Johnnie Shuler and Jibreel Faulkner were both forced to wait their turn after transferring to Theodore Roosevelt last year. Shuler sat out half a season and learned how to be a point guard through constant repetitions after moving over from DeMatha, while Faulkner wasn’t inserted into the starting lineup until the last few games of his junior season after coming over from Takoma Academy. That developed patience has helped the two juniors navigate the commotion of AAU recruiting this spring.
Playing for the same club, DC Warriors, both Shuler and Faulkner are on a roster crowded with talented prospects – including swingmen Andrew and Aaron Robinson from Springbrook and 6-foot-10 sophomore center Sylvester Ogbonda from National Christian – and blending into games can become a problem.
After securing his first offer from Seton Hall near the end of the high school season, Shuler picked up offers from Fairfield and La Salle in the last week – and a number of schools have followed up with interest. Wichita State and UNLV are the latest schools to inquire about Shuler, joining Villanova, Nebraska, Miami and Quinnipiac as interested suitors.
“I would like to play out West, [ULNV] is like up and down,” Shuler said, adding that Seton Hall plays a similar brand of offensive ball. “It’s my style of play. Up and down.”
The University of Maryland Baltimore County gave Faulkner his first offer near the end of the high school season, which “didn’t make him cocky, but inspired him to get more,” Faulkner said. Nonetheless, it has given him an option, which in turn has opened up his game on the AAU circuit this spring. The DC Warriors advanced to the fourth round of the enormous tournament, Philadelphia Jam Fest, two weeks ago.
Faulkner, who said he has recently picked up strong interest from UNC Greensboro, and also alike Shuler has interest from Seton Hall and Quinnipiac, doesn’t feel as if he is entangled in the recruiting process with Shuler. They have different paths to take after high school, he said, and handle their recruitment independently.
But aside from gaining exposure, the two still have a similar mentality entering the summer before their senior year. For Shuler and Faulkner, AAU ball is simply what comes before the high school season starts again, and next season will be an opportunity at redemption for Theodore Roosevelt.
The Rough Riders finished 26-4 last season, but three of those losses came to DCIAA and DCSAA champion Coolidge.
“We’re just trying to do what we can, and right now, the goal is to take over our league,” Faulkner said. “The higher, you know, accomplishment is to get a scholarship at the end of the day.”