Aquinas’ Golden to Play Hoops at Montclair State

Trojans Athletic Reserve to Bring Great Upside and Ability to Hawks Program

NORTH EDISON, NJ—With the plethora of talent at St. Thomas Aquinas, the 2020 GMCT Boys Champion, it can be easy to forget that Derrick Golden is a fine player in his own right. Many probably didn’t realize that even with the likes of Quadry Adams, Derrick Grant, Jaquan Harris, Tristian Jefferies, and Kyree Henry, Golden was second on the Trojans in blocked shots with 27 off the bench, and that he scored just before the buzzer to end the first and second quarter in a 70-65 loss to St. Joseph’s at the SFIC Festival on January 5th.

Golden, along with the likes of Jalen Jones, Samar Abdullah, and Mehki Johnson made up a solid reserve unit on St. Thomas Aquinas’ first GMCT Championship team in almost 30 years. Now, Golden will get the opportunity to play on the next level. Earlier this year, Golden revealed that he will be attending Montclair State University, where he will play basketball. Golden, who was a standout at the JV level, and impressed in a couple games for Aquinas last summer at the 2019 Hamilton Park Summer League, played in 24 games this season.

In those 24 games with the Trojans, Golden made 30 field goals, three treys, and 5 free throws for a total of 74 points along with 60 rebounds, 27 blocks, 14 assists, and 9 steals, or an average of 3.1 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks per game. As a junior, Golden saw action in 14 games, and made 9 field goals and a foul shot for 19 points along with 26 rebounds, 7 blocks, 6 assists, and 3 steals. Adding all that up, Golden played in 38 games over two seasons for the Trojans, and averaged 2.4 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 0.9 blocks per game.

After only getting a season high of 4 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 blocks in action as a junior, Golden surpassed those marks in just the second game of the season against Mater Dei in the 2019 Friends of South Amboy Benefit Showcase on December 21st. In the 98-65 victory over the Seraphs, Golden made 5 field goals for a career high 10 points along with 4 rebounds, a career high 3 blocks, an assist and a steal. In the second session of the 2020 Metro Classic in Toms River, he grabbed a career high 7 rebounds in a 74-47 victory over Rumson-Fair Haven while matching his career high of 3 blocks.

Golden also matched his career high in blocks against Red Bank in the semifinals of the 2019 Buc Classic after grabbing 6 boards in a 78-29 victory over Sayreville in the opening round of that tournament over the holidays. He only had two rebounds in a 53-49 defeat to Linden in the first session of the 2020 Metro Classic on January 11th in Toms River, but his third quarter rejection helped set up a highlight reel breakaway dunk for Adams.

He also scored 8 points on two occasions against Spotswood on January 6th and Perth Amboy on January 18th, 7 points in a second win over Spotswood on January 24th, and 6 points in each of the final two rounds of the Buc Classic against Red Bank and Burlington Township. Golden ended up scoring in 17 of the 24 games he saw action in this season. He combines great athleticism with a tremendous upside, and that provides great potential for improvement.

Heading to Montclair next fall, Golden will be joining a program that is coming off an 11-14 season under first year head coach Justin Potts, who previously coached at Moravian, and won back to back Landmark Conference Championships before taking the MSU job. Also on the roster is another former GMC standout, Pete Obertan, who is a presently a junior at the school. Obertan helped lead the 2016-17 J.F. Kennedy squad to the 2017 GMCT Elite Eight as a 10th seed after the Mustangs knocked off 7th seeded Aquinas (known then as Bishop Ahr).

Other former GMC standouts have also played at the school including Middlesex High School 1,000 point scorer, Jarrett Bogus, Piscataway’s Rodney Freeney, who is the all time leading scorer for the Chiefs as well as a 1,000 point scorer at Middlesex County College, and Carteret’s Robert Jackson, who was a double-double machine for Jose Rodriguez’s Ramblers. In addition, Coach Potts also coached former GMC standouts at Moravian such as East Brunswick’s Addis Ralph, St. Joseph’s Tom Cicalese, and Monroe’s Chris Germano.

Prior to the 2019-20 season, the Hawks had enjoyed several solid seasons. A year ago, Montclair State went 17-10 including an 11-7 mark in the New Jersey Athletic Conference. The Red Hawks advanced to the NJAC semifinals before losing to Rowan. Two seasons ago, MSU finished 18-9 overall including an 11-7 record in conference play, and lost again in the semifinals to a Ramapo team (80-76 OT) that went on to finish 25-7 and reach the NCAA D3 Final Four in Salem, Virginia.

Congratulations Derrick, and all the best in your future endeavors.