Josh Verlin (@jmverlin)
Lower Merion senior wing Justin McFadden has committed to Binghamton, he confirmed to CoBL on Monday afternoon.
“Binghamton took me up on campus and I loved the campus and I loved what the school represented,” he told CoBL. “It’s an up-and-coming academic school and I always wanted a good academic school. The America East Conference is a great conference for me.”
A 6-foot-5, 200-pound wing, McFadden’s stock rose from a fringe-level Division I player thanks to a strong summer on the AAU circuit with the Jersey Shore Warriors. Known primarily as a high-energy rebounder and defender from his junior season at Lower Merion, McFadden showed he had a scoring touch as well, knocking down a number of mid-range jumpers and finishing in double-figure scoring often throughout the July live recruiting period.
As his versatility increased, so did his Division I interest–he told CoBL at the Live in A.C. event near the end of the month that he’d been hearing from several Ivy League and Patriot League programs; the offer from Binghamton came in shortly after that event.
“I think I have a lot of things to build around,” he said about what he’ll bring to the Bearcats. “I can play tough defense, and now I’m developing my ability on the offensive end. I can also be a leader on and off the court.”
The news was first reported on Twitter by CBS Sports Network’s Jon Rothstein.
Up at Binghamton, McFadden will be teammates with a number of Philadelphia natives, including former Archbishop Carroll point guard Yosef Yacob, about to start his freshman season as a Bearcat. Also from the area is sophomore guard Jordan Reed (Wissahickon) and redshirt junior Robert Mansell (Cheltenham).
This season, he’ll be one of a few senior starters on a Lower Merion squad out to defend its 2013 PIAA Class AAAA state championship. Getting that decision out of his way is certainly going to make it easier to focus on winning back-to-back titles, something not even Kobe Bryant was able to do in his years as a member of the Aces.
But that doesn’t mean he rushed into things.
“I took a visit, I took my time to make sure it was the right thing for me, and once I felt comfortable then I made my decision,” he said.
Last year, the first in Tommy Dempsey‘s reign as head coach after his seven seasons at Rider, the Bearcats struggled to a 3-27 record. McFadden told CoBL he likes the idea of joining a program that has nowhere to go but up.
“Tommy Dempsey is going to be a great coach, he is a great coach and I think their program is on the rise,” he said. ”You don’t want to go into a program that’s falling and has turmoil, but this program has a plan set up and it knows where it’s going.”