Recruit Roundup: Feb. 18

In this week’s Recruit Roundup, we have updates on Class of 2017 Penn men’s basketball recruits Dave Winfield, Jr., Matt Howard, Tony Bagtas and Dylan Jones. Each player’s high school began postseason play this past week.

6-foot-9 center Dave Winfield, Jr.: The Harvard-Westlake (Calif.) senior had one of his best weeks of the season, helping Harvard-Westlake win its first two playoff games. On Feb. 13, Winfield put up a season-high 16 points to help the eighth-seeded Wolverines to a blowout victory over Templeton High School, 77-46. He also added five rebounds while shooting 8-for-9 from the field. The Wolverines had to make a large trip to defeat Templeton, which is more than 200 miles away from Harvard-Westlake.

On Feb. 15, Harvard-Westlake returned home and defeated Laguna Beach, 73-60. Harvard-Westlake led the entire game after the first quarter, and Winfield provided 13 points along with five rebounds in the victory. Winfield’s squad now travels to No. 1-seeded Bishop Montgomery in the third round of the Southern Section California Division 4-AA Championships.

6-foot-4 guard Matt Howard: Howard’s A.C. Flora (S.C.) also won its first two playoff games last week. On Feb. 12, Flora escaped with a close victory against Travelers Rest High School, 68-63. Howard provided 17 points before his teammates closed out the game with free throws at the end. On Feb. 15, A.C. Flora defeated nearby Chapman High School, 81-68, behind 23 points from Howard. The victory puts A.C. Flora in the quarterfinals of the South Carolina Class AAA State basketball playoffs.

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Recruit Roundup: Feb. 11

Matt Howard scored a game-high 21 points Tuesday to lead A.C. Flora to a win in its regular-season finale.  (Courtesy of the Columbia Star/Careese Robinson)

Matt Howard scored a game-high 21 points Tuesday to lead A.C. Flora to a win in its regular-season finale. (Courtesy of the Columbia Star/Careese Robinson)

In this week’s Recruit Roundup, we have updates on Penn men’s basketball recruits Tony Bagtas, Matt Howard, Dave Winfield Jr. and Dylan Jones as each player’s high school nears the end of its regular season before playoffs begin in the coming weeks.

5-foot-11 Guard Tony Bagtas: Bagtas dominated on senior night for Westlake High School (Ga.), scoring 32 points to lead Westlake to a 71-53 victory on Feb. 8 over nearby Langston Hughes High School. Westlake moved to 21-4, including 9-1 in its region, as it heads into the regional tournament next week. After the game, Bagtas’ coach, Darron Rogers, had nothing but good things to say about the senior guard.

“Tony’s a four-year starter for us at point guard, and he’s our catalyst,” Rogers told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “He can do it all. He’s going to Penn so you know he’s intelligent and has basketball smarts. He can score the basketball, but tonight I was glad to see him show his toughness, too. He went to the hole and made some tough baskets tonight.”

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Recruit Roundup – Jan. 28

We're excited to have a new segment on The Buzz called Recruit Roundup, in which we recap how each of the Penn men’s basketball recruits have done in their high school games recently.

This week, we have updates on Dave Winfield Jr., Matt Howard, Preston Troutt and Dylan Jones.

6-foot-9 center Dave Winfield Jr.: In the past two weeks, Winfield, a senior at the Harvard-Westlake school in Los Angeles, has played in five games. On Jan. 14, he scored two points while providing 10 rebounds, a season high, which helped Harvard-Westlake to victory. On Jan. 16, he added two points and two rebounds and on Jan. 21, he scored four points while posting five rebounds, including four offensive rebounds.

On Jan. 25, he had another strong performance as he had six points, six rebounds and was a perfect 3-3 from the field. In his most recent game, he contributed six points and three rebounds despite his team’s loss. Harvard-Westlake is 15-7 on the year and Winfield has played in 11 of those games, averaging 3.9 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game.

6-foot-4 guard Matt Howard: Howard, a senior at A.C Flora in South Carolina, has played well on the season, especially recently. On Jan. 18, despite Flora losing by two in overtime, Howard put up 23 points. More recently, on Jan. 25, Howard helped Flora to a decisive victory over nearby Chapin by leading his team with 29 points.

Furthermore, the senior guard has been named as a nominee for a possible spot in April’s McDonald’s All-American game. The official 24-man roster will be announced on February 14.

6-foot-0 guard Preston Troutt: The Trinity Christian senior is currently dealing with an injury and hasn’t played since Dec. 18. Before his injury, he played in 11 games and averaged 15.9 points per game to lead his team. In addition, he also put in 2.8 rebounds per game and 2.5 assists per game. Coach Randy Feemster indicated that he would not be back soon from his injury.

6-foot-7 forward Dylan Jones: Jones, a senior at the Village School in Houston, Texas, has strung together three straight solid games over the past two weeks. On Jan. 15, Jones posted a double-double, with 14 points and 10 rebounds as his team won by 24 points. In his team’s 53-45 win over RCHA on Jan. 17, Jones had another strong performance with 10 points and 13 rebounds. In his most recent game, Jones put up 14 points and 20 rebounds in a 77-56 victory over Kelly Catholic.


Q & A with Penn basketball commit Matt Howard

Though Penn commit Matt Howard can finish at the rim with an emphatic dunk, his offensive prowess truly lies in his well-developed mid-range game and disciplined decision-making, according to ESPN. Perhaps his high basketball I.Q. should come as no surprise for a player with multiple AP courses under his belt. With his combination of athleticism, scoring ability and basketball intelligence, Howard attracted offers from Stanford and Virginia Tech, but ultimately chose to become a Penn Quaker. A day after a 84-58 blowout of Chapin High School by Howard and his teammates, I caught up with him to talk his decision to commit to Penn, the challenges of juggling school and basketball and highlights from his senior season. 

What were you looking for in a school during your college search and the recruiting process?

I was always looking for a good balance between good academics and a good basketball program, and I found that Penn.

Why, among all of the schools that you looked at, did you choose Penn?

I had the best relationship with the coaches, and it was probably my best visit that I went on too.

Do you have any connections to Philadelphia that drew you to a city?

My great-aunt used to live there . . . I have a grandparent in New York, so I passed through Philly a lot on my way there.

From what I’ve read obviously you’re doing pretty well on the basketball court, but you also have to be doing really well in the classroom to be able to come to Penn. Is it a challenge to balance your commitments to academics and basketball?

Yeah, all the time because when I’m tired from basketball I have to study for a test or something like that, but I think I have a pretty good balance between the two.

What are some of your favorite honors courses that you’ve taken?

BC Calculus and AP Physics are probably my favorite courses right now.

To talk a little bit about basketball now, tell me a little bit about senior season with A.C. Flora this year. Have you been pleased with the way the year’s gone and how you’re playing?

Yeah, I’m pretty pleased with how I’m playing right now. I’d like to have a few more wins — I think we’re 12-8 or something like that. But so far, this is my best season by far.

What are you hoping to improve upon even further as you prepare to play at the college level?

Just staying aggressive, my three-pointing shooting and being aggressive on the defensive end.

I saw a clip of a game-winning shot you had against Hillcrest back at the Chick-fil-A Classic in December. I was wondering if you could take me through that play and what your thinking was, if you can remember it.

On that play, there was like seven seconds left, so once I got it out of bounds, I just thought to get it down the court as quick as I could and then once I got it down the court I thought I’d do a fadeaway because I know nobody could block that. And it went in.

See the shot for yourself:

M. Hoops picks up fourth commitment

As the early signing period comes to a close, Penn picked up its fourth commitment in the Class of 2013 in Dylan Jones.

Jones, the son of former NFL defensive end Sean Jones, is a 6-foot-8, 215-pound power forward from Houston. He committed to Pepperdine at the end of August, but shortly reopened his recruiting and announced his decision Tuesday afternoon on Twitter.

In his second recruiting period, he chose Penn over Tulsa, Sam Houston and Holy Cross. He also initially had offers from Columbia and Rice. ESPN wrote that one of his strengths is rebounding, which the Quakers will benefit from greatly. He needs to bulk up, however, and "extend his shooting range," according to ESPN. He is ranked No. 29 in the state.

W. Hoops Lands Long Island Forward

The New York Post has reported that Sade Gibbons, a rising senior at Long Island Lutheran High School, has verbally committed to play women’s basketball at Penn.

The 6-foot-1 forward chose Penn over Delaware, Davidson, Fairfield and Manhattan.

Gibbons helped the Crusaders win a state Federation Class B title two years ago and reach the finals last season. Gibbons played in 20 of the 23 games for LuHi last season.

Gibbons will be an interesting addition to the Quakers. The Post reports that though she is naturally right-handed, she goes to the hoop as a lefty.

After a 13-15 season last year, the strength of Penn's past two recruiting classes has been one of the hallmarks of coach Mike McLaughlin's tenure thus far. Gibbons will now be an addition to that legacy.

ESPN highlights Penn football recruit

In ESPN's 18 under 18 series, highlighting some of the best high school athletes across the nation, Penn football recruit Cameron Countryman got some pub.

Check it out. The 6-foot, 170-pound receiver had offers from Pac-12 schools like Arizona State, Utah, and Colorado but he'll suit up for the Quakers in the fall.

Countryman, who is Rivals two-star recruit and ESPNU's No. 50 receiver, is a 6-foot, 170-pound playmaker, runs a 4.49 40 and has a 31-inch vertical leap according

Late recruit interested in Penn


2012 shooting guard Brendyn Taylor said after the Nike Extravaganza that Penn was recruiting him and had offered. The 6-foot-2 senior from Fairfax (Calif.) is also being recruited by Wyoming, UC Davis, Colorado and St. Mary's, according to Scott Sommer. lists him as the No. 17 player in its list of top 30 seniors. gave him two stars and did not rank him in his position.

St. Rita’s Max Kurucar commits to Penn

We've known since Sept. 27 that St. Rita of Cascia's Tony Hicks would be playing for Jerome Allen next year. But now, we also know he will be joined by a classmate who intends to play for Al Bagnoli.

Max Kurucar, a 6-foot, 165-pound defensive back and punter, was one of the best players for the Mustangs' football team while recording six interceptions and 29 tackles last season.

He was a recipient of the National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete Award and was named to the 2011 first team All-Conference in the Chicago Catholic League in both positions.

“The coaches are a lot fun,” Kurucar told the Southtown Star, a subsidiary of the Chicago Sun-Times. “It’s a nice campus. You can see the Philadelphia skyline from campus. It’s everything I was looking for. I’m excited for the challenges. It felt like the place for me.”


Penn football adds linebacker to class of 2016

Senior Lukas Nossem of Munster High School in Munster, Ind, has committed to play football for the Quakers.

Nossem was a first team All-State linebacker and a two-time all-Northwest Crossroads Conference player.

He will study finance at Wharton.

“Penn was a perfect fit,” Nossem said in a release. “I love the location, atmosphere, and tradition. I’m looking forward to the combination of academic and athletic challenges.”

Check out some highlights of the future member of the Red and Blue, where he shows his versatility, playing tight end, fullback, special teams and linebacker: