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St. Andrew’s Holiday Tournament

In a game where nine of the participants on both teams have played for the same AAU program the past 2 years, you would expect the contest to be a good one.  Oh what a good one it turned out to be.

At the 2012 St. Andrew’s Holiday Tournament, a matchup between The Tilton School and Wilbraham & Monson was a potential playoff game in the middle of the regular season. The gym was packed with spectators and college coaches who were in for a treat.

The game started off rough for Kansas commit Wayne Selden who sat for most of the first half with 3 fouls, Tilton looked towards their young core of players to step up and make things happen. Terrance Mann (14 points) played the role of the aggressor the whole game. Even though he had his shot attempts rejected on numerous occasion by 6’10 Goodluck Okonoboh, the wiry forward continued to attack not showing any signs of letting up.

With Goodluck Okonoboh roaming the paint on the defensive end, it was almost impossible for Tilton never really got things going inside. Okonoboh who finished with 11 blocks was a game changer on the defensive end as always. The Titans also looked towards one of their young players to step up and be the aggressor on offense.

With Tilton holding a 1 point lead going into halftime (29-28) WMA needed that they needed to come out swinging first in the 2nd half. Freshmen guard Mustapha Heron (12 points) played tough throughout the game but especially in the 2nd period having the assignment of guarding Wayne Selden and then having to be guarded by Mann on the other end, the young guard had his work cut out for him on this day. Heron also had the nice play that showed off the growth in his game when had a crossover drive to the basket for a two hand slam down the middle of the lane.

The game was close in the 2nd period with Tilton’s lead exceeding no more than 4 points at a time. It was the play of senior guard Chestor Victor who led all scorers with 27 points that was the real story of this game. Victor had the hot hand all day poking and diving for loose balls (4 steals) and knocking down shots whenever WMA started to make a run. Tilton would go on to defeat WMA 63-59

Other Top Performers:

Rene Castro (Worcester Academy):  22pts vs Masters

Sammy Mojica (Brimmer May):  27pts vs Vermont Academy

Jacob Clark (Christian Heritage): 30pts vs Cushing Acdemy

DaQuein McNeil (Vermont Academy): 19pts vs Brimmer May


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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.


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Transfer News

Goodluck Okonoboh made headlines over the weekend, when he not only transferred out of the The Tilton School (NH) to Wilbraham and Monson (MA), but also reclassifying back to the class of 2014.

With the addition of Okonoboh, Wilbraham and Monson has arguably one of the top 3 frontlines in the NEPSAC.

Okonoboh will be one the most highly recruited players in the class of 2014 

5’11 pg Jaylen Brantley has also confirmed with HDM that he will transfer to Notre Dame Prep (MA).

 “I expect to meet a new set of teammates with the same goal I ha and that’s to win,” Brantley tells HDM. “Also expect to get better with a great coach that has put players in college of all levels.”

 

Brantley seemed thrilled about the upcoming season and what’s in store for him.

 

“I’m excited to have a new chapter in my life and play better competition in AAA,” Brantley goes on to add. “This will help my game excel, so I can be ready for the next level.”

 We’ll continue to keep the readers updated on any other transfer news we receive.

 

Photo Courtesy: Rivals


537267

Transfer News

Goodluck Okonoboh made headlines over the weekend, when he not only transferred out of the The Tilton School (NH) to Wilbraham and Monson (MA), but also reclassifying back to the class of 2014.

With the addition of Okonoboh, Wilbraham and Monson has arguably one of the top 3 frontlines in the NEPSAC.

Okonoboh will be one the most highly recruited players in the class of 2014 

5’11 pg Jaylen Brantley has also confirmed with HDM that he will transfer to Notre Dame Prep (MA).

 “I expect to meet a new set of teammates with the same goal I ha and that’s to win,” Brantley tells HDM. “Also expect to get better with a great coach that has put players in college of all levels.”

 

Brantley seemed thrilled about the upcoming season and what’s in store for him.

 

“I’m excited to have a new chapter in my life and play better competition in AAA,” Brantley goes on to add. “This will help my game excel, so I can be ready for the next level.”

 We’ll continue to keep the readers updated on any other transfer news we receive.

 

Photo Courtesy: Rivals