St. Joe's Busy in Jersey: Baptiste, Crosgile, Bruce

CrosgilePhil Martelli and his St. Joseph’s staff are hard at work recruiting the junior class in New Jersey.

St. Joe’s landed a commitment from 6-8 junior forward Carl Baptiste of North Hunterdon High, and is also working on DePaul junior combo guard Justin Crosgile (left) and Linden junior forward David Bruce.

“I had it down to three schools, La Salle, Delaware and St. Joe’s,” Baptiste, who averaged about 17 points and 12 rebounds, told the Philly Daily News. “I thought St. Joe’s was the best fit. I really like the staff and the fact that the school is in the Atlantic 10.”

Carl Baptiste Sr., the player’s father, said his son had received offers from about half a dozen schools, as well as interest, but no offer, from Rutgers.

Baptiste Sr. said his son was 6-foot-8 and about 240 pounds, although he expected him to grow another inch or two.

Baptiste Sr. said his son suffered a tweaked hamstring that limited his action for about four or five games but that he grabbed 15 rebounds in more than 15 games. Baptiste posted 29 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks in the season opener.

“(St. Joe’s) was a level of play that he thought was challenging and he aspired to,” the father said. “They had been recruiting him very early, since last summer. He developed a rapport with the staff and felt comfortable with them.”

Crosgile, a 5-11 combo guard from Paterson, visited St. Joe’s unofficially with his mother, Angie, on Thursday before playing in an AAU game in the area.

“I liked it a lot, it was great,” he said. “The campus was really good. I never really got tot see the campus before. The classrooms were a nice size.”

Is St. Joe’s Crosgile’s top choice?

“St. Joe’s is my favorite right now,” he said.

A two-time Herald News All-Area selection, Crosgile averaged 20 points, six rebounds and six assists for a Spartans team the reached the Passaic County quarterfinals before falling to Eastside and lost to Seton Hall Prep in the North Non-Public A tournament. He now has 1,340 career points.

Crosgile said he met with Martelli and talked about both academic and athletic issues.

“We just talked about the school, how many kids were graduating, the basketball program,” Crosgile said. “He’s really cool. The whole staff shows a lot of interest in me. It wasn’t really about basketball. They were telling me about the team, schoolwork, tutors.”

Crosgile said he also has interest in Marquette, Miami and Ohio State, although he doesn’t hold firm offers from them yet.

“I spoke to the Ohio State coach (Thad Matta) once and Miami and i talked to the (associate head) coach, (Jorge) Fernandez, he’s cool,” he said. “I’m trying to get down there.”

So when does Crosgile expect to make a decision?

“I don’t know yet,” he said. “My mother wants me to wait until AAU is over. I would like to get it over with by the end of the summer, so going into my senior year I don’t really have to stress about it.”

David_bruceFinally, Bruce, the 6-8 junior forward from Linden, will make an unofficial visit to St. Joe’s sometime in the coming weeks, although Linden coach Phil Colicchio had no specific date.

Bruce, who averaged 16 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks, also holds offers St. John’s, Seton Hall, Rutgers, La Salle and Houston, and has interest from  Villanova, Miami and Missouri.

“David’s best basketball is ahead of him,” Colicchio said earlier this year. “He is doing a great job in the weight room, getting stronger every day. He has the potential to play at the highest level. He is extremely athletic for a kid 6-9. The kid runs the floor great, has a quick jump shot and is getting the ability to run the floord and shoot jump shots. His greatest asset is that he loves basketball and puts countless hours in to becoming better. He wants to be good. He had a good summer, at times looking like an All-American and at other times looking like a kid trying to grow and play into his body.”