Nov. 14, 2006
By Emily Pambianchi
Five new teammates join the basketball program this season, ready to become a part of the athletic tradition Saint Joseph's University is known for. Darrin Govens, D.J. Rivera, Garrett Williamson, Jawan Carter, and Rockwell Moody have all come from successful high school programs and were deemed critical players on their teams. They have been practicing hard with the team to begin their careers as members of the Hawk basketball team and look forward to their first season playing for SJU.
Govens comes from Chester High School, the same program as SJU great Jameer Nelson, and managed to establish his own legacy at the school. He was the Class 4A Pennsylvania Player of the Year for two consecutive seasons and earned All-State first team honors while helping Chester to the 2005 State title. He chose to continue playing basketball at SJU because of the phenomenal coaching staff, the reputation of a good academic program, and also, it's not too far away from home. Coach Phil Martelli says, "Darrin is tough minded and has a competitive spirit beyond his years. Darrin's challenge will be dealing with the ups and downs that come with being a freshman in college basketball." Govens acknowledges the commitment he has to his team and says he "will do what I can to help my team."
Another highly touted local product is guard Rivera, who earned All-State and All-Catholic League honors while helping Neumann-Goretti to its second Catholic League title. He is the high school's all time leading scorer, with 1,122 points. Coach Martelli expects Rivera to contribute immediately to the team due to his athleticism, toughness, and ability to defend. Martelli says, "D.J. is as advertised. He plays the game for one reason and that is to win. He has a sensational athletic ability and it will be our responsibility to develop his basketball skills to match this extraordinary gift of athleticism that he possesses." Rivera is looking forward to the experience of playing at a collegiate level and chose SJU because of the good relationship among the coaching staff and the players. He, Govens, and Williamson were all 2006 All-State first Team honorees.. He knows the season will be way different than in high school but is looking forward to the challenge.
Williamson comes from another local, prodigious high school program, Lower Merion. As mentioned before, he played with Rivera and Govens on the All-State first team last year. He aided Lower Merion to its second consecutive state title and finished his high school career with a total of 1,349 points. He is ranked as the second highest scorer in Lower Merion history, with the all-time leading scorer being famed NBA player, Kobe Bryant. Williamson possesses a solid knowledge of the game as well as strong passing skills which will help him become an important teammate. Martelli tells of his most effective skill, "Of all the freshman, Garrett has opened my eyes the widest. His potential, in my opinion is unlimited. He has extraordinary listening skills, which you don't find in many young people." Garrett was excited to come to SJU, praising the school for "it's good tradition, a winning program..." explaining he "grew up with the program and came to the summer camps provided here." Fortunately, his family is close by and can enjoy watching Williamson embark on his career at St. Joe's.
A talented ball handler, Carter has made his impression on the coaching staff already. Martelli says, "Jawan has impressed me with his maturity and his approach to being a college freshman. He is very aware that we cannot afford him to think, act, or play like a freshman this year. He is well-schooled and will be prepared for the battles he will face in the Atlantic 10." Carter was named the 2006 Player of the Year for the state of Delaware, and is noted as the state's all-time leading scorer with 2,464 points. He led the Tatnall School to the state title as well. His record exhibits that he has the qualities to be a key player for the Hawks. Carter chose to attend SJU for many reasons. He was impressed with the coaching staff and liked the relationship the players and staff had, as well as knowing some of his teammates before arriving on Hawk Hill. He knows SJU's academics are rigorous and enjoys the location of the school as well. He's excited for the season and ready to embrace his position as a guard.
Moody hails from Virginia and is expected to contribute right away on defense and with rebounding, while further developing his offensive skills. He attended Bishop O'Connell High School in Virginia and earned All-State honors, as well as achieving Virginia Independent School's All-State recognition. He helped O'Connell's team to a third consecutive Division I state title. Coach Martelli says, "Moody has a sponge-like mentality. He is constantly looking for and processing new and varied information. In basketball terms, he is very much like a young child, in that each day he is showing improvement and curiosity as to what he will be able to do next." Moody expects many things for his first season as a Hawk and believes it will be a fabulous season if every player does what they are supposed to do on the court. Moody is happy to be working with Martelli and his coaching staff and looking forward to his basketball career at SJU.
Martelli seems to be anything but alarmed with his young group of players. With five freshmen on the team there could be some speculation about a lack of collegiate of experience but Martelli brushes any qualms aside. "We know that we are going to be young on the perimeter but they've had remarkable high school careers, and winning experiences," he says, referring to the five newest members of the team. Each newcomer has expressed their commitment and excitement to the team, preparing for challenging but enjoyable first seasons as Hawks.