard has already amassed 1,283 points in three seasons - putting him in 18th on the all-time list - and he’s coming off a historic season. He avg. 22.4 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 3.0 apg, and 1.7 spg while shooting 48 percent from the field to go along with 30 three-pointers. He avg. 26.6 ppg in Inter-Ac play, the highest mark ever for a Germantown Academy player, and the third highest average in a single season behind only Penn Charter’s Billy Harris (28.7) in 1971 and Haverford School’s Doug Fairfax (28.3) in 1999.

The All-State Non-PIAA First Team selection has scored at least 20 points in 36 games over the last two seasons, with a career-high 36 points coming against Springside Chestnut Hill on Jan. 26, and even closed out the regular season with 11 straight 20-point games.

PSD Honorable Mention, Bryce Rollerson, Germantown Academy - PSD Photo by Ryan Nix

Silas Graham, Haverford School

Graham has put the Fords back into contention in only his second varsity season and while he’s still a freshman, he will be a name to watch over his remaining three seasons in the Inter-Ac.

The 6-2 guard shot 53.3 percent from the floor while avg. 14.7 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 4.4 apg and 2.4 spg. An evolving shooter, he recorded 21 makes from behind the arc on 30.4 percent shooting. He scored in double figures in 18 games with six 20-point games, including a 27-point game against Father Judge where had 17 in the second half. He was named All-State Non-PIAA Second Team and All Inter-Ac First Team and enters his sophomore season with 625 career points.

PSD Honorable Mention, Silas Graham, Haverford School - PSD Photo by Mike Nance

Jake West, Penn Charter

West appears to have found his home at Penn Charter and the 6-3 junior guard helped the Quakers capture the Inter-Ac title by avg. 14.4 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 4.1 apg and 1.6 spg.

PSD Honorable Mention, Jake West, Penn Charter - PSD Photo by Zamani Feelings

He showed improvement in his shooting ability (38 three-pointers made) and playmaking ability (116 assists) while continuing to flourish in the scoring department with 21 double-digit performances including a career-high 31 points against Shipley School.

He holds offers from Mississippi State, Penn, Drexel, Fairfield, Lafayette, St. Francis (N.Y.), Siena, Loyola (Maryland), Towson and West Virginia, and is primed for a big season ahead.

Fazl Oshodi, Friends’ Central School

Oshodi grew from an overlooked prospect at Roman Catholic on a roster with Lynn Greer III, Xzayvier Brown, Jalen Duren, and Justice Williams into one of the better point guards in the Friends Schools League.

The 6-3 senior guard avg. 14.5 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 1.6 apg and 1.7 spg while making 55 three-pointers and shooting 78 percent from the free throw line.

The All-FSL First Team selection scored in double figures in all 21 games this season, including going for 26 points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals against Penn Charter then made five three-pointers and finished with 25 points against a matchup with Abington Friends.

He scored 1,127 career points and will continue his career at Southwest Mississippi Community College.

PSD Honorable Mention, Fazl Oshodi, Friends’ Central School - PSD Photo by Donna Eckert

Jordan Dill, Germantown Friends School

The most skilled scorer in southeastern Pa. might be in Germantown and he has made a name for himself in a short time span.

PSD Honorable Mention, Jordan Dill, Germantown Friends School - PSD Photo by Ryan Nix

Dill is coming off another incredible year that saw him avg. 27.3 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 2.8 apg, and 1.6 spg while making 57 three-pointers and shooting 48 percent from the field.

His career-high 49 points against Bodine were one shy of the school record and his 683 points this season are the third highest in a single season in program history (both records are held by former Villanova guard Jonathan Haynes). The 6-1 sophomore lefty scored 20 or more points in 21 games and his 1,692 career points are already the second-most in Germantown Friends School history. 

He has made 176 three-pointers in three years and his otherworldly stat lines should only continue to increase from here.