Photo courtesy of NJ Advance Media.
By David Cordova
Over the last fifteen years or so, the basketball program at St. Benedict’s Prep has been one that has been thriving. The powerhouse team from the Catholic school in the inner-city of Newark, New Jersey, has produced plenty of pros such as J.R. Smith (Cleveland Cavaliers), Lance Thomas (New York Knicks) and Tyler Ennis (Los Angeles Lakers).
However, there is one new Gray Bee that has already started to gain attention from the masses. The player in question is none other than Noah Farrahkan. The 6-foot-1 freshman guard from Newark has been a tremendous spark plug for the program, as he is a player that is wise beyond his years, figuratively and literally.
When asked about being from the Garden State, he said: “Jersey’s a nice place to be from. We have the top talent around, it’s a real honor to be there.”
But being from an inner-city setting such as Newark, which is also referred to as Brick City, hardens plenty of youth and makes them strong people. “It’s kind of like, every day is not a dogfight. I can’t really explain what it’s like growing up in Newark. It’s tough. Everything is tough. You have to fight for what’s yours. You have to really be about that life to survive.”
His toughness and strong will led him to St. Benedict’s. When asked about why he chose to go there, he replied, “Seeing my brother go there, James Scott, who’s at Kenesaw State now, seeing how everything was clicking together. Coach Taylor and Coach Pierson, they were good coaches that coached their players and I wanted to be part of something like that and play on a national schedule where I’d get the most exposure.”
Farrakhan shined a lot on a team that also featured Syracuse-bound senior center Bourama Sidibe, junior Mattheu Cotton, Rice University-bound Najja Hunter and highly-recruited sophomore Precious Achiuwa. With that crew of players, the Gray Bees ended up with 30-4 record and wins against teams such as St. Frances Academy from Baltimore, Our Saviour Lutheran from New York and perennial national powerhouses such as Montverde Academy of Florida & Oak Hill Academy from Virginia.
But Farrakhan wasn’t truly satisfied although St. Benedict’s finished with a great record and a great performance of 12 points and three assists per game. “It didn’t end how I wanted it to end,” said Farrakhan, “Of course I believe we deserved to be in Dick’s Nationals, a lot of teams that we beat – Montverde, Oak Hill – I feel like we could have won the whole thing, but overall, we had a very successful season.”
Another thing that can’t be taken away from Farrakhan is the dubious distinction of having played for a team that beat two major programs such as Montverde and Oak Hill, as a ninth grader, a feat that few freshmen rarely accomplish. “It’s an honor. All of the seniors, it was an honor playing with them this year,” he says of his first season as a Gray Bee. “It was a great experience. It was a good core group. It was a family. We came together when we needed to come together.”
In regards to the AAU scene, Farrakhan has joined the Team Rio National 16U squad on the Under Armour circuit and has been a contributor for them with 9.7 points per game. The squad features other young talents such as Jabri Abdur-Rahim of Seton Hall Prep, Jy’Aire Davis from the Sanford School in Delaware, Cartier Bowman of Notre Dame High School and Tre’Von Patterson from Rutgers Prepatory School. At the present time, this crew is 2-6 on the UAA circuit, but chances are that over time they will continue to develop.
“What made me join Team Rio was that I felt that it was a solid group and also another great coach in Mike Rice, he’s coached in college, so he knows what he’s talking about, he knows a lot about the game from a college coach’s standpoint.” says Farrakhan.
So far, he has gained collegiate offers from schools such as UMass, Seton Hall, UPenn, VCU, Wake Forest, Virginia Tech, Rutgers, St. John’s, Iona and Florida. But expect for those collegiate offers to blow up soon. And for those college coaches out there, expect to see this type of play from the young guard from Newark: “A passion for the game, defense, my scoring ability, my ability to get everybody involved,” says Farrakhan.
Aside from that is the fact that he has three years of high school left. With his talent, he may end up being one of the best from New Jersey when he becomes a senior. But time will tell what happens with him. But when asked what’s next in the future, he replied, “To have a very successful career.” Therfore, college coaches and crowds, stay tuned.
Highlights of Noah Farrakhan:
Courtesy of Primetime Hoops.
Courtesy of Krossover.
Courtesy of Hoop Nation TV.
Courtesy of Primetime Hoops.
Courtesy of Hoop Diamonds.
Courtesy of NJ Sports Scene.