Home » Columns » Currently Reading:

Cushing Academy may have the personnel for a breakthrough season

September 12, 2012 Columns No Comments

ASHBURNHAM, Mass. – Cushing Academy has at times seemed like a perpetually young team. It hasn’t been uncommon for Barry Connors to put a team on the floor with only one or two seniors, if there are any on the roster. This time around, however, he’ll have a veteran squad by just about any measure, as seven upperclassmen dot the roster and that includes most of the key players on this team. That’s just one reason to think this could be a good year.

The player who will make the team go is Kaleb Joseph (6’2″ Jr. PG, Nashua (NH)), who looks like a different player from last season. His body is starting to mature, and more importantly, he looks like he’s starting to “get it” on the floor. In addition to scoring well, especially as he shot the ball well on the day, showed better body control and at times carried the offense. His dribble could use further upgrading, as he lost the ball a little more than he should have when trying to go a little too fast, but all in all he looks poised to have a big junior year.

Joseph has plenty of good options to get the ball to. The primary option will be recent Butler commit Andrew Chrabascz (6’7″ Sr. SF-PF, Portsmouth (RI)), one of the highest-character young men you’ll meet. Chrabascz plays very well within the team concept and has a lot of ways he can score against you while also being a solid rebounder. Here, he drove often and finished with his left (off) hand, showcasing how fundamentally sound he is, and looked solid with his post moves. It wasn’t his best day finishing, but he drew fouls a fair amount of the time.

The most intriguing player is a newcomer, big man Cam Smythe (7’0″ Sr. C, Vancouver (B.C.)). Blessed with great hands, his body has a ways to go but his skill set and intangibles are big selling points. On Tuesday, he ran the floor well and got some transition baskets to reward him doing that, moved well near the hoop and showed he can be a presence. He’s sure to draw the attention of a lot of college coaches this season, especially if he can get in better shape.

The other key frontcourt player will be Matt Mareno (6’6″ Sr. SF, Kentfield (CA)). An active wing who is an above-average athlete, he could do very well if this team can run often as he got out in transition often and looks to have a skill package that is still on the rise. His lack of strength showed at times when he missed shots near the basket. Tommy Lemons (Sr. SF), a shortstop on the baseball team, will also see time.

Jump shooting was a problem for last season’s team, and that was no more evident than in the team’s season-ending loss to St. Andrew’s in the NEPSAC Tournament. There, the Penguins made just one shot from outside the paint and lost by four. This year’s team shouldn’t have that problem.

Joseph’s help on the perimeter will start with Jalen Adams (6’3″ So. SG, Boston (MA)). An athletic guard, he shot the ball well on Tuesday, including from long range, and also showed a nice floater in the lane later. Don’t be surprised if Matt Barr (6’1″ Jr. SG, Stratham (NH)) starts or at least plays a lot of minutes off the ball, as he shot the ball very well on Thursday and looks like he can occasionally drive to make a play and keep a defender honest.

There is more help off the ball among the more experienced players. Chris Mullin (6’2″ Sr. SG, Danville (CA)), the son of the NBA Hall of Famer, returns for his second season at the school. If this workout is any indication, he’ll be much-improved, as he shot the ball very well, made a very nice pass for an easy layup on another play and had a good steal that turned into a layup. He’s also a very good soccer player. Casey Woodring (6’2″ Sr. SG, Darien (CT)) will certainly get his share of minutes, as he competed all day and hit a few jumpers out to long range at the offensive end. He also made a nice pass for a layup off a broken play.

Also available is Jamie Carey (6’2″ So. SG, Raynham (MA)), although it may be some time before he sees much action on the court. He sat out last season with four broken vertebrae and is still recovering.

Quietly, Cushing Academy has put together a good run in recent years while being overshadowed by powerhouses like Tilton and St. Mark’s. In terms of raw talent, this year’s team might not quite measure up to last year’s, but the mix of players looks better and shooting the ball doesn’t figure to be a weakness. There are good pieces all around, and Joseph may be ready to break out and be the kind of dynamic floor leader that makes a team with these pieces flourish. That adds up to a team that should be capable of contending in a NEPSAC Class AA that is more even this year than it has been in a while.

Comment on this Article:







Subscribe to Hoopville

Enter your email address to subscribe to Hoopville

Advertisement


Hoopville Archives

College Basketball Tonight

We hope you enjoyed COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT during the 2016 NCAA Tournament. COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT is a comprehensive look at the NCAA Tournament hosted by veteran college basketball broadcaster Ted Sarandis, along with co-hosts Mike Jarvis and Terry O'Connor, both former Division I coaches. It also included many great guests, including Hoopville's own Phil Kasiecki.

The show aired on AM 710 WOR in New York City on Sunday evenings starting with Selection Sunday and running through the NCAA Tournament.

Here are links to the shows:

March 13, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 20, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 27, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

April 3, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

Everybody Needs a Head Coach

Former college basketball coach Mike Jarvis has a new book out, Everybody Needs a Head Coach.

"As you read this book, I hope that Coach Jarvis' experiences inspire you to find your purpose in life."
-Patrick Ewing, NBA Hall of Fame center

"Mike Jarvis' is one of my special friends. I am so pleased that he has taken the time to write this fabulous book."
-Mike Krzyzewski, Five-time NCAA championship head coach, Duke Blue Devils

"In reading this book, I can see that Mike hasn't lost his edge or his purpose. Readers should take a look at what he has to say."
-Jim Calhoun, Three-time NCAA champion, UConn Men's basketball

Review on Hoopville coming soon!

Hoopville Podcasts

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – January 20, 2017

January 20, 2017 by

In our latest podcast, we touch on a number of issues affecting conferences like Conference USA, as well as a big loss for Creighton, less mystery in Arizona, and more on the ACC as we look forward to the weekend.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – January 12, 2017

January 12, 2017 by

In our latest podcast, we talk about a short stint in the top spot of the polls, some developments in the Mountain West Conference, and more of the ACC before closing with the Big East and Atlantic 10.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – December 24, 2016

December 24, 2016 by

In our latest podcast, we talk about the great games Kentucky has been a part of lately. We go on to other ACC matters involving arch rivals, as well as some quick hits and a conference race that should be as good as expected.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – December 16, 2016

December 16, 2016 by

In our latest podcast, we talk about a coaching legend reaching a milestone, the defending champs looking very good and continuing their winning ways close to home, and some off-court news during a light week of game action.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – November 29, 2016

November 29, 2016 by

Early season tournaments are the focus in this episode, with a look at how strong a few Big East teams are out of the gate and how strong the ACC could be. Plus one SEC team had a big week outside the scope of tournaments.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

2016 Boston Back to School Showcase notes

September 12, 2016 by

We look back at the 2016 Boston Back to School Showcase, where a couple of Boston City League teams were among the most impressive on the day.

2016 Hoopville Spring Finale championship recap

June 28, 2016 by

We look back at the championship games of the 2016 Hoopville Spring Finale, which had a big local flavor as one might have expected.

2016 Hoopville Spring Finale preview

June 24, 2016 by

We look ahead to the 2016 Hoopville Spring Finale, held at a familiar location in Boston.

At the 2016 Boston Shootout, host BABC has a big day

June 8, 2016 by

Sunday was a big day for the host program at the 44th Boston Shootout

2015 Boston Back to School Showcase recap

September 18, 2015 by

The Boston Back to School Showcase gave high school teams from three states and north of the border a chance for a couple of early games. We take a look back at the day and a few who stood out.