CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – The lone commuter school in NEPSAC Class AA won’t bowl you over with talent or depth. They simply aren’t built that way, and not just because it’s not a boarding school. It brings plenty of challenges, but in Class AA everyone has a challenge of some sort.
Tom Nelson will field a competitive group this season just like in past years. They are not a veteran group, although a number of the key players are holdovers, so there is a future with this core. There isn’t a clear go-to guy, but there is more overall talent than last season and a clear potential game plan.
The guy who will lead the frontcourt and possibly the game plan is Mark Gasperini (6’10” Jr. PF-C, Brookline (MA)). He had a nice workout on Tuesday evening and looks like he’s made good strides, notably with confidence and his overall skill package. He gives them a big presence inside that the offense can revolve around.
The one other true forward on the roster is David Watkins (6’7″ Jr. SF, Dorchester (MA)). He’s made a pretty clear transition to a wing, though at times he might have to play inside to give Gasperini a breather. Of note, his jumper release looks better, and he continues to get better with time.
The Gators have just two seniors, both at opposite ends of the spectrum athletically although both run cross country. David Labossiere (6’3″ Sr. SG, Melrose (MA)) is as athletic as just about anyone you’ll find in Class AA, but he doesn’t have a great feel for the game. His jumper looks better, though, so there’s been progress there to go with him being dangerous in transition. Classmate Bobby Brooks (6’0″ Sr. SG-SF, Norwell (MA)) isn’t very athletic but can shoot and is a terrific teammate.
Where the potential lies, more for the future than now, is with a couple of young players. A.J. Reeves (6’3″ Fr. SG, Roxbury (MA)) is baby-faced and his body has a ways to go, but he has undeniable potential and will get plenty of chances to start harnessing some of it this season. Even younger than Reeves is Ben Teixeira (6’4″ SG-SF, Wellesley (MA)), an eighth-grader who didn’t work out on Tuesday as he plays soccer. Both will surely have some good moments to go with the growing pains that come with being young in NEPSAC.
Juquan Mills (5’9″ So. PG, Roxbury (MA)) is out with a concussion, but Nelson is high on him as a potential floor leader. Jacob Quiles (5’7″ Jr. PG, Lynn (MA)), who also plays soccer and didn’t work out on Tuesday, is also in the picture at that position. A player who will help off the ball is Adam Mikula (6’0″ Jr. SG, East Boston (MA)), who transfers in from Boston Latin School and can shoot.
The Gators will appear in a few in-season events in 2014-15. Included will be games in the Hoop Mountain Prep Classic, Scholar Roundball Classic, St. Andrew’s Holiday Classic and BallasTV Invitational.
In all likelihood, the Gators will want to make the offense revolve around Gasperini as an inside presence. He isn’t a go-to guy, and right now no one else is, but when you have a post player with his skills that’s not a bad place to start offensively. It’s not a given someone will emerge as such, at least this season, but the Gators have enough to battle for a Class AA playoff bid while building for the future.