Hawks land athletic, defensive-minded recruits

St. Joseph’s has recruited two highly regarded players from North Carolina who are both known for their athleticism and their defense.

Last week it was 6-7, 205-pound combination forward Markell Lodge now playing for Prominence Academy, located outside of Chapel Hill.

And on Monday James Demery, a 6-6 wing player from Northside Christian Academy in Charlotte, committed to the Hawks.

Lodge is known for his dunking and defense. Just look at this youtube video, where there are plenty of highlights of both - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=btoHUi-vdns.

“I am known for being a shot blocker and getting offensive rebounds and also for my work on the defensive end,” Lodge said in a phone interview.

He’s listed everywhere as a power forward, but Lodge says that he is more than capable of playing the three.

“I also have an outside game, a good jump shot and can shoot the three,” he said.

Murray State, Ole Miss and Stephen F. Austin were among the other schools he said he was considering.

Lodge was a football player until the ninth grade when he began concentrating solely on basketball.

Not surprisingly, with his off-the-charts athletic ability, he is a former quarterback.

Following last high school season, Demery was being highly recruited but he said a number of schools backed off when he developed tendinitis in his knees this summer and couldn’t compete in the various camps and AAU Tournaments.

He said the fact that St. Joseph’s was loyal and kept recruiting him even though he wasn’t playing, was a major factor in his decision.

Demery made his only official visit to St. Joseph’s, but said South Carolina and Creighton were among schools he was considering.

“I chose St. Joe because it is a great program and developed a great relationship with coach (Phil) Martelli,” Demery said. “When I couldn’t play this summer they stuck by me.”

Like Lodge, Demery is known for his defense.

“As a defensive player I’m known for my versatility and I could guard positions one through four,” he said.

And Demery has a motor that won’t stop. His AAU coach for Team Charlotte is Jeff McInnis, the former star at the University of North Carolina, who played 11 NBA seasons with seven different teams.

“What I like most about James is he competes and plays defense and gets after it every play,” McInnis said. “He doesn’t take plays off, he is a winner and will play hard every time.”

And like Lodge, Demery takes advantage of his outstanding athletic ability. The challenge for Demery will be to improve his perimeter game, according to McInnis.

“He is explosive athlete getting to the rim and if there is something he has to work on is his shooting,” McInnis said.

To have two players who are committed to defense, can get up and down the court and have the ability to play multiple positions, has to make the Hawks feeling good about landing both North Carolina players.

NCAA rules prohibit a college to comment on a recruit until a letter of intent is signed.

The first day a current senior can sign a basketball letter of intent is Nov. 13.

With St. Joseph’s losing frontcourt players Ronald Roberts Jr., Halil Kanacevic and Daryus Quarles along and guard Langston Galloway after this season, it was imperative that the Hawks brought in a strong recruiting class.

Demery said he and Lodge both made their decisions separately to come to St. Jospeh’s.  

“It’s not a package deal with us, but I am thrilled that we will be teammates,” Demery said.

So are the Hawks.

It appears as if Martelli and his staff are off to a solid start by getting two athletically gifted, defensive oriented players with North Carolina roots.