As any true basketball fan will tell you, there is nothing like a battle of big men. In the second game of a three game set at Jefferson University on Saturday, December 23, those in attendance were treated to a rare event in high school basketball with opposing players listed at 6’11” or taller.
Seth Pinkney, the starting center for the Archbishop Wood Vikings, squared off against rising star Naheem McLeod of the Plymouth Whitemarsh Colonials. The Vikings play in the highly competitive Philadelphia Catholic League and the Colonials in the equally tough Suburban One.
According to sources, Pinkney checks in at 6’11”, with McLeod listed at 7’2”. Whatever their true heights are, it was certainly entertaining to see two young giants going at it on the hardwood.
Both of these teams are preseason favorites to be at the top of their leagues, and to compete deep into the district and state tournaments at the end of February and into early March. Wood plays at the 5A class, while Plymouth Whitemarsh plays at the 6A, which means that this is almost definitely the only time these two will face off this season. Wood won the PIAA tournament last year, while Plymouth Whitemarsh went down in the state quarterfinal against Reading, which was the eventual winner and a very powerful team with Lonnie Walker (now at University of Miami) tearing it up every night.
Pinkney has shown improvement every year at Wood and as a senior is a hot prospect for D1 coaches, who were in attendance throughout the arena. He shows flashes of dominance on defense, runs the floor and moves very well. He gets most of his scoring from putbacks on offensive rebounds, as his footwork and offensive moves are still a work in progress. D1 offers have flooded in (University of Massachusetts, Temple University, Saint Joseph's University, et al) as he has grown in the last few years, picking up about four inches, while not quite filling out his frame yet at 195 lbs.
McLeod, the younger of the two, is garnering a lot of attention in his junior campaign. His offensive skill set has shown vast improvement. He looks very fluid and graceful with either hand and obviously has been spending time on post up footwork. Facially and body wise it appears that he will continue to grow, which could put him into rarefied air as a senior. He comes from a very tall family. Potential is unlimited for this young man and it should be interesting to watch him evolve.
Plymouth Whitemarsh pulled off the victory 55-43 in a low scoring affair. Both teams were short a significant player due to injury. The Colonials were missing Ahmad Williams, the identical 6’2” senior twin to Ahmin Williams, and Wood was missing Tyree Pickron (committed to Quinnipiac), a 6’3” high-flying senior. These two players carry a good portion of the load for their respective squads.
The leading scorer was the very fine Ish Horn, a 6’1” senior for PW, with 20 points. Andrew Funk, a 6’4” senior guard and the younger brother of Tommy Funk, who played a few years back (and very well) for the Vikings, scored 18. He’s headed to Bucknell University next year.
McLeod finished the night with 11 points and his giant counterpart Pinkney with seven. It should be fun watching these two down the road.