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New Hampton has a nice mix of size, talent and experience

by - Published September 24, 2013 in Columns

NEW HAMPTON, N.H. – Even without a key component of the team on the floor due to injury, the New Hampton School had a good deal of size on display at Monday night’s open gym.  This time around, Pete Hutchins will have a lot of flexibility in the frontcourt to go with a good collection of wings, and in all it’s a team with a lot of potential waiting to be tapped.

The guards who will get them the ball and play off them look like a solid and perhaps underrated bunch as a whole.  Two in the mix at the point are Matt Dean (5’10” Sr. PG, Gilford (NH)) and Danny Levitt (6’1″ Jr. PG, Westmount (Que.)), the latter being another Canadian to come to the school.  Levitt was able to drive past his man and score a couple of times and also hit a mid-range pull-up on one occasion.

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2013 Boston Skills Showcase Recap

by - Published September 22, 2013 in Columns

BOSTON – The 2013 Boston Skills Showcase was held at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center on Saturday. College coaches worked with a number of high school players through drills and game action, including situational play. It was a chance for the young men to get better and show how they have done that, and a few certainly did.

Here are notes on a few who stood out on the day.

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After a championship, Phillips Exeter starts over with a young group

by - Published September 18, 2013 in Columns

EXETER, N.H. – Last year was a banner year for a couple of the best academic prep schools in New England.  In the case of Phillips Exeter Academy, the end result was a NEPSAC Class A championship, something one could see as a possibility before the season given the chemistry the team already established to go with its talent.  This season, there won’t be any championship prognostications, as the team is decidedly very young, but there’s no reason to think they won’t be worth watching as there is good talent and coaching.

Jay Tilton doesn’t have an easy job trying to win games at the most demanding prep school in New England and perhaps the country.  Last year’s championship is a bonus; players at this school have academic considerations that come first, second and third, and getting them into top academic colleges is the top priority as far as end results go.  That will continue, and given Tilton’s track record, there’s reason to believe this young group – there are as many freshmen and sophomores (five) as there are seniors – can grow and later develop into part of a winning unit.

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At Brewster Academy, emerging talent may be the story

by - Published September 18, 2013 in Columns

WOLFEBORO, N.H. – We’re used to Brewster Academy having the most talent in NEPSAC, so a trip up to the Lakes Region that ends with that observation isn’t really news.  This time around, the story may be the possible emergence of those with less of a reputation coming in as opposed to how good the team can be just starting with the high-major players they have.

It’s not surprising that three Bobcats are already committed to high-major schools and a fourth to a Mountain West powerhouse.  There may be more by season’s end.  But like their past teams, this team also has players who won’t play at that same level in college, and those players will have a lot to do with whether or not they hang another NEPSAC and/or national championship banner after this season.

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At Marianapolis, the competition begins at home

by - Published September 17, 2013 in Columns

THOMPSON, Conn. – The second stop of Monday was north of the first one, as Marianapolis Prep went later on Monday.  They’re not loaded with talent, but the Golden Knights have enough to be dangerous and collectively had a good workout on the day.  They will also have plenty of competition for minutes at each position, which never hurts.  That may prove to be just the right formula for this season.

The first place where there will be competition will be the point guard spot.  One possibility is Eric Murdock, Jr. (6’0″ Sr. PG, Bridgewater (NJ)), who has name recognition as the son of the former NBA guard.  A plus athlete, his body isn’t there yet although he’s not a baby physically, and he showed some range on his jumper.  He finished with contact and on a couple of occasions rebounded and was a one-man fast break.  The other possibility is Ryan Bernstein (Sr. PG, New York (NY)), who doesn’t pass the “look” test but is tough and can shoot.  He has a very slight frame, but knocked down several three-pointers and on another play drove and spun to get a layup.

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St. Thomas More has talent, shooters and a very intriguing prospect

by - Published September 17, 2013 in Columns

OAKDALE, Conn. – Jere Quinn is known for his ability to coach.  His reputation precedes him, and anyone who has followed his teams at St. Thomas More over the years know one thing is true: give a young man a few months with him, and he comes out a better player.  Looking at the team he has this year, it is similar to many of his recent teams in that there isn’t a big-time player, but there is plenty of talent and there appears to be a good mix of the various talents as well.

If Monday’s open gym is any indication, opposing teams will have to guard the three-point line against the Chancellors this season.  They have a couple of deadly shooters from long range and plenty of others who are capable of hitting from deep.

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2013 Boston Back to School Showcase recap

by - Published September 16, 2013 in Columns

BOSTON – The Boston Back to School Showcase came and went quickly on Sunday with 19 teams in action.  Held at UMass-Boston, where renovations to the Clark Athletic Center have come out very well and more building is happening elsewhere on campus, the event was a mix of school and travel teams and provided a venue for teams and players to get some much-needed competition at a time when many school teams are also in fall leagues, albeit often without those who also play football.  On a busy day of basketball in the area, many of the players and teams in the event were also busy with games elsewhere and had a full day on the hardwood.

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Putnam Science looks ready to continue its rise

by - Published September 13, 2013 in Columns

PUTNAM, Conn. – In a relatively short time, Tom Espinosa has built Putnam Science Academy into a program to be reckoned with. They have scored some significant wins and produced good players for the college level. There is reason to believe that will continue this season and that they are only just beginning their ascent.

As was the case last year, Putnam Science will be a guard-oriented team. And as was the case, there’s a good crop of guards to lead the way, and as important as guards are at this level that’s a good place to be strong.

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At Northfield Mount Hermon, a championship changes little

by - Published September 12, 2013 in Columns

NORTHFIELD, Mass. – Oftentimes at the college level, one wonders what a significant milestone such as a national championship means for a program.  In the case of Northfield Mount Hermon, winning the national prep championship last year means very little will change.  They will continue to be a school that combines academics and athletics as well as anyone, meaning that trips there will mean getting to see excellent students on the hardwood.

It still means very good talent, too, and this year, much of that talent is very young.  In fact, John Carroll has the youngest team in the history of NEPSAC Class AAA.  With that comes opportunity, namely the chance to mold a lot of young players.

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Point guards lead the way at South Kent on a hot day

by - Published September 12, 2013 in Columns

SOUTH KENT, Conn. – The hottest day in New England in two months was spent well west of Boston, starting at the South Kent School.  It was so hot, head coach Kelvin Jefferson opened up all the doors to the gym, and not because he wanted everyone a stone’s throw away from there to come and see his team.  In fact, because of the heat and resulting condensation in the gym, he and his assistant were constantly manning the floor to keep it somewhat dry, and the players worked out for less than an hour on Wednesday.

There wasn’t a player whose shooting would make for a punchline involving the heat, but the Cardinals’ strength is clearly on the perimeter and especially at the point guard spot, which is never a bad place to be strong.

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Coaching Changes and NBA Draft Early Entrants

The coaching carousel is moving. Keep track of the latest coaching changes right here on Hoopville.

Also, keep track of players who have declared early for the NBA Draft.

Your Phil of Hoops

Houston is trying to find an identity early on

November 28, 2014 by


Houston went on the road and was soundly defeated by Harvard on Tuesday. It’s a game that Kelvin Sampson hopes to take a lot from early in his tenure with a new-look team as they try to find out who they are.

Young UNLV team grows in Brooklyn

November 23, 2014 by


Teams often grow from early season tournaments, and that appears to be what UNLV did in Brooklyn. The young Runnin’ Rebels need the experience.

Simply put, Syracuse needs to improve offensively

November 22, 2014 by


Jim Boeheim didn’t have many things to say about his team’s offense, but that said it all. It’s at that end of the floor that Syracuse’s fate this season will be determined.

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2014 Prep School Tour

Missed a recap of an open gym workout? We have them all right here for you.

Sept. 9: Putnam Science Academy
Sept 10: Commonwealth Academy
Sept. 11: St. Andrew's
Sept. 12: Northfield Mount Hermon
Sept. 16: Brewster Academy and Phillips Exeter
Sept. 17: Brooks School
Sept. 21: Holderness School
Sept. 23: St. Thomas More and Marianapolis Prep
Sept. 24: South Kent School and Kent School
Sept. 25: Williston Northampton
Sept. 28: Wilbraham and Monson Academy and Suffield Academy
Sept. 30: New Hampton
Oct. 5: Worcester Academy
Oct. 7: Brimmer and May
Oct. 8: Cushing Academy
Oct. 9: Tilton
Oct. 12: Tabor Academy and Rivers School
Oct. 14: The Master's School
Oct. 16: Vermont Academy

You can also find them all right here.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

Some notes from the National Prep Showcase

November 28, 2014 by


The busy weekend that just passed also included a few games at the National Prep Showcase. Here are a few notes from some of the action early on Friday and Saturday.

New England Prep Schools 2014-15: looking back and looking ahead

November 3, 2014 by


With a series of prep school open gym visits in the book and the season not far away, here’s a look back at open gyms and a look forward to the season in the New England prep school ranks.

Marianapolis Prep will battle in Class AA

October 20, 2014 by


Marianapolis Prep is far from loaded with talent, but they have enough perimeter talent to be dangerous. As is usually the case, they will battle and be a tough out in Class AA.

New Vermont Academy coach has put together a contender

October 17, 2014 by


Vermont Academy has a new coach for the second year in a row, but they shouldn’t skip a beat. They have enough talent to win a lot of games and make a deep run in NEPSAC Class AA.

The Master’s School has good students and talent

October 15, 2014 by


The Master’s School has a number of good students, and they will continue to head to college later. This time around, they also have some talent on the hardwood and should win a few more games.