Each and every year, New England always generates some steals for every level of college basketball.
Why do higher level talents slip to so-called "lower" levels. Sometimes it's because they fly under the radar for some reason. More often though, especially when it comes to high academic division III basketball, it's because they chose their destination with eyes wide open.
It's no surprise when potential scholarship level prospects commit to high academic division III schools. It happens on multiple occassions every year, but this year in New England we've seen an uncharacteristically high number of players make early verbal commitments to those high academic division III schools (all of which are pending admission) where they promise to be immediate impact players. Here's a rundown:
- Greens Farms Academy and Middlesex Magic guard Cole Prowitt-Smith, who had earned full scholarship offers from division I and II universities, committed to Williams College last week. Williams is annually ranked among the top two liberal arts colleges in the country and has an equally rich basketball tradition. Prowitt-Smith provides them with a guard who combines size, athleticism, and skill. He made great strides in the grassroots season with his decision-making and efficiency and will be an immediate weapon in the NESCAC.
- Prowitt-Smith's GFA teammate Greg Lawrence is headed to Emory University in Atlanta. A top 25 ranked national university that accepts less than 20% of their applicants every year, Emory has also developed into a basketball powerhouse and won 20 or more game in three of the last four seasons including a 23-5 mark from a year ago. Lawrence provides them with a versatile southpaw forward who can be effective inside-and-out offensively and provides a consistent rebounding presence.
- Milton Academy and Middlesex Magic big man Rhett Carter announed his pledge to Claremont-McKenna. A small, and ultra-selective, college in California, Claremont-McKenna has less than 1400 undergradates and an acceptance rate of 10%. Nevertheless, this is the fourth time in the last five years, they've landed a prospect from New England and Carter just may be their best yet as he's a a true big man with good poise in the post and a very efficient floor game.
- Fellow Middlesex Magic big man, Patrick Mogan, made a recent pledge to Hamilton College. A top 15 libert arts college in the country, the Continentals have also experienced a resurgence under head coach Adam Stockwell, that led to a 24-5 record and a pair of wins in the NCAA tournament last year. In Mogan, Hamilton is landing a big man with a high I.Q. and good interior skill set who has made consistent strides with his mobility and athleticism.
- Newburyport High School and Mass Elite 6-foot-5 wing Casey McLaren made a recent commitment to Tufts University. Ranked the 29th best national university, Tufts is unique among the NESCAC schools because it offers a larger student body in a city atmosphere just outside of Boston. The Jumbos have won 20 or more games in two of the last three seasons and are now adding an immediate impact player in McLaren, who had consistent recruitment from division II schools throughout the summer.
- Elsewhere in the NESCAC, Bowdoin College landed a commitment from Worcester Academy shot-maker Dylan Lien last week. A top five national libert arts college, Bowdoin is as competitive as it gets academically, but they've been a model of sustained success on the basketball court as well with 15 consecutive seasons above .500. In addition to his prowess from behind the arc, Lien provides the Polar Bears with a tough, battle tested guard who possesses a high I.Q.
- Colby College, another NESCAC school in the state of Maine, found a knockdown shooter of their own in Belmont Hill and Middlesex Magic guard Kevin OBoy. With perimeter size to compliment his pure shooting stroke, O'Boy should be poised to make an immediate contribution for head coach Damien Strahorn. Colby is a top 20 liberal arts college in the country and accepts just 16% of its applicants.
- Johns Hopkins University landed their second New England product in Noble & Greenough School's Conor Gibson, who joins Master's Ben Eke in head coach Josh Loeffler's current class. Gibson is a skilled 6-foot-7 perimeter forward who could see time at either forward position at the next level. He's made consistent strides within the last year and still has considerable upside to discover. Johns Hopkins is a top 10 national university in Baltimore.
- New Hampton School post-graduate Brendan Mora is headed to Pomona College, a top national liberal arts college in Claremont, California. The 6-foot-5 California native had his choice of top academic schools and was even starting to generate some scholarship buzz after getting off to a quick start in fall open gyms. He becomes the fourth New England prep product to commit to Pomona in the last four years.