The position is a mix of old school and new name.
Neumann Goretti coach Carl Arrigale calls it “the playmaker’s spot,” mainly to convince his players that it’s not their grandfather’s back-to-the-basket, post-up role.
“The new-age, 2020 high school player, they don’t want to post up,” Arrigale said. “They don’t want to be considered a post-up player. Everybody is a point guard or a wing player.”
Neumann Goretti senior Jordan Hall is a point guard. And a wing player. He’s a small forward and a power forward, too.
He’s a little bit of everything for the Saints, and the breadth of his game was on full display in Neumann Goretti’s 71-46 victory over visiting Cardinal O’Hara Friday night in the quarterfinals of the Philadelphia Catholic League playoffs.
The 6-foot-7 Hall, a St. Joseph’s recruit, collected 11 rebounds, 8 points and 7 assists as third-seeded Neumann Goretti (19-4) punched its ticket to Wednesday night’s semifinals at the Palestra.
Junior guards Hysier Miller (18) and Chris Evans (17) combined for 35 points, and junior forward Blaise Vespe knocked down a trio of three-pointers in a fast-paced first half for Neumann Goretti, which will face seventh-seeded Archbishop Ryan in the semifinals.
Top-seeded Archbishop Wood plays fifth-seeded Roman Catholic in the other semifinal, with the winners advancing to the championship game on Feb. 24, also at the Palestra.
“That’s how we play,” Hall said of the Saints’ crisp performance. “You saw that during the year. We fell off a little bit, but we bounced back.”
After starting the season at 16-2, including a 10-0 mark in league play, Neumann Goretti sustained a couple of minor injuries to key players and went 2-2 down the stretch, losing to Bishop McDevitt and Cardinal O’Hara, the latter a 61-54 setback on Feb. 7.
“We were going harder than ever in practice this week because we got beat by them in our house and we heard them celebrating in the locker room,” Vespe said.
Said Hall: “We wanted to smoke them. They came in here and beat us. We had to smoke them.”
Arrigale thought his team’s defensive intensity was a key, especially Miller’s work in containing Cardinal O’Hara standout senior Tre Dinkins.
It was a frustrating loss for Cardinal O’Hara (16-7), which was hit with a couple of technical fouls. Junior Solo Bambara led the Lions with 13 points and nine rebounds.
At the offensive end, Neumann Goretti was in fine form, with crisp ball movement creating open looks. The Saints made nine three-pointers and looked like the team that appeared to be the class of the league for most of the season.
Hall controlled the game’s rapid pace in the first half, generating 7 rebounds, 6 assists, and 6 points as the Saints broke to a 44-22 lead.
“We got scorers. I’m a facilitator,” Hall said. “I facilitate, and we win.”
At times, Hall would flash to the high post, receive an entry pass, turn and face the basket and orchestrate the offense. But at other times, Hall would post up on the low block and direct traffic from that spot, serving as a sort of post-up, point forward.
“I love that role,” Hall said. “I can post up when they come to close on me. We got shooters on the outside. They’re going to knock it down. I trust them.”
Arrigale said Hall is perfectly suited for the “playmaker’s spot,” because of his height, vision, unselfishness, and ability to get to the rim.
“We had to rename it to get some guys to go down there,” Arrigale said. “He’s probably the best guy we have down there. He’ll make good passes out of it, as well as with his size he can score down there a little bit, too.”
Cardinal O’Hara 8 14 14 10 – 46
Neumann Goretti 19 25 12 15 – 71
CO: Tre Dinkins 9, Anthony Purnell 10, Adrian Irving 4, Solo Bambara 13, Jameel Burton 9, Jalen Rogers 1.