DJ Germann managed to play both fast and slow this past high school basketball season.
The combination helped him lead the Egg Harbor Township boys to a historic season.
The 6-foot senior point guard averaged 16.5 points as the Eagles finished 28-6 and won the first Cape-Atlantic League and South Jersey Group IV titles in the program’s history.
Germann and EHT’s success have turned the Eagles into a basketball destination. In the past, many of the town’s top players chose to play for other private or public schools.
“It was a great year. I love every second of it,” Germann said. “We showed these young guys that if you just stick with your boys, lead and stick together as a family, you can go anywhere.”
Germann said he was constantly on the move and had a lot of energy growing up. His strength on the court is his speed and quickness. He is one of the state’s top sprinters in outdoor track and field. Few defenders could stay in front of him this season. Germann was able to penetrate opposing defenses to create shots for himself and teammates.
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“He was the key. He was the lynch pin,” EHT coach Cameron Bell said. ‘He’s tone setter. He’s a pace setter.”
But as fast as he was, Germann was rarely, if ever, out of control. He seemed to always make the correct decision with the ball in his hands.
“He was always in full control with the basketball in his hands,” Bell said. “He’s an intense, focused guy. He really only talks when he has something important to say, and everybody listens.”
Germann has a promising athletic future. The only question is will it be in basketball or track and field. He is the defending CAL and Atlantic County 100- and 200-meter dash champion. Germann will make a decision on what college he will attend and what sport he will pursue at the end of this spring. Basketball is his favorite sport.
For now, Germann will relish a basketball season that brought the EHT school community together. EHT fans packed home and away gyms during the Eagles runs through the CAL and state tournaments.
“Everybody started coming out to the games,” he said. “That was big for us. We made everybody come out and be a family.”
Coach and Team of the Year
Cameron Bells believes in Egg Harbor Township.
The Eagles head coach grew up in the town and graduated from EHT in 1994. His belief in EHT has helped him transform the Eagles boys basketball program.
Bell is The Press Coach of the Year and the Eagles are The Press Team of the Year.
“We have fantastic players,” Bell said, “who were completely selfless. No one cared who scored the most points. It didn’t matter to them who was in the article or who was in the paper. All that they cared about was that they won.”
Bell credited his staff of assistants – Chris Paskilides, Maria Edwards, Drew Hickman and Malik White.
“I think we have one of the best coaching staffs around,” he said. “They are so dedicated. They work so hard.”
Bell said the EHT parents also played a major role in the team’s success.
‘I asked a lot of them,” he said. “We practice in the evening, so we can have the place to ourselves. The parents did everything they could to support me and support their children.”
The Eagles reached the state Group IV final where it eventually lost to Patterson Eastside 52-45. EHT featured five senior starters this season. Senior guard Jay-Nell Reyes was one of South Jersey’s top defenders and excelled in the postseason. He was the MVP of EHT’s 63-60 win over St. Augustine Prep in the CAL title game.
Christian Rando provided timely 3-point shooting. Jamil Wilkins averaged 12.2 points, while Keion Elliot contributed rebounding, blocked shots and 3-pointers.
EHT is a combined 65-11 the past three seasons. The Eagles graduate several standouts, but as for the future, Bell has faith in the program he built.
“We’re going to be fine,” he said. ‘It’s hard to replace five seniors like this, but we have some guys who have been waiting in the wings, waiting patiently, waiting their turn. We’re not going to fall off. We’re going to be just fine.”