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Fresh Faces Looking to Lead Way for Camden Catholic

The Fighting Irish boys basketball program has developed a championship pedigree during the Matt Crawford era. Camden Catholic qualified for three consecutive South Jersey Non-Public A finals from 2018 to 2020 and won two sectional championships (2018 and 2019).

The Irish graduated three starters from a team that concluded last season with a 9-3 record. Crawford’s squad finished third in the final South Jersey Sports Zone Top 30.

Replacing the production of those three leaders will be a tall order.

Zach Hicks, a 2021 South Jersey Sports Zone First Team All-South Jersey selection, averaged 21.9 points per game in 12 games last season. Hicks is currently charting minutes at Temple as a true freshman and is averaging 2.5 points per game and 2.4 rebounds per game. Current Chestnut Hill College guard Lucas Dunn averaged over 14 points per game for the Irish and Scranton guard Colin Merriman poured in over 10 points per game.  

Camden Catholic returns two starters in 6-foot-5 forward Nygel Vidro (averaged 3.0 points per game and 3.0 rebounds per game last season per Crawford) and 6-foot-2 guard Duce Prate (6.5 points per game). Junior guards Andrew Crawford (three assists per game last season) and Braelen Krump are also notable returnees. Seniors Pat Quering and Nate Jean-Baptiste are the two other returning lettermen on the roster.

A pair of freshmen guards — Tobe Nwobu and Luke Kenevan — are top newcomers to keep an eye on.

Matt Crawford noted that Camden Catholic’s primary strength is its guard depth and its biggest obstacle to overcome will be its inexperience. The Fighting Irish will look to adjust quickly and gain experience through an always daunting Olympic Conference schedule. This year’s calendar features storied programs such as Bishop Eustace, Camden, Cherokee, Cherry Hill East, Haddonfield, Lenape, Paul VI and Shawnee. Camden Catholic is also scheduled to face perennial North Jersey power St. Peter’s Prep in early February.

South Jersey Sports Zone (SJSZ) was co-founded by Kevin Emmons in 2017. The brand covers high school sports and promotes South Jersey pride. If you’d like to keep up with SJSZ, find them on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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