Hawks Ink Four in 2014

PHILADELPHIA - Four high school basketball standouts - James Demery, Markell Lodge, Shavar Newkirk and Obi Romeo - have signed National Letters of Intent to attend Saint Joseph's, it was announced by head basketball coach Phil Martelli.

"The number-one quality is their character. All four players have an inner beauty that makes me excited about them coming to this campus," Martelli said. "And it's not about just improving our basketball program, but hopefully enhancing our campus community. All four have defensive mindsets and they're athletic."

"James is as athletic a wing as I've seen in the high school ranks. He has tremendous physical abilities and a very keen mental eye for the game," said the coach.

Lodge, originally from Virginia, is a 6-7 wing at Pace Academy in Carrboro, N.C., who is known for his tremendous athleticism and leaping ability.

"Markell is not the next Ron Roberts. He is the first Markell Lodge. He is a rim wrecker and is physically beyond his years," Martelli said.

Newkirk is a 6-0 point guard from Cardinal Hayes High School in Bronx, N.Y. Considered one of the top point guards in New York City, he helped Cardinal Hayes to the CHSAA Semifinals in 2012.

"Shavar is a true point guard. He has an understanding of how to play and he is very competitive," said Martelli.

Romeo, a 6-foot-10 forward with a 94-inch wingspan, is originally from Nigeria and has been in the United States for the past three years, attending Greenbrier East High School in West Virginia. He averaged 10 points and 13 rebounds last season for the team that went 20-5.

"The characteristic that overrides this class, first from our staff's viewpoint is the amount of hard work and focus that went into putting this class together," Martelli said. "The assistants deserve great credit and with Geoff (Arnold) and Mark (Bass) being on the disabled list, I have to give a tremendous salute to Dave Duda for keeping us headed in a positive direction with this class."

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