Five-Star Olivia Miles Enrolling Early at ND
Joining a recent trend among elite basketball prospects, Blair Academy’s Olivia Miles is headed to her college home early. Miles, who was widely considered the top high school girls basketball player in the country, is officially enrolling early at the University of Notre Dame and will begin her college career in a matter of weeks. 𝗕𝗜𝗚 𝗧𝗜𝗠𝗘 🙌 @oliviamiles06 has enrolled early to join our squad!"To have this experience to join our team and get acclimated to college is invaluable. She is ready to work and I’m blessed to have her now." — @IrishCoachIveyDETAILS → https://t.co/BTvA8az9zO#GoIrish pic.twitter.com/KOtHC37cYd— Notre Dame WBB 😷 (@ndwbb) January 18, 2021 Miles will be eligible to begin practicing on Jan. 25 and could potentially suit up in her first game on Jan. 31 in a matchup against Syracuse, according to a press release from Notre Dame. WATCH OLIVIA MILES’ JUNIOR YEAR HIGHLIGHTS Miles is the latest elite prospect to forgo their senior season this year. Her former Blair teammate Dominique Darius is already on campus at UCLA and Rutgers Prep forward Trey Patterson just announced last week he won’t play his senior season and enroll early at Villanova. An elite scorer and tenacious competitor, Miles was an early preseason frontrunner for JSZ’s Miss Hoop Zone Award if she was to play this year. Miles averaged 13.6 points, 8.1 rebounds and 7.6 assists for the Bucs last season while leading them to a Prep A championship win over the Hun School before the COVID-19 shutdown. More of Olivia Miles on JSZ
Patterson Heading to Villanova Early
Rutgers Prep senior and 2019/2020 JSZ Mr. Hoop Zone finalist Trey Patterson will get a jump start on his college career. Patterson announced on social media that he’ll forgo his senior season with the Argonauts to enroll at Villanova for the spring semester. 💙 pic.twitter.com/aHNxv3fC6t— Trey Patterson (@_treypatt3) January 15, 2021 Patterson finishes his high school career as one of the top players in Rutgers Prep history. He averaged 20 points and ten rebounds per game last season, leading the Argonauts to 27 wins, and an appearance in the Non-Public B South final. JSZ produced Patterson’s official Wildcats commitment video back in June. Check it out here: You can watch his junior season highlights reel here:
Roselle Catholic’s Corey Floyd Jr. Commits to UCONN
New Jersey’s Class of 2022 is stacked with stellar guards with the ability to change a game with a single shot or dunk. Arguably the top guard in that class, Roselle Catholic’s Corey Floyd Jr., was the first to make a college verbal commitment. On Jan. 14, which was Floyd’s 17th birthday, he made the announcement via social media that he’s committed to play at the University of Connecticut. COMMITED‼️12/14/20🕊 pic.twitter.com/ArPE2YvGPF— Corey Floyd Jr. (@CoreyFloydJr) January 15, 2021 WATCH FLOYD JR.’S SOPHOMORE YEAR JSZ HIGHLIGHT REEL Floyd Jr., a 6-4, 210 pound guard, started for Roselle Catholic as a sophomore last season and was a major piece to the Lions’ 22-7 team that won the Non-Public B North sectional final a day before the NJSIAA shut down winter sports due to coronavirus concerns. He averaged 11.2 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 27 games in the 2019-2020 season. Floyd Jr. is the latest New Jersey product to commit to Dan Hurley’s Huskies squad, a group with numerous Garden State ties. Hurley, the son of NJ basketball legend Bob Hurley, has former Patrick School star Adama Sanogo on the roster now and also got a commitment from current Patrick School 6-9 big man Samson Johnson over the summer. Roselle Catholic will be featured in JSZ’s “All Access” series leading up to the start of the 2021 high school basketball season in New Jersey and Floyd Jr. will be profiled. The junior is quickly becoming one of the elite players across the Garden State. Stay tuned in with JerseySportsZone.com for all the latest news and recruiting updates from high school athletes all across New Jersey.
Year in Review: JSZ’s Top 20 of 2020
The year 2020 was made up of 12 unforgettable months. That sentiment especially rings true for New Jersey’s high school sports community. Jersey Sports Zone’s team of MMJ’s gathered for a year-in-review roundtable, discussing the Top 20 stories we covered this year. Thank you to our loyal audience who followed along with us through one of the most trying years we’ll remember. Happy New Year, and here’s to a happy and healthy 2021! JSZ Top 20 of 2020 Pt. 1 JSZ Top 20 of 2020 Pt. 2 No. 20: The Final Game Before COVID-19 Shutdown Bergen Catholic and St. Peter’s Prep. These two were among the top basketball teams in New Jersey last season, and delivered a double-overtime showdown in the last game JSZ covered in the 2020 winter season. It signaled the near end of the basketball season and the beginning of a long statewide shutdown. No. 19: Gill St. Bernard’s Rules NJ Soccer Scene 2020 was a year to remember for the Knights of Gill St. Bernard’s. All-state striker Micaah Garnette, who delivered 21 goals and 14 assists, was the main catalyst to a 13-0-1 squad that went on to win a Central West Non-Public sectional final against Skyland rival Pingry. The Knights were undoubtedly the top team at the end of the line. No. 18: Leon Jones’ Inspiring Comeback It was a year in which many would have to overcome tough circumstances. For Notre Dame’s Leon Jones, his journey to redemption began before COVID-19. Following a collision against St. Peter’s Prep in a playoff football game, Jones was left paralyzed for almost 48 hours. After regaining feeling in both of his legs, doctors were still unsure if he would be able to walk normally, let alone play sports again. However, midway through the basketball season, Leon Jones not only started his first game as a senior, but Jersey Sports Zone was there to watch him lead his team to victory. No. 17: South Jersey’s Ware & Watson Earn Top Basketball Honors There was no shortage of talent on the high school basketball court last winter, but Camden’s Lance Ware and Mainland’s Kylee Watson proved to be the best of the best. Ware, a Kentucky commit, was the senior leader for a Panthers team that finished the season on a 25-game winning streak. Watson, an Oregon commit, surpassed 2,000 career points in a decorated career for the Mustangs. Ware and Watson earned the JSZ Mr. and Ms. Hoop Zone awards, as the top players in the Garden State. No. 16: Camden Basketball Reigns Supreme in Garden State Hoops Scene It was the most anticipated season for The High in a generation, and the Panthers did not disappoint. Led by fabulous freshman D.J. Wagner, Kentucky commit Lance Ware, and South Carolina commit TaQuan Woodley, Camden went (29-1). The High was without a home gym for the 2019/2020 season, but Panthers fans followed the team all over the state and beyond to watch this special journey. Camden was in great position to win its first state title since 2000, before the coronavirus pandemic put a halt to the postseason. No. 15: Delbarton Wrestling Delivers Historic Year on the Mat When wrestling fans in Morristown – and across the state – look back on the 2019-2020 season, they’ll remember the incredible effort Delbarton put forth to cement themselves as the No. 1 program in New Jersey. It all started with a 42-15 victory over Bergen Catholic in the Non-Public A North semifinals where the Green Wave ended the Crusaders’ 96-match win streak against NJSIAA competition. That began a run of postseason excellence ending in Delbarton’s first state title since 2011. No. 14: CBA, Donohoe are Kings of NJ Ice The Gordon Conference is home to the elite New Jersey hockey programs, yet it was the private school from Monmouth County that slayed numerous Bergen County teams en route to attaining gold at the end of the road. The Colts, who won 20 games, the Gordon Cup and the Non-Public State Final, were led all year long by sophomore goalie John Donohoe. Donohoe went on to win JSZ’s 2020 Player of the Year after making 501 saves in electric fashion. No. 13: Jewel Gonzalez Sets the Standard A pioneer to Stateliner and New Jersey wrestling, Jewel Gonzalez was the face of girls wrestling in New Jersey during her high school career. Coming from one of the most storied and successful wrestling programs in the Garden State in Phillipsburg, Gonzalez won back-to-back girls state wrestling championships in Boardwalk Hall. During her two seasons, Gonzalez amassed an undefeated 30-0 record as she pinned her way through the state tournament as a senior. Gonzalez capped off her state championship the same way many other Stateliners had done before her, by jumping into the ocean. No. 12: JSZ’s “One Shining Moment” As the world shut down due to the Covid-19 pandemic, JSZ set out to commemorate the best of the 2019-20 high school basketball season. With the blessing of the song’s composer, David Barrett, JSZ was able to produce a unique version of the March Madness staple, “One Shining Moment.” No. 11: Scottie Lewis Leads off the Court Rounding out Part 1 of our look back at 2020 is a story that transcended sports. Ranney-alumni Scottie Lewis returned home to Asbury Park to lead a peaceful protest over the summer. It was a day that few would forget as organizers, protesters, and police officers joined together to rally against racial injustice and inequality. No. 10: Abrupt Cancellations of Two High-Profile Games Postponements and cancellations were common during the 2020 football season. The timing of a pair of cancellations stood out late in the season though, as Bergen Catholic-Delbarton was called off just before kickoff, and Williamstown-Ocean City was abandoned at halftime. No. 9: Morristown-Beard Girls Hockey Makes History Girls sports in the Garden State took another important step forward in 2020 with the inaugural state ice hockey championship. Morristown-Beard skated to victory at the Prudential Center in Newark. No. 8: Bosco and Seton Hall Prep Earn Signature Wins It felt like Bergen Catholic would face St. Peter’s with the state’s #1 ranking on the line to close out the year. Don Bosco and Seton Hall Prep had other ideas. The Ironmen stunned the Crusaders, while the Pirates topped the Marauders down the stretch of the season. No. 7: A SportsCenter Top 10 Moment for Manasquan Chris Farinacci beat the buzzer with a sensational goal to lift Manasquan over St. John Vianney. The highlight went national, making the rounds on ESPN. No. 6: Shore Conference and WJFL Pod Playoffs The 2020 football season didn’t feature the traditional playoff format. The Shore Conference and the West Jersey Football League still made it a memorable “postseason” for a handful of top teams, with the creation of playoff pods. Wall and Holy Spirit battled their way to 2020 bragging rights. No. 5: Howard and Peterson Electrify in Atlantic City Robert Howard and Dean Peterson both travelled down to Atlantic City on a mission. The standouts from Bergen Catholic and St. John Vianney captured state titles in impressive fashion at Boardwalk Hall. No. 4: Estime Wins Zoneman & Commits to Irish Audric Estime ran roughshod over opponents in 2020. The St. Joe’s (Montvale) senior earned JSZ’s top football honor, the Zoneman award, and flipped his commitment from Michigan State to Notre Dame. It was an eventful day for Estime, and JSZ was on hand to capture it. No. 3: A JSZ All-Access Unlike Any Other Football teams had extra time to gear up for a unique season, and JSZ tagged along with a handful of squads leading up to opening night. We were able to tell unique stories from the practice fields at Bergen Catholic, Notre Dame, Ocean City and Rumson-Fair Haven, as the teams laid the groundwork on how to play during the COVID-19 pandemic. No. 2: Spring Athletes Were Truly Jersey Strong The COVID-19 pandemic led to the cancellation of the entire spring sports schedule in 2020. It was devastating to thousands of athletes, but especially to the seniors. A handful of those seniors delivered a powerful message as they reflected on their high school careers. No 1: The Last Dance Brought Closure and Hope Although it wasn’t an official NJSIAA event, The Last Dance baseball tournament gave over 200 teams a chance to finally take the field after the cancellation of the spring season. It was a memorable month of July, as Cranford won the title, and all of the teams provided a blueprint on how high school sports could move forward during the darkest of times.
NJSIAA Announces Changes To Winter Sports Season
With COVID-19 cases in New Jersey spiking as the fall quickly turns into winter, the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) has officially made changes to the winter sports season. Competition in all winter sports, which includes basketball, wrestling, ice hockey, indoor track, swimming and bowling were set to begin on Dec. 21. That is now not the case — high school sports will resume after calendars turn over to 2021. Here are the official and final changes, per an NJSIAA news release Thursday morning: Season 2 Ice Hockey will be the first sport to start in the winter. Practices will commence on Dec. 14 and the competition will officially last from Jan. 4, 2021 to Feb. 17. Basketball, Fencing and Bowling can start practicing on Jan. 11 with games set to last from Jan. 26 to March 6. Season 2A Swimming and Winter Track & Field may begin practices on Feb. 1. That season will last from Feb. 16 to March 27. Season 3 The big change here is for wrestling, which has been moved from the winter to the late winter/early spring. Teams can get onto the mats on March 1 for their first practices. The season will last from March 16 to April 24. That same timeline – March 16 to April 24 – will be the same timeline for both gymnastics and girls volleyball. Other News and Notes Gov. Phil Murphy’s Executive Order 196 (which restricts the number of people at indoor events) will go into effect on Nov. 23. Per the NJSIAA, indoor practices and competitions are limited to 10 persons, however, if the number of individuals who are necessary for the practice or competition, such as players, coaches, and referees, is greater than 10 persons, the practice or competition may proceed. If this exception applies, the number of individuals still may not exceed 25 percent of the capacity of the room in which it takes place, or 150 persons, whichever is less. Practically speaking, this means that spectators are prohibited.”There will be no NJSIAA sponsored state postseasons for sports in Seasons 2 and 2A, yet individual conferences can hold their own tournaments.The state athletic association said itself and its member schools are still determining “what may be the best format for post season play,” for Season 3. It’s unknown whether or not there will be an individual wrestling state tournament. Season 3 sports have to conclude no later than April 24, 2021.Bowling is the only sport allowed to have more than two teams in any venue. New Jersey teams are prohibited from playing any out-of-state competition, whether its inside or outside of state lines. Teams will be permitted to play up to three games per week with no more than 15 total during the season.The NJSIAA will announce plans for Season 4 (lacrosse, baseball, softball, outdoor track & field) no later than Dec. 11, 2020.
JSZ All-Zoner selected in first round of NBA Draft
2018 JSZ All-Zone selection Precious Achiuwa goes to the Miami Heat with the 20th pick in the NBA Draft. Check out his highlights from his two seasons at St. Benedict’s Prep! Precious Achiuwa spent two seasons in New Jersey playing for St. Benedict’s Prep. After transferring to Monteverde Prep in Florida in his senior year, Achiuwa had one season at Memphis before heading to the NBA. The Miami Heat selected Achiuwa with the #20 pick in the first round of the 2020 Draft: With the 20th pick in the 2020 #NBADraft…That hat looks good on you @PreciousAchiuwa! pic.twitter.com/sJMXXTF2Ew— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) November 19, 2020 Achiuwa was a member of JSZ’s 2018 All-Zone team and becomes to the second All-Zoner to join an NBA roster. Naz Reid, our 2018 Mr. Hoop Zone is currently with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Check out Achiuwa’s highlights from his high school days:
Camden’s Woodley Commits to South Carolina
TaQuan Woodley established himself as one of the top power forwards in the state last season, helping to lead Camden to the South Jersey Group 2 championship before COVID-19 concerns cut the Panthers’ season short. Woodley originally committed to Penn State in May, but decommitted last month after a coaching change in State College. The High’s standout senior announced his new college plans on Wednesday evening, committing to the South Carolina. 𝘗𝘭𝘢𝘺𝘴 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘵𝘳𝘦𝘮𝘦𝘯𝘥𝘰𝘶𝘴 𝘢𝘨𝘨𝘳𝘦𝘴𝘴𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝙨𝙩𝙧𝙚𝙣𝙜𝙩𝙝𝙃𝙞𝙜𝙝-𝙡𝙚𝙫𝙚𝙡 𝘳𝘦𝘣𝘰𝘶𝘯𝘥𝘦𝘳𝙀𝙭𝙘𝙚𝙥𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣𝙖𝙡 𝘴𝘬𝘪𝘭𝘭 𝘰𝘧𝘧𝘦𝘯𝘴𝘪𝘷𝘦𝘭𝘺#Gamecocks 🐔 @T_boogi5 🏀 pic.twitter.com/kGJEixIQlO— Gamecock MBB (@GamecockMBB) November 18, 2020 Check out Woodley’s junior season highlights for Camden here:
RBC’s Carman commits to Boston College
The Caseys have their second major Division I commit this fall. Watch JSZ’s highlight reel of the Red Bank Catholic junior! The Red Bank Catholic girls basketball continues to be one of the state’s most consistent programs and their talent continues to get opportunities at the next level. Junior Ally Carman has given a verbal commitment to play college basketball in the ACC for the Boston College Eagles. Last month, her fellow junior teammate Justine Pissott gave a verbal commitment to play for the Tennessee Lady Volunteers. The 6’5″ power forward averaged 13.8 points per game last season for the Caseys showing the ability to dominate in the paint as well as pass to open teammates from the post. She made her announcement on Monday night via social media: https://twitter.com/CarmanAlly/status/1323438977232347141?s=20 Watch JSZ’s highlight reel of Ally from her sophomore season at Red Bank Catholic: The JSZ All-Access Pass allows you to see hundreds of JSZ game highlights right away! Click here to get all the action right now
From RBC to Rocky Top: Pissott commits to Lady Vols
A big Thursday night recruiting commit from the Shore Conference. Junior Justine Pissott has given a verbal commitment to play in the SEC for the Tennessee Volunteers. Watch her JSZ highlight reel now! One of the Shore’s most high profile juniors has wrapped up her recruiting prior to her junior season. Red Bank Catholic’s Justine Pissott has given a verbal commitment to play SEC basketball at the University of Tennessee. Pissott has seen her vault to 6-foot-4 inches since coming on campus at RBC. She brings ball handling skills like a point guard, a reliable three point shot and the ability to rebound and operate in the paint. Pissott made the announcement via her social media on Thursday night: committed 🍊🍊💛💛@LadyVol_Hoops pic.twitter.com/nlC0pMi04D— Justine Pissott (@justinepissott) October 9, 2020 Pissott is a top 50 ranked national recruit for the class of 2022. Justine was named to JSZ’s 2020 All-Zone team following her impressive sophomore campaign with RBC. Check out her JSZ highlight reel: The JSZ All-Access Pass allows you to see hundreds of JSZ game highlights right away! Click here to get all the action right now
Camden Catholic’s Hicks Commits to Temple
Zach Hicks poured in almost 600 points last season, leading Camden Catholic to an appearance in the Non-Public A South title game. Hicks announced his college decision on Friday afternoon, committing to Temple University. Committed pic.twitter.com/cINbBERBUT— zhicks123 (@zhicks1231) September 4, 2020 Check out the future Owl in action for the Irish by watching his junior season highlight reel here: You can watch Hicks’ 2020 JSZ All-Zone Profile here: Coverage of Camden Catholic is made possible by NJM Insurance.
Sharpshooter Noah Harris Headed to Marist
Rutgers Prep has become a popular stop for Division I basketball coaches looking to add talent to their rosters. Now Noah Harris, a rising senior and one of the state’s top players, is officially on his way to the D-I ranks. Harris announced Sunday his verbal commitment to join Marist, adding to the Argonauts’ recent trend of placing players in college hoops programs. Watch Noah Harris’ Junior Year Mixtape Here! Harris has built a reputation as one of New Jersey’s top shooters, evidenced by his 99 three-pointers and 478 points in his junior season. Harris was an offensive catalyst for head coach Matt Bloom’s 27-2 team in the 2019-2020 season, averaging 16.4 points and 7.3 assists as a point guard. If his upward trend in scoring continues – and New Jersey has a full basketball season this winter – he should easily shatter the 1,000 career point mark. Harris is only 121 points away. Harris figures to be a key contributor for the Argonauts in the 2020-2021 season, set to star alongside Trey Patterson, a Villanova commit and one of New Jersey’s elite players. Stay tuned with Jersey Sports Zone for all the latest recruiting news and updates on New Jersey high school athletes.
Tristian Jeffries commits to Robert Morris
From Gill St. Bernard’s to St. Thomas Aquinas, Tristian Jeffries has proven himself against the best in New Jersey. Watch the highlight reel of the latest commit to the Robert Morris men’s basketball program. Tristian Jeffries is the latest from the Class of 2021 to commit to a Division I school. Jeffries has given a verbal commitment to play in Pennsylvania at Robert Morris: 100% COMMITTEDOnAMission❤️💙 pic.twitter.com/zKkl4wcb3H— Tristian Jeffries (@TristianJeffri2) August 21, 2020 Jeffries played his sophomore season at Gill St. Bernard’s and transferred to St. Thomas Aquinas as a junior helping the Trojans to a GMC title averaging 13.6 points per game in 15 games. Check out his JSZ highlight reel:
UConn Lands 6-10 Big Man Samson Johnson
The University of Connecticut is going back to one of New Jersey’s powerhouse basketball programs to bolster its roster. The latest addition to the Huskies is Samson Johnson, a lean, 6-10 big man who burst onto the Garden State basketball scene in the 2019-2020 season with a breakout year for The Patrick School. Watch Samson Johnson’s Junior Year Highlight Reel HERE Johnson, who expects to be the top returning player for TPS next season. was one of the most consistent players on the floor for the Celtics. He averaged 8.9 points and 3.2 rebounds in his junior season. His decision to join the Huskies rounds out a remarkable recruiting cycle for The Patrick School in the last five months. Jonathan Kuminga reclassified and signed a deal with the NBA’s G-League; Adama Sanogo reclassified and signed his NLI with UConn; Noah Farrakhan committed to East Carolina; Zarique Nutter committed to St. Peter’s University. Stay tuned with Jersey Sports Zone for the latest news New Jersey’s top athletes from around the state.
Gov. Murphy Hopeful For Safe Return to NJ HS Sports
The Last Dance World Series accomplished plenty over its three-week stretch: seniors were given a final memory with their teams and a true state champion was crowned after spring sports were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But the 222-team baseball tournament achieved another goal, as well. It’s now being viewed as a successful and potential blueprint for the safe return to high school sports in New Jersey. Prior to first pitch a the LDWS final, Gov. Phil Murphy and Sen. Paul Sarlo spoke with Jersey Sports Zone about how student-athletes can safely get back to playing scholastic sports in the fall and beyond. Both lawmakers are hopeful there will be official seasons. JSZ’s Jay Cook has the story from Trenton: Sponsor Shoutout! Jersey Sports Zone’s coverage of the Last Dance World Series is brought to you by RWJ Barnabas Health – the tournament’s title sponsor.
BREAKING: Jonathan Kuminga Signs Deal with NBA’s G League
One of the nation’s best basketball players, who briefly called New Jersey home this past winter, is headed to the big stage. That player in Jonathan Kuminga, the 6-8 star wing, who ultimately played his junior season/final year of high school basketball at The Patrick School. Kuminga was rated across the board by nearly every recruiting outlet as the top player in the country in the Class of 2021. However, Kuminga was able to graduate from TPS this spring and reclassify as a senior. No. 1 2021 prospect Jonathan Kuminga (@JonathanKuming6) has reclassified to the 2020 high school class and will sign in the NBA G League pro pathway program, he tells @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 16, 2020 Watch Kuminga’s Junior Season Highlights HERE Multiple outlets are reporting that Kuminga’s deal with the G League is in the $500,000 range for this upcoming season. Kuminga, who is a native of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, has long been viewed as a sure-fire No. 1 overall NBA lottery pick since coming to the U.S. He spent two seasons at Our Savior New American high school in New York before transferring to The Patrick School last year. He averaged 16.2 points per game this season and was one of five finalists for JSZ’s 2020 Mr. Hoop Zone Player of the Year award. Kuminga decided to go the G League route over numerous elite Power 5 basketball programs like Duke, Texas Tech, Kentucky and Auburn. Stay tuned with JSZ for all the latest recruiting news and updates athletes from the Garden State.
GSB’s Walsh commits to Northwestern
JSZ All-Zone selection Caleigh Walsh makes a Sunday night Big Ten commitment. Check out her JSZ highlights! Gill St. Bernard’s Class of 2021 forward Caileigh Walsh has given a verbal commitment to play in the Big Ten at Northwestern University. Walsh was a two time JSZ All-Zone selection in 2019 and 2020. She made her commitment via social media: So happy to announce that I’ve decided to commit to Northwestern University women’s basketball!! Thank you to everyone who’s supported and guided me in my decision! So excited 💜 NU ‘25 babyyyyy @GSBAthletics @nuwbball pic.twitter.com/oZf3w0FFcD— Caileigh (@caileighwalsh10) June 21, 2020 Walsh averaged 19 points and 11.7 rebounds per game for GSB in her junior campaign. Check out her JSZ highlight reel:
Trey Patterson Makes College Commitment Official!
Trey Patterson is one of the most dynamic basketball players in the entire country, and the Class of 2021 star forward has made his college choice. Jersey Sports Zone went in-depth with Patterson, ESPN’s No. 26 senior in the country, to produce his official college commitment video. Where Is He Going? Found Out HERE! Patterson led Rutgers Prep to a 27-2 season in 2020 while averaging 19.8 points and 10.1 rebound per game. He was the only junior named a finalist for Jersey Sports Zone’s Mr. Hoop Zone Player of the Year in 2020. That list included other Garden State stars like Lance Ware, Jonathan Kuminga, Taj Thweatt and Cliff Omoruyi. Watch Trey’s Junior Season Highlight Reel HERE! Stay tuned with Jersey Sports Zone for all the latest news, highlight reels and recruiting updates on the best players in every sport in New Jersey!
Four NJ Freshmen Land in ESPN’s Top 25 List
New Jersey basketball has been a staple on the national scene as dozens of high-profile recruits have hit the college and professional basketball leagues in recent years. It should come as no surprise that the next great crop of players is here to stay. A staggering four freshmen from the Garden State’s Class of 2023 earned a Top 25 national ranking from ESPN – California is the only other state with as many players on the list. JSZ has the breakdown and highlight reel of each New Jersey player here! No. 1 DJ Wagner, Camden, 5 Stars There’s a reason why DJ Wagner is at the top of this list. The Camden frosh came right in and was an immediate starter on the top team in New Jersey this past season. Wagner delivered 18.6 points per game as the top scorer on a 29-1 Panthers squad and scored in every way imaginable. The 6-3 point guard will be must-see TV over the next three seasons. No. 8 Simeon Wilcher, Roselle Catholic, 5 Stars It took a little adjusting, but Simeon Wilcher earned himself a spot in Roselle Catholic’s starting five early on in his freshman season. The 6-3 wing player displayed a lethal three-point shot and his speed was problematic for defenders in the paint. Wilcher is sure to be a centerpiece for Dave Boff’s team throughout his high school career. No. 11 Akil Watson, Don Bosco Prep, 5 Stars Akil Watson is quickly making himself a household name in the Garden State hoops scene. Players like Ron Harper, Jr. and Myles Ruth have all come from the Ironman program, and Watson looks to put himself among those players. He’s a 6-7 power forward who is a smooth finisher with flashy handles. No. 19 Mackenzie Mgbako, Gill St. Bernard’s, 5 Stars Gill St. Bernard’s head coach Mergin Sina has quickly established his team among the most talented in the state thanks to elite players. Mackenzie Mgbako has the size (6-7, 195 pounds) and agility to become one of the top players in New Jersey. He employs dead-on accuracy with his jumper and is the toughest finisher at the rim of this group. The future hoops stars of tomorrow 🏀Here's the first look at the ESPN Top 25 for the class of 2023. pic.twitter.com/cJVOvCiE4C— ESPN (@espn) June 9, 2020 Stay tuned with Jersey Sports Zone as our team will keep you updated on the latest recruiting news and player updates from the top athletes in the Garden State.
Scottie Lewis leads peaceful protest in Asbury Park
Former Ranney basketball star Scottie Lewis formed PeaceByU, an activist group, that staged a peaceful protest in front of the Asbury Park police station. Watch the powerful images and hear the messages of three college basketball standouts from New Jersey An estimated crowd of 2,000 gathered in Asbury Park to stage a peaceful protest that was led by University of Florida guard Scottie Lewis. Lewis asked Asbury Park police officers to take a knee in prayer as a sign of solidarity which concluded with the former Ranney School basketball star embracing the police officers who joined him. Princeton University junior Elijah Barnes, who was part of the great Ranney/Mater Dei rivalry during his high school days and Rutgers University guard Ron Harper, Jr. were among the basketball community that came out to show their support. The protest concluded with Lewis leading a walk down Main Street in Asbury Park. While there has been violence and anger in protests across the nation following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, the Lewis-led protest provided another side of a community coming together. Watch JSZ’s story from Asbury Park on a rain Friday afternoon:
Jones, Whitehead make Division I commitments
Two more outstanding girls basketball players have committed to Division I schools. JSZ has highlight reels of Hudson Catholic’s Zanai Jones and St. John Vianney’s Christina Whitehead along with their college announcements Christina Whitehead commits to Farleigh Dicksinson St. John Vianney continues to churn out Division I talent year after year and Christina Whitehead is the latest on the list. Whitehead was part of a Lancers team that was ranked number one in the state when the coronavirus shut down the season. She made her verbal commitment on June 4: The SJV Lady Lancers would like to congratulate Christina Whitehead @cwhitehead45 on committing to Fairleigh Dickenson to further her academic & athletic career and play D1 Basketball! We are SO PROUD of you! 💛🖤@sjvcoach @SJVHS_Athletics @SJVLancerNation @FDUKnightsWBB pic.twitter.com/r5s2a8DCV2— Lady Lancers (@SJVLadyLancers) June 4, 2020 Watch Christina’s JSZ highlight reel from her junior year: Zanai Jones commits to Villanova The Hudson Catholic guard is a 1000 point scorer and a 2020 JSZ All-Zone selection. Jones made her verbal commitment to play in Philadelphia for the Villanova Wildcats on May 26. Check out her JSZ junior highlight reel:
Michael O’Connell Goes From Big 10 Lax Commit to PAC 12 Hoops Signee
Michael O’Connell made national recruiting headlines this week as he jumped from being a Big 10 lacrosse commit to being the newest point guard at a PAC 12 program. It’s not very often you see the two-sport combination of basketball and lacrosse, but Blair Academy senior Michael O’Connell has made it work. O’Connell — a Maryland lacrosse commit since the ninth grade — announced earlier this week his decision to decommit from the Terrapins and sign his National Letter of Intent with Stanford University to play college basketball in the PAC 12. Welcome to the family, @MichaelOC_12.🗞: https://t.co/bzuqB24qIr#GoStanford pic.twitter.com/4GGSicpNm8— Stanford Men's Basketball (@StanfordMBB) June 1, 2020 O’Connell, from way of Mineola, New York, put up 18 points per game this season as the Buccaneers won their second-straight Mid-Atlantic Prep League championship. He sat down with JSZ’s Jay Cook and touched on his recruitment, his unique decision, what makes both sports similar and what the Cardinal fans can expect from their newest point guard: O’Connell was featured on JSZ earlier this spring when we published his senior season highlight reel. Watch it here! Follow along with Jersey Sports Zone for all the latest recruiting news on New Jersey high school athletes.
TaQuan Woodley Commits to Penn State
TaQuan Woodley was a monster in the middle for Camden last season. The 6-foot-7 forward shut opposing big men down, and helped lead The High to the South Jersey Group 2 championship before the coronavirus pandemic ended the season prematurely. Woodley announced his college decision on Monday night, committing to Penn State. Watch Woodley’s junior year highlights here:
Don Bosco’s Myles Ruth Commits to Monmouth
Don Bosco’s Myles Ruth had his home of New Jersey in mind when making the biggest decision of his life. Ruth, a Class of 2020 point guard, announced Saturday evening he was verbally committing to play at Monmouth University. The wait is over. I would like to announce I am 110% committed to @MonmouthBBall pic.twitter.com/qNC3j2Jbqj— Myles Ruth (@mylesruth21) May 9, 2020 Ruth was one of Bergen County’s best players in New Jersey’s 2019-2020 campaign. He averaged 13 points, 4.7 assists and 2.8 steals for the Ironmen during his senior season while leading Don Bosco to a 19-8 record. Ruth spoke with JSZ’s Jay Cook hours after the announcement and broke down his decision with us. Sponsor Shoutout! JSZ wants to thank its loyal sponsors for supporting New Jersey high school athletics so we can continue to tell meaningful stories during the coronavirus pandemic. Thanks to Rothman Orthopaedics for sponsoring our coverage in North Jersey!
Marianna Papazoglou Commits to Penn
Marianna Papazoglou averaged 17.5 points per game for Wildwood Catholic last season, and has scored over 1,500 points in her Crusaders career so far. The junior announced her commitment to the University of Pennsylvania on Sunday night, where she’ll play Ivy League hoops for the Quakers. beyond blessed❤️💙 pic.twitter.com/mNkkLKYgE5— Marianna (@marianna_2219) May 4, 2020 Watch Papazoglou’s 2020 JSZ All-Zone profile here: