(H/T Johnnie Photography)
It’s been quite a while since the Bergen Catholic Crusaders are considered to be one of the best teams throughout the country. Since head coach Billy Armstrong took over they have made great improvements and have a real chance at winning the New Jersey Tournament of Champions Title. The first name that comes to mind for the Crusaders is Xavier commit Zach Freemantle. Freemantle and his well put together supporting cast should do significant damage this year.
Who is Bergen Catholic’s star this season? You guessed it, it’s senior big man Zach Freemantle. The 6-foot-8 Freemantle had plenty of dominant performances his junior season, but didn’t start to get national recognition until this past NIKE EYBL season with the Playaz Club (NJ). Freemantle played great, racking up a ton of offers and eventually committing to Xavier. Bergen's big man is as efficient as they come on the interior, and his athleticism is evolving every day. Expect Freemantle to have a dominant senior campaign.
Bergen Catholic’s depth is what puts them into the national conversation this year. They have the 4-star recruit Freemantle, Saint Peter’s commit Doug Edert, senior division one prospect Jayson Earle, junior high major prospect Matt Zona and junior division one guard Raejon Figures. Edert is a sharpshooter and a vocal leader for this team. Earle is a good slasher who can be counted on to knock down midrange shots. Class of 2020 prospects Matt Zona and Raejon Figures are set to start this year and make big impacts. Zona stands at 6-foot-8 with a knockdown mid-range and three-point jump shot. Figures has a great feel for the game and plays excellent defense in the backcourt.
It’s a big year for the Bergen Catholic Crusaders, to say the least. There’s no questioning how talented they are, but will they be able to live up to high expectations in their first year on the national radar? With players like Zach Freemantle, Matt Zona and Raejon Figures who have each played at national events, the Crusaders shouldn’t have any problem dealing with this added attention. They have played great together in the fall and look like they will carry this on to the high school season.