The Boston Winter Invitational presented by Hoopville is on Sunday at UMass-Boston. It will consist of four prep school games, and among the participating teams are two ranked in the top ten of Next Up Recruits national post-grad program rankings and two more from Canada. There will be a little bit of local flavor early on, as the first matchup involves two teams from Massachusetts, one from close by and the other from the western part of the state but with several players from the Boston area. There will be good talent in the gym all day, and each game should be a competitive one.
Here is a look at what you can expect with all four matchups.
Boston Trinity Academy (MA) vs. Williston Northampton School (MA) (10:30 a.m.)
This game will have the most local interest. Last season, Boston Trinity Academy won the NEPSAC Class D championship, and they return much of that team this season. Leading the way is Bryant signee Nisre Zouzoua, and he has plenty of support on this experienced team. Williston Northampton is firmly in the category of up-and-comer, as first-year head coach Mike Shelton has this team off to a great start at 10-1 entering this weekend, including wins over two-time defending champion Phillips Exeter, Commonwealth Academy and Suffield Academy. They will have a team loaded with Massachusetts natives, though they also feature key players from outside the state in Ryan Richmond (Ontario) and Chris Hudson (Maine).
Commonwealth Academy (MA) vs. Jean-de-Brebeuf (Que.) (12:15 p.m.)
This game will have the youngest two teams in the event, with Commonwealth Academy leading the way as none of their players are older than their sophomore year of high school. Commonwealth has undeniable talent up and down their roster, but has also had the kind of growing pains that head coach Tony Bergeron knew were inevitable with the challenging schedule they have played. Jean-de-Brebeuf makes another trip to the Boston area, having competed here two weeks ago. While they are led by class of 2015 players like Joseph Chartouny and Simon Diallo Blais, they also have 11 players on their roster that are in either the class of 2016 or 2017.
South Kent School (CT) vs. Thetford Academy (Que.) (2:00 p.m.)
If you liked underclassmen in the last game, you’ll love this one. While these two teams aren’t as young as the ones in the prior game, South Kent features a half dozen underclassmen, and most are solid Division I prospects who will be big factors in NEPSAC this season and beyond. Sophomore Tremont Waters capably runs the show, with juniors Travis Atson, K.J. Santos and Jovan Grujic among those who benefit. Grujic is also a workhorse on the boards, just like Old Dominion-bound Aaron Carver. Thetford Academy makes another trip south of the border with some talent, led by their frontcourt of Joel Tshimanga, Levi Londole and Narcisse Kalamba and a backcourt that features Laval University commit Vladimir Thomas.
Putnam Science Academy (CT) vs. Rise Academy (PA) (3:45 p.m.)
The day closes with this matchup that features the team ranked third in the Next Up Recruits poll, Putnam Science Academy. Tom Espinosa’s team hasn’t missed a beat after winning 29 games last season and reaching the National Prep Championship. They also feature talented underclassmen, including two of the best in New England in sophomore Hamidou Diallo and junior Mamadou Diarra, while also having four seniors who have committed to Division I schools. Rise Academy is well-tested and has played games across the country against a number of top prep schools, so this will be nothing new for them. Rise might have a slight size advantage, and with no one outside the class of 2015 they have a slight experience advantage.