Open (gym) Season: Abington Senior HS

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Andrew Albert (@andrewjalbert01)

(Ed note: Over the next few weeks, high schools all around the greater Philadelphia area will have open gyms for their basketball teams after school, giving college coaches a chance to see drills and scrimmages. CoBL will be attending many of the open gyms; Andrew Albert checked out Abington on Wednesday afternoon.)

The Abington Galloping Ghosts are coming off their first 20-win season since 1999-2000, and are poised to continue their success in 2012-2013. Head coach Charles Grasty has a deep roster that includes Anthony Durham II, who led the team in scoring last year. Though there were many coaches at Abington for the open gym to see Durham, a few other Ghosts stood out. One was a fellow class of 2013 player, while the other was a class of 2015 player. All three could lead Abington to their first district title since 1986.

Anthony Durham II brings the ball up-court during Abington’s open gym (Photo: Josh Verlin)

Anthony Durham
Point Guard, Class of 2013
Durham is clearly the star of the Abington squad, as he brought the ball up the court every possession. The 6-foot-3 guard has the athleticism to get anywhere he wants on the court, but his jump shot needs a little bit of work. Durham currently has offers from St. Bonaventure of the A-10 and St. Francis (PA.) of the Northeast conference.

“He is our leader,” said Grasty. “He was a captain last year. We are looking for him to not only be the best player, but to lead the program this year. He had a very successful junior year, but we are looking for very big things from him in his senior year.

“Anthony likes to get to the basket, so you see him taking a lot of pull up jump shots, because we are telling him to do that.”

Last year, Durham averaged just over 19 points, 6 rebounds and 7 assists per game. He did not have a game in which he scored more than 29, or less than 10 in his first year at Abington.

“He is an explosive player,” said assistant coach Sam Szymanek, who’s been around the program since the 1970s. “He is a good shooter, but most of all, he is a very efficient scorer. He is not taking 20 to 25 shots a game, but still averaged 19 points a game last year.”

He has great court vision, and his passing was excellent. He set up his teammates for open layups and jump shots. If he keeps working on jump shot, he will undoubtedly lead Abington to a successful season, and make an impact at the Division 1 level.

Matt Penecale (right) shoots a jump shot during Abington’s open gym (Photo: Josh Verlin)

Matt Penecale
Guard/Forward Class of 2015
Penecale is a sophomore at Abington, but will play a huge role for the Galloping Ghosts. He become the only freshman in Abington history to start every game last year, when he averaged around seven points per game in 28 contests.

“He is a sophomore this year, but that is just in terms of his class,” Grasty said. “We are looking forward to having another big year for us. He grew a little, he is playing a lot better, he is very smart. We are just looking for him to have another great year for us.”

Penecale is a player that seemed to love to drive and pass out to open jump shooters, or other teammates that were cutting towards the basket. He also has a good pull-up jump shot when he drives and pulls up. He has good size, which will help him with rebounding.

“He is a quiet leader, but he plays extremely hard,” Grasty said. “I think that the team will follow him in that. He had a good run in the playoffs, so his confidence is there.”

With a little more height, and another year under his belt, Penecale can be a solid role player on Abington, and take some of the pressure off Anthony Durham. He looked good driving, passing and shooting the ball, and is very composed and mature for a sophomore in high school. Penecale doesn’t have to take over games, but should have plenty of opportunities to score with teams focused on Durham.

Jiere Morrissey
Guard/Forward Class of 2013
Morrissey was all over the court during the open gym. He was one of the most physical players on the court, and used his body whenever he could. He was all over the place getting rebounds and swiping at loose balls.

The senior took the ball to the basket effectively, and had plenty of contact when he did. He finished the plays without looking for a whistle, and converted many of them. His physique will suit him well in this coming year, as he has the build to take contact and still finish.

Morrissey can be the tough, scrappy player that Abington will need to compliment both Durham and Penecast this upcoming season. If he can work on a outside jump shot, and continue taking the ball to the basket with authority, he can be a key piece for the Galloping Ghosts, as well as a collegiate level program.

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