Hawks get the point

Phil Martelli and the Saint Joseph's coaching staff have spent the month of July tracking a handful of 2014 recruiting targets. One that saw significant attention, and was monitored closely by Martelli, was Cardinal Hayes (NY)/Team Scan point guard Shavar Newkirk. On Friday afternoon, that hard work paid off.

Shavar Newkirk, a 5'11 point guard from Cardinal Hayes in The Bronx pledged to Phil Martelli and the St. Joe's Hawks on Friday afternoon, Newkirk told Hawk Hill Hardwood. "Yes I did," he stated. "I made my decision this afternoon."

Newkirk, a rising senior, visited Hawk Hill unofficially in June, then was tracked by the Hawk coaching staff all July in Nike EYBL play. What led him to ultimately select Saint Joseph's? "I fit in the system, and the connection with the head coach," Newkirk explained.

At Cardinal Hayes, Shavar is coached by Joe Lods. Lods also spoke with Hawk Hill Hardwood on Friday. "Shavar is the ultimate gamer," Lods began. "No stage is too big for him, no moment is too big for him. He's just a confident kid."

While Shavar is a confident player on the court, Lods said that he's a bit different away from hoops. "He's a very subdued kid, Shavar. Not a loud kid by any stretch. He's not a big attention guy. He just lets his game do the talking."

During EYBL play with Team Scan, Newkirk was one of the top assist men in the 17u field. "Just an excellent passer," Lods continued. "He shares the ball so well and is great leading the break, with his quickness and vision."

At right around 5'11, Newkirk is a plus defender, due to his quickness. "He's the kid who always makes the steal when you need the steal," Lods elaborated. "There aren't many kids out there with his savvy and confidence and leadership on the court."

In closing, Lods described Shavar as "a great get for Coach Martelli and a steal for St. Joe's." In choosing St. Joe's, Shavar will be going from a Catholic high school to a Catholic university, and that was not a lost point. "Shavar is going from a great Catholic school and basketball program in Cardinal Hayes to a great school and storied tradition at St. Joe's. "

In the end, Shavar Newkirk decided to stay close to home for his college career. He told Hawk Hill Hardwood that he chose SJU over "Providence, Iowa State, and Iona."

St. Joe's was clearly targeting a point guard in the class of 2014, and they got their man Friday afternoon. Newkirk is the Hawks' first commitment in what is a critical recruiting class.

Hawk Hill Hardwood will have further insight into Shavar Newkirk's game tomorrow.

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