Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Québécois Greer rejoindra Penn State

Anthony-John (A.J.) Greer, a left wing from Quebec, committed to Penn State Monday evening and announced his decision on Twitter. After a quiet couple of months on the recruiting front, Greer joins Conor Garland to become the second new Nittany Lion in the span of seven days.

A.J. Greer

Left Wing
Kimball Union Academy (Prep)
6'2", 185 pounds
Repentigny, QC
DOB 12/4/1996


Season   Team                   Lge    GP    G    A  Pts  PIM

2011-12  Collège Esther-Blondin Mdgt   42   15   13   28   75

The verbal comes in the aftermath of a campus visit last Friday, which apparently went extremely well (that day, he tweeted "Wow whatta day at penn state! Great people, cant wait to see what happens #wouldbeadreamcometrue"). I suppose at some point since then, he figured "well, if it would be a dream come true, and I have the power to make it happen... why don't I?

Last year, Greer played with Collège Esther-Blondin in Joliette, Quebec, a town roughly an hour north of Montreal (Repentigny lies about halfway between the two, in case you were wondering). For the Phénix, he was fifth in goal scoring on a 26-5-4 regular season team that won the Quebec Midget AAA League. He seemed to save his best for the big stages - like the league's championship series, where he scored the title-winning goal to cap off his run of seven goals and three assists in 13 playoff games.

Another example? How about the 2012 Telus Cup, Canada's national midget championships?

In Collège Esther-Blondin's tournament-opening win, Greer scored the first goal of the game and added a late assist. The Phénix advanced all the way to the final, where he assisted on the 2-0 goal en route to a 5-1 Esther-Blondin lead through two periods... before the Red Deer Rebels came all the way back to win in double overtime, relegating Greer to a silver medal.

More? Okay, there's his goal in the final of this past year's Reebok Midget AAA Challenge. I embedded that one in this week's Three Stars post, so I'll change things up with this sick mid-season goal:

It's hard not to like a player capable of a subtle takeaway on one end and finishing the transition on the other in a way that makes play-by-play guys yell "ET LE BUT!" with particular emphasis. Here's a second opinion on his abilities:
Interesting player who could develop into a nice power forward. Has made it clear that he is interested in prep school/NCAA hockey. A late ’96, he was quiet in the game we saw, but you could tell that he has skill and potential.
In sort of a different sense and with a different type of pressure, the Beantown Classic also counts as a big stage. Winning a championship there isn't necessarily something that will end up on your Wikipedia page someday, but it is one of the pre-eminent showcase events in the hockey world and as such, it can be vital to a player's advancement. At the summer event August 13th through 15th and in the full view of scouts from just about everywhere (including PSU assistant Matt Lindsay, who ran point on Greer's recruitment), the large prospect had a great time of things. He helped his team, the Titans, to the championship game with three goals and an assist in five games (the three goals were tied for fifth-best in the showcase's Futures Division, for 1995, 1996 and 1997 birth years).

Greer won't have the chance to avenge that Telus Cup loss, by the way, as he's moving on to Kimball Union Academy, a Division I prep school in Meriden, NH, this season. He will be a sophomore on a Wildcat team that went 27-4-4 in 2011-2012 and won the Piatelli/Simmons tournament for the New England small school championship. With someone like Greer now on board, there's a pretty good chance KUA is counting on a quick reload.

Penn State is a new program, and by definition incapable of reloading at this juncture. However, with Greer and the others arriving on campus in 2014 and 2015, it seems clear that the Nittany Lions have every intention of competing for something more than moral victories by that time.

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