For Chris Clover, a rising senior at Saint Joseph’s Prep, the road to the Reebok Classic Breakout has never been easy.
Two seasons ago, he almost got his nose broken in a 4A playoff game with Chester. This year, now running the Hawks squad, he dropped double-digit figures and showed the city and the Catholic League that he belonged.
Now, Clover has caught the attention of many Big 5 coaches and some outside of the region as well, but the young guard still has pregame jitters prior to big games, no matter whether it’s Louisville’s Rick Pitino watching or a few hours before a Prep vs. La Salle rivalry matchup.
“I want to go out and show the coaches I can play,” Clover said. “I get nervous before the game, but as soon as it starts, it’s regular. Its just basketball.”
The 6-3, 208-pound Philadelphia native is one of over 100 players at the scholastic showcase this week. The camp, which runs until Friday night, hosts some of the nation’s most elite high school players, watched by nearly 200 college coaches, ranging from Kentucky to Temple.
Clover holds offers from Saint Joseph’s, San Jose State, Drexel, Rider, La Salle and Drexel, but could be leaning toward SJU the most. Following his visit, Clover told the Daily News how he felt about the Hawks.
“It was a real good visit,” Clover said in a text message. “I had a good day there and I like [SJU] more now.”
Clover said he’s not sure when he’ll choose a college, but said it could happen during the school year. He does plan more college visits for August.
But for now, the young guard has to get past his nerves before playing in front of big-name coaches, though he said he gets excited at the prospect.
“Just to know that they’re watching you,” Clover said. “You might not get an offer from them, but just to know they’re watching and have seen you play and maybe go ‘Oh, that kid is good.’ That’s just exciting to see the coaches.”
Battle impressed with Villanova
Tyus Battle, one of the nation’s most sought after high school guards, visited Villanova and said he was impressed with the campus and the coaching staff.
Battle, a five-star junior shooting guard from Edison, N.J., who plays at Gill St. Bernard’s School, has 25 offers, but said he cut his list to his final eight, including ’Nova.
The 6-6 guard, who’s considered top-5 in his class by every recruiting and scouting service, said he was captivated by the physical practices the Wildcats had while he was on campus.
”[The Villanova visit] was great,” Battle told the Daily News. “The campus was nice, [coach] Jay Wright was a great guy, and the whole staff is full of amazing people. I saw the practice, and they go really hard in practice. And they have a small campus community, which is something I’m looking for. I’m looking for a real good community as a college”
Battle has size for his position, a nice three-point touch, can slash to the rim and has size for his position, along with many other qualities. In his first game during the camp, he went 3-for-6 from deep and scored 11 points. Thursday, he scored eight points and went 1-for-2 from the perimeter.
Keita thinking about Villanova
Sedee Keita, a 2016 post player from the Vermont Academy, had interesting comments about Villanova as a possible destination following his visit.
Keita, rated a four-star big man from Middleton, Del., said Villanova “could be a place” he would like to be when his recruitment is over.
“It was fun,” Keita said. “It was nice to see the campus and meet coach Wright, the coaching staff was good, but it’s hard, because I only got to meet them once.”
The 6-9, 225-pound big man is an athletic specimen who plays above the rim with a high motor and has shown prowess as an interior defender. Keita has offers from Massachusetts, Villanova, VCU, Rutgers, Fairfield, Iowa State and Iowa.
Day 2 standout performers
Here are the Daily News’ Day 2 performers of who impressed the most at Philly U in several games:
* Jawun Evans, Kimball (Texas), senior: Evans was a tenacious guard with quick hands and feet and usually looks like the fastest player on the floor. He uses the pick-and-roll very well and draws contact when attacking the basket. Four-star recruit, has offers from Clemson, SMU, Oklahoma State, Memphis, Texas, Illinois and many more.
* Brady Twombly, La Costa Canyon (Calif.), senior: Talk about a guy who has a quick trigger. A versatile small forward, not too quick, plays at the right pace with a good frame. He has a quick jumper, great follow-through and a nice form on his shot. Two-star recruit, has offers from: Loyola Marymount, UC Davis, Montana State, Southern Utah and Northern Arizona.
* ]Malik Ellison, Life Center Academy (N.J.), senior: Ellison can finish through contact with some of the best players at the camp. Great jumper from deep and has a nice feel for the game. Really impressed on Day 2. Three-star recruit, has offers from Penn State and Temple, Maryland, Rhode Island, La Salle and St. Joe’s.
* Donovan Mitchell, Brewster Academy (N.H.), senior: A tough, physical guard who’s having a great spring and summer grass-roots season. He was offered by Louisville and Memphis in the last few hours, and it might be because of his tenacity on the court. Mitchell is a high-volume scorer who can finish anywhere on the court. Really a do-it-all guard. Three-star recruit, has offers from Louisville, Memphis, Connecticut, Florida, Creighton, Maryland and more.
* Ahmad “JR” Gilbert, Constitution High (Philadelphia), senior: The 6-5 guard showed he could do a little bit of everything, scoring 21 points in the morning session. He has size for his position, and his athleticism and defense were fantastic. His shot selection has seemed to improve, as well. Four-star recruit, has offers from Drexel, Quinnipiac, Rhode Island and Hofstra.
* Elijah Thomas, Lancaster (Texas), senior: Maybe the most complete big man in the camp and arguably in the country. His low-post moves are sublime at 6-9, 240 pounds; he has a midrange game and can score with either hand in the post. They can’t get much better than Thomas. Five-star recruit, has offers from Arizona, Oklahoma State, Texas, Baylor, UCLA, Florida and more.