Providence native and consensus top 100 prospect David Duke Jr. announced via his Twitter page that he has decided to pledge to Head Coach Ed Cooley and Providence College.
It’s that time of the year where brackets tore up within the first day of play, Cinderella teams and a collegiate team is crowned champion. It’s the Madness of March and emotions are running wild.
The 2017 NCCAA Men’s Basketball tournament has a New England influence to it that reflects the reason why prospects in the region are heavily recruited.
With more than five dozen former New England HS/Prep players on half of the teams in the field we had a chance to get a glimpse of selection Sunday from a player’s point of view.
“It was an amazing feeling; we actually watch it on a little T.V. at a little restaurant in the airport. When we saw our name it was just an unreal feeling.” – Jared Terrell (Brewster Academy/URI)
“It was a great feeling honestly!… It’s just crazy to think we’re playing UCLA in Cali. Should be fun and exciting, we’re looking forward to the challenge definitely.” – Kevin Zabo (Brewster Academy/Kent St.)
For many players in the field it’s their first time so emotions run high. When a team is ranked you’re already locked into the field. But when you’re unranked and team who gave it their all it’s a different type of feeling come Sunday.
“It’s a good feeling, real excited, anxious to start the last chapter of my career and ready to make it a good one.” – Scoochie Smith (Putnam Science Academy/Dayton)
“Well I’ve never been in this position before so it’s kind of a surreal feeling; you grow up dreaming of time like this. When the show starts you get nervous right away. You don’t know what can happen. But once you see your name you just get an exciting rush, it’s a great feeling.” – Terance Mann (Tilton/FSU)
Whether the emotions are nervousness or anxiousness the end result is happiness and feeling of preparation for the big dance. Not the type you get dressed up for to attend prom but a similar ending to earn that crown as the best of the best in the 2017 bracket field. Only one can be crowned a champion and New England has over five dozen reasons why they make that dream reality.
Lowell gave their best shot at handing Cambridge their first loss of the season but fell short.
Lowell’s junior guard Alex Rivera went for 37 points and 10 rebounds against the reigning MIAA Div. 1 state champions Cambridge Rindge & Latin. But the Falcons Dynamic Duo Jakigh Dottin (23 points) and Dimon Carrigan (14 points) made sure that their back 2 back title hopes stayed alive.
The Falcons got out to a quick 22-7 lead with their up-tempo style of play and hardnosed on ball defense. The 2nd qtr. sang a different song as Lowell was able to cut into the Falcone lead. With a 30-22 lead going into the 2nd half, the Falcons knew they were in for a battle.
Kareem Octavien and Alex Rivera put up one of the best single quarter performances this post season. Rivera did his from behind the arc and getting into the lane for his signature tear drops. Octavien had a purpose to secure his teams lead that they were able to maintain. Although Rivera notched his 1,000th career point, Octavien wanted to let all those in attendance know that the game was not over.
The Falcons cleaned up a 70-63 win despite Lowell’s efforts to claw back into the game. But the Falcons efforts on the boards appeared to be too much.
Falcons wait to play the winner of Everett vs. Central Catholic tonight.
The NEPSAC championship Sunday held at both Rhode Island College and Clark University capped off the end of the prep season. With match ups in six divisions looking to crown a 2017 winner in each of wasn’t easy.
St. Luke’s Goes Back 2 Back in Class C
After going back to back as FAA champs, St. Luke’s said to themselves why stop there. The reigning Class C champs stormed their way to a 74-65 win against Green Farms Academy.
Everything has come in the form of two’s for Head Coach Drew Gladstone having finished with a 49-2 record in the past 2 seasons, having went back 2 back in regular and postseason titles, Walter Whyte finishing with his 2nd Class finals MVP honors.
But four individual performances formed a great team win for the St. Luke’s Storm. Lead by Walter Whyte alongside Jonas Harper (14pts), Andrew Varoli (10pts), and Joel Boyce (12pts) combined for 61 of their teams 74 points.
Sunday Okeke finished with 23 points for Green Farms Academy.
Brooks Takes Over Class B
The Brooks boys’ basketball team finished the season with a 25-0 record. But none greater than solidify a back 2 back Class B title against Marianapolis Prep Sunday evening.
When opening up the game on an 18-2 run it was made clear that the Brooks School wanted this title. But when you have a core of your production coming from five seniors there no question why the lead ballooned so quickly
Brooks took a 36-11 lead going into the half and the 2nd half was no different.
Brown commit Tamenang Choh finished with 16 points to lead all scorers in route to an MVP honor.
Brooks would complete a 68-32 win over Marianapolis Prep to secure their second Class B title in 2 years.
Brewster Slam Dunks AAA Win
The tone was set for the Brewster Academy Bobcats when junior wing Sidney Wilson connected on 5 dunks in the first. It was a sign to how dominant the Bobcats were against Northfield Mt. Hermon
The Bobcats took a 45-26 lead going into the half. The second half was owned by UConn commit Makai Ashton-Langford who sliced his way into the lane consecutively to keep the Bobcats lead going. Ashton-Langford earned MVP honors to the tune of a 89-62 win
Cushing Wins AA
In his first year as head coach of Cushing Academy, James Cormier made his claim as one of the premier coaches in the region with a 57-50 win over Tilton.
Some of the best guards were on display in this match up featuring David Dukes and Virginia Tech commit Wabissa Bede. The duo had a back and forth back with Tilton’s dynamic guard Marcus Zegarowski who was lighting up the first half from deep.
A very close contest throughout Cushing was able to take a 35-30 lead going into the half. But no matter how close the Ram got, Wabissa Bede always came back with answer on both ends of the floor.
Wabissa Bede lead his team with 17 points and a MVP honor so lock up his prep career.
Phillips Exeter Takes Home Class A
Javonte McCoy and Jacob Grandison combined for 40 points in a dominate Phillips Exeter win. Suffield Academy would keep the game close at times but not enough to gain a lead.
Phillips Exeter went on to with their third class title in five seasons with a 63-58 win over Suffield Academy. Jacob Grandison an uncommitted senior earned MVP honors.
Charles Mitchell put on a shooting clinic last night at the MLK Invitational held at Northeastern University. The New Mission Titans hosted Springfield Putnam Academy in a lopsided 67-47 victory.
Mitchell led the spark for the Titans who scored 14 of his game high 22 points in the 1st qtr. The TItans held the lead from the lead out the gate and never look back. Putnam was down double-digits for most of the game and couldn’t find a way to get it going. Senior guard Alex Delarosa chipped in 17 points for the Titans.
This was a bounce back game for New Mission coach Cory McCarthy who fell to St. Johns Prep a couple days prior.
O’Bryant over Catholic Memorial 81-62. Rivaldo Soares (O’Bryant) lead all scorers with 19 points.
Duxbury over Brighton 73-64. Ryan Reagan (Duxbury) with a game high 30 points
Brewster Academy Boys basketball team took their 16-0 record on the road to face NEPSAC AAA powerhouse Northfield Mt. Hermon in what would be a close finish.
The Hoggers came out firing holding an early lead throughout midway of the first half. The Bobcats went back and forth with the Hoggers with strong offensive outputs from Curtis Haywood (Georgia Tech commit)and Makai Ashton-Langford (Uconn commit).
Ashton Langford led the charge by guiding the Bobcats to a 41-31 halftime lead after being down on the road.
The Hoggers were led by Andrew Platek (North Carolina commit) in the second half who finished with 18 points on the night. But not without working extra hard through the tough defensive length of the Bobcats on the wing.
The Hoggers and Bobcats would continue to exchange baskets throughout the half trimming the lead down to single digits. But the Bobcats had an answer for every attack. The Bobcats would go on to win 77-72 extending their streak to 17-0.
The back-court of Ashton- Langford (15 points) and Curtis Haywood (16 points) proved to be to much in the end.
Tilton Rams have won nine out of their last ten games after a win against Lee Academy Sunday afternoon.
Three games in three days were similar equations with the same result. The Tilton boys basketball duo of the Zegarowski brothers have been averaging a combined 40 points per page their last four outings.
The Rams have beaten a combination of high level prep teams including St. Andrew’s, Lee Academy and Vermont Academy within that 72 hour span over the weekend. All by a double digit margin thanks to the leadership of Marcus Zegarowski. The ’18 point guard is crafty is the engine to the Rams vehicle and finds a way to get all the parts (teammates) moving in the right direction.
’17 Pittsburgh commit Terrell Brown is one that has benefited from having Marcus as his point guard who always gets him the ball where he wants it on the post. Marcus’ twin brother Max Zegarowski has benefited in a major way and a result of that has come in the tune of 20+ point performances. Being on the receiving end of his brothers passes isn’t all Max does for the Rams. Known as a sharp shooter max makes his living from punishing teams from beyond the arc.
The Tilton Rams have been playing at a high level and the trio of Brown and the Zegarowski’s don’t seem to be letting up anytime soon.
This weeks featured game of the week between New Hampton (NH) and Phillips Exeter Academy (MA) was a very good one out the gate.
It was a high intense defensive match up in the first half with both teams being held to single digits halfway through the half. The Exeter trio of Javante McCoy (Boston U.), Kyle Copeland (Holy Cross), and Jacob Grandison led the charge for for Exeter.
The crafty ball control from McCoy with the combination of outside shooting from Grandison and Copeland allowed Exeter to go into the half two.
In the second half the New Hampton Huskies ’18 point guard Shannon Brown turned up the tempo and got out in transition for several above the rim plays from their front court. Northwestern commit Anthony Gaines (14 points, 6 rebounds) had a back and forth battle with Copeland (18 points) to keep their teams in the game.
Gaines ended the back and forth and he flushed home a contested dunk attempt that would change the direction of the game and send the Huskies on a run that led to a 60-49 road win.
Arizona State Head Coach Bob Hurley comes in to New England to land his second commitment in two years. Hurley a New Jersey native utilized his resources back a little east coast flavor to the west coast.
Kimani Lawrence announced this morning during a press conference his intentions to attend Arizona St. and become a Sun devil.
Lawrence, a 6-foot-7 wing who attends the New Hampton School (NH) has really elevated his game over the course of this year seeing his recruitment expand from coast to coast. While playing on the Nike EYBL circuit, Lawrence was looked to score and defend on the wing. A similar role he will play at Arizona St.
The extremely athletic forward possess a smooth skill set with the ability to put the ball on the floor and create offense for himself. Lawrence has a nice shooting stroke for a player deemed to play on the wing.
Playing in a competitive league like the pac-12 prepares Lawrence to play at the highest level after school as he’s beginning to scratch the surface. From the best prep league (NEPSAC) to now one best conferences in the country gives a taste of Kimani’s prep work before moving onto to his next goal in life.
The Pac-12 has seen recent success with Sun Devils alumni James Harden, DeMar Derozan (USC), Kevin Love (UCLA), Russell Westbrook (UCLA), Jaylen Brown (CAL). Where Kimani Lawrence stacks up against those guys is yet to be seen. But what we do know is that coach Hurley is getting a player who will make an immediate impact from day 1.
Kimani Lawrence joins Remy Martin as the second Sun Devils commit in their 2017 class.
Mike McGuirl, a 6-foot-2 guard became Kansas State first commitment in it’s 2017 recruiting class.
McGuirl took to social media thanking all the schools that had recruited before letting the Wildcats community and Coach Weber about his decision. Mike Mcguirl chose K-State over George Mason and Duquesne.