Josh Verlin (@jmverlin)
The guard combo of Sam Foreman and Rysheed Jordan played very well together in their first game as teammates, leading Vaux to victory over St. Andrew’s (Del.), 66-61, in the Kyle Lowry Tip-Off Classic at Philadelphia University on Sunday.
Jordan, the top uncommitted senior in the city, had 22 points to lead Vaux in the win. Foreman, who transferred in from The Haverford School this fall, added 13 points and the two of them often created for their teammates.
“We harp on everybody sharing the ball, passing the ball, getting everybody into the game so that they can make it easier for those two guys,” Vaux coach Jaime Ross said afterwards. “It’ll be interesting to see how people play us but I’m hoping that we’ll get better at passing the ball around and swinging it in; it shouldn’t be an issue.”
Where Jordan ends up next year has been the topic of much discussion around the city; he’s down to St. John’s, UCLA and Temple but hasn’t set a date for his decision.
“I could make it any day,” he said. “They were the three teams I could see myself playing in their offense or defense.”
While Jordan makes it sound like he could wake up in the morning and decide on a college, Ross wasn’t so sure that a decision was looming on the near horizon–not that it’s affecting his star’s play.
“He’s been handling it great so far,” Ross said. “He’s taking everything into consideration, thinking about, he’s talked to myself, his AAU coach, and we’re debating. Like I said right now, he’s just not ready to decide.”
St. Andrew’s presented a tough matchup for Vaux to start the season, especially with a pair of 2014 D-I prospects in forward Ben Bentil and point guard Austin Tilghman. Bentil, a 6-foot-8 forward, had 26 points and at least 13 rebounds but lost out on team MVP honors to his roommate, Tilghman, who dropped in 21.
“Today was great,” Tilghman said despite the loss. “We wanted to get out and play a new team that we haven’t played before, compete and play hard.”
A 6-foot-1, 220-pound bulldog of a guard, Tilghman is a self-described “pass first” point guard with a solid handle and deceptive athleticism, getting to the hoop quicker than would be expected for a guard of his size.
“People think I’m kinda big, kinda fat,” he said with a laugh. “But I think I’m fast, so people don’t like that.”
Bentil, a 6-8, 225-pound forward, said he wants to play the ‘3’ or the ‘4’ at the next level. A great athlete, he’s also a forward for St. Andrew’s soccer team, giving him great endurance and footwork that translate over to the hardwood.
Both Tilghman and Bentil are drawing plenty of interest from Philadelphia schools (and plenty of other universities), though neither are anywhere close to making their decisions.
“As of right now I really don’t pay attention to it because I’m a junior, I have one more year in front of me,” Bentil said of his recruiting.
“Still a junior so I still have a long way to go,” Tilghman echoed a minute later, though he did say he was hearing from St. Joseph’s and Villanova often.
When asked about how Tilghman has had an impact on him since he came to America from his homeland of Ghana, Bentil first had to call his teammate to his side before he answered.
“He’s been a great help to me, he has been a really good friend,” Bentil said. “Since I came here, he has taken me in as a brother–get to chill with him, hang out; (he) tells me what I have to do on the court, what I need to work on, what to be on the court, stuff to do just for me to look good.”
With some definite overlap in collegiate interest, there will definitely be an opportunity for Bentil and Tilghman to continue their relationship past their years at St. Andrew’s.
“We talked about it since we’re roommates, we always talk about it, but we’re juniors, we’re just waiting for our chances,” Bentil said about the possibility of them going to college together. “It would be a pleasure playing with him in college.”
A packed house at Philly U included a number of Division I head coaches; Temple’s Fran Dunphy and Saint Joseph’s Phil Martelli were in attendance, as were assistants from La Salle, Drexel and plenty of other colleges.