It’s not exactly breaking news that after Villanova, this hasn’t been the greatest of City 6 hoops seasons. That means this is a good time to look ahead, to point out the young talent that might give the local squads a lift in the years ahead.
We’ll wait until next week to break out our all-City 6 team. First, here’s our all-City 6 rookie team, part of City 6 observations, Vol. 15.
Our definition of a rookie, by the way, is a player who hasn’t played college ball before this season. So no transfers, just first-year players, even if they’re sophomores who sat out last season.
Rookie of the year
A relatively easy choice, since Villanova wouldn’t be the same without freshman Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, who hasn’t played like a freshman much at all. His 10.6 points have been helpful, but his 9.4 rebounds have been crucial. His defensive rebounding percentage has been second in the City 6 behind Drexel junior James Butler. Bottom line: Robinson-Earl has rarely played like a freshman.
The closest competition
That would be Villanova teammate Justin Moore, who could have taken the honor in some other seasons. Moore wasn’t the most touted of freshmen coming in, but he immediately showed he was ready to contribute. (In other words, what ‘Nova fans wanted Jahvon Quinerly to be last season, Moore has proved to be this season.) He’s been the second-best three-point option, behind Saddiq Bey, and keeps defenses honest with his driving and finishing ability, while showing a core unselfishness and willingness to work on defense. His 10.9 points a game have been important even coming off the bench, since he doesn’t sit there for long.
With injuries hitting teammates, Penn’s Jordan Dingle has been asked to do a lot for the Quakers and delivered right off the bat. Dingle scored 24 points when Penn won its season opener at Alabama. For the season, he’s been the second-leading Quakers scorer, averaging 14 points. Teammates Max Martz and Lucas Monroe also rated serious consideration for this all-rookie team, but we’ll stick with Dingle as the Penn representative.
Best of the rest
Let’s stay at the guard spot and head to Olney Avenue, where Sherif Kenney and Ayinde Hikim have shown enough to indicate the ball is in good hands in the years ahead at La Salle. Hikim has the top assist rate in the City 6, while Kenney had scored in double digits in three of La Salle’s last five games through the weekend. If you combine their numbers, they’ve had 13.8 points and 5.4 assists, a pretty good tally for freshmen. So we’ll give one spot here to the combined Kenney/Hikim Explorers point guard.
One more spot
While La Salle’s Christian Ray has become a steadier contributor lately, moving into the starting lineup, his season numbers don’t quite match up, with 4.2 points a game. That said, 4.7 rebounds in just 21.2 minutes a game are impressive for a wing player.
At Temple, Josh Pierre-Louis is being groomed to have the ball in his hands in future seasons and has shown the athletic ability worthy of a future star. His minutes have been sporadic, but his turnovers have been coming down, so there’s no reason to think his future won’t be as bright as hoped.
Drexel’s Mate Okros has a legit case to be on this team, averaging 5.4 points for the Dragons, making 42.4% of his three-pointers.
But the last spot goes to …
It’s actually not clear-cut since St. Joseph’s guards Cameron Brown and Rahmir Moore have both had their moments. Obviously, it helps that minutes and shots were available on Hawk Hill this season. Brown and Moore both took advantage, along with Chereef Knox. Brown was the more effective two-point scorer, while Moore was the better three-point and free-throw shooter.
The tiebreaker goes to Brown for his 24-point performance in St. Joe’s comeback over Davidson. Brown’s 9.4 points a game also put him in the top 5 statistically among City 6 rookie scorers.
By the way …
That’s the squad, but we’d be willing to bet that Villanova’s Bryan Antoine, who saw limited time this season, and Eric Dixon, who redshirted, will have just as much impact as these players over their college careers.