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Hoop Mountain Prep Classic 2012

This past weekend Hoop Dreams Magazine was on hand to catch one of New England’s best ran tournaments in Hoop Mountain’s Prep Classic. At National Prep Showcase we got a chance to see most of the elite prep programs for the first time from the NEPSAC’s AAA, AA, and Independent class. The NPS gave us everything we wanted to see, except the only thing missing was AA power’s St. Andrews, Worcester Academy, and Cushing Academy which we finally got to see at the HMPC. We are going to highlight all of the top performances we witnessed from this great event which took place last weekend.

We begin this article with arguably the top performer this weekend Rene Castro. Game one Worcester Academy had a very slow start beginning the game without Castro. Once off the bench Castro helped ignite Worcester intensity, before exploding scoring 14 of his 18 points all in the second half to help lead Worcester Academy to a victory over South Kent. In the same game Xavier commit Kamall Richards did all he could also scoring 15 of his 25 points in the second half in the loss.

In his second game of the tournament Castro turned out one of his best performances in front of his future Butler Coach Brad Stevens, scoring 32 points. It seemed as if the Brewster guards had no answer for him, as he was able to score both in and outside of the lane. Unfortunately Worcester came up short in a very close game which came down to a big basket by Kevin Zabo and continued with great play from junior forward Chris McCullough who finished with 17.

Day one of the event gave us our first look at the new three headed monster of Kaleb Joseph, Jalen Adams, and Andrew Chrabascz for Cushing Academy. In Cushing’s first win of the season over Marianapolis 2014 guard Jalen adams in his prep debut finished with 13pts, while seasoned vet Joseph chipped in 15. Butler commit Andrew Chrabascz finished with a game high 22pts, 15 rebounds in sheer dominance of the paint against Marianapolis. In the loss, the biggest surprise came from former Attleboro High School star guard Steve Edmonds finishing with 20 points. Edmonds scored all 20 of his points in the second half, off of 4 big 3’s, two mid range field goals and four free throws.

Game two for Cushing was more of the same in a big statement win over fellow AA power Wilbraham and Monson. Chrabascz also now playing in front of his future coach Brad Stevens continued his dominance on the inside as he more than held his own against WMA big men D’Jery Baptiste and Goodluck Okonoboh. The backcourt of Adams and Joseph played great, but it felt like this game belonged to Joseph. His 18 point game felt like a 30 point performance as he was dominant. Joseph’s game seemed to mature a lot as he now knows how to effectively use his speed to score and set up a teammate for an easy bucket. The one bright spot for Wilbraham in this one, was the poise and performance of young guard Mustapha Heron who seemed liked he wanted to be the guy to bring his team back for a win.

Other Notable Performances

Henry Bolton scores his 1000th point. Congratulations from us at HDM

Charles Foster carries over scoring onslaught from NPS, as he scored 28 points in a win vs Brimmer and May. Then he goes on to score 18 in a win over Monte Clare.

Daquein McNeil scores 27 points in a losing effort in close one with New Hampton.

Wayne Selden scores 27 points to help lead his team into victory against Bridgton Academy.

Jaylen Brantley 24 points in ND Prep’s first game of the tournament vs REDA (Can).

In a win against ND Prep, Putnam Science Jemal Mosley scores 25 while Dayshon Smith scored 23 points and dished out 10 dimes.


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Wilbraham and Monson Academy “Prep Profile”

When a basketball program loses as much as six seniors to college, arguably the best player on the team transfers, and overall becomes younger, the last word that comes to mind is contender. Naturally, phrases like; a rebuilding year, inexperience, excusable, a throwaway season does come to mind. After stopping by on campus to watch an open run, we at HDM now know that these groups of Titans are the real deal.

Coach Sparks and Mannix, has managed to assemble arguably the most versatile, talented, and most important youngest basketball team Wilbraham and Monson has seen. Most Notably in the front court, a very deep group of big men, a frontline deeper than any other team in the NEPSAC regardless of class.

Playing at both four and five position will be a very scary defensive tandem of newly reclassified import Goodluck Okonoboh and 2014 returning big man Djery Baptiste.

Okonoboh as everyone knows when playing alongside another defensive big is a very good weak side, help defender. His shot blocking and overall athletic ability will allow Djery and the rest of the big men to take more chances on defense. This season look for Goodluck to show his offensive skills and leadership. Playing at the center and forward position will be the new Djery Baptiste. According to Coach Sparks Baptiste has put on 40 pounds of muscle. His overall basketball skills have improved as Djery is now much more physical and confident.

At the forward spots will be 2014 transfer Kerem Kanter. Kanter who stands at 6’7” offensively is a very skilled big man, with a great soft touch around the basket (ala Pau Gasol). His knowledge of the game allows him to make good moves around the basket, and always places himself in great position for rebounds and put backs. With his skill set look for him to play both the three and four position.

Rounding out the big man core will be BABC’s and returning 2015 forward Marcel Pettway. Last season Pettway was arguably the biggest surprise, as he was able to hold his own against some of the country’s best big man as a freshman. With a deeper front court this season Pettway is able to focus and play more at his natural position Power Forward.

Not to be outdone, Wilbraham’s group of guards is just as versatile as their front court. 2015 guard from the Dominican Republic Luis Monteiro and 2013 Kamali Bey can play all three guard position. Monteiro standing at 6’7” is long guard with a lot of skill. Offensively Luis could be as dangerous as Ricardo Ledo but looks to pass more. His passing and ball handling ability may gain him the starting point guard position. Defensively his length and mobility is going to cause problems for smaller guards. Senior Kamali Bey the undoubted leader of this team has come back to school this year focused. To help his recruitment Bey is now 20 pounds lighter and has tightened up his ball handling to spend time at the one. During five on five in the open run Bey was the most vocal and encouraging player to his younger teammates. Matched up against a loaded team consisting of Goodluck, Djery, and Luis; Kamali willed his team into 2 to 3 straight victories.

Post grad, 6’0 Kevin Perez a physical guard from New York may serve as backup to Luis and Bey at the one and two spot. Perez is a physical guard with a good shot; majority of his minutes should come from playing backup point guard. Rounding out the guard position is Durfee transfer Curtis Cobbs 2015 and Earl Stephen.

This Wilbraham and Monson team that Coach Sparks and Mannix assembled is going to be a fun team to watch for some years to come. The real question is how this relatively new team will gel together to compete in a very competitive AA NEPSAC Class.


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Djery Baptiste Is Looking To Bounce Back

Within a year Djery Baptiste has put on 40lbs of muscle and it shows an “Absolute Beast” down low. Baptiste is hearing from a number of division 1 schools, and it’s only a matter of time before interest turns into offers. The haitian born basketball player is looking to make a name or himself this year, after missing all of last season with a knee injury. Look out for Baptiste and the Titans of Wilbraham and Monson this year.