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The Daily Times' boys basketball blog

Monday, September 24, 2012


(Courtesy Reading Eagle)

Eric Brennan doesn’t know Finnish. He doesn’t own a Finnish-to-English dictionary, either. Sunday, Brennan’s making a trip across the Atlantic Ocean to begin his professional career … in Finland.

Brennan, a Chester native who played at West Catholic High, signed a one-year contract with a team in Finland’s first division – Tapiolan Honka, located in the nation’s second-largest city, Espoo.

“I might need a little help with some of the signs in the windows and things like that,” said Brennan, a 6-7 forward. “But I hear everyone over there speaks English – or at least broken English. I hope I can get by.”

Brennan finished his college career with per-game averages of 14 points and 9.3 rebounds last spring at Kutztown University, where he played the last two seasons. He played two years at Lock Haven University before transferring. Brennan, who grew up on East 18th Street in Chester, said playing three hours away from home while at Lock Haven constitutes “my longest roadtrip.”

“I’ve never been further away from home for as long as I was than when I was at Lock Haven,” Brennan said, “so being an ocean away, I expect culture shock and homesickness to settle in. But I think I’ll get through it. Basketball is going to be my life.”

Brennan will join Tapiolan Honka, of Finland’s first-division Korisliiga. He signed a one-year deal to play in the league, which features a 25-game regular season that concludes April 30 with postseason pairings to follow.

He said it’s always been a dream to play basketball professionally and now he’ll get his chance.

“This is my career. This is what I’ve always wanted,” Brennan said.

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Friday, September 21, 2012


Yeadon native Zac Tillman, a 6-9, 290-pound power forward, committed earlier this week to Monmouth University, according to City of Basketball Love.

Tillman, a senior at the Shipley School, will be able to make good on his verbal when the signing period opens Nov. 14.

Tillman is expected to give Monmouth bulk down low, even though he's made a commitment to shedding some unwanted weight. COBL does a good job recapping his verbal, and beyond. Give it a read.


Thursday, September 13, 2012


Here’s how the story goes … or, at least how Yosef Yacob tells it.
Yacob took a seat at the barbershop earlier this week, beside Rondae Jefferson. The All-Delco seniors – Yacob at Archbishop Carroll, Jefferson at Chester – struck up a conversation while they were getting a trim.
Yacob told Jefferson he had made his choice and would commit verbally to Binghamton. That’s when, Yacob said, Jefferson spilled the beans.
“He told me he was going to pick Arizona,” said Yacob, a Chester native. “I was all smiles. I said, ‘That’s great.’ He was smiling, too.”
That’s because Jefferson knew he had made his decision, too.
Jefferson narrowed his choices, from an innumerable stack of letters to seven schools. Thursday, in his home, he met with Arizona coach Sean Miller, to whom Jefferson gave his verbal commitment to join the Wildcats for the 2013-14 season.
Jefferson has been out west a few times this summer, visiting the training ground for USA basketball in Colorado Springs, Colo., and playing in the Under Armour Elite 24 event in Venice Beach, Calif.
So he’s at least comfortable with the surroundings, which justified his visit to the Tucson, Ariz., campus earlier this month.
Jefferson picked Arizona ahead of Florida, Memphis, Rutgers, Syracuse, Temple and Texas.
“I just feel like, when I get there, it’ll be my team,” Jefferson said. “I’m going to be the big piece on a team that’s going to win the ‘chip.”

Jefferson’s star shined brightest last season, his talents coinciding with one of the most historic seasons in Chester High program history.

Jefferson averaged 12.1 points, 9.2 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 2.7 blocks per game for Chester (32-0), which finished the season having claimed consecutive PIAA Class AAAA championships and with a top-five ranking nationally according to three publications.

The Daily Times’ Player of the Year, Jefferson also was PIAA Player of the Year, after having directed the Clippers to their first perfect season in school history. They picked up their eighth state title – the most among Pennsylvania schools – established a school-record with a 58-game (and counting) winning streak, as well as winning the District One and Del Val League crowns.

That’s largely thanks to Jefferson, the lanky, multi-talented point guard stuck in a forward’s body.

So at the end of last season, and the start of the summer recruiting stretch, Jefferson reduced his list of suitors to seven. He didn’t want any excess phone calls. That left seven schools as his potential college destinations.

An argument could have been made that Temple was the most-suitable spot, being that his brother – Chester All-Delco Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson – has had three strong seasons there. Same could be said for Rutgers, with coach Mike Rice demonstrating such a dogged recruiting bid Jefferson for the last three years. Or even Memphis, with one of Jefferson’s friends, three-time American Christian All-Delco Tyreke Evans, having spent one season there.
Instead, it was Arizona. It’s where Jefferson said he felt at home.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Like a mid-range jumper, Yosef Yacob liked one of his college offers … so he took it.

The Archbishop Carroll senior Tuesday night gave Binghamton University a verbal commitment. Yacob, a 6-0 All-Delco guard, chose the Bearcats out of five programs that had offered scholarships.

“That’s a great fit for him,” Carroll coach Paul Romanczuk said. “Of course, I believe in Yosef as a player and there might have been one or two schools that intrigued him. But he felt so comfortable (at Binghamton) on his unofficial visit that he made it his official visit. “

Yacob averaged 12.9 points, 4.1 assists and 3.0 rebounds for Carroll, a Catholic League semifinalist which ended its season in the quarterfinal round of the PIAA Class AAA tournament.

He considered offers from Rider, St. Francis (Pa.), New Hampshire and Albany.

Yacob is the third player from Carroll in the last four years to commit to a Division I program, joining All-Delcos Juan’ya Green (Niagara University) and D.J. Irving (Boston University). The first season of Yacob’s college career with Binghamton, which competes in the America East Conference, will overlap with the final season of Irving’s at BU, in 2013-14.

Romanczuk said Yacob is the latest among that D-I trio to follow a successful formula at Carroll – get playing time as a freshman and develop gradually.

“I think Yosef came under ideal circumstances,” Romanczuk said. “No. 1, he got time as a freshman but didn’t get thrown to the wolves in having to do a lot because he had guys like D.J. and Juan’ya. He didn’t have a lot of pressure. He just had to knock down shots.

“No. 2, he learned from them and went against them in practice. He even got to play with Juan’ya another year and now he’s been the man. Last year, he carried us down the stretch. He broke out and became that player for us. I just see even better things for him next year.”

Haven't yet heard from Yacob, but awaiting his call. For more on the verbal, pick up Thursday's copy of the Daily Times.

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