SPRINGFIELD, NJ — The Bulldog will be a Lion next season.
Senior guard DJ Alicea, the all-time boys' basketball scorer in Jonathan Dayton High School history, has made his college decision. He will be attending Georgian Court University in Lakewood.
“I picked Georgian Court because from the beginning, it’s always felt like a family, a brotherhood, and that’s something I can see myself thriving off of. Coach (Terrence) Stewart and I have had our conversations about me coming there next school year. There were a couple other schools in the mix, but I’ve known I was probably going there for a long time,” said Alicea, who finished his varsity career with 1,540 points, surpassing Dayton’s previous boys' record holder Kevin Doty (1,246 points), who played from 1974-1978.
To put what Alicea accomplished in context, other members of the school’s 1,000-point club for the boys' basketball team include: Chris Loeffler (1,243 points, 1994-1998), Joe Pepe (1,210 points, 1971-1974), David Steinman (1,204 points, 2004-2008) and Matt Paz (1,014 points, 1998-2002).
“The process was long and tedious. There was a point where I was getting anxious, but everything worked out. I’m glad it’s over,” Alicea said. “Dayton took a year or two to grow on me. I didn’t really start to enjoy high school until the end of my sophomore year.
"Everything just started to fall into place and I will never forget where I came from. I’m sad to leave my beloved friends and coaches, but it’s inevitable. I enjoyed my time at Dayton and appreciate everyone there that helped me, but now it’s time for bigger and better things.”
Alicea ended his senior season with 465 points (37 3-pointers) and scored in double figures in 71 of 72 games played, leading the Bulldogs (12-13) to the quarterfinals of the NJSIAA North Jersey, Section 2, Group I sectional tournament.
“DJ has the ability to score the ball at a high level, but never seems like he is forcing anything. I love that he plays both sides of the floor. He gets out in transition and shows off his crazy athleticism. I believe once he adjusts to the speed and physicality of our level, DJ will be very good for some time to come,” said Georgian Court head coach Terrence Stewart, who will be entering his sixth season at the helm next fall.
“He is all about his teammates and just cares about winning and that’s not typically said about a lot of players who score more than 1,500 points in high school. DJ just brings a competitiveness and great team mentality that we value in our program. He just competes during every possession and leaves everything on the floor. He has that same mentality in the classroom, which makes him an even greater addition to our program. We are very excited to have DJ.”
Georgian Court (9-18 overall, 7-12 CACC) closed the 2019-20 campaign with a team-record nine victories and will lose seven seniors to graduation entering next season. The Lions, an NCAA Division II institution, play in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC).