While the Hawks have been zeroed in on the same near-dozen guard targets in 2018 for quite some time, the frontcourt situation is a bit more fluid. Today, we will look at how Marcus Bingham Jr, Marcus Littles, Frankie Policelli, Jack Clark, Abe Deng, Seth Pinkney, Ian Steere, Jayden Gardner, and Ryan Young performed during the two live periods.
Marcus Bingham Jr, from Grand Rapids Catholic (MI) looks to be at, or at least near, the top of St. Joe’s board in terms of 2018 bigs. The 6’9 athletic forward played his first year on the EYBL, running with Spiece Indy Heat. During eight games over the last two weekends, Bingham averaged 7.4 points, 5.5 boards, and 1.1 blocks per. He is far from a space-eater or a bruising post, but more of a stretch big. While his defensive abilities allow him to block and alter shots in the paint, he is also more than adept at stepping outside and knocking down a jumper. Bingham went 8-19 (42%) from deep these last two weeks. A 6’9 forward who can block shots and knock down threes is going to become a hot name. While St. Joe’s was arguably Bingham’s biggest offer entering the live periods, that’s now changed. Washington, Purdue, Duquesne, Butler, and Xavier are among the schools that have now stepped forward with offers. I’m not writing him off yet, as the Hawks were there early and have established a relationship. These last two weekends didn’t make things any easier though.
While Marcus Bingham plays his game moreso away from the basket, that’s not where Team Final post Marcus Littles does his damage. The 6’8 250-pounder from Neumann-Goretti (PA) is more of a traditional post. Over eight games with Team Final, Littles averaged 6.5 points and 6.2 boards per. Littles does have a soft touch, which he showed going 15-21 (71%) from the line. Marcus has offers from Penn State, St. Joe’s, Miami, Temple, La Salle, and Seton Hall. My guess is that his recruitment settles around the A10 level. While he didn’t dominate in April, he had a better spring than a year ago.
Frankie Policelli drew the attention of Phil Martelli during the first live period, and then was watched this past weekend by Hawk assistant Geoff Arnold. Policell holds a Hawk offer and is someone I would put near the top of the Hawks’ 2018 big man wish list. A combo forward, Policelli can really shoot the ball, has a handle at 6’7, and brings versatility to the court. In addition to St. Joe’s, he holds offers from URI, UMass, St. Bonaventure, Iona. VCU, and Towson. The NY Jayhawks are in the silver league of Adidas, and therefore their stats and boxscores are not available online, unfortunately.
The first name here without a Hawk offer is 6’7 Cheltenham (PA) and Philly Pride combo forward Jack Clark. Why include him here? Because he was watched this past live period by Phil Martelli and because there has been some buzz surrounding him and St. Joe’s. Both in terms of an impending offer and his interest in the program. Clark’s stock has absolutely exploded this week. La Salle, Bowling Green, Penn State, Rhode Island, Norfolk State, Towson, and Drexel have all stepped in with offers. Through eight games, Clark has averaged 10.6 points and 3.6 boards. He went 10-36 (28%) from three and 44% overall from the field. It would not surprise me if the Hawks jumped in soon for an offer.
Abe Deng, a 6’10 shotblocking center from Valley Forge Military Academy (PA) has held a Hawk offer for some time. He runs with We R 1, but has not played much this spring due to an injury sustained during the high school season.
Seth Pinkney, a 7-footer from Archbishop Wood (PA), is with what was once Team Philly, but now KLow Elite. They play on the Adidas circuit. Pinkney is not much of an offensive presence, but that’s compensated for with the impact he has defensively. In eight spring games, he averaged 4.1 points, 5.8 boards, and 2.8 blocks per game. Looking for a glimpse that there is some potential there offensively? He does have a nice touch from the line, where he shot 13-16 (81%) this month. Temple and St. Joe’s are joined by Towson, La Salle, and Coppin State in his recruitment.
A new name on the recruiting front is that of Team Charlotte center Ian Steere. Steere reported a new Hawk offer last week, to go along with offers from Creighton, Tennessee, Florida State, and Clemson. With that offer sheet, plus new interest in today’s Brian Snow article from Kansas, Maryland, UConn, and Louisville, it is tough to see the Hawks remaining too viable in his recruitment. Averaging just under 11 points and 5.6 boards per game, Steere has seen his stock soar. The physical, athletic 6’9 240-pounder is on the Hawks’ list for now, and one of the better players on it. We’ll see with time where they fit into the puzzle.
Another player without a Hawk offer that is worth monitoring here is 6’7 Team Loaded NC forward Jayden Gardner. Stastically, Gardner has had as good a spring as anyone on this list. He’s averaging 13.9 points and 10.4 rebounds per game on the Adidas Uprising circuit. Gardner is a bruiser around the basket, and that’s where he does his damage. He also gets himself to the stripe, where he was 31-51 (61%) in eight games. New Hampshire, UNC Greensboro, and High Point are his most recent offers. Penn State, Richmond, James Madison, VCU, and Old Dominion offered last year. It wouldn’t surprise me if this is a name we start to hear a little bit more about. Gardner knows what he is. He didn’t attempt a single three this spring. He has a 6’7, 230-pound frame and knows what to do with it.
This last name now is one that I’m writing for the first time. It’s 6’10 Jersey Shore Warrior forward Ryan Young. Young attends Bethlehem Catholic (PA), and has been a stock-riser this spring. Richmond offered last week, joining Bucknell, Delaware, Colgate, Columbia, Boston U, Lafayette, Stony Brook and more. The St. Joe’s coaching staff watched Young this weekend, and obviously have familiarity with the Jersey Shore Warriors program, as it’s the program that incoming Hawk Taylor Funk played for. Young is a legitimate 6’10, has good hands, a soft touch, and could likely play the role of a stretch, skilled 5 at this level. Just another name to monitor moving forward.
That wraps up our coverage of the first two live periods. For now. As new offers get extended, this is the place to catch up. And if history is any indication, Phil Martelli and the staff typically extend a slew of new offers a day or two after the live period block ends. So we could be getting some new ones in the next 24-48 hours. Stay tuned.