Home » Columns » Currently Reading:

Vermont Academy looks to continue growing

September 10, 2012 Columns No Comments
author_kasiecki

SAXTONS RIVER, Vt. – When you pull up to Vermont Academy’s gym, a look off to the left of the main entrance strikes you.  A ski jump is setup there, a reminder that over 20 years ago the school won championships in that sport.  It’s also a reminder that the state of Vermont, known for its skiing, isn’t exactly a place where basketball would come to mind very quickly, even with the success of the University of Vermont a ways north during the past decade.

It hasn’t taken long for Jesse Bopp to get Vermont Academy competitive in the new-look Class AA of NEPSAC.  Entering his third season at the helm, Bopp put together a competitive group in his first season and a talented group last year that lost to powerhouse Tilton in the quarterfinals of the NEPSAC Tournament.  This time he has good talent again and should have his team in the mix in a Class AA where there is a lot more evenness among the teams from a talent and experience standpoint.

The team will first and foremost revolve around floor leader Daquien McNeil (6’3″ Sr. PG, Baltimore (MD)), who returns for his third season at the school.  Having been there since Bopp got started, he knows by now what the coach wants and expects from him, and looked on Sunday like he has plenty of confidence.  Athletic and with a good body, he hit a few shots from long range while driving to score less, but most of all he looked like a floor leader.

The best player on the floor was Richard Williams (6’5″ Sr. SG-SF, Brooklyn (NY)), who has a live body.  Athletic and with a body that’s not there yet, he can knife to the basket with some long strides, got out in transition often and has some ball skills that could use upgrading.  The biggest knock on him during the workout is that he could have done a better job guarding his man, a shooter, by getting up on him and forcing him to drive, but he instead gave him space too often.

That player is Marcel White (6’5″ Sr. SF, Lake Wales (FL)), who will impress you instantly when you see his sculpted body.  Unfortunately, that goes away once game play starts, because he settles far too often for jumpers, including contested ones, and seems to lack the ball skills to drive effectively and very rarely tried to do that.  He wasn’t bashful when he got the ball, either, so all in all his feel for the game needs a good deal of upgrading.

Hassan Hussein (6’8″ Jr. SF-PF, Washington (DC)) might be the most intriguing prospect on the team.  Long and with a slight frame, he, too, is not bashful and at times forced up some bad shots, and his lack of strength showed at times.  On the bright side, he’s athletic and hit a few mid-range shots, but he also doesn’t seem to have a defined game right now.

For most of the workout, Hussein was matched up on George Funtarov (6’7″ Sr. PF, Sofia (Bulgaria)), who was similar to some other players when he got the ball.  He was an outright black hole at times, forcing up some shots that weren’t good to take.  But he also has a relatively mature body and showed the tools to play a little of both forward spots, though he’ll most likely be a stretch power forward at the next level as he has some scoring tools but is just okay shooting the ball.

Steffen Ghantous (5’10” Sr. PG-SG, Los Angeles (CA)) hit several three-point shots on the day, a good sign because that’s one key thing he will be counted on for.  Sebastian Lopez (5’10” Sr. PG, Indianapolis (IN)), Billy Petzold (6’1″ Sr. SG, Detroit (MI)) and Miles Hearon (6’0″ Sr. PG, Saxtons River (VT)) will also be in the mix on the perimeter.  All four will get minutes and blend in with the bigger names on the roster.

With Class AA looking like it might be more for the taking than in a long time, it’s not out of the realm of possibilities that Vermont Academy is one of the teams in the mix.  If McNeil leads as he appears capable of and others play to their potential, they may have the formula to make a deeper run in the NEPSAC Tournament – all while many others in the area, including out-of-towners, think about skiing first.

Comment on this Article:







Advertisement

Coaching Changes and NBA Draft Early Entrants

The coaching carousel is moving. Keep track of the latest coaching changes right here on Hoopville.

Also, keep track of players who have declared early for the NBA Draft.

Your Phil of Hoops

Watson’s transfer will sting BU the most

April 11, 2014 by

bostonuniversity

Boston University recently saw three players transfer. The impact of the departure of one of them will be felt more than the other two.

Mihalich’s first year at Hofstra is over but will have plenty of value

March 9, 2014 by

hofstra

The first year for Hofstra under Joe Mihalich is in the books. Many expected that wins would be hard to come by, and they were, but this season was about more than that and is hardly a throwaway year.

Cornell’s future can only be better

March 2, 2014 by

cornell

Cornell has had a rough season, as could be expected given some personnel losses. It’s almost in the books, and the future at least looks brighter.

Hoopville Archives

2014 Prep School Tour

Missed a recap of an open gym workout? We have them all right here for you.

Sept. 9: Putnam Science Academy
Sept 10: Commonwealth Academy
Sept. 11: St. Andrew's
Sept. 12: Northfield Mount Hermon
Sept. 16: Brewster Academy and Phillips Exeter
Sept. 17: Brooks School
Sept. 21: Holderness School
Sept. 23: St. Thomas More and Marianapolis Prep
Sept. 24: South Kent School and Kent School
Sept. 25: Williston Northampton
Sept. 28: Wilbraham and Monson Academy and Suffield Academy
Sept. 30: New Hampton
Oct. 5: Worcester Academy
Oct. 7: Brimmer and May
Oct. 8: Cushing Academy
Oct. 9: Tilton
Oct. 12: Tabor Academy and Rivers School
Oct. 14: The Master's School
Oct. 16: Vermont Academy

You can also find them all right here.

We cannot load blog data at this time.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

Marianapolis Prep will battle in Class AA

October 20, 2014 by

marianapolis

Marianapolis Prep is far from loaded with talent, but they have enough perimeter talent to be dangerous. As is usually the case, they will battle and be a tough out in Class AA.

New Vermont Academy coach has put together a contender

October 17, 2014 by

vermontacademy

Vermont Academy has a new coach for the second year in a row, but they shouldn’t skip a beat. They have enough talent to win a lot of games and make a deep run in NEPSAC Class AA.

The Master’s School has good students and talent

October 15, 2014 by

mastersschool

The Master’s School has a number of good students, and they will continue to head to college later. This time around, they also have some talent on the hardwood and should win a few more games.

Rivers will try to build on a breakthrough season

October 13, 2014 by

riversschool

The Rivers School had a breakthrough season last year, winning the Independent School League. They will try to build on that with a team that loses a lot but also returns a lot from last season’s team.

Tabor Academy looks to have more depth this time around

October 13, 2014 by

taboracademy

Tabor Academy will once again be headlined by a frontcourt player. This time around, though, the Seawolves appear to have a deeper support cast than in recent years.