2024 NJ Athletics All State Basketball First Team

photo by: Anthony Ferrara

The New Jersey high school basketball season has been a showcase of exceptional talent, with standout players across the state making their mark. As the season comes to a close, it's time to recognize the elite athletes who have risen above the rest. Our New Jersey All-State Basketball First Team features players who have proven to be the best in the state, delivering remarkable performances throughout the season. From scoring leaders to defensive masters, and overall playmakers,  these athletes have set the standard for excellence on the court. We honor the chosen players who have earned our All State First Team recognition for the 2024 basketball season.

Dylan Harper, Don Bosco: Harper had a standout 2023-2024 basketball season for Don Bosco Prep, finishing with impressive stats including 604 points at an average of 22.4 per game. His performance peaked in several games, notably against Paramus Catholic and St. Joseph (Mont.), where he scored 37 and 36 points, respectively. Heading into the championship run, he elevated his game further, with a 38 point performance against a top ranked team in St. Peter's This impressive stretch of (30 PPG) performances in the last few games was pivotal in leading Don Bosco Prep to a championship victory. Harper's success has not only reflected in his stats and his team's achievements but also in his personal accolades, as he is nationally ranked number as a top 3 recruit and is committed to playing at Rutgers University. Watching Harper over the years has been quite special and his ability to create shots, attack the rim, and lock in on defense makes him a no brainer for our First Team recognition.

Tahaad Pettiford, Hudson Catholic: Following a challenging year sidelined by injury, returned with a remarkable senior season, contributing significantly to his team's success. Over the 2023-2024 season, he scored 527 points, averaging 19.1 points per game, and provided ample support with 221 rebounds and 123 assists, highlighting his role as a multifaceted player. Pettiford is one of the most complete scorers in the state with a deep bag on display to score from anywhere on the court. Pettiford has been crucial in the Hawk's key games this season, particularly in a 42 point performance against Roselle Catholic where he delivered on big time plays to get into overtime and ice the game. Pettiford's achievements have solidified his status as a top 25 player in the nation, and with his commitment to Auburn University, his prospects for the future look incredibly promising. Pettiford undoubtedly marked an outstanding close to his high school basketball career.

Matthew Hodge, St. Rose: Hodge had an outstanding senior season at St. Rose, showcasing his talent with a total of 511 points, an average of 17 points per game, and contributing significantly across the board with 200 rebounds, 106 assists, and 35 blocks. His performance was consistently strong, with impressive outings such as the game against Rutgers Prep, where he scored 38 points. As an international player from Belgium in his second season in New Jersey, Hodge has demonstrated remarkable adaptation and leadership, culminating in his crucial role in the Purple Rose's recent success. In doing so, he was able to lead his team to a Non-Public B Championship victory securing his legacy in the St. Rose history books. His size, skill, and awareness on the court has earned him national ranking in ESPNs Top 100 and furthermore a chance to continue his basketball career at Villanova University. In just his second year playing in New Jersey, Hodge has became an instant impact and widely recognized as one of the best in the state. 

Billy Richmond, Camden: Richmond's stellar performance in his senior season at Camden solidified his reputation as one of the nation's top-ranked players. With a scoring average of 19.1 points per game that contributed to his season total of 527 points, Richmond proved to be a powerhouse on the court. With many graduates leaving Camden High from the prior season, a lot of question marks stood around this team. Billy Richmond held his ground and made sure that the Panthers would be as competitive as ever despite losing some personnel. The senior guard did just that as he helped lead his team to a 30-2 record, a Group 2 Championship, and remaining undefeated within New Jersey. Richmond has a well balanced game that not only made him a star, but gave the players around him successful too. His most memorable game this season was against Hudson Catholic where he dropped a flashy 21 points in front of an Iverson Classic crowd. Richmond continues the Camden-to-Kentucky pipeline where he heralds a promising collegiate career ahead. 

Deuce Jones, College Achieve: Jones had an influential senior year, marked by his leadership at College Achieve during its inaugural basketball season. He racked up a notable 439 points, averaging 20.9 per game over the course of 21 games. His efforts were especially crucial in securing some significant victories for the school, ultimately leading them to a Group 1 state championship. Jones' standout performances included a 51-point game against The Patrick School, highlighting his ability to score at will. At times, some teams did not have an answer to Jone's fast paced play and could only hope that he had off-night. Jone's had been a journey man throughout his high school career, but delivered no matter what school he found himself at. Taking over as a leader on a brand new team, not many players are able to rise to the occasion, but Jones did just that. His accomplishments on the court have set the stage for his next chapter as he takes his talents to La Salle University. As he wraps his career as a champion, we recognize Deuce Jones as a recipient to the First Team All State.