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Isaiah Philmore focused on five schools

After a sophomore season filled with individual accomplishment but devoid of team success, Isaiah Philmore decided last week to transfer away from Towson.

Philmore, a Baltimore Sun second-team All-Metro selection at John Carroll in 2009, averaged a team-best 15.3 points to go along with seven rebounds per game for the Tigers (4-26) this season. The centerpiece of Pat Kennedy's 2009 recruiting class was living up to his pre-college hype, but ultimately decided against staying on for the beginning of the Pat Skerry era.

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Duane Coverdale -- the director of Delaware Team Takeover and Philmore's former AAU coach -- said the 6-foot-7 forward is focused on five schools as potential transfer destinations: Dayton, Delaware State, Missouri, Oklahoma State and Xavier.

"He wanted to look at the lows, the mids and the highs, see where he's needed more than wanted, see where he fits in, and then make a decision," Coverdale said Wednesday. "There are no favorites or anything like that. He just has five schools he's looking at, looking at different variables and making a decision."With a first-year coach in Archie Miller, Dayton may be targeting Philmore for a role similar to what he did at Towson.

"They have shown a lot of interest and followed Isaiah," Coverdale said. "Dayton has kind of a full-scale retooling project after Chris [Wright] graduated. It's looking more like a full-scale retooling thing."

Delaware State is the one low-major on Philmore's list. Coverdale said the situation in Dover is "similar to Towson" in some ways.

"It was a rebuilding year for them," Coverdale said. "But they beat Morgan [State], who was favored to win the MEAC all year. They beat them this year. They've kind of done some rebuilding and they want a centerpiece guy. They've got some good players, four very good players sitting out, including two of Isaiah's AAU teammates. And that's pretty much what piques his interest in that."

Missouri's interest in Philmore was "a little surprising" to Coverdale. Former Miami coach Frank Haith took over in Columbia earlier this month and reached out to Coverdale after Philmore got his release from Towson.

"Basically, they're another high-major looking at him because they've got guys ready to leave," Coverdale said. "Missouri is basically looking at replacing another Baltimore guy in Kimmie English, a senior next year. That's kind of what they're looking for."

Philmore already has some familiarity with the next school on his list. Oklahoma State offered him in high school, and the Cowboys were in his final group of schools back then.

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"They feel that they need the kid to come in and kind of potentially be a starter after his sit-out year," Coverdale said.

Xavier assistant coach Rasheen Davis is the Musketeers' point man in the recruitment of Philmore. Coverdale said Davis coached Philmore at a Hoop Group Elite camp early in Philmore's high school career.

"He always followed him, liked him and wanted to see how he was doing," Coverdale said.

Coverdale said Philmore is finishing up the semester at Towson, noting that his professors, Skerry and athletic director Mike Waddell have all been "very cooperative throughout the whole process." Coverdale is currently formulating a schedule of visits, and trips could start as soon as next week. Philmore is tentatively eyeing a mid-May decision.

"He has to be very careful," Coverdale said. "He's got two years. He really has to be sure of what he wants to do. That's why we're going to be a little deliberate. The advice I've given him is to take his time and go to the school where you're needed even more than you're wanted. And try to get some success that you didn't get at Towson."

Baltimore Sun photo of Isaiah Philmore by Kenneth K. Lam / Nov. 16, 2010

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