Friday Night News and Notes

Both members of St. Joe's 2017 recruiting class played major roles in wins over the last 24 hours. Get up to date on Taylor Funk (pictured) and Anthony Longpre inside. I have a round-up of where the Hawk coaching staff was this week recruiting and also have a preview of tomorrow's game against Richmond. It's all inside.

On Thursday night, Glenelg (MD) knocked off Gilman 71-56.  6'10 forward Anthony Longpre, a St. Joe's commit, had two threes and also went 2-2 from the free throw line en route to a 10-point game.  Longpre brings an inside-out game to the court, with an ability to both score with his back to the basket and also stretch a defense with his three-point shooting ability.  At 6'10, Longpre will have an opportunity next year on Hawk Hill to likely fill a role as a stretch five type of player.  

St. Joe's other 2017 commit, 6'9 shooting forward Taylor Funk, was in action Friday night against rival Ephrata.  Funk had a game-high 17 points for Manheim Central in a 38-34 win.  Funk's steal and dunk in the game's closing minute essentially sealed the win for Manheim Central.  John Walk of Lancaster Online was at the game and did a great job covering it.  His Twitter timeline is filled with video clips and more from the in-state showdown.  Funk hit a three in this game, and his ability to shoot, paired with Anthony Longpre's, will allow much better spacing than this year, where Charlie Brown is your only main viable three-point shooting option.  

The St. Joe's front court will be very interesting next year.  You'll have Pierfrancesco Oliva coming back from injury as a redshirt sophomore.  He started last year as a freshman.  You'll have Markell Lodge as a junior, coming back after starting this season.  Lorenzo Edwards is out this year with a shoulder injury.  Will he be back, healthy, and a factor next year? Then you bring in Funk and Longpre, two guys who were solid recruiting pulls for the St. Joe's coaching staff.  They're both coming in to play.  There will be some real competition for minutes next year at the four and five, and that competition will only benefit the team.

St. Joe's has been actively recruiting the 2018 class since landing the commitment from Longpre in the fall and wrapping up their 2017 class.  2018 is a class where the Hawks will look to add two impact guards.  I've written a lot here about Matthue Cotton, Rasir Bolton, Allen Betrand, and a number of others.  On Friday night, per Pat Lawless, Phil Martelli was in DC watching Georgetown Prep (DC) guard Jared Bynum.  Bynum went off in front of Martelli, hitting five threes en route to a team-high 23 points in a tight 75-73 loss to Bullis (DC).  Bynum, who checks in right around 5'10, is a jet in the open court, has a tight handle, and is able to really shoot it.  He already holds a St. Joe's offer, has been on campus, and the SJU coaches have been down to Georgetown Prep a number of times this season.  Bynum holds offers from St. Joe's, Kansas State, George Washington, American, and a number of others.  The Hawks are really pursuing him to help fill the void that will be left behind with Shavar Newkirk's graduation in 2018.

On Wednesday night, Hawk assistant coach watched as Neumann-Goretti dismantled Roman Catholic.  Why was Arnold there? St. Joe's is very active in the recruitments of a player from each team.  6'2 Roman Catholic junior Allen Betrand holds a Hawk offer and has been on campus this season for a number of games.  On the other side, 6'8 Neumann post Marcus Littles has a Hawk offer. Littles has Seton Hall, UConn, Temple, and a handful of other schools involved with him, so it will be an uphill battle there.  He is still in the mix though.

St. Joe's returns to the court Saturday afternoon at 12:30 to face off against a hot Richmond team.  St. Joe's is coming off a disappointing 75-67 home loss to George Mason.  It was a game where the Hawks had just 5 assists and were 5-21 from three.  St. Joe's enters Saturday's game at 8-7 overall and 2-2 in Atlantic 10 play.  Richmond, on the other hand, enters at 10-6 and 3-0 in league play.  Richmond has won at Davidson, at George Washington, and then at home against both Fordham and Saint Bonaventure. 

There are two names I circled on Richmond's roster to keep a close eye on Saturday.  The first is 6'9, 230-pound senior T.J. Cline.  Cline is averaging 17.9 points and 7.8 boards per game this season.  He's only shooting 28% from three this year, which is down significantly from his first three years as a Spider.  He is capable of going out to the perimeter and knocking down jumpers and then also crushing you in the post.  Not too different from, say, a Tyler Cavanaugh or an Obi Enechionyia.  I'll be interested to see if Phil Martelli puts James Demery on Cline like he did with Cavanaugh. 

The other player I circled is one of my absolute favorites in the A10, and that's ShawnDre Jones. The lanky 6 foot guard, who weighs 165 pounds dripping wet, can just go.  He plays a team-high 35 minutes per game, scores just under 17 a game, and shoots 41% from three.  He's a bit streaky from three.  In the first three Atlantic 10 games, he was a combined 7-8 from three, but in the game against the Bonnies he was just 1-7.  He is capable of getting hot and going off, and the Hawks simply can't allow that to happen.  They don't score enough to get in a shootout.  Jones put 31 on VMI.  He put 23 on Maryland.  He put 21 on Davidson.  St. Joe's needs to keep him in check Saturday.

Richmond averaged 74 points per game.  In four Atlantic 10 games, with Shavar Newkirk not in the lineup, the Hawks are averaging just under 66 a game.  Something will have to give here.  If the Hawks can keep Richmond under 70, I think they give themselves a realistic shot.  If not, I just don't see them scoring enough points.  Lamarr Kimble, James Demery, and Charlie Brown will all have to be at their best Saturday if the Hawks are going to pull out a win at Hagan Arena.  St. Joe's opened as two point favorites in Vegas, but that line has dropped to -1.  I'll have full coverage here post-game.

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