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Plymouth Whitemarsh’s Naheem McLeod a big target for Florida State, La Salle and Rhode Island

McLeod, an imposing presence with his 7-foot-3, 245-pound frame, has his college choice narrowed down to three.

Plymouth Whitemarsh center Naheem McLeod dunks against Abington in last season's District 1 Class 6A championship game.
Plymouth Whitemarsh center Naheem McLeod dunks against Abington in last season's District 1 Class 6A championship game.Read moreLOU RABITO / Staff

Plymouth Whitemarsh big man Naheem McLeod has been wrestling with the decision for quite a while.

Now, the 7-foot-3, 245-pound senior center is set announce where he will play college basketball. He will do so in a ceremony at 6 p.m., Thursday, at Plymouth Whitemarsh gym.

McLeod, 18,  has narrowed his list to three schools: La Salle, Rhode Island, and Florida State.

"They're all great schools, and I've gotten along well with the coaches at each school, so this has been a tough process," he said Tuesday. "You hate to disappoint anybody."

McLeod, who became a starter as a sophomore, has gradually improved as a post player, developed a better touch around the basket, and become a more polished passer.

"If Naheem evolves the way I think he can, and he plays with intensity on a regular basis, he's got a great upside," Plymouth Whitemarsh coach Jim Donofrio said.

McLeod, rated a four-star prospect by ESPN, played very little as a freshman because of his inexperience and raw abilities.

But at the end of that season, when senior forward Mike Lotito got into foul trouble in the PIAA District 1 Class 4A final against Chester, Donofrio called on McLeod.

"He went in there and made a layup and blocked a shot," said Donofrio, whose squad topped Chester, 68-57, for the crown. "That was when we got a glimpse of what he could do."

Last season, McLeod averaged 19.5 points, 11 rebounds, and 3.5 blocks, as the Colonials went 28-2 and placed second to Abington in the District 1 Class 6A playoffs, losing to Roman Catholic in the second round of states.

With 882 career points, McLeod is expected to join Plymouth Whitemarsh's 1,000-point club this season.

Donofrio said he plans to allow McLeod more freedom to play outside the paint – and to launch shots from beyond the arc – this season.

"Yeah, I've been working on my three-point shooting," McLeod said. "It's getting better, just like my ball-handling."

McLeod, who played in the offseason for the Philadelphia Youth Organization, earned first-team all-Suburban One League American Conference honors last season.

He plans to major in communications in college.

"I'll be right there with Shaquille O'Neal and Charles Barkley," he said with a laugh.