Having ended his Princeton Day School boys’ basketball career last winter with a program record 2,102 points, Davon Reed can’t be replaced.
But while superstar guard Reed, who is currently starring at the University of Miami, will be sorely missed by the Panthers, he has left a legacy of success that PDS plans to build on this winter.
“Obviously when you lose a player like Davon, there is going to be a void to fill,” said PDS head coach Paris McLean of Reed, who helped the Panthers go 19-8 last winter and make their second straight appearance in the state Prep B title game.
“The players returning have played two or three years of varsity ball, they are ready for their moment and they deserve their moment. Davon will tell you and the returners will tell you that our program is not one player.”
The Panthers boast two talented and battle-tested players at guard in seniors Langston Glaude and Deante Cole.
“Langston and Deante both came in bigger, stronger, and faster; they had great summers and are really showing good leadership,” said McLean, whose team started the 2013-14 season by losing 65-46 to Pennington last Monday. “They have been looking as great as a two guard combination. Langston has a mid-range game and can attack the rim. Deante has really improved as a facilitator and handling game management.”
The Panthers have some other veterans in the backcourt who can handle themselves in a trio of seniors, Ford Schneider, Zach Banks, and Brandon Glover along with junior Josiah Meekins.
“Ford Schneider has been fantastic, he had some great games last year and he is building off of his junior year,” said McLean. “Zach has been great, he is going to have a role, we will need him to relieve Langston and Deante. He knows our system. Meekins and Glover are similar players but they have a different dynamic.”
Freshman Chase Lewis figures to be a dynamic newcomer this winter. “Chase Lewis is ready to step in and play,” said McLean. “He has a great outside shot and he can finish. He has a good confidence, he doesn’t get deterred like some young players do. He really wants to learn and has been taking the opportunity to learn from our senior leaders.”
McLean is looking for two seniors, Chris Okorodudu and Dan Lee, to be leaders in the frontcourt.
“We need Chris to step up,” said McLean. “He can shoot and finish at the rim. He is long on defense and can disrupt passing lanes. With some consistency, he can be a force. Dan Lee has looked good in the preseason. He is attacking the basket more. He is learning that less is more and to do straight drives. He can get on the glass.”
Two newcomers to the varsity team, junior J.P. Radvany and senior Ben Levine, should give the Panthers additional strength on the glass.
“J.P. Radvany is a great addition; he played his first year and then took sophomore year off to concentrate on baseball,” said McLean.
“He is around 6’4 and 200 pounds. He has the ability to get out and run in the open court. He is not afraid to mix it up. He will do the dirty work and the little things. Ben Levine has worked his way through the program, he will give us minutes off the bench. He is physical and will block people out.”
In McLean’s view, PDS has the ability to do some good things this winter.
“This is a group that can produce a lot,” said McLean, whose team is next in action when it competes in the Peddie School Invitational Tournament from December 13-15.
“We need to play a team-oriented game. We need to take better care of the ball on offense, we need to limit teams to one shot and control the defensive boards. I think we are going to surprise some people. We have nine seniors, this is their moment. They have worked hard to reach this point. It has been a great three years and they can end with a great fourth year. They want to finish what they have started.”