Two-sport standout making most of opportunity at St. Frances (VIDEO HERE!)

Jahmal Banks’ play has been a huge reason St. Frances Academy boys basketball is 13-1 heading into the new year. Banks is set to depart in January to Wake Forest University where he will play football.

by Derek Toney

Jahmal Banks’ time at St. Frances Academy is winding down. It’s been relatively short, but highly productive.

The second-ranked Panthers defeated No. 11 Milford Mill Academy, 94-57, in the final game of the inaugural St. Frances Holiday Showcase at Phelps Gym in East Baltimore. Reserve guard Tevin Curtis scored 18 points and Banks added 17.

The East Chase Street school led by as many as 42 points, running its mark to 14-1. No. 5 City College and Woodlawn also picked up victories at the inaugural boys basketball mixer.

Banks, who transferred from Northern Virginia’s Bishop O’Connell during the spring, is arguably the Panthers’ most versatile player. Freakishly athletic, the chiseled 6-foot-4 Banks can defend multiple positions and get to the basket on offense.

“He’s an excellent mid-major recruit,” said Tom Strickler, longtime recruiting analyst for The Hoop Group. “He can guard three to four positions with his length.”

Football, however, will be Banks’ focus in college, recently signing a scholarship with Wake Forest University. He was the top receiver for St. Frances, which went 11-1 and finished No. 1 in the state media poll and fifth nationally in USA Today and MaxPreps’ national rankings.

He will be leaving for Wake Forest in mid-January.

Banks admits it will be tough leaving the Panther hoops squad, which is favorite to repeat as MIAA A Conference and Baltimore Catholic League champions.

“There’s no easy decision. I think about it every day,” said Banks. “I feel like I’m making the best decision for myself, my family, my future.”

“As good as an athlete he is, he’s just a special kid,” said St. Frances coach Nick Myles. “He does things the right way.”

The Panthers have already lost the services of senior guard Jordan Toles, who played his final game last week in the City of Palms Classic in Florida. One of the nation’s top defensive backs, Toles is preparing to play in the Under Armour All-American game in Orlando next week.

After the game, he will enroll at LSU.

“It’s going to be tough, but guys are going to have to step up,” said Myles about not having Toles and, soon, Banks.. “I wish we had them but I like the crew we got.”

Twelve players scored for St. Frances Saturday as South Alabama-bound forward Jamal West added 16 points and reigning VSN Player of the Year Adrian Baldwin finished with 11. Jermaine Goodwyn had 21 points for Milford Mill (3-2), which lost to Randallstown Friday.

City College remained undefeated with a 66-56 decision over Randallstown. Senior guard Dominic Carrington had 17 points for the Knights (8-0) and Kevin Obiajulu and Karron Booker each added 14.

McWhite finished with a game-high 26 points for Randallstown (1-3), which led, 28-26, at halftime.

Woodlawn defeated Salesianum School for Delaware, 62-60. Tyray Cooper scored 14 points for the Warriors (2-2) and Kiran Thompson and Dooley Riggs each added 13.

The Baltimore County squad led 31-20 at halftime, but Salesianum (2-6) rallied in the second half. Rasheen Caulk had a game-high 24 points for Salesianum.

St. Frances Academy Holiday Showcase

No. 2 St. Frances 94, No. 11 Milford Mill Academy 57

Milford Mill – Goodwyn 21, Gwaltney 11, Rhuebottom 9, Scott 6, McCain 4, Levi 4, Montague 2. Totals 20 12-21 57.

St. Frances – Ireland 3, Banks 17, Staten 3, Baldwin 11, Reese 4, Tayler 5, Robinson 2, Roy 5, Jones 2, West 16, Davis 8, Curtis 18. Totals 32 22-32 94.

Milford Mill 15 17 8 17 – 57

St. Frances 25 37 17 15 – 94

No. 5 City College 66, Randallstown 56

City – Booker 14, Brooks 6, Carrington 17, Leath 3, Cuthrell 8, Obiajulu 14, Kalu 1, Harrison 3. Totals 21 16-27 66.

Randallstown – Mason 5, Moore 1, Pettus 4, McWhite 26, Gambrill 6, Wells 7, Felt 7, Herbert 2. Totals 19 12-19 56.

City 9 17 20 20 – 66

Randallstown 16 12 9 19 – 56

Woodlawn 62, Salesianum School (DE) 60

Salesianum – Yelbert 4, Tiller 3, J. Montooth 4, Hinds 14, T. Montooth 9, Methlie 2, Caulk 24. Totals 20 14-23 60.

Woodlawn – Thompson 13, Cooper 14, Downs 2, Barnes 5, Allen 6, Lesperance 6, Riggs 13, Pickney 3. Totals 23 9-15 62.

Salesianum 8 12 21 19 – 60

Woodlawn 20 11 18 13 – 62