SOUTH KENT, Conn. – A day earlier, it was clear Brewster Academy was going to be a tough team to beat in NEPSAC Class AAA. If there’s a team that appears to have a chance at topping them on paper, it’s a team at the other end of New England in South Kent. There is size, depth and some star power, which means Kelvin Jefferson again has a lot to work with.
The star power starts on the perimeter, led by Chris Thomas (6’5″ Jr. SG-SF, Denver (CO)) and Ricardo Ledo (6’6″ Sr. SG-SF, Providence (RI)). Ledo has not yet made it to campus, but will soon, and when he does the Providence commit will give them a big-time scorer on the wing. Thomas had a wisdom tooth pulled earlier in the day, then was the best player on the floor in the team’s workout. A very athletic slasher who can be a showman at times, he has good range on his jump shot and can score all day, and Jefferson also expects to play him at the point from time to time.
Speaking of the point, that is likely to be manned by Leron Fisher (5’11” Sr. PG, Baltimore (MD)), a well-built lefty who was very effective at driving and dishing on the day. He’s hard-nosed and unspectacular, but the most important thing is that he looks like he’s effective. Local boy Dylan Benz (5’10” Sr. PG, New Milford (CT)) and Frank Bennett (6’0″ Sr. PG, Naples (FL)) are available as well, but Fisher and Thomas figure to handle the bulk of the duties.
The Cardinals have a wealth of talent off the ball besides Thomas and Ledo. Zedric Sadler (6’3″ Sr. SG, Detroit (MI)) is athletic and tough, the latter shown by how he plays bigger than his size. He shot the ball better as the day went along, but competed every second. Missouri commit Shawn Smith (6’4″ Sr. SG, Jacksonville (FL)) has a slight frame but got in the lane often to score on runners, while finishing with his left (off) hand and showing a jumper that has to be respected. Abdoulaye Harouna (6’5″ Sr. SG-SF, Niamey (Niger)) is a lanky wing with some athleticism who needs to get stronger but is an intriguing talent with some good fundamentals. Steven Pandales (6’1″ Sr. SG, Amityville (NY)) will get some minutes and has a little range on his jumper, while Riley Kirsch (6’5″ Sr. SF, Madison (CT)) will play the role of a spot-up shooter with size as the lefty can hit from deep but lacks athleticism and missed several layups. Another who can shoot but is undersized is Ryo Yamazaki (6’0″ Sr. SF, Saitama (Japan)), who really shined in the latter half of the workout in showing off not only his jumper but also a couple of good drives and runners.
Another wing who plays more like a small forward is Tre Oliver (6’6″ Sr. SF, Syracuse (NY)), the younger brother of Andray Blatche. An athletic wing, he was dangerous in transition and on drives, as he always goes up strong and showed the ability to finish with contact. He showed enough range on his jumper to suggest it should be respected, but he’s clearly more of a scorer.
Kent State commit Chris Ortiz (6’8″ Sr. PF, Brooklyn (NY)) is trying to expand his offensive game to the perimeter, and for most of the day it didn’t look good. Later, he hit a few shots from deep, but his forte is getting things done inside as despite his slight frame he is an excellent rebounder and is very active.
The middle will be manned by Kansas State commit Laimonas Chatkevicius (7’0″ Sr. C, Klaipeda (Lithuania)) and Isaac Freeman (7’1″ Sr. C, Manassas (VA)). Chatkevicius has a good body but isn’t the quickest player inside, a disadvantage he neutralizes by being very good at using ball fakes. Freeman was very active and got a lot of rebounds, and alongside Ortiz should help the Cardinals have distinct advantage in that area. He has a slight frame, but he can finish and score in close.
South Kent has plenty of pieces to work with, giving them a lot of lineup options. They don’t have the raw talent of Brewster, but they have a little more depth and can reasonably match up with them, so this is a team that should be in the mix when the month of March rolls around.