On Wednesday night, Josh Verlin of City of Basketball Love broke the news that Abington (PA) big man Eric Dixon picked up his first collegiate offer. The 6'7, 260-pound sophomore forward received the offer from St. Joe's. Dixon is one of the better, more well-thought-of 2019 recruits in the Philadelphia area. He was one of 32 hopefuls for the 2017 U16 team invited to USA basketball. While St. Joe's is the first offer in for Eric Dixon, there is no way it will be his last. The Hawks also have 2019 offers out to Notre Dame Prep (NJ) guard Isaiah Wong and Church Farm (PA) post Jon Bol Ajok. All three project to be high-major recruits.
While that was the biggest news on the recruiting front over the last several days, it wasn't the only. The coaching staff has also been checking in on some of their priority 2018 recruits. St. Joe's assistant coach Dave Duda was in upstate New York watching New Hartford (NY) combo forward Frankie Policelli. Phil Martelli was up earlier this month, and Policelli has also been down to campus for an unofficial visit. Frankie plays his AAU ball for the NY Jayhawks, the same program that current Hawk freshman Gerald Blount played for. 2018 wing Samba Diallo, who picked up a St. Joe's offer earlier this month, also plays for the Jayhawks. Frankie is a 6'7-6'8 lefty who can stroke it from deep and is a crafty athlete. In today's college game, he is the type of player that could stretch the floor as a small-ball four. While Policelli doesn't have a Hawk offer yet, he's a player the coaching staff is keeping an extremely close eye on.
While Frankie Policelli doesn't have a Hawk offer yet, one 2018 big man who does is Archbishop Wood (PA) post Seth Pinkney. Phil Martelli watched Wood last week, checking in on Pinkney. Playing alongside stellar guards Collin Gillespie, Matt Cerutti, and Tyree Pickron, Pinkney doesn't get many touches, or looks on the offensive end. At close to 7-feet, he is an athletic rim-runner who can block and alter shots and also rebound out of his area. Yesterday, in a win over Sanford School (DE), Pinkney had 3 points and 7 rebounds, going 1-2 from the field and 1-3 from the line. Two days ago, against a solid Roselle Catholic (NJ) team, Pinkney had 4 points and 3 boards. While his numbers are hardly overwhelming, Pinkney, along with Abe Deng and Marcus Littles, appear to be among St. Joe's top big man wants in 2018.
The staff has been active on the recruiting trail but also actively planning for Friday's Atlantic 10 opener against George Washington. The Hawks begin conference play at 6-5, but will receive a significant boost on Friday with the return of starting wing James Demery. Demery, a 6'6 North Carolina native, has missed the last ten games with a foot injury, but is scheduled to return Friday. James had 11 points in the season opener, after averaging just over 8 points per game last year as a sophomore. His return Friday will give the Hawks their best perimeter defender back as well as another player who can get their own shot. With Demery's return, look for freshman Nick Robinson to return to his sixth-man role. Robinson has done admirably in Demery's absence, averaging 5.8 points and 4.2 rebounds over the first eleven games of his college career.
George Washington enters tomorrow's game at 8-5. Like the Hawks, GW has been without one of their stars for most of the season. Yuta Watanabe missed seven straight games for the Colonials before returning for their last game against Miami. He had 15 points in 33 minutes off the bench in that 72-64 loss at Miami. GW is led by 6'9 senior forward Tyler Cavanaugh. Cavanaugh is a capable shooter from three, and is the type of big man that has caused the Hawks some issues this season. The line for this one will be released this afternoon, but I expect it to be close to even, with the Hawks maybe favored by a point. I'll have a full game-day preview up Friday morning for this one.null