SOUTH KENT, Conn. – In recent years, there was often one team in NEPSAC Class AAA that might give Brewster Academy a run for its money from a talent standpoint. That team was South Kent, and while they were right there talent-wise it didn’t always translate to contention. That often happens in the prep ranks, where many players are part of the team for just one season and as a result, it’s hard to build chemistry over time.
This time around, Kelvin Jefferson’s team won’t rival anyone for the most talent, but that doesn’t mean they should be counted out by a long shot. There is still talent, but there are other reasons to like this team.
Running the show will be Shane Rector (6’1″ Sr. PG, Bronx (NY)), who has been on the radar for a while now. A penetrating guard, he has a good body and can drive to the basket all day, finishing well when he does that. Here, he did other things, like knock down pull-up jumpers and involve teammates. If he keeps hitting those jumpers, he could be tough to stop given his ability to get to the basket.
Joining him at the point will be Quentin Weinerman (5’8″ Sr. PG, Westlake (CA)) and Robert Taylor (5’11″ Sr. PG, Wingdale (NY)). Weinerman has a mature body and was in a lot of plays, with the big knock being an odd jumper release. Taylor is basically a hometown kid, a lefty with a good frame and mature body who is not shy when it comes to shooting the ball.
The wing will likely feature A.J. Edwards (6’5″ Sr. SG-SF, Seattle (WA)), an excellent student who has a reputation as a shooter but didn’t have his best day in that regard on Tuesday. The lefty did other things, like handling the ball at times and cutting to the basket for a layup.
Right behind him will likely be Braiten Madrigal (6’4″ Sr. SG, Downey (CA)) and Greg Davis (6’5″ Sr. SF, Piscataway (NJ)). Madrigal had quite an afternoon on Tuesday, seemingly hitting every shot off the catch from long range. A very good student, he has a lot of academic schools recruiting him, and that should only pick up. Davis is a lanky wing with a slight frame who struggled shooting on the day and rarely drove all the way to the basket, usually pulling up for jumpers instead. Tuesday was a bit of an aberration as he often shoots better, but the results show he could do better by driving all the way to the basket more often.
Also on the wing will be a player who might epitomize the entire team in Kamall Richards (6’6″ Sr. SF, Brooklyn (NY)). The well-built wing won’t wow you with anything but was very effective on Tuesday and can do a lot of things, although none exceedingly well. A good but not great athlete, the lefty used his body effectively to finish the break and get stickbacks, and he has good range on his jumper although that’s not his forte.
Zach Brown (6’6″ Jr. SF, Spring (TX)) will also get time on the wing but will need to grow as a player. He has a good frame and is athletic, and he can also handle and pass. However, his body isn’t there yet and he seems to be feeling his way along right now.
The frontcourt was incomplete on the day as Reggie Agbeko (6’8″ Sr. PF-C, Buffalo (NY)) sat out with a bum ankle. Jefferson is high on the wide-bodied post player, who had the ankle injury before arriving on campus and has played through it off and on. That left Dusan Perovic (6’8″ Jr. PF, Podgorica (Montenegro)) and Nolan Long (6’9″ Sr. PF, Waterford (CT)) as the lone post players active on the day. Perovic was very active, getting a lot of rebounds, and at times was quite aggressive offensively. He has some post scoring tools and can run the floor, and isn’t afraid to use his left (off) hand. Long could stand to get his body in better shape, as he’s not the most mobile big man inside. He has some post moves but had a hard time finishing on Tuesday.
Although the Cardinals aren’t as talented as in years past, this team has a lot going for it. There isn’t anyone who will wow you with their talent or physical gifts, but many players are like Richards in that they could accurately be described as effective. That’s a good thing for them to go into the season with, especially since they aren’t lacking confidence and many probably feel like they have something to prove since only a few are getting much interest from high-major schools. Jefferson also likes the character of this team and says they’ve been a low-maintenance group.
Perhaps having less talent will be just what is needed for a little more success this time around.