Garrett Miley (@GWMiley)
Phil Martelli and the Hawks landed their first commitment from the class of 2014 when Team SCAN (N.Y.) PG Shavar Newkirk decided that he wanted to play on Hawk Hill.
The Hawks had been chasing after the 6-foot point guard for a year and a half, according to Newkirk’s AAU coach Terrance Williams, and Newkirk knew that the situation was right for him.
“They were the school that really wanted me. They called me everyday. I established a connection with the coaches and it just felt right,” Newkirk told CoBL.
Newkirk, who will be a senior this fall at Cardinal Hayes (N.Y.), chose St. Joe’s over offers from Iowa State, Iona, Towson, Providence, Seton Hall and others. He took an unofficial visit to Saint Joseph’s earlier in the summer and liked what the school had to offer.
“I took an unofficial visit in early July and I liked the facilities and the coaching staff,” Newkirk said. “I like how (Martelli) is a down-to-earth person and didn’t sugarcoat anything. He told you actual information. I also developed a relationship with (assistant) coach Dave Duda.”
The Hawks need guards for their the 2014 class. With Langston Galloway set to graduate following the 2013-14 season, then-senior Chris Wilson and redshirt sophomore Kyle Molock will the only other point guards on the Hawks roster. The opportunity to play early in his career is something that drew Newkirk’s attention.
“I won’t have to wait until late in my sophomore or junior year to contribute. I can play right away if I earn my minutes,” Newkirk said.
Newkirk has many of the intangibles needed to be successful at the next level, and his coach is confident in his leadership abilities translating to the collegiate level.
“Shavar is a born leader,” Williams told CoBL. “He’s a kid who always puts his teammates in position to score before his personal stats.”
Maybe the only more important and more impressive than his leadership qualities is Newkirk’s knack for winning. His competitiveness is something that is impossible to deny and is something that he has carried with him through each level so far, according to his coach.
“He’s going to be a kid who’s going to win a lot of games in college,” Williams said. “He’s a kid who has always won throughout the course of his career. Ever since the second or third grade, he’s always won. He does the little things that equate to wins at the highest level.
“I think Martelli is getting a natural point guard who can obviously get to the basket and finish. He makes people around him better and he is going to cause havoc on the defensive side of the basketball. He’s getting a kid who wants to go to Saint Joseph’s.”