Friends' Central's Devin Coleman said he barely noticed that Villanova's Jay Wright, St. Joseph's Phil Martelli, and Temple's Fran Dunphy were in the house.
"That kind of thing doesn't make me nervous," he said. "I've been playing basketball forever. I just go out and do my thing."
With the unflappable Coleman producing a game-high 19 points and 11 rebounds, the visiting Phoenix, ranked No. 5 in The Inquirer's preseason Top 10, eased past No. 2 Academy of the New Church, 47-35, in a Friends Schools League opener Wednesday in Bryn Athyn.
"We were looking to make an early statement," said Coleman, a 6-foot-2, 190-pound senior wing guard. "Plus, we had lost our last game. We wanted to get back on the right track."
Coleman, of Norristown, is hearing from St. Joseph's, La Salle, Rice, and Maryland. He is waiting on the results on his latest try at the SAT before making his college visits.
Against ANC, Coleman shot 8 for 17 from the field (1 for 3 from beyond the arc) and 2 for 2 from the free-throw line. He also notched three steals and an assist in 32 minutes.
For the Phoenix, rebounding from a 75-69 loss to No. 4 Archbishop Carroll, Amile Jefferson, a 6-foot-8 junior swingman and another Division I recruit, scored 12 points and grabbed 12 boards (four on offense) in 31 minutes.
Last season, en route to claiming its first FSL championship since 2001-02, Friends' Central ousted ANC in a playoff semifinal and denied the Lions a crack at their fourth straight title.
"This is a great win for us," Jefferson said. "I thought we played good basketball. But we have to come out with the same intensity the next time we play. We can't rest on this win."
The ever-improving Jefferson has visited Villanova, Maryland, Duke, Georgetown, and Temple. He also is considering Syracuse, North Carolina, and St. Joseph's.
Playing a 2-3 zone most of the way, the Phoenix (5-1) limited ANC's massive frontcourt trio – 6-9 forward Rakeem Christmas, 6-11 center Malcolm Gilbert, and 6-6 swingman Savon Goodman – to a combined 14 points.
Goodman, a junior who recently committed to Villanova, scored just two points on five field-goal attempts and committed five turnovers. The Syracuse-bound Christmas (eight boards, four blocks) netted six of his eight points in the fourth quarter, and Gilbert, headed to Pittsburgh, was held to a pair of first-quarter buckets.
"This is about as bad as we've played so far this season," ANC coach Kevin Givens said. "We were so out of sync. We were forcing things, trying to dribble though people. It was really bad."
Senior point guard Malique Killing aided Friends' Central, which led by 30-19 midway through the third quarter, with nine points and four assists.
Off the bench, ANC's Marcus Gilbert recorded 12 points, five boards, and two steals. The Lions (4-2) shot 15 for 47 from the field, and they went 0 for 8 from the line in the final eight minutes.
Friends' Central 12 12 10 13 – 47
Acad. of the New Church 9 10 5 11 – 35
FC: Malique Killing 9, Amile Jefferson 12, Devin Coleman 19, Conrad Chambers 6, Karonn Davis 1.
ANC: Daniel Pittman 9, Malcolm Gilbert 4, Rakeem Christmas 8, Savon Goodman 2, Marcus Gilbert 12.