Eddie Griffin Challenge: Philly Sophomores

In the win for the Philadelphia sophomores last weekend in the Eddie Griffin Challenge, a number of players stood out. Among them were Ja'Quan Newton, Jahyde Gardiner, Tony Toplyn, Troy Harper, and Malik Starks.

Ja'Quan Newton- With 21 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists, the Philadelphia guard from Neumann-Goretti took home MVP honors. In a game loaded with talent, Newton still shone. Newton stands right around his listed height of 6'2 and plays with tremendous toughness. His strength is getting into the lane and scoring around the basket, and he did that with relative ease last Sunday. Granted, defense is not a focal point of all-star games, but even still, Newton showed why he is one of the better scorers in Philadelphia regardless of class. More than once, his disruptive play on the defensive end led to scores. Newton currently holds an offer from Saint Joseph's and has unofficially visited Hawk Hill. He is currently ranked as the number 24 prospect nationally in the class of 2014, and his current offer and interest list is reflective of that.

Jahyde Gardiner. Gardiner is a 6'4 small forward from Philadelphia's Friere Charter. For his size, Gardiner packs a lot of punch. Although he handled the ball on the perimeter, most of his damage was done on the boards and around, or above, the rim. Powerfully built, Gardiner bulled his way around the basket, finishing the game with double-digit points. Gardiner was able to finish off the offensive glass, and also showed an ability to slash to the rim. He also showed good vision, feeding teammate Shep Garner for an easy layup. In this contest, Gardiner did not shoot the ball from the perimeter. At his size, that is an area that he will improve upon to maximize his potential. His toughness and productivity on the boards played a significant role in Philadelphia's win.

Tony Toplyn- Toplyn is another tough, athletic forward from Philadelphia in the 2014 class. Hawk Hill Hardwood saw Toplyn at the Hoop Group Team Camp with Neumann Goretti over the summer and came away impressed. Tony did some things well again on Sunday for Philadelphia. At one point during the game, Toplyn missed an open dunk, but instead of hanging his head or making a big deal of it, he bounced back and scored in close on the next possession. Like Gardiner, a question for Toplyn will be his growth. His strength allows him to play at the power forward spot now. It will be interesting to watch Tony's growth over the coming year, both physically and from a basketball standpoint.

Troy Harper- Another sophomore from Neumann Goretti, Harper is an impressive point guard prospect in the 2014 class. Harper stands right around 5'10 and will team with Ja'Quan Newton at Neumann this year to form a dangerous backcourt. Harper knocked down an open look from three and showed an ability to really push the tempo. He looks like a player that will garner serious looks from mid-majors.

Malik Starks- Starks is a 6'3 guard listed in the game's roster as attending Math, Civic, and Sciences. At MCS, he will team with junior forward Jeremiah Worthem to give MCS a powerful, tough duo on the wing. Starks showed off his athleticism with a fast-break dunk, and also scored in close for two more. He also knocked down both free throws after getting fouled going to the rim. This season at MCS, Starks will have the opportunity to go up against the city's best teams on nearly a nightly basis. Going from Olney to MCS, Starks is another Philly sophomore to track.

Hawk Hill Hardwood Top Stories