Saint Joseph’s Hawks

Mark Gottfried

NC State, Ole Miss among eight teams in 2016 Paradise Jam

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While the 2015-16 season has yet to get underway, some in-season tournaments have already begun the process of finalizing teams for the 2016-17 campaign. Wednesday evening the Paradise Jam revealed its eight-team field for the 2016 edition of the event, which is scheduled to be played November 18-21, 2016 at the University of the Virgin Islands.

NC State, which has reached the NCAA tournament in each of the last four seasons under head coach Mark Gottfried, is part of the event as are Andy Kennedy’s Ole Miss Rebels. Completing the field are Creighton, Loyola-Chicago, Oral Roberts, Montana, Saint Joseph’s and Washington State.

Of the eight teams just two have made prior appearances at the Paradise Jam. Phil Martelli’s Saint Joseph’s team finished fifth in 2009, with Ole Miss finishing third two years later. Washington State may have the most interesting connection to this tournament, however.

The father of forward Josh Hawkinson, who was the Pac-12’s Most Improved Player last season and will be a senior in 2016-17, created the Paradise Jam back in 2000. That should make for a fun return to the Virgin Islands for Josh next November. Nels Hawkinson is the executive director of Basketball Travelers, a company some may be familiar with as they’ve set up foreign tours for many college basketball programs over the years.

While NC State and Ole Miss are the lone teams in this field to reach the NCAA tournament last season, Montana is one of the favorites in the Big Sky entering the 2015-16 season and ORU is expected to be a factor in the Summit League. Scott Sutton’s Golden Eagles were picked to finish third in the Summit League preseason coaches poll.

Three-star 2016 power forward Kevin Marfo trims list to ten

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Playing with the BABC grassroots program, 2016 power forward Kevin Marfo put together a month of July that led to more than a few high-major programs looking to get involved in his recruitment. Sunday ot was reported by that the 6-foot-8 Marfo has trimmed his school list down to ten.

The schools still in the running for Marfo’s commitment are Pittsburgh, Georgia Tech, Minnesota, Boston College, UMass, Saint Joseph’s, DePaul, George Washington, Rhode Island and Providence.

Marfo attends Worcester Academy in Massachusetts, where he plays for head coach Jamie Sullivan. On the Nike EYBL circuit this spring/summer, Marfo averaged 11.3 points and 8.8 rebounds per game.

Video credit: Hoop Dreams Magazine

Four-star small forward DeAndre Hunter focusing on 11 schools

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Another member of the Class of 2016 has narrowed his recruiting focus, as four-star small forward DeAndre Hunter announced Sunday evening that he’s now focusing on 11 schools. The 6-foot-7 Hunter, who played for the Philly Pride grassroots program on the Under Armour Association circuit this summer, attends Friends Central HS in Philadelphia.

The schools that remain under consideration by Hunter are Alabama, Arizona State, Connecticut, Maryland, Miami, Notre Dame, Oklahoma State, Saint Joseph’s, SMU, Villanova and Virginia.

Hunter’s most recent offers have come from Maryland, Villanova and Notre Dame, and in recent weeks he’s taken unofficial visits to Arkansas (which did not make the cut), Villanova and Virginia according to Hunter still has all five of his official visits available to use, so it may be some time before the talented wing makes his college choice.

Video credit: Courtside Films

Three-star guard Myles Powell trims list to eight

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The Playaz Basketball Club grassroots team out of New Jersey doesn’t lack for talented perimeter players, and on Thursday one of those players announced that he’s cut his list to eight schools.

Myles Powell, a 6-foot-3 guard who plays at South Kent School in Connecticut, revealed the list to before taking to Twitter himself. The eight schools still in the running are Connecticut, DePaul, Georgetown, Georgia Tech, Pittsburgh, Saint Joseph’s, Seton Hall, and VCU.

Powell’s played well throughout the spring and summer, and at the Nike Global Challenge in Chicago earlier this month he scored 30 points in two of the four games he played in. Powell, who led the event in scoring (22.2 ppg) while also accounting for 3.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists per contest, was named to the Nike Global Challenge all-tournament team.

Powell played three years at Trenton Catholic (New Jersey) before making the move to South Kent, where he’ll compete as a senior this upcoming school year.

Video credit: Courtside Films

The Palestra to host doubleheader in January to commemorate Big 5’s 60th anniversary

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When it comes to rivalries in college sports, the majority of them tend to focus on two programs that play on a frequent basis. That’s what makes the Big 5 different, in that it matches five programs in the Philadelphia metropolitan area (La Salle, Penn, Saint Joseph’s, Temple and Villanova) who meet annually with the winner being crowned “league” champion for that particular year.

And with the Big 5’s 60th anniversary coming in 2016, it was announced Wednesday that the Big 5 will bring back an old tradition for one night in January.

The old tradition: a doubleheader at The Palestra, which through the years has hosted many Big 5 games (including many that didn’t involve the Quakers before teams began hosting their home games on their respective campuses). The games will be held January 20, with La Salle hosting Temple and Penn hosting Saint Joseph’s.

“The Athletics Directors wanted to do something very special to celebrate this unique achievement,” Big 5 Executive Director Steve Bilsky said in the release. “We thought nothing would capture its history better than a competition to be held in the famed Cathedral of Basketball.

“The fact that we were able to pull it off in a very challenging college basketball scheduling environment is a credit to the AD’s, coaches, and conference commissioners, all of whom displayed tremendous perseverance and flexibility.”

The last time there’s been a doubleheader involving Big 5 teams was back in December 2004, with Temple beating Villanova, Penn taking care of La Salle and Saint Joseph’s falling to Drexel. Drexel, which wasn’t a Division I member when the Big 5 was created (they didn’t move up until the 1973-74 season), is also a city school but is not part of the Big 5.

This plan to bring back the Big 5 doubleheader, if only for one day, will be a fun “flashback” in a sense to what the rivalry used to be. That’s something that was lost once being in a conference took on greater importance in the 1980’s, which impacted the way in which some programs scheduled in non-conference play.

While it may be difficult for the Big 5 to go back to the days of consistent doubleheaders at The Palestra for that reason, hopefully this leads to the powers that be considering an annual doubleheader for future seasons.

Mandell Thomas, Christian Sengfelder lead Fordham past Saint Joseph’s (VIDEO)

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On a day in which their 1974-75 team, which won the ECAC Holiday Festival, was honored, Fordham put forth one of its best performances of the season in their 69-55 win over Saint Joseph’s on NBCSN.

Mandell Thomas led four Fordham (7-16, 2-10) starters in double figures with 20 points, and Christian Sengfelder’s 15 points and nine rebounds helped the Rams make up for the fact that freshman forward Eric Paschall shot 3-for-14 from the field. As a team Fordham shot 48.1% from the field and 8-for-16 from three, and they assisted on 19 of their 26 field goals.

DeAndre Bembry led the Hawks (11-13, 5-7) with 18 points, but he shot 7-for-18 from the field. Isaiah Miles added 12 points, but he was the only other double-digit scorer for a Saint Joseph’s team that once again struggled offensively. Phil Martelli’s team shot 34.5% from the field and 7-for-28 from three as they failed to win a third straight game.