Neumann-Goretti rolls Chester High

St. Joe's head coach Phil Martelli traveled to Widener University Tuesday night to watch Neumann-Goretti and Chester square off in the Pete Nelson Classic. Neumann-Goretti senior point guard Lamarr Kimble is headed to Hawk Hill next year, and he was one of four guards who contributed to a dominant performance by the Saints. A game summary and Kimble evaluation is inside.

Neumann-Goretti and Chester was the headliner Tuesday at Widener University for the Pete Nelson Classic. The bleachers were packed, the gym raucous, and fans were chomping at the bit when things tipped off just before 8:30. With Widener only a few miles away from Chester High, in the city of Chester, is was a predominantly Chester crowd Tuesday night. Those Clipper fans, however, never really got an opportunity to let themselves be heard. Neumann-Goretti jumped out early and never relented. An early 10-2 lead expanded to 24-14 at the end of a quarter, 48-24 at the half, and, mercifully, an 89-56 final score.

Chester simply couldn't hang with Neumann-Goretti's guards. Junior guard Vaughn Covington nailed six threes en route to a game-high 23 points. Strong, athletic 2016 combo guard Zane Martin really impressed, tallying 19 points and scoring from all three levels. You had sophomore guard Quade Green also in double-digits, finishing with a quietly efficient 11 points. Then, the lone returning starter from last year's team, St. Joe's commit Lamarr Kimble finished with 12 points and 5 assists.

Covington is receiving interest from a number of academic Division 1's, and it was obvious to see why Tuesday night. Covington is a smooth-shooting, calm and collected guard who had Colgate watching him erupt Tuesday night. Martin has rapidly improved, possibly moving from a fringe D1 prospect to an absolute D1 lock, with his level continuing to rise as his game continues to improve. Green looks like a high-major prospect in the 2017 class.

All four of Neumann's guards can get into the lane. All four can knock shots down from three. All can defend multiple positions. Coach Carl Arrigale, once again, has a heck of a ball club in the Philadelphia Catholic League.

The lone returning starter for Arrigale, senior point guard Lamarr Kimble, was the reason for my trip to Widener Tuesday night, and the reason St. Joe's head coach Phil Martelli, and his wife Judy, filled the bleachers as well. Kimble is one of three 2015 commitments for the Hawks. With the graduation of senior Chris Wilson, Kimble will step in next year ready to compete with current freshman Shavar Newkirk for minutes at the point.

Kimble is one of four guards that starts for Neumann-Goretti, so in that regard, he doesn't play a true point guard role for the Saints. Covington, Green, and Kimble all play both with the ball and of the ball. Neumann-Goretti raced out to an early lead over Chester without Kimble doing anything offensively. Late in the first half, however, Kimble asserted himself after letting the game come to him.

In a matter of just two or three minutes, 'Fresh' threw a perfect alley-oop ball to sophomore big man Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree, scored twice in the paint on drives, and knocked down an in-rhythm three. Kimble would can another three in the second half, finishing 2-5 from behind the arc.

Kimble scored 7 of his 12 points in the first half, with his second three and a tough left-handed drive in the half-court set providing the rest of his scoring punch. While it was not an explosive offensive outing for Kimble, he showed off what made him one of the more appealing local 2015 guards. Everything about his game exudes both toughness and intelligence. Despite Chester's pressure, Kimble did not turn the ball over a single time. He was able to break the press, was able to get into the paint and make the correct passes, typically kick-outs to open threes. Due to his body type, the expectation most first-time viewers have of Kimble is that he will be slow of foot. That's not the case. While he's not necessarily a blow-by type of player, he uses his frame and agility to get the angle, get the corner, on defenders and get himself into the lane. He did that with relative ease Tuesday against Chester.

Defensively, Kimble showed some real versatility, guarding both Chester's guards and also their 6'7 combo forward Marquis Collins. Kimble went toe-to-toe with Collins, frustrating him and really getting him off his game. Collins is one of the better 2016 forwards in the region, and a sure-fire D1 prospect, and Kimble shut him down, despite giving up about 7 or 8 inches on him. The two jawed a bit, and Kimble didn't let the size difference get in the way of stepping up to him.

Shavar Newkirk and Lamarr Kimble are both sub 6-foot point guards. That being said, they are different players. Kimble is much stronger than Newkirk and is a much better perimeter shooter. Newkirk is the quicker player and the peskier defender. Will they be able to play on the court together next year and moving forward? I don't know about that, due to size. But both should be able to co-exist since they bring different strengths to the table. It's been a strong senior year for Kimble, as his Saints are off to an undefeated start. Next year, he will move from the Catholic League to the Atlantic 10, just like St. Joe's Prep senior Chris Clover. Those two, with their ability to make shots, defend, see the floor, and make those around them better, will be welcome additions to Hawk Hill next year

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