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South Kent Ready to Challenge For Title

September 16, 2010 Columns No Comments

SOUTH KENT, Conn. – A day after seeing the defending champions in NEPSAC Class A (now Class AAA), we got a look at a team sure to be a challenger to them this time around. Head coach Kelvin Jefferson has done well getting players from New York and New Jersey as a base, and it shows as South Kent may have as much talent as anyone, with a lot of lineup options as well.

A lot of the wealth is on the wing, starting with one of the top juniors in the country in Ricardo Ledo (6’6″ Jr. SG-SF, Providence (RI)). His jump shot wasn’t falling on Wednesday like it usually is, but he made some good drives and finished in traffic and also went to his left for that a few times. Ledo is long, athletic and loaded with potential.

Ledo’s primary support on the wing will be St. John’s commit Maurice Harkless (6’6″ Sr. SF, Queens (NY)). Harkless won’t bowl you over with athleticism, but hardly lacks it and his body isn’t there yet. He’s been focused on improving his jump shot, and in July it looked like that work was paying off. Here, he hit a couple of shots from deep and from mid-range off the dribble.

The other wing might have had the best day of action. Jabrille Williams (6’5″ Sr. SG-SF, Stamford (CT)), the son of former NBA player Herb Williams, is athletic and competes all the time. He shot the ball better than anyone on the day, hitting from deep (including an NBA three-pointer) and mid-range off the dribble. He doesn’t get much lift when he shoots and doesn’t have the widest frame, but has some good things going for him and may be about to see his recruitment take a jump.

On the post, Jefferson has three interchangeable parts. Rutgers commits Derrick Randall (6’8″ Sr. PF, Brooklyn (NY)) and Kadeem Jack (6’8″ Sr. PF, Queens (NY)) start it off. Randall has a good body that can get better, runs the floor well and can finish, but the lefty wasn’t the factor he can be on the glass on Wednesday. Jack has plenty of physical gifts, as he has a solid body and is very athletic. He doesn’t have great ball skills, but he runs the floor very well and shot the ball well from mid-range, getting better as the day went along. With added strength, he’ll be tougher to stop inside.

The other post player is Nemanja Djurisic (6’8″ Sr. PF, Montenegro), who returns for his second season at the school. Fundamentally sound, he battled inside with a few good post baskets, rebounded well and knocked opposing post players around inside with physical play. He also ran the floor and knocked down a couple of jumpers.

They won’t be lacking in the backcourt, where the point guard spot will be manned first by Cincinnati commit Ge-lawn Guyn (6’2″ Sr. PG, Louisville (KY)). A well-built guard, he’s not jet-quick but can get by his man. He showed a good shooting touch, with more shots going down as the day went along, and he gets after it at the defensive end. His backup, Anthony Jernigan (5’8″ Sr. PG, East Hartford (CT)) showed on Wednesday that the offense shouldn’t suffer when he’s in the game. He ably battled Guyn and was finding teammates often while on the move, and he knocked down his share of jumpers. The highlight of the day for him came when he grabbed a rebound and took it coast to coast for a layup at the other end. Next year, he may find a home at the low Division I level.

The other guard who was noteworthy is Andrew Crowley (6’1″ Sr. SG, Canton (CT)), a good student who shot the ball well on the day out to long range. Although he didn’t get a ton of touches, he was in constant motion, and when he was left open he didn’t miss.

Given their personnel, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Ledo and Harkless played together often, with Ledo at the shooting guard spot. That would certainly give them good size and scoring on the perimeter.

Expectations have been high for several years at South Kent. This time around, that was the case in the spring as this year’s roster began to take shape. With the interchangeable parts they have in the frontcourt and the point guards who can help make this team go, there’s enough talent to make a run come the month of March.

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