Here’s the first live South Jersey basketball Top 10 of the 2019-20 season:
(Preseason ranking in parentheses)
1. Wildwood Catholic (1) 4-1: West Virginia recruit Taj Thweatt and Temple recruit Jahlil White led the way in a 54-52 loss to Philadelphia Catholic League power Archbishop Wood before a huge crowd Monday night at the Dajuan Wagner Play-by-Play Classic at Cherry Hill East. The game also marked the debut of junior guard Martin Anguelov, a transfer from Lower Cape May whose ballhandling and perimeter shooting should further open the floor for Thweatt, White, and senior Jacob Hopping.
2. Camden (2) 4-1: Roman Catholic coach Matt Griffin was effusive in his praise of the Panthers and particularly freshman guard D.J. Wagner after the Cahillites’ 70-59 victory on Monday night. “He’s fearless and relentless,” said Griffin, who worked with the 14-year-old Wagner at the USA Basketball junior national team’s training camp in Colorado Spring, Colo., last summer. "He’s not only a great basketball player. He’s a great listener. He has great character and he works really hard. You combine all that and the sky is the limit for him.” Wagner scored 19 vs. Roman and Camden also got strong work from senior swingman Lance Ware and junior forwards TaQuan Woodley and Jerome Brewer.
3. Camden Catholic (4) 5-0: Juniors Zach Hicks and Lucas Dunn each scored 17 in a victory over Cinnaminson. The Irish visit arch-rival Paul VI for the first of at least two, and perhaps three, meetings this season. As usual, this latest battle between the Irish and Eagles projects as a clash of styles, with Camden Catholic looking to control the pace while Paul VI pushes the tempo.
4. Paul VI (3) 2-1: Junior forward Nicolo Noboli, a transfer student from Italy, has been the Eagles’ leading scorer with a 16.3 average. Paul VI has eased into the season but will face major challenges in its next two games, vs. Camden Catholic on Friday and Lenape on Tuesday.
5. St. Augustine (5) 3-1: Junior forward Matt Delaney is averaging 21 points for the Hermits. St. Augustine plays North Jersey power Patrick School, ranked No. 1 in the state by nj.com and featuring junior forward Jonathan Kuminga, in the finale of the Seagull Classic Sunday night at Holy Spirit.
6. Lenape (7) 4-1: Sophomore guard Derek Simpson had a combined 30 points and 10 assists in two victories as the Indians captured the crown at the Score at the Shore tournament at Southern. It’s early but Lenape looks like the team to beat in South Jersey Group 4.
7. Bishop Eustace (8) 5-0: Senior guard David Cross was named most valuable player as the Crusaders captured the KSA Holiday Tournament in Orlando, Fla. Cross scored 14 points with five assists in a 48-38 win over Germantown Friends in the title game. And yes, that makes four teams from the Olympic National division in the Top 7 of the South Jersey rankings.
8. Moorestown (NR) 3-0: Senior forward Kevin Muhic put up 15 points and six rebounds in a 49-38 victory over Eastern in the title game of the Vikings’ holiday tournament. Senior swingman Hayden Greer had 23 points, including five three-pointers, in a win over Kingsway in the opening round.
9. Timber Creek (NR) 5-0: Senior guard Justin Bladen scored 22 in a victory over Haddonfield. The Chargers have an interesting battle Friday night at home with surging Seneca.
10. Holy Cross (10) 4-0: Senior guard Gianmarco Arletti, a Delaware recruit, scored 20 in the opening round vs. Audubon and 23 in the title game vs. Haddon Township as the Lancers captured the championship of the Audubon holiday tournament.