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Brewster Has Plenty of Talent Again

September 15, 2010 Columns 2 Comments

WOLFEBORO, N.H. – The first thing Jason Smith notes about his team is that they have a lot of pieces. That there is talent is obvious and expected; year in and year out, his Brewster Academy team isn’t lacking in that department, and it’s helped lead to two NEPSAC Class A titles in the past three years and a national championship last year. This year’s team has a good mix that could lead to what he wants: another banner.

The first piece is the leadership, and almost as soon as you walk in the gym it’s clear whose team this is. Naadir Tharpe (6’0″ Sr. PG, Worcester (MA)) is back for his third season and runs the team in more ways than one. He’s the team’s vocal leader and showed once again that he’s a high-major floor leader, finding open shooters all day and knocking down his fair share of shots, although he wasn’t lights out like he was last year when we saw him at an open gym. His body is getting there physically, and the one-time Providence commit is wide open on his recruitment at the moment.

The main recipient of Tharpe’s passes was Max Hooper (6’6″ Sr. SG-SF, Irvine (CA)), who seemed to never miss a shot from deep. He got white-hot early on and never cooled down, constantly hitting off the catch even when he didn’t appear to be in a good spot to shoot. He also hit a few mid-range shots off the dribble, and although he’s not the most physically gifted and could use some strength, he battled all day on defense. Also an excellent student, he’s caught the eye of some elite academic Division I schools like those in the Ivy and Patriot Leagues.

Elijah Carter (6’2″ Sr. PG-SG, Paterson (NJ)) will get time at both guard spots. More of a scorer than a point guard, he had his moments on the day where he showed he can put points on the board although he needs to get stronger. He’ll probably back up Tharpe from time to time at the point.

Also figuring into the backcourt will be Khalid McCaskill (6’4″ Sr. SG-SF, New York (NY)) and Rudolfs Arnicams (6’2″ So. SG, Latvia). Smith says McCaskill, an athletic wing whose body isn’t there yet, has started out well, and thinks Arnicams could be productive in a year or so. Right now, the baby-faced guard is basically a player of the future, although he’s been a pleasant surprise and had a few good moments on Tuesday.

The most talented wing is Jakarr Sampson (6’8″ Sr. SF, Barberton (OH)). Very long and athletic, albeit with a slight frame, there’s lots of potential in him and there were plays where his length helped him out. The big knock on him is his jump shot, as he tends to turn his body when going up and on other occasions he didn’t square up as he shot the ball.

Pittsburgh commit Durand Johnson (6’6″ Sr. SG-SF, Baltimore (MD)) will surely get plenty of time on the wing. His body can still get better and he shot the ball well on the day, and he’s shown what he can do playing for the Baltimore-based Cecil Kirk program over the years. Also on the wing is Deonte Burton (6’5″ So. SG-SF, Milwaukee (WI)), who is quite a physical specimen as he’s a well-built athlete with big hands. He’s physical and battled a bigger man much of the day, and while the lefty didn’t shine offensively he had his moments.

The low post has a couple of big bodies, starting with Villanova commit Markus Kennedy (6’9″ Sr. PF-C, Philadelphia (PA)). The well-traveled post player looks like he put some weight on over the past couple of months, but still moves his body well inside. He’s a load in the post and can overpower his man, is active and will get some stickbacks, especially when he battles like he did on Tuesday. In addition, on several occasions he zipped a quick outlet pass to a guard and has some ability facing the basket. If he gets in better shape, he’ll just get that much better.

The other post player is Mitch McGary (6’9″ Jr. PF, Chesterton (IN)), who has made a good impression since arriving in Wolfeboro. The lefty is well-built and can get stronger, and while he’s not smooth he will battle inside, although Burton was clearly testing him by knocking him around. He banked home a couple of mid-range jumpers and was around the ball often.

The talent is there, as is usually the case, for another title run. Having a shooter like Hooper will surely open up a lot for the post players and driving guards, and Johnson showed he’s a threat to knock down shots from there as well. There’s athleticism, shooting, post scoring and some toughness, meaning this team should be in the mix once again come March.

Currently there are "2 comments" on this Article:

  1. […] will hone his hoops prowess for at prep school at Brewster Academy, which is among the most loaded prep school teams in the country.  Sampson will play against some stellar competition, including against future […]

  2. […] will hone his hoops prowess for at prep school at Brewster Academy, which is among the most loaded prep school teams in the country.  Sampson will play against some stellar competition, including against future […]

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