Hoop Team to Get Friendly Visits

Point guard Sharkey and two young teammates from Abington Friends plan to attend Penn State's Advanced Skill Camp this summer.

When Abington Friends School (Jenkintown, Pa.) Class of 2016 point guard Josh Sharkey learned that Penn State wanted to see him and two of his teammates on campus this summer, he couldn't help but smile.

The freshman received word from Kangaroo coach Steve Chadwin that he and classmates Tony Carr (a combo guard) and Lamar Stevens (a forward) were invited to one of the Lions June Advanced Skill Camps by State assistant Brian Daly.

“He was just saying that he wants us to come up and see campus, and to camp there, as well,” Sharkey said of the information his coach passed along from Daly. “It was exciting when I first heard it. I was really excited and happy, and it shows that hard work pays off, and that they want me to come up there means a lot to me.”

The trio played a big role in Abington's 21-7 season that ended with a Friends School league title, and Carr landed on the league leaders list for both 3-point field goals and free throws.

Their relationship goes much deeper than that, though, and while all three played an entire varsity season in the first year they were eligible, their exploits began when, led by Stevens 35 points, they combined for 85 of Abington's 90 points in a middle school victory in 2012.

The key to their success, and Abington's as a whole, is chemistry, Sharkey said. And it didn't just form in their first season under Chadwin.

“We all trust each other, and we have a bond off the court,” Sharkey explained. “We all hung out out of school, which is good, and we are all good friends.”

Just beginning to develop his 5-foot-9, 150-pound frame, Sharkey averaged seven points a game in 2012, playing 13 minutes a night in his first varsity campaign. He noticed the differences of playing varsity ball and adapted as the season went along.

“I think I'm an unselfish player, and I look for my teammates while also creating off the dribble and finding the open man,” he explained. “My jump shot is getting a lot better, and my 3-point range is there, too. On defense, I stay in front of my man in full-court defense. I feel my biggest strength is being an unselfish player.”

Sharkey noted that he knows Pittsburgh transfer and new Penn State guard John Johnson.

He also has picked up on the Lions' renewed emphasis on recruiting in Philadelphia -- led by head coach Patrick Chambers -- while traveling the AAU offseason circuit with the Philadelphia Triple Threat club. The team also gives him an opportunity to improve in the offseason.

“I've been hearing that they are recruiting a lot of Philadelphia guys, and I've seen them around at some tournaments,” Sharkey explained. “We started a couple months ago, and I'm just trying to improve on my jump shot off the dribble, and pulling up and shooting. I feel like I can get by anyone, but I want to have that pull-up shot.”

Decision time is a long ways away for all three of Abington's young guns, but that hasn't stopped them from pondering the future. All three are hearing from Penn State, Pitt, Coastal Carolina and California (Pa.). They wouldn't mind extending their time as teammates into the future.

“The same colleges are recruiting us, and we would love to all play together at the same college,” Sharkey said. “I feel like we could make any team better, and all three of us know each other's game well. We know how to put each other in great position to succeed.”

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