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Northfield Mount Hermon Doesn’t Lack Size

September 16, 2010 Columns No Comments

NORTHFIELD, Mass. – If you’re looking for size, there’s probably not a better place to go than Northfield Mount Hermon. John Carroll’s team has six players that are 6’8″ or taller, another is 6’7″ and three others are 6’6″. The shortest player on the team is a 6’2″ guard. In other words, they’re going to be taller than anyone else they play.

This year’s team also has plenty of talent and may be the deepest team they have had. That’s attracted a wide range of college coaches thus far and will continue to as the season goes on.

The two biggest players are brothers that return for a second season. Lucas Van Nes (6’10” Jr. PF-C, Dorset (England)) and Vince Van Nes (7’0″ Sr. C, Dorset (England)) have both improved since last year and figure to get more minutes this season. Both have more mature bodies and games, with Vince spending some time this spring and summer improving on the travel team circuit.

Evan Cummins (6’8″ Jr. SF-PF, Westborough (MA)) also returns for a second season at the school, and his improvement in that time is very noticeable. His body is maturing, he showed a good jump hook when he was on the post and hit mid-range jumpers and a couple of three-pointers on the day. In addition, he got his share of transition baskets as he’s running the floor better.

Ethan O’Day (6’8″ Jr. PF, Mansfield (CT)) and Ethan Mackey (6’8″ Sr. PF, Voorheesville (NY)) will see minutes as well. O’Day is lanky and had some good moments in Wednesday’s workout, while the left-handed Mackey was a little more effective. Mackey’s body can still get better and he operated well inside, making some tough finishes along the way. Right now, Mackey is further along physically.

DeKeeba Battle (6’8″ So. PF, Cairns (Australia)), who showed some promise before an injury ended his day early, will also be in the mix. He appeared to cramp up and did not return. John Golden (6’6″ Sr. SF, Freehold (NJ)) did not work out due to an injury.

A year ago, Tommy Carpenter (6’7″ Jr. SF-PF, Greensboro (NC)) was one of the most impressive players at the open gym we attended. While he didn’t repeat that on Wednesday, it’s clear he’s developed in the past year as his body is more mature and he showed improved ball skills, bringing the ball up often.

Armani Cotton (6’6″ Sr. SF, New York (NY)) got better as the workout went on. He got a few steals that he turned into fast breaks, and finished with contact several times. His body isn’t there yet and he’s a plus athlete, and late in the workout he knocked down a three-pointer from the corner. Jvonte Brooks (6’6″ Sr. SF, San Diego (CA)) was active and has a fairly mature body, and gives Carroll one more option with good size.

The team has only two true guards. Joe Sharkey (6’4″ Sr. PG-SG, Norwood (MA)) committed to Brown about a year ago and returns for another season. He didn’t work out with the team on Wednesday due to a student leadership commitment, but Carroll is excited with what he’s seen of Sharkey thus far and thinks he’s primed to close out his prep career on a good note.

Sharkey will be joined in the backcourt by Seton Hall commit Aaron Cosby (6’2″ Sr. PG-SG, Louisville (KY)). A year ago, Cosby was clearly in transition in more ways than one, and while the transition to being a point guard doesn’t look complete, he’s on his way. After a lot of work with assistant coach Matt Pennie, Cosby’s shooting stroke is much-improved and he showed it by knocking down several shots from mid-range off the dribble and long range. His body is more mature, and he used that to his advantage with several good drives to the basket where he showed a little bounce in his step. He’s still more of a scorer than a playmaker, but not to the same degree as a year ago.

Carroll said his two guards are playing well with each other, even though both project to play the point in college. While he has the option to play any of several bigger players as the shooting guard and go even bigger, expect Sharkey and Cosby to see time together quite often.

Last season, Northfield Mount Hermon reached the semifinals in the NEPSAC Tournament and suffered a tough overtime loss in the national championship, a marked change from a year earlier when they peaked early in the season. This time around, with more depth and even more size (they were hardly small last year), they might not project as favorites in NEPSAC Class AAA but could be right in the mix again.

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