July 11, 2018

Sparked by McArthur’s Versatile Play, NJ Spiritwear Rolling in Summer Hoops

SPIRITED EFFORT: John McArthur unloads a pass during his career with the Princeton Day School boys’ basketball team. Last Monday, McArthur, now a rising sophomore at Immaculata University, tallied 18 points to help NJ Spiritwear top Majeski Foundation 81-70 in overtime in the Princeton Recreation Department Men’s Summer Basketball League. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

During his career for the Princeton Day School boys’ basketball team, John McArthur’s inside-outside game helped him pass the 1,000-point mark in his career and lead PDS to the state Prep B title in 2015-16.

Last Monday evening, McArthur displayed his versatility, tallying 18 points to help NJ Spiritwear top Majeski Foundation 81-70 in overtime in the Princeton Recreation Department Men’s Summer Basketball League.

The 6’5, 190-pound McArthur got off to a hot start, scoring 12 points in the first half, driving hard to the hoop and draining jump shots from the perimeter as NJ Spiritwear jumped out to a 42-33 lead.

“We were really going to the pick and roll; we had a lot of energy,” said McArthur. “Our guys really know how to play. My shot has been off the past couple of games and I found it today.”

In the second half, NJ Spiritwear found itself in trouble as Majeski, comprised of players from The College of New Jersey men’s hoops team, reeled off a 14-2 run late in the game to pull ahead 64-63.

“I think we started losing ourselves and we started trying to play for ourselves,” said McArthur. “Once we started playing together and locking up on defense, we started coming back.”

McArthur helped NJ Spiritwear come back, powering to the hoop for a key bucket that gave it a 65-64 lead

“I was hyped up; my teammates were getting hyped up,” said a smiling McArthur, reflecting on the play. “It was just a moment.”

The teams knotted at 67-67 at the end of regulation, but NJ Spiritwear dominated the overtime, outscoring Majeski 14-3 to pull away to the 81-70 win as Zavon Johnson set the tone with several dazzling layups.

“Zavon is a true point guard,” said McArthur of Johnson, who had 18 points in the win with Troy Jones chipping in 19. “He is really good at running the floor and bringing us together.”

Playing its first season in the summer league, NJ Spiritwear is coming together nicely, having posted five straight wins to improve to 5-1 and move into first place.

“I think it was getting the jitters out and learning to play together,” said McArthur, noting that the core of the squad came from the AAU team he competed on in high school. “This is our first time playing with each other and we have got the chemistry going.”

For McArthur, who played at Susquehanna last year as a freshman and has transferred to Immaculata University, getting experience this summer should pay dividends this winter.

“I focus on the fundamentals a lot and it is good getting out here,” said McArthur. “These guys have a lot of experience. I will definitely be ready in college after playing against these guys.”

In McArthur’s view, NJ Spiritwear is ready for a deep run in the league playoffs, which start on July 16.

“I am really confident in my teammates and I feel we are starting to click and play together well,” said McArthur. “We have started to click and play together. It is going to be really hard to stop us once we get going.”