Garner talks at Peach Jam

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. – Shep Garner has been a well-known player in the Philadelphia hoops scene since even before he began his freshman year at Roman Catholic High School. Now a rising junior, the 6-foot-2 combo guard is a high-major Division I recruit with interest coming in from schools all over the country.

Garner is currently at the Nike Peach Jam with his Team Final U16 squad and he spent some time talking to while there about his recruitment.

The class of 2014 prospect listed scholarship offers from Florida, Memphis, Penn State, Rutgers, Maryland, St. Joe's, and Villanova. In addition, he said that Georgetown, Texas, Miami, La Salle, and Temple are involved with him.

As it stands right now, Garner does not have any schools standing out to him.

"Not really, no," Garner said. "I'm just looking at all the schools equally. I don't really have a favorite."

While he may not have a leader, Garner did cite three schools as the ones pursuing him most aggressively.

"St. Joe's, Florida, Miami, they're coming the hardest," Garner said. Thus far, Garner said he has been on unofficial visits to Rutgers, Georgetown, Penn State, St. Joe's, and Villanova.

"Not yet," Garner said of whether he has any trips schedule, "but we plan on taking some visits before the summer is over, but we don't know which schools yet."

The superb scorer talked about some of the factors that he will take into consideration when he weighs his college options.

"I'm looking for basically great coaching, down to earth coaches, not them big headed coaches," Garner said. "A team that plays man to man, sort of like my AAU team, wide open style, pick and rolling, stuff like that."

Garner also talked about whether or not there is any coach in particular that he has the best relationship with.

"Not really, no," Garner said. "All the coaches are equal right now, really. I have a good relationship with Phil Martelli, I've known him for years, but other than him, no."

The City of Brotherly Love star went on to go into a bit more detail about his relationship with the St. Joe's head coach.

"Well I've been around coach Phil since I was a little kid growing up behind Jameer Nelson," Garner said. "He went there and had that big year. So I've always been around St. Joe's since I was a little kid. That relationship has always been there. He's basically a part of my family."

Despite the fact that he has known Martelli for many years, Garner said that will not play a part in his college decision.

"No, not at all, he understands. We talk and he really understands the whole thing with college recruitment," Garner said. "He doesn't really expect me to go there just because he's a part of the family. I mean, he understands."

Garner also touched on his thoughts about St. Joe's as a whole, sharing what he likes about the program.

"Their coaches are like family, everybody's a family at St. Joe's," Garner said. "You know, St. Joe's is a great school and they treat everybody equal, they treat everybody like human beings. That's really all—that's the best thing about it, everybody is treated equally and they treat everybody like a family."

There are a couple of current Hawks, C.J. Aiken and Langston Galloway, that Garner said he knows. However, Garner noted that they are not recruiting him to join them at SJU.

Garner also spoke about whether or not he would like to stay local for his college years.

"I'm not sure yet," Garner said. "It really doesn't matter the location of the school as long as it's a good school and I like the coaches and they fit, that'll be it." The three-star prospect also spoke about what he is like on the court.

"Toughness, I'm a tough guard," Garner said of his main strength as a player. "I could do a lot defensively and offensively. I'm [able to] guard different positions, that's it."

Garner also knows that there are aspects of his game that he needs to improve upon.

"I gotta get stronger, you know, physically stronger," Garner said. "And the mental part, I gotta be smarter down stretches of games, that's it."

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