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Northfield Mount Hermon sets out to defend title with youth and more size

September 10, 2012 Columns No Comments

NORTHFIELD, Mass. – Our 2012 tour through a number of New England prep schools began on Sunday morning with a trip out to western Massachusetts.  Northfield Mount Hermon played host to over a dozen college coaches on the first live day of the fall as they look to build on last season’s NEPSAC Class AAA title.  Many coaches came from elite academic schools, as the school consistently gets players who are also excellent students and continues to send a number of players to the Ivy and Patriot Leagues.

As has become the trend, this team will not lack size.  Five players on the roster are listed at 6’9″ or taller, and there is some size on the perimeter as well.  There is also some youth, especially on the perimeter, but there is some depth as well, and that should make for an interesting combination for this team.

The players who will surely be the heart and soul of this team are up front, starting with Harvard commit Zena Edosomwan (6’9″ Sr. PF, North Hills (CA)).  A well-built post player with good athleticism, he competes all the time and that was certainly the case on Sunday.  While he has good post moves and will score in transition, his defense is ahead of his offense as he has shown a tendency to struggle to finish, which was the case on Sunday.  Where his value really comes in, and why there’s reason to think there’s a lot of upside, is his intangibles: he’s a leader in every way, talking on defense and being a great teammate.

Joining him will be Princeton commit Peter Miller (6’10” Sr. PF-C, Winchester (MA)), who a year ago in Forslund Gym seemed an unlikely person to be described as such.  Near the end of last season, head coach John Carroll told Miller this will be his team, and after some better overall play in the postseason, he took off in the spring and summer and looks poised to continue the upward trend.  Here, he was the best rebounder on the floor, ran the floor well and was a big factor inside.  From a confidence standpoint, there’s a night-and-day difference from a year ago and that’s a big part of the change.

The rest of the frontcourt is younger, starting with junior Sem Kroon (6’10” Jr. PF, Greenwich (CT)), who has a near-perfect SAT score.  The big man has a good frame and showed some offensive scoring tools, and he also ran the floor a couple of times.  Josh Sharma (7’0″ So. PF-C, Lexington (MA)) is lanky and active and got better as the day went along.  The hope is that he picks up what Miller did going forward, as right now his lack of strength shows and he can be a black hole offensively, although he flashed some of his potential.  Collin McManus (6’10” So. PF, Bedford (NH)) has a good frame and some physical maturity, and had some good moments on the day.

Skyler White (6’8″ Sr. SF-PF, Seattle (WA)) returns for his second season at the school and looks like he did a year ago.  He has a good frame and showed the ability to hit from long range and finish with contact, but that and his body leaves you feeling like he’s leaving something on the floor.  Josh Hearlihy (6’7″ Sr. SF, Van Nuys (CA)), who once committed to Utah while attending Harvard-Westlake High School, worked out on the side on Sunday.

Yale commit Anthony Dallier (6’6″ Sr. SG-SF, Wexford (PA)) returns for his second season at the school.  While he was not much of a factor on Sunday, he will be expected to be one on a perimeter unit that has plenty of youth.  The only other seniors on the perimeter are Sam Donahue (6’2″ Sr. SG, Stonington (CT)), who hit 96 three-pointers last season but struggled to hit his jumper on Sunday, and newcomer Michael Fleming (6’1″ Sr. PG-SG, Lake Forest (IL)), who wasn’t a big factor in Sunday’s workout.  Victor Udoji (6’3″ Jr. SG, Randolph (MA)) returns for his second season at the school, and while he wasn’t a big factor on Sunday he was in his share of plays, indicative of a player trying to make things happen when not doing well offensively.

The youth movement is mainly at the point, with New York natives Jashanti Allen (5’10” So. PG, Elmont (NY)) and Daquon Ervin (5’11” So. PG, Brooklyn (NY)).  Allen looks to be very generously listed at 5’10” and isn’t jet-quick, though he is well-built.  Ervin looks more ready to contribute right away and looks to have a better upside, as he’s well-built and has a good frame.  It’s not hard to tell he’s a younger player on this team based on the relative physical maturity.  Ian Sistare (6’3″ Fr. SG, Dublin (NH)) might be the most ready to contribute of any of the young newcomers on the perimeter, as the baby-faced guard is talented, hit several jumpers as far out as long range and also worked to get open all day.

With Class AAA down to six schools this season, Northfield Mount Hermon will play a home-and-home against every school this time around.  They will play their usual demanding schedule, and while there is size and talent, it’s also a younger group overall, so there will likely be some growing pains along the way.  Still, few would have figured last season’s team to be Class AAA champions, so the lack of expectations from a first glance at this team only means there is room for growth.

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