After starting the season 1-2 against some top talent at the Gonzaga D.C. Classic, 2014 Philadelphia (Pa.) Roman Catholic High School guard Shep Garner has helped guide his team towards a PIAA state playoff berth.
Though the Cahillites lost to St. Joes Prep in the Catholic League semi-finals, Garner and Roman Catholic will still have the chance to win the AAAA City Title game against Martin Luther King later this week. Both teams will be headed to the state tournament regardless of outcome.
“Our coach’s message has basically been just forget about what happened in the game the other day and find a way to attack our opponent later this week,” Garner said on Monday night.
Throughout his junior campaign, the 6-foot-2, 170-pound point guard has undertaken a prominent role on his young squad, becoming a more versatile player.
“I definitely became more of a leader doing things necessary for our team to succeed,” said the four-star Philadelphia native. “Whatever that may be, I was the one doing whatever had to be done to get wins. We are a young team this year, we took our lumps early but we came together and actually put together a nice season.”
Included in the growth process has been a stronger focus on honing specific position skills that’ll help Garner thrive and bring his game to new heights.
“I’ve been working on my handle and being more of a point guard, because I’m most likely going to be a point at the next level,” said Garner, ranked No. 91 in the country for his class. “So I’ve been working on my ball handling, a mid-range pull-up and just other skills point guards need to have.”
The Philly standout hasn’t put much thought into his recruitment of late, in order to maintain focus on his own season, but admitted one school has been in touch more than any other.
“Penn State has been talking to me the most - Coach Chambers, Coach Urgo and Coach Daly have been the ones in contact,” explained Garner. “Their message is basically they’re going to be there for me, their recruitment is special and they’re really serious about recruiting me.”
Garner visited Penn State in the fall for a football game.
Having visited Georgetown and Rutgers, among others, his visit to State College last fall stuck out as a special one.
“It was awesome, it was probably the best visit I’ve ever had,” admitted Garner. “Penn State is a beautiful campus, it’s a great school.”
The Hoyas and Scarlet Knights, in addition to St. Joes, Xavier and Florida have all been in contact throughout the process, but Garner maintains he doesn’t really have a certain date in mind when it comes to a decision.
“Right now my recruitment is wide open, I don’t really have any favorites at the moment,” said Garner. “I don’t have any type of timetable either, whenever it feels right for me and my family, whenever we feel comfortable with the coaches and the school, that’s when I’ll decide.”
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