Josh Verlin (@jmverlin)
Jeremiah Worthem, one of the city’s toughest forwards, is headed to Robert Morris University. The 6-foot-6 forward made his decision on Tuesday, picking the Colonials over Stony Brook, Wagner and LIU.
“I picked Robert Morris because I love the coaching staff, I liked the environment up there, it fits my personality,” he told CoBL over the phone after making his decision. “I’m gonna get a good education there…their team, their style of play fits my game.”
A senior at Math, Civics + Sciences, Worthem plays both forward positions for the Mighty Elephants but is at his best around the rim, cleaning up the boards and getting a large percentage of his points on putbacks and layups. He said he’s expecting to play productive minutes his freshman year; the opportunity for minutes will certainly be there after the Colonials graduate five seniors after this season, including forwards Russell Johnson (8.5 ppg, 5.7 rpg) and Lijah Thompson (7.3 ppg, 4.2 rpg).
Even though he visited the school three weeks ago, Worthem wanted to make sure that he thoroughly evaluated his choice; he took visits to Wagner and Stony Brook over the last couple of weeks before making his collegiate decision
“I just wanted to get enough time to make sure I felt the same way now as I felt about them then,” he said. “I didn’t want to commit too fast…wanted to make sure I felt the same about the coaching staff and make sure they were the same as how it was up there, wanted to make sure they were keeping it real and they was.”
Worthem is the the second player on MCS headed to Robert Morris now that former Roman Catholic point guard Britton Lee has transferred to the school pending the completion of some paperwork. Lee, a 5-10 combo guard, committed to the Colonials in May.
“He’s a good point guard, a good scoring point guard for us,” Worthem said of his new and future teammate. “He can shoot the basketball, I think he’ll help us tremendously. He’s also a great defender and he’s a good leader.”
Last year, Worthem averaged 13.8 ppg in leading MCS to the PIAA Class A state semifinals before losing to Constitution and UNLV-bound forward Savon Goodman. The Mighty Elephants were the defending champions, having dispatched Lincoln Park 70-55 in the 2011 title game. This year could be another run at a second title in three years, as Lee and Worthem are joined by a third D-I commit in Quadir Welton (St. Peter’s) as well as athletic forward Jeffon Powell and another former Roman guard in Shafeek Taylor.
(Related: CoBL visited MCS’ open gym back in September)
Worthem will go from one successful program to another–the Colonials have won 117 games over the last five seasons, making two NCAA tournaments and one NIT in that span out of the mid-major Northeast Conference. Last year, under second-year head coach Andrew Toole, Robert Morris won 26 games with just one senior and made it to the third round of the fourth-annual CollegeInsider.com Tournament (CIT).
“Jeremiah saw that they’re winners, they typically go to the tournament and if not they’re one of the top teams in their conference every year,” MCS coach Dan Jackson said. “They play pretty good competition every year so he would be exposed to good competition.”
“You don’t go for the conference, you go for the college that best fits your needs and what you need and I think that stuck with (Worthem).”
Worthem has played his entire career at MCS, and in that time span his coach has seen a huge growth in his maturity and his work ethic.
“He has become a gym rat, he has decided to do workouts on his own, he’s constantly calling to get in the gym,” Jackson said. “Just to get better and become a better basketball player. When he first came in as a freshman, he wasn’t too sure exactly what to do or how to get it done but once he found out, I believe that his work ethic and his determination has grew and matured over the last three or four years.”
Worthem and Lee are two of four current verbal commitments the Colonials have for their 2013 class, along with Lanham (Md.) forward Emmanuel Omogbo and Jersey City (N.J.) point guard Kavon Stewart.