Jefferson Guard Showing He's Worthy Of Looks

Reporter Brian Towey has a story on Thomas Jefferson shooting guard Keith Spellman, who had a huge game against Bishop Loughlin this past weekend at Baruch College ...

When push came to shove, Keith Spellman came up big for Thomas Jefferson in a 63-61 win over Bishop Loughlin at the Big Apple Basketball Public League-Catholic League Challenge at Baruch College on Sunday night.

The 6-foot-2, 175-pound senior shooting guard made a critical defensive play in the last minute and finished with 25 points (6-of-15 FG), 12 rebounds, and seven steals (eight turnovers). He shot 13-of-15 from the foul line in the second half.

Jefferson coach Lawrence Pollard has harped on Spellman's need to play more of a balanced floor game. Against Loughlin, he impacted the game on many levels.

"I've told him that he's got to be more than just a scorer," said Pollard. "He's averaging almost a triple-double. This year he's rebounding, he's attacking the basket the way he should, he's (physically) stronger, and mentally very focused."

Coming out of the Brooklyn PSAL's rugged AA division (Abraham Lincoln, Boys & Girls), Spellman has emerged as one of New York's top unsigned players.

A dynamic athlete, Spellman is at his best attacking the hoop, a strong finisher with a quick first step and good body control. He has quick hands and feet defensively. He's a player who appears to have a high ceiling, with continued development and work on his decision-making.

In terms of recruiting, things are flexible.

"Right now I'm not quite sure (who is seriously recruiting him) because some schools that were recruiting him just signed players," said Pollard. "Right now he's kind of open."

Spellman lists Virginia Tech, St. John's and George Mason, while saying that Oklahoma St. "has called a couple of times". St. John's head coach Norm Roberts, who is seriously recruiting Loughlin junior Jayvaughn Pinkston, was in the building on Sunday night, along with George Mason assistant Michael Huger.

Under Spellman's leadership, Jefferson, which plays at Lincoln on Dec. 18, has emerged as a legitimate contender for the PSAL city championship. In contrast to previous years, this team is more balanced, with sophomore lead guard Davontay Grace, junior forward Joel Wright, and junior guard David Coley (currently injured) sharing the load.

While he had to shoulder the burden alone as an underclassman, Spellman, whom Pollard regards as the team's leader and hardest worker, has learned to put more trust into his teammates as a senior.

"I would say (that this year he's shown) more maturity," said Pollard. "He knows this is the best team he's had, the best supporting cast he's had to work with. I think he can lead us to where we want to go."

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