Inside 2014 recruiting: Guards

It's no secret that the 2014 recruiting class is pivotal for St. Joe's. The Hawks lose seniors Ron Roberts, Langston Galloway, Halil Kanacevic, and Daryus Quarles following the 2013-2014 season. Today, Hawk Hill Hardwood examines Saint Joseph's 2014 backcourt recruiting targets.

With the April Live Periods now over, I will take a look at who the Hawks have offers out to in the backcourt.

A handful of players at the 1, 2, and 3 have offers from Phil Martelli and the Hawks, but have seen their stock absolutely skyrocket since the beginning of April. At the top of the list is 6'1 Team Takeover point guard Tre Campbell. Campbell visitited Hawk Hill in the fall, then again during the season for more than one game. However, over the past two weeks, he has garnered offers from Maryland, Pitt, Xavier, and more.

Sticking at the point, St. Joe's extended two offers this past week to lead guards. 6'1 St. Anthony (NJ) and Sports U point guard Tarin Smith told me that Phil Martelli called him on Tuesday night to offer. 5'11 lead guard Shavar Newkirk, from Cardinal Hayes in the Bronx, also collected a Hawk offer this week. Both Smith and Newkirk are quick, tough, pass-first point guards.

A fourth point guard with a reported offer from Saint Joseph's is 6-foot Byron Hawkins, from Good Counsel (DC). Hawkins runs with DC Assault on the circuit, and was watched last weekend in Philadelphia by head Hawk Phil Martelli and assistant coach Geoff Arnold. At the Philly Jam Fest, Hawkins showed why he is a priority CAA recruit with significant Atlantic 10 interest. The guard, more of a combo than a pure point, is a jet with the ball and a bigtime scorer.

Roman Catholic (PA) junior Shep Garner is one of the more familiar names to those that follow Saint Joseph's recruiting. The 6'1 guard, who like Hawkins is more of a combo than a pure point, is playing on the EYBL circuit this spring with Team Final. Garner has long been reported to be focusing in on three schools: Saint Joseph's, Penn State, and Rutgers. Roman head coach Chris McNesby told Hawk Hill Hardwood over the winter that Saint Joseph's "was at the forefront of Shep's recruitment." Garner is a shifty, tough, scoring guard who is playing a good bit of point for Team Final alongside high-major guard Ja'Quan Newton.

A sixth point guard with a reported Hawk offer is Antonio Woods, a 6-footer out of Summit Country Day (OH). Woods is an interesting case study as he is a Division 1 football recruit as well, seeing interest from schools such as Northwestern, Wisconsin, Duke, Boston College, and more. The floor general is also a highly-touted quarterback. Saint Joseph's is one of the schools that has extended an offer to him on the hardwood.

Now moving from the point to both the shooting guard and wing guard positions, the list of Saint Joseph's recruiting targets expands before it shrinks.

Like Tre Campbell, Phelps (PA) wing Terry Larrier is a player who has seen his stock absolutely blow up this spring. Florida, Maryland, Saint John's, Memphis, VCU, and many more offered the 6'8 wing in April. It's likely that Larrier has leapfrogged out of Saint Joseph's league, despite the fact that the Hawks recruited him very hard over the past 6-9 months.

Another April stock-riser is Westtown (PA) wing guard Jared Nickens. Nickens, who plays with Sports U, was originally a 2013 recruit, and one that listed SJU and VCU as his two top schools. Times have changed. Since reclassifying, and since a terrific weekend at the Pitt Jam Fest, Nickens has seen his recruitment heat up. Oregon State, Maryland, Miami, Saint John's, and countless others are now involved with the 6'7 shooter. Jared is slated to take an official visit to Oregon State next weekend.

6'6 Great Valley (PA) wing Mikal Bridges is a third 2/3 with an offer from St. Joe's. And a third that has seen his stock explode this spring. However, Bridges, of the three to this point, appears to be one that is still in the mix for the Hawks. Bridges has seven offers at this point: Virginia Tech, Temple, St. Joe's, Old Dominion, George Washington, Rider, and Fairfield. However, that list is growing by the day, and dozens of high majors are now tracking the athletic, long, sharpshooting wing. Bridges attended the SJU-Xavier game, took an unofficial to SJU in March, and is scheduled to take another unofficial to Hawk Hill in the next week or two.

6'5 Medford Tech (NJ) guard Elijah Cain could have just as easily been listed with the point guards as with the wings. Cain has long been one of SJU's primary recruiting targets in 2014. He has already been on numerous unofficial visits to Hawk Hill, including yet another this past Thursday. Cain's appeal lies in his savvy, steady play, and his ability to play both on and off the ball. He is playing on the EYBL this spring with the NJ Playaz.

Kaison Randolph, a 6'3 combo guard from Pennington Prep (NJ), and Rashard Figures, a 6'4 shooting guard from Hackensack (NJ) are two more Jersey guards with Hawk offers. Randolph, who runs with We R-1 on the circuit, was tracked last weekend in Pittsburgh by St. Joe's, and then once again this weekend in Philadelphia. Figures is with Team Scan, alongside Terry Larrier and Shavar Newkirk, on the EYBL.

Finally, we wrap up our look at 2014 backcourt recruiting targets with another new offer. 6'4 St. John's (DC) shooting guard James Palmer, who runs alongside Tre Campbell on the AAU circuit as well as playing on the same high school team, picked up an offer from St. Joe's this week. Palmer is another that has blown up this spring though. Wake Forest offered this week, and rumors are circulating that both Maryland and Indiana are on the verge of offering as well.

St. Joe's is likely looking to sign two or three perimeter players in the 2014 recruiting class. Today, Hawk Hill Hardwood looked at thirteen players with Hawk offers. Tomorrow, we will look to the frontcourt, where the Hawks are also in search of quality and depth.

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