Yesterday marked St. Joe’s third straight road game. The Hawks won at Drexel on a Shavar Newkirk and-one in the closing seconds last Sunday, then won a tough road tilt at Princeton this week prior to heading to Normal, Illinois. There, the Hawks squared off against Illinois State in a return game in a home-and-home series with the Redbirds.
Illinois State entered Sunday’s game against Saint Joseph’s 5-0 at home, and they got off to a hot start as St. Joe’s came out of the gate eerily similar to the way they did at Drexel last weekend. A Tony Wills triple gave Illinois State a 24-11 lead roughly halfway through the opening stanza. Paris Lee banked home a half-court heave at the halftime buzzer to give the Redbirds a 41-27 lead at the half. St. Joe’s turned it over 12 times in the first half and allowed Illinois State several clean looks from the perimeter, all leading to the 14-point halftime deficit.
Illinois State’s lead swelled to 16 just thirty seconds into the second half, but four straight points from Lamarr Kimble and a Markell Lodge dunk would pull the Hawks within 43-33 heading into the U16 media timeout. A 10-5 Hawk run, capped by a Brendan Casper three, made it 48-43 with 11:13 to play, but that would be as close as St. Joe’s would get the rest of the way. An 11-4 Illinois State run over the next three minutes gave the Redbirds all the breathing room they would need the rest of the way, with St. Joe’s only getting as close as eight points the rest of the way.
There were positives and negatives to take away from this one. On the positive side, St. Joe’s freshmen are acclimating themselves to the college game as well as anyone could have hoped. Charlie Brown went 4-8 from three, and finished with 14 points and 4 rebounds. Brown is now shooting 22-50, 44%, from three through the first ten games of his college career. Nick Robinson, the freshman out of Chicago, had 9 points and 7 boards in a return game to his home state.
Shavar Newkirk once again went for 20+ points, although he didn’t shoot particularly well from the floor. Newkirk did go 10-11 from the line and finished with 21 points, 7 boards, and 4 assists. His backcourt-mate, sophomore Lamarr Kimble, helped the Hawks in their early second-half run, but he really struggled shooting it, which is becoming a bit of a trend this year. Kimble was just 3-13 from the field, and 1-7 from three. If you take out the Loyola of Chicago game where Kimble went 5-8 from three, Fresh is 11-46 from three this year. That’s just 24%. He’s been forced to shoulder a huge offensive load this year, but those shooting numbers are concerning. Kimble shot 37% from three last year, so there is proof he is a capable shooter. He’s definitely in a rut now though.
St. Joe’s returns home to Hagan Arena on Thursday night against Lafayette. The Hawks have only played three of their ten games this season within the confines of their home arena. They are 2-1 in those three games, with wins over Toledo and Columbia and a loss to Big 5 rival Temple. Lafayette is 3-6, including a 71-55 loss to Princeton and a 74-70 loss to Drexel.
Switching gears now to the high school side of things, there was a lot of high-level hoops this past weekend. Manheim Central (PA), featuring 6’9 2017 St. Joe’s commit Taylor Funk, secured a 63-40 win over Susquehannock on Saturday. In the comfortable win, Funk poured in 22 points. Manheim plays Monday night against Donegal.
St. Joe’s other 2017 commit, 6’10 forward Anthony Longpre, is at Glenelg Country in Maryland. Glenelg was scheduled to play Baltimore powerhouse Poly on Saturday, but that game was cancelled due to the weather. Last week, Glenelg lost an overtime thrilled to Calvert Hall. In the loss, Longpre had 25 points. 2018 Calvert Hall guard Brendan Adams, who holds a St. Joe’s offer, had 29 in the win.
One of St. Joe’s top 2018 targets, 6’2 Roman Catholic guard Allen Betrand, had 23 points in a 73-66 over Abington. It could be argued that Betrand, St. Benedict’s (NJ) 6’5 two-guard Matthue Cotton, and Brendan Adams are among the Hawks’ top wing guard targets in 2018.
Rasir Bolton, who is arguably St. Joe’s top overall target in 2018, had his game over the weekend rescheduled as well. Bolton, a 6’2 point guard, attends Bishop Sullivan in Virginia Beach. Both Phil Martelli and Dave Duda have been down to see the top 100 level lead guard several times this fall. Other lead guards with Hawk offers are Tre Wood, Jared Bynum, and Jalen Carey. Carey is likely out of reach, as he he recently collected offers from UConn and others. Wood and Bynum both appear to be right at the Hawks’ level.
As St. Joe’s looks to likely add a point guard, a wing guard, and a big in 2018, the coaching staff is completely finished in 2017, more than happy with the two forwards they’ve added in that class. All throughout the season, I will have updates on Anthony Longpre and Taylor Funk, as well as updates on 2018 targets.