High School

DeMatha 4-star LB Jaishawn Barham transfers to St. Frances

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Chad Ricardo/NBC Sports Washington

DeMatha 4-star LB Jaishawn Barham transfers to St. Frances

Jaishawn Barham, a 4-star student athlete on 247Sports.com, is leaving DeMatha Catholic and transferring to St. Frances Academy.

Barham, currently ranked as the country’s No. 2 outside linebacker in the class of ‘22, played a significant role for the Stags’ stingy defense in 2019. Despite pitching four shutouts though, DeMatha finished the season 7-4 and was eliminated by St. John’s in the WCAC semifinals.

With the disappointing season likely to lead to another reshuffling of the Stags staff, Barham’s family thought it best they find a new home.

“The reason for leaving is heavily based on the stability and infrastructure [of the program],” said Barham’s dad, Anthony Nelson. “In the two years he’s been at DeMatha, the coaching staff turned over twice and they are still scrambling to find that stability.”

Contrarily, St. Frances has been a model of consistency in recent years. In the last 3 seasons, the Panthers have amassed a record of 34-1. Coach Biff Poggi’s squad has grown into a perennial powerhouse, playing a true national schedule and placing student athletes in positions to earn scholarship opportunities from top-tier universities across the country. The strength of the Panthers’ foundation is one reason Nelson believes Barham will thrive there.

“As a coach and dad -- knowing the potential he has to play at the next level -- my two biggest   targets when selecting a program to transfer to was coaching and competition,” Nelson said. “Personally, I know the position coaches at St. Frances, and I know that the level of competition there will help him reach another level within himself.”

Nelson insists there are no hard feelings toward the Stags, that they have “nothing but love for DeMatha and the opportunities they gave Jaishawn.” He views this as an opportunity for Barham to grow both as a student athlete and a young man.

“In today’s world of sports where the athlete is taking a greater roll in controlling their own destiny -- as a brand and not just a worker -- he will be charged with making critical decisions for himself and his brand,” Nelson said. “This will be a major teaching tool for years to come.”

Barham presently holds 15 scholarship offers, including those from Ohio State, Penn State and Maryland.

DeMatha takes home WCAC title with 70-56 win over Paul VI

DeMatha takes home WCAC title with 70-56 win over Paul VI

The senior-laden DeMatha Stags defeated Paul VI 70-56 to capture the 2019-2020 WCAC basketball crown. Led by Earl Timberlake’s 21 points, the Stags pulled away late to capture their second title in three years.

DeMatha entered the final with an overall record of 29-3, but one of their losses came at the hands of the Panthers, 74-65, on February 16th. Monday night, they were determined not to allow recent history to repeat itself. 

The Stags seized the lead early in the first quarter and each time PVI got close, a DeMatha upperclassmen made a big play. 

“Our seniors stepped up for us,” DeMatha coach Mike Jones said. “Obviously everybody is going to talk about Earl [ Timberlake] and Hunter [Dickinson], but we had five seniors who pushed us through all the tough times we had this year. It was a roller coaster ride, but our five seniors stepped up for us all night and really all season long.”

Undoubtedly, DeMatha won as a team on the big stage provided by American University, but it was Earl Timberlake’s performance that stole the show. On a night where the lights were the brightest, Timberlake dazzled the raucous Bender arena crowd, with a virtuoso performance sure to go down in the annals of WCAC lure. 

Not only did he score 41 points, he grabbed nine rebounds and tallied five assists, routinely setting his teammates up in position to make open shots. 

“I'm a team player, I do whatever needs to be done to win,” Timberlake said. “I don’t care about the stats, I just want to win at the end of the day.”

Timberlake got it done on both ends of the floor. His winning efforts included five blocked shots. Serving as a defensive anchor for the Stags, he protected the rim on countless occasions, routinely swatting potential PVI buckets from the sky.

“He’s a big-time player and the I don’t even know if the University of Miami realizes how good of a player he is. I’ve said it and ill keep saying it, there’s not a better defender in High School or College basketball than Earl Timberlake right now,” Jones said. “He’s gonna play basketball a long time.”

Late in the second half, PVI went on a run. After trailing by double-digits, the Panthers' backcourt began to heat up. Trevor Keels knocked down a jumper and Jeremy Roach’s floater cut the Stags lead to 53-50 midway through the fourth. 

With all the momentum on the side of the Panther’s — the game suddenly hanging in the balance, Timberlake responded. The Hurricanes commit hit a contested three-pointer from the elbow over the outstretched hand of his defender. After a DeMatha stop, forward Jordan Hawkins pushed the ball to the middle of the floor before centering it to Timberlake at the top of the key. With three seconds remaining on the shot clock, the senior took a single dribble to his right before pulling up for what would be a three-point dagger.

“I had been struggling with my three-point shot against them, but I never failed to trust the work I put in the mornings and late nights,” Timberlake said. “I took those shots and believed in myself.”

DeMatha’s coach believed in him as well. Jones noted he’s done this entire career.

“This was the same thing he did as a sophomore. We won against Gonzaga behind him hitting big shots for us and getting big shots on the other end.”

Jordan Hawkins scored 17 points and Michigan commit Hunter Dickinson added 10 points and five rebounds for the Stags. Duke commit Jeremy Roach and Trevor Keels paced PVI with 22 points each. 

The victory is DeMatha’s ninth WCAC championship since 2000.

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Top girls hoops recruit, St. John's Azzi Fudd, pens heartfelt letter to Kobe, Gigi Bryant

Top girls hoops recruit, St. John's Azzi Fudd, pens heartfelt letter to Kobe, Gigi Bryant

The shocking deaths of Kobe and Gigi Bryant continue to impact many across the sports world.

On Monday, hours before a memorial service took place honoring the deaths of the two of them, top women's basketball recruit Azzi Fudd wrote a heartfelt letter published by Sports Illustrated about her personal relationship with the Bryant duo.

Fudd, who plays high school basketball for St. John's College High School in Washington, D.C., began the open letter by describing when she first reached out to Kobe, asking if she could work out with him and Gigi when she was in Los Angeles. Just a few hours later, Kobe answered, and Fudd spent time honing her craft and learning from Kobe and Gigi.

Fudd described the workout as "so detailed, structured and high level."

"During the workout, you took the time to pick apart and fine-tune my moves on a level that not many other people can do, while Gigi, being my partner, helped me with learning new moves," Fudd wrote. "After the workouts you hung around to chat with us like you were just an everyday, normal dad."

Kobe, a father of four daughters, dedicated plenty of time growing the sport of women's basketball. That's something that Fudd was incredibly grateful for.

"You raised the platform of women’s basketball," Fudd wrote. "You had so many more plans but in that short time you moved the game forward by making it cool to watch and support women and no longer cool for people to make their sexist and negative comments toward the game."

It's impossible to read the entire letter without tearing up. You can read the full letter here.

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