2016 Basketbull Hoopfest, Mass Mutual Center, Springfield, MA
Thoughts on teams:
Putnam Science Academy: Putnam Science has a special team to say the least. Everyone knows about senior guard Hamidou Diallo and rightfully so. He’s a high major guy, can shoot the ball, has a high IQ, is a floor leader, oh yeah, and he can dunk the ball. He’s everything you could want from a 2 or even 3 guy. Junior guard Eric Ayala didn’t play much of the first half, but in the second half he showed that he means business. He’s a bigger guard, and is arguably the best defender in the country. He’s a tough player who isn’t afraid to do the dirty work and mix things up. Being that he’s only a junior, he’s got a lot of even more better basketball coming, pulling in most recent offers from Indiana and Memphis in the last week. Senior forwards Alexis Yetna, Isaac Kante, and Malik Ondigo are the height of this team, and they have a big presence down below. Ondigo is a tough, big, underrated guy who gets tons of second chance buckets. Kante has a great hook shot and is great in the post. Yetna is a great big presence under the basket, and also gets second chance buckets. KeAndre Fair is an underrated guard, who can shoot. Anything near the arc is his specialty. He can light it up, and next to Diallo they light it up. Fair is not the most underrated player on this team however. Jaheam Cornwall is a high major player. He’s small but tough. He is fast, flat out fast. He’s got college ready handles. He’s skilled and smart. He’s a great floor general, but can pull up if need be. Do not sleep on Jaheam Cornwall.
Cheshire Academy: Things begin and end with Chol Marial, but there’s Jeff Allen, Rich Kelly, and Nick Neihls in between. Allen is a tough SF, and he knows his role on the floor. He’s looking to make that extra pass, and can get the second chance bucket, or pull down the rebound. Kelly is a quick and crafty guard. He plays a very up-tempo game, and can shoot the three. You may recognize the name Neihls, as Nick is younger brother to Central Connecticut State PG, Austin Neihls. Shooting must run in the family because Nick Neihls can shoot. He’s underrated, and isn’t afraid to guard the best player on the opposing team. Marial played just as the rankings promise. He can block any shot within reach, and most of them are as he stands at 7’1. He can grab any rebound, and he makes second chance buckets look easy. He’s a high major player, and has years of high school basketball left to play.
New Hampton School: Things are clicking for New Hampton. Even without Kristers Zoriks (St. Mary’s) there right now, they are doing well. Junior PG Shandon Brown is excelling in his first season in the AAA. When he’s running the floor with senior Grant Robinson and Anthony Gaines (Northwestern) it’s a scary guard combo. Grant Robinson is a quick and smart guard that will be a steal for any college. Anthony Gaines is playing the best basketball yet right now. He was doing absolutely everything, running the floor, playing phenomenal defense, and of course, shooting from behind the arc. Senior forwards Walker Miller (Dartmouth) and Khalea Turner-Morris are a force to be reckoned with down below. Miller is unstoppable when he wants to put back, and Turner-Morris will block any shot within his range, not to mention he has a college ready body, and can pull in rebounds. With all of this said, Kimani Lawrence (Arizona State) is a shooting machine. If he gets the ball in his hands, that ball in going in the hoop. He’s looking a lot stronger, and knows it, and is shooting the ball great, and driving to the basket strong. With new coach Nick Whitmore, he’s making a special team at New Hampton.
South Kent School: South Kent is a younger team than usual with standout juniors Anthony Nelson, Christian Hickson, Malachi De Sousa, and Jared Whitt. De Sousa was the standout however; he’s big, young, and athletic. He’s got a very high ceiling, and looks ready to excel. Nelson was a great shooter from the 10-15 ft. range. He’s going to have a great season. Senior guards Kevin Smith and Alex Vilarino are a fantastic combination. They both are get-a-bucket sort of players. They make it happen, whether it’s giving the assist or driving to the basket themselves. Nick Washington is a college ready forward. He’s the complete player, he can defend any position, and while he may not look it, he’s fast. He’s got a bright future ahead of him.
Lee Academy: First things first, this team can shoot the lights out. This is the best team they have ever had. Shaquille Walters (Santa Clara) is the core of this team. He’s a great passer, and knows where everyone is at all times. He knows when to make that extra pass, or when to get a bucket himself. Miks Antoms and Arnolds Krauklis are scary from behind the arc, and almost can’t miss. The three-point shot is what kept them in this game and will be what makes them a team-to-beat come March. Big things are happening at Lee and no one should underestimate this team.
St. Thomas More School: To be honest, this is most certainly and rebuilding and learning year the Chancellors. E.J. Anosike (Sacred Heart) is the core of this team. He’s a versatile big, that’s got his best basketball ahead of him. And while he’s 6’7, he’s a force in the post. Tyrei Randall (Rider) is who holds it down from behind the arc, and if a shot’s possible, he’ll find a way. Senior guard Maceo Jack is another shooter. He’s great from the 15 foot range, and can drive the ball hard and fast. Senior PG Ty’jon Gilmore is and underrated guard in New England. He stands at 6’1, and has the handles of a veteran college guard. His IQ is high and college coaches need to and are going to take notice. Now looking into the St. Thomas More future, they have a sophomore guard, Jared Garcia who lights it up from behind the arc. He’s got years left to play in AAA and is going to be a high major player; schools need to get at him while they can. He’s only going to get better.
Northfield Mount Hermon: Northfield Mount Hermon is a deep team. Sophomore center, Max Lorca-Lloyd and junior forward Chuck Hannah were out with injuries, but that didn’t stop them from being up by almost 40 at one point. Senior forward Matt DeWolf (Brown) was on fire from down below. He’s unstoppable and isn’t afraid to dribble the ball around and find a way. Another senior forward Tomas Murphy (Northeastern) is definitely coming into his game. He was playing with a lot of confidence, and played a lot tougher than he has in the past. Senior guard Andrew Platek (North Carolina) is seriously only getting better. He just can’t miss from behind the arc, and isn’t afraid to drive and challenge a forward. Senior guard Kellan Grady (Davidson) is another guy who’s playing with a lot of confidence, and rightfully so. He’s a threat to shoot from anywhere, but he was hitting a lot of good 10 foot shots, he’s versatile. Senior guard Jordan Sechan (Bucknell) is another guy who’s going to see a lot more playing time as the year goes on. He’s getting smarter and tougher. His best basketball is yet to come. Junior guard Kai Toews just became a starter and he earned it. He’s a smart guard; he makes the pass most people don’t think is possible. He’s ready for his first year in the NEPSAC and is ready to make some noise. Junior guard Zach Light is another guy who’s ready to play, he’s a smaller guy, but his energy level is high, and he’s got some impressive ball handling skills. Junior forwards Davis Franks and Nate Laszewski are a bright future down below for NHM. Laszewski can light it up from behind the arc, and he’s a big guy, he’s also a high major guy. Franks is another big guy who’s going to learn from some of the best, and won’t have a hard time proving that he’s going to be one of the best forwards in New England.