Aquinas’ Jeffries Commits to Robert Morris

Aquinas' Jeffries Commits to Robert Morris

Trojans Standout to Play for D1 School in Horizon League

NORTH EDISON, NJ—With the departure of standouts Quadry Adams (Wake Forest) and Derrick Grant (Southern New Hampshire) as well as reserve Derrick Golden (Montclair State), St. Thomas Aquinas is looking to the likes of junior guard Jaquan Harris, senior Kyree Henry, transfer Josh Rivera, and senior Tristian Jeffries along with reserves such as Jalen Jones and Samar Abdullah.

Like Harris, Jeffries has received a great deal of interest from a number of NCAA Division 1 schools. During the off-season, GMC Hoops had reported in early May 2020 that the Aquinas’ senior, who had previously played at Hudson Catholic and Gill St. Bernards before transferring in last season, received offers from six D1 schools including: Robert Morris, Manhattan, NJIT, Columbia, Stony Brook, and Bryant.

In early July, Jeffries picked up a 7th offer from Fairfield, another mid-major school from the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC). He also received interest from D1 schools such as New Mexico (Mountain West), George Mason (A-10), Providence (Big East), and Colgate (Patriot League). Jeffries then decided on August 21st to commit to Robert Morris of the Horizon League.

Transferring from Gill to Aquinas, Jeffries didn’t play until the middle of the season for the Trojans, but still made a significant impact on the team, which won its first GMCT Boys Championship since 1992. The Trojans, which also won its second straight GMC Blue title a year ago, finished 23-5 overall, finished the season as the No. 1 team in the final 2019-20 GMC Hoops Top Ten.

During the offseason, Jeffries along with Harris played on the AAU circuit for the NY Jayhawks. A year ago, Jeffries played in 15 games, but was still quite productive with 52 two point field goals, 21 three pointers, and 37 made free throws for a total of 204 points, or an average of 13.6 points per game. He also collected 97 rebounds, 45 assists, 39 steals, and 5 blocks for an average of 6.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists, and 2.6 steals per contest.

Over the course of those 15 games, St. Thomas Aquinas (13-2) only lost two games, one of which was a forfeit to Perth Amboy on January 18, 2020. The Trojans had actually won the game 89-41. The other defeat came at the hands of Christian Brothers in the opening round of the Non-Public A South State Tournament on March 4th.

Those 13 victories by the Trojans included a GMCT Round of 16 win over South Plainfield (77-43), an Elite Eight victory over Colonia (53-43), a Final Four win over Edison (72-55), and a 63-52 victory over South Brunswick in the title game at Middlesex County College. Over the course of those four games in the 2020 GMCT, Jeffries averaged 10.5 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists, and 1.3 steals per contest.

He saved his best performance of the tourney for last when he scored 16 points and grabbed 7 rebounds to help lift Aquinas over South Brunswick. In that game, the Trojans broke away from a 15-11 first quarter lead with a 19-3 surge in the second for a 34-14 lead before Justin Carbone knocked down a three from half court as time ran out for a 34-17 Aquinas lead at the half.

Jeffries scored in double figures in 11 of the 15 games that he played in a season ago. In addition, he had two games with 10 rebounds or more. His top performance of the year overall was a 21 point, 13 rebound double-double along with 5 assists and 5 steals in a 90-67 victory over Executive Education Charter of Allentown Pennsylvania.

Robert Morris, which had been a long time member of the Northeastern Conference, recently joined the Horizon League on July 1, 2020. Robert Morris joined Purdue Fort Wayne as the 11th and 12 members of the league. The Colonials also moved into the Big South for football starting in 2021 after going independent this past season.

The Colonials had become a power in the NEC in recent years. Over the past 11 years, Robert Morris won the NEC’s automatic bid to the NCAA Men’s Tournament four times including the 2020 season before it was cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic. Congratulations, Tristian on your accomplishment, and best of luck this season and at the next level.