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At Brewster Academy, emerging talent may be the story

by - Published September 18, 2013 in Columns
author_kasiecki

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
hoopguy-yellow

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
author_kasiecki

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
hoopguy-orange

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
hoopguy-cyan

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
author_kasiecki

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
hoopguy-yellow

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.

… Continue Reading

Tilton not a big favorite but has the talent to contend again

by - Published September 11, 2013 in Columns
author_kasiecki

TILTON, N.H. – The halcyon days where Tilton was the unquestioned powerhouse of its domain in NEPSAC are in the past, but times are hardly bad there. You won’t find several high-major players with a possible McDonald’s All-American mixed in, but there is good talent. And if the Rams are in the winner’s circle come March once again, it won’t be a surprise for a few reasons.

The Rams have a lot of bodies and will have plenty of competitive practices, let alone games. The point guard spot is most symbolic of that, as they have two solid floor leaders who will probably play together at times in Gonzalo Santana (5’10” Sr. PG, Las Palmas de G.C., Spain) and Jonathan Joseph (5’7″ Jr. PG, Brockton (MA)). While Joseph has long been a sparkplug floor leader who showed a developing body and a good jumper on Tuesday in addition to his quickness, Santana looks like he could be the team’s emotional leader. The well-built guard was hot from long range on the day and will guard you all the way. A play that was symbolic of how he plays was when he was back on defense in transition and almost tied up a player trying to drive by him.

… Continue Reading

With lots of guard depth, St. Andrew’s can contend again

by - Published September 9, 2013 in Columns
hoopguy-orange

BARRINGTON, R.I. – The first live day for Division I coaches to view open gym workouts led to a school that was so close to a title just six months ago. St. Andrew’s lost a heart-breaker in the NEPSAC Class AA final to Cushing Academy on a buzzer-beater in a game they led by double digits with just a few minutes left. It’s a loss that still stings, but Mike Hart’s team has a lot of depth and should be a factor once again this season. That was especially evident on Monday as neither of the two best players on the floor were the two best prospects on the team.

The best player on the floor was Henry Bolton (6’2″ Sr. PG-SG, Portsmouth (RI)), a well-built guard who enters his third season at the school. He’s more of a point guard than when he got there, although he really starred on the day by driving to the basket to score at will. Besides using his quickness and athleticism, he finished with contact and finished with the left hand. The Division I offers have been slow to come, but if he keeps playing like he did on Monday that shouldn’t be the case much longer.

… Continue Reading

Abu, Terrell announce college choices in a special place

by - Published September 8, 2013 in Columns
author_kasiecki

ROXBURY, Mass. – As Abdul-Malik Abu and Jared Terrell made their college announcement on Saturday, there was much more going on than the headline attraction of two young men deciding where they be a year from now. While Abu had fun with it by grabbing the Oklahoma State cap and handing Terrell the NC State cap – before swapping them to the school each chose – there was also the reality of the setting and who these young men were, a point Terrell’s great grandmother drove home.

“Just remember that you come from Boston, Massachusetts,” she said to cheers from the packed house in a room at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center.

… Continue Reading

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