Friday Night Notes: 1/29 Edition

Academy of the New Church (PA) features several Saint Joseph's recruiting targets, including Marcus Littles and Matthue Cotton. On Friday afternoon, Hawk Hill Hardwood watched as ANC routed Moorestown Friends. A recap of that, plus a Rhode Island preview, are inside.

Over the past few months, I have written quite a bit about the Academy of the New Church trio of Markus Stevenson, Matthue Cotton, and Marcus Littles. On Friday, I was able to watch ANC for the first time this year, and they certainly didn't disappoint. ANC absolutely thrashed an undermanned, undersized, and frankly inferior Moorestown Friends squad. Academy of the New Church led 45-24 at the half then shut the door in the third quarter, outscoring Friends 23-8 in that stanza en route to an 83-43 victory on the road.

Marcus Littles is a 6'9 sophomore post who already holds a college scholarship offer, and that offer is from St. Joe's. Phil Martelli was the first head coach to extend a scholarship his way, but there is no way that it will be his last. Littles has been to a number of Hawk games already this year, and is tough to miss behind the bench. Friday was my first time seeing him, and he certainly didn't disappoint. Few sophomore big men have the feel for the game that Littles possesses. He showed off great hands, catching entry passes into the post, demonstrated an ability to facilitate the offense and pass both out of the double team and out of the high post, and showed a great overall feel for the game. Littles finished with 11 points and at least as many rebounds. He was also 5-5 from the free throw line, with every shot hitting nothing but net.

While Littles only holds that offer from the Hawks, schools such as Wake Forest, Villanova, Virginia, and more are also sniffing around in the early stages of his recruitment.

Marcus Littles isn't the only high major 2018 prospect on ANC, as both Matthue Cotton and Justin Anderson looked the part on Friday. Anderson finished with a team-high 27, and showed an ability to score from all three levels. A wiry strong, long 6'2 guard, Anderson knocked down jumpers off the bounce and the catch, slashed in the half court and full court, and created for others. He was sensational. Matthue Cotton has been on Hawk Hill along with Marcus Littles and his brother and teammate Markus Stevenson several times this season as well. The 2018 combo guard was in foul trouble for most of the first half, but came out strong in the second. He finished with 8 points in limited minutes. Like Littles, and probably Anderson, Cotton looks the part of a high-major prospect in 2018

The third member of the ANC trio that has received Hawk attention is Markus Stevenson, the lone 2017 in the group. Stevenson is a 6'6 wing who doesn't have the burst or athleticism of Cotton or Anderson, but is a very solid player in his own right. At the moment, his recruiting attention is coming mostly from schools such as NJIT, Rider, and the like. But St. Joe's has expressed interest in the form of having him on campus. Again, worth noting that Matt Cotton is his brother, and Cotton and Littles are likely to be priority Hawk recruiting targets in 2018

While Moorestown Friends didn't put up much of a fight, it was a good opportunity to see an ANC team that I'll likely be writing about, and you'll likely be reading about, for the years to come.

St. Joe's travels to Rhode Island Saturday for a huge Atlantic 10 tilt with Rhode Island. The Hawks enter Saturday with a record of 17-3 (6-1). With only 11 games left, the RPI watch is also on, and the Hawks check in at 30 on the NCAA's newest release.

St. Joe's has already played Coach Hurley and the Rams once this year, beating them 72-67 on January 10th at Hagan Arena. In that game, Saint Joseph's got 22 points from DeAndre Bembry and 19 points (4-4 from three) from Aaron Brown. Foul trouble was an issue for both teams, as Isaiah Miles played just 27 minutes due to foul trouble and was limited to just 10 points on 4-5 shooting. For the Rams, Jared Terrell (18 minutes) and Kuran Iverson (16 minutes) were also severely limited due to foul trouble.

The Hawks have won 13 of their last 14 and are currently sitting in third place in the A10 at 6-1. Saturday's 6 o'clock game at URI isn't a make-or-break game, but it's an important one. Stealing one on the road tomorrow would position the Hawks wonderfully both A10 standings wise, and NCAA tournament wise. Containing Hassan Martin, keeping Isaiah Miles out of foul trouble, and avoiding a sluggish first half are my three keys of the game. They will also need DeAndre Bembry to be better than he was on Wednesday against UMass, when he was just 3-13 from the field.

In Vegas, the Hawks are 2.5 underdogs in this one, and that line seems right. I see this one coming down to the final possession or two. St. Joe's has not lost a true road game this year, but this is arguably their toughest outside of Temple and maybe Richmond. We will know a lot more about this Hawk team this time tomorrow.

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