July 20th News and Notes

The second live recruiting period of July came to a close last night. It was a busy one for every college coaching staff in the country, and St. Joe's was no different. Two new 2016 offers were extended, while several long-time targets saw their stocks soar. Get caught up to date inside.

The St. Joe's coaching staff hit the road hard during the second live recruiting period, which ran from Wednesday the 15th through Sunday the 19th. With major AAU events in California, Wisconsin, Maryland, Georgia, North Carolina, Massachusetts, and beyond, the coaching staff racked up the frequent flyer miles during the five-day stretch.

Over the course of their travels, the coaching staff watched two players that peaked their interest enough to extend new 2016 scholarship offers. The first offer went out to Australian combo guard Kieran Hayward, who Mark Bass watched in Chicago last weekend. Phil Martelli then watched Hayward, an athletic 6'4 combo guard with bounce and a sweet shooting stroke, on Wednesday night in Milwaukee. As of now, Hayward's offers are from Fairfield, St. Joe's, and Rider, but a plethora of high-major coaches tracked him last week and it would appear likely that at least a few will jump into the fray with offers in the coming week or two.

Kieran Hayward joins a list that includes Christian Vital and Jeff Dowtin as 2016 guards with St. Joe's offers.

The second St. Joe's offer extended this week went to Millwood School (VA) power forward J.J. Matthews. Matthews played down at the Under Armour event in Atlanta this week with his AAU team, River City Reign. His play there earned him new offers from both St. Joe's and URI. They are added to a list that includes, but is not limited to, Boston College, Providence, Drexel, Towson, and Kent State. In five games at Under Armour, Matthews averaged 11.8 points and 6.2 rebounds per contest.

Matthews joins a list of posts with Hawk offers that includes Kevin Marfo, Dylan Painter, and Taurean Thompson.

One player that absolutely exploded nationally over the week was St. Joe's top 2016 target, Friends' Central (PA) combo forward DeAndre Hunter. The 6'7 Hunter played extremely well for Philly Pride during the week, averaging 19.3 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 2.7 assists per game. His play earned him new scholarship offers from Arkansas, UNLV, Seton Hall, UConn, and Georgia Tech. Those are in addition to the likes of St. Joe's, Miami, and more.

Hunter's AAU teammate and close friend, Charles Brown, is a 2016 Hawk commit. After a sensational first live period, Brown struggled at the Under Armour Finals. After shooting the lights out in the spring and during the first live period, he was never able to get going during The Finals, going 0-7 from three in one game and 1-7 in another. Brown will look to rebound with a strong third live session this week in Las Vegas. The St. Joe's coaching staff will be tracking Brown and Hunter in the desert all week.

One of St. Joe's other top targets is 6'2 St. Thomas More (CT) shooting guard Christian Vital. He will be teammates with Charles Brown this coming season. Vital played at the Oladipo-Lawson Camp this past week in Maryland, and turned in one of the camp's best performances. He dropped 36 points on the camp's final day, including a 7-7 shooting display from three. St. Joe's, URI, George Mason, and others have been involved for quite some time. His play this week earned him a new offer from UNLV. Vital unofficially visited St. Joe's in June.

The third, and final, live period kicks off Wednesday afternoon. I will be at Burlington City (NJ) High School Wednesday night for the Battle of the Borders Event. PSA Cardinals, We R 1, and the DC Blue Devils are playing. Christian Vital plays for the PSA Cardinals, 2016 offer Jeff Dowtin is with the Blue Devils, and 2017 Hawk offers Zach Kent and Eric Ayala are with We R 1. I will have complete coverage and interviews from that event on Thursday.

With just one live period to go, we are nearing the part of the year when rising seniors start scheduling official visits and trimming lists. St. Joe's is in the market for a guard, a combo forward, and a post. As new names continue to emerge and lists are cut, I will have all the latest here on Hawk Hill Hardwood.

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