WOLFEBORO, N.H. – It probably sounds like a broken record by now, but we’ll sum up Brewster Academy’s team on paper as we and many others have in recent years: they are loaded. It’s not just a team full of high-major prospects, although there are plenty of those. They also appear to have a solid mix of mid-major and low-major prospects as well to play off the elite prospects, and that’s not the only reason they will probably be the pick of most to win the Class AAA crown this season.
The first place to look is on the perimeter, which got a big late boost from the addition of Ron Patterson (6’3″ Sr. SG, Indianapolis (IN)). Patterson was set to attend Indiana before opting for a prep year, and he’s wasted little time making an impression in Wolfeboro. He has good length, is well-built and can really shoot the ball, even when reasonably well-defended. On Thursday, he was in a lot of plays and at times couldn’t miss from long range.
There are plenty of options behind Patterson off the ball. One is Jared Terrell (6’3″ Jr. SG, Weymouth (MA)), who is still recovering from a broken bone in his foot suffered over the summer. That means other players grabbed some attention on Thursday, notably Patrick Wallace (6’1″ Sr. SG, Charlotte (NC)), who head coach Jason Smith says has been the biggest pleasant surprise thus far. Wallace has a mature body and a quick release, and while he can shoot he also showed enough ability to handle and pass the ball as to not be one-dimensional. Robert Champion (6’5″ Sr. SG, Charlotte (NC)) has a slight frame but competed all day, as he was very active and showed a touch shooting the ball from long range.
Alex Hall (6’0″ Sr. PG-SG, Durham (NC)) is an excellent student and will get minutes. On Thursday, he shot the ball well from long range and found gaps to get in the lane a few times. Rudolfs Arnicans (6’2″ Sr. SG, Furmala (Latvia)) returns to the team and quietly hit a few three-pointers.
At the point, Kevin Zabo (6’1″ Jr. PG, Gatineau (Que.)) returns to New England, as he played his freshman year at St. Mark’s in Southboro, Mass. His body is now more mature, though it’s not there yet, and he looked to shoot more than before, with mixed results although he was better later than in the beginning. Martez Harrison (5’11” Sr. PG, Kansas City (MO)) will also run the team at times, but Thursday was not one such day as he sat out with an ankle injury.
The riches continue in the frontcourt, with Salisbury School transfer Chris McCullough (6’9″ Jr. SF-PF, Bronx (NY)) leading the way. Long and athletic, he is still more of a 4-3 combo forward but his skills for playing the wing are getting better all the time. While he missed some attempts to dunk home misses, he shot the ball better as the day went along and showed a left-handed finish.
Kyle Washington (6’9″ Sr. SF-PF, Champlin (MN)) might be as talented as anyone on this team, and that was on display Thursday. The long lefty has a good frame and a body that’s still developing, and he can score in several ways. Although he settled for jumpers at times, he doesn’t lack confidence as he will take on any defender one-on-one and can go up with his right hand.
Joining Washington up front will be West Virginia commit Elijah Macon (6’9″ Sr. PF, Columbus (OH)), a well-built post player. A plus athlete, he got hot from long range later, but the more important work for him will come inside at the offensive end since there is plenty of perimeter firepower on this team. With him and McCullough alone, this team should out-rebound most opponents.
John Edwards (6’6″ Sr. SF, Charlotte (NC)) returns and looks ready to be a good contributor this season. He has a good body and can do several things from the wing. Zuri Pavlin (6’6″ Sr. SF-PF, Manhattan (NY)) will play more of a power forward role but may see minutes on the wing. The lefty has the look of a good teammate and one who can play off the more talented players. He was in a lot of plays on Thursday.
Brewster once again has no shortage of talent and on paper may be the best team in NEPSAC. With a team this talented, the best hope for some teams is to beat them on chemistry or intangibles, but that might not be so easy. This is a team full of high-character kids, and Smith said it’s been a very low-maintenance group thus far. Add that in, and there may not be much that can keep this team from winning a second straight national prep championship in March as well as a NEPSAC crown.