Teddy Bailey (@TheTeddyBailey)
What a week it was for Archbishop Carroll’s point guard position.
Departing the Patriots is 2015 combo guard Nick Jones, who will be leaving for Lower Merion. Aces point guard JaQuan Johnson broke the story on Sunday via Twitter. City of Basketball Love confirmed the news shortly after.
“Nick is looking forward to working hard,” Nick’s father, Robert Jones, told CoBL by text. ”To earn the respect of his teammates and assimilating himself into the Lower Merion program respective to what coach (Gregg) Downer feels is the best role for him.”
The Second-Team All-Catholic selection averaged 10.4 points per game for the Patriots a year ago. Jones was part of a star-studded Carroll team that featured Derrick Jones, Yosef Yacob (Binghamton), and Ernest Aflakpui and finished as the runner-up to Imhotep in the PIAA Class AAA state playoffs.
The Aces added more hardware to their trophy case last season, as Lower Merion defeated Chester to claim the PIAA Class AAAA State Championship.
“I’m very happy to have Nick in our program,” Johnson told CoBL by text. “Now I can see us making another run for a` state title.”
Jones will be heavily involved in a Lower Merion team that, despite losing three starters, are the clear favorites to defend the Central League title and continue their recent success into March.
“He wants to truly be a good teammate first, then help Lower Merion win basketball games,” Jones said. “It’s all about the team. We’re really appreciative of the opportunity; everything else will fall into place.”
The Aces lost more pieces than the Patriots, with B.J. Johnson (Syracuse), Yohanny Dalembert (James Madison), and Raheem Hall (Prep School) all leaving due to graduation. The Aces will return players such as Johnson, Jule Brown, Corey Sherman, Justin McFadden, and Steve Pendleton.
“I learned that he is a good catch-and-shoot shooter and he has good defense.” Johnson said. “He can handle the ball well and bring lots of energy to the floor.”
In a matter of days, the Patriots may have found their point guard.
Joining Archbishop Carroll is 2016 guard Josh Sharkey, who has transferred from Abington Friends. Sharkey, who has been officially accepted to Carroll, told CoBL on Thursday about the move.
“I picked Carroll because academic wise, it’s at the same level as (Abington) Friends,” Sharkey told CoBL by phone on Thursday. “Basketball-wise, I think it is going to be a better situation for me than AFS because I will be able to come in and help the team accomplish our goal.”
The talent that the Patriots currently have doesn’t hurt Sharkey’s decision, by no means.
“They have a great team,” he said. “Obviously, they have Derrick Jones and Ernest Aflakpui, and a couple other shooters. Definitely going to have a fun season.”
Archbishop Carroll is also getting freshman David Beatty. The 6-foot-3 wing has high expectations for himself this coming season.
“I just have to step up and do my thing,” Beatty said. “I want to start my freshman year.”
Sharkey played his AAU basketball with Philly Triple Threat this past season and has definitely benefited from the exposure it has given him.
“It went well,” Sharkey said. “Towards the end when we came back from Florida, I heard from a few college coaches. It gave us a lot of exposure and I’m looking forward to next season to do it all over again.”
The speedy 5-foot-9 guard says that he will be taking his first visit, to James Madison in September. Schools that are showing the most interest are Penn State, Tulsa, Penn, and JMU.