Prep Profile - Gould Academy
As the prep school season gets going in full swing at all levels this week, it’s time to take a look at a couple more programs that could make their presence felt in the race for the AA crown.
Gould Academy may not be the deepest team in the league but head coach Cory McClure has one of the best, if not the best, inside-out tandems there is and enough supplementary talent to form a solid supporting cast.
Leveque has still only been playing the game for a few years but the South Carolina pledge has developed his body, evolved athletically, and made huge strides with his skill set. Perhaps best of all, he’s a big man who isn’t trying to be anything else. That’s not to say he can’t be effective facing the basket, because he’s also developing in that area, but he knows who he is and understands where he is most effective.
When Buie arrived at Gould last year he did so with the reputation of a very dangerous playmaker off the bounce. 15 months later and his driving prowess is still feared but he’s simultaneously credited for being a very dangerous long-range shooter. In reality, the Northwestern signee can get buckets at all three levels and is about as polished and versatile a scoring guard as there is in AA.
Senior guard Jaxon Wroe is now in his third year with the program and provides another valuable veteran presence who can share ball-handling responsibilities, make open shots, and compete on the defensive end.
The arrival of four post-graduates, three of whom are international products, will help boost Gould’s supporting cast this year. Top among them is Robert Banks Jr., who comes to Maine from London. Banks is a 6-foot-5 forward with a chiseled frame and enough versatility to impose his physicality around the rim or stretch the floor to the arc. Rayan El-Amine, a 6-foot-5 forward from Qatar, adds to the skill of the frontcourt.
In the backcourt, Japanese native Koki Wiley and Brookline (MA) graduate Andrew Geschikter provide two knock-down shooters who will solidify the team’s floor spacing and create space for Leveque and Buie to operate. Geschikter in particular could end up being a very important piece for this team as he has improved dramatically in the last year as his body has started to click while his jumper has evolved into a legitimate weapon.
The arrival of Jarron Flynn, a repeat junior from Catholic Memorial in Massachusetts, provides a bridge to the program’s future as well as a high-level athlete with a complimenting motor who will benefit from the additional year of development and daily skill work.
Other underclassmen newcomers include Zack Chen in the class of 2020 and both Ryan Banks and Eric Lee in 2021.
They may not have the depth to come at their opponents in waves, but this is a roster with very clear role allocation. Buie is the primary playmaker and Leveque anchors the paint. Their collective ability to continue to ascend and assert themselves as consistently dominant players will ultimately have a lot to do with just how good this team is.
The supporting cast will be built around Wroe’s experience, Flynn’s athleticism, the shot-making of Geschikter and Wiley, and the potential for Banks to emerge into a solid third weapon.
Gould will be a dangerous team in AA this season. There’s no denying that. But, if all of their individual players not only embrace their roles, but also thrive in them, this is a squad that has the experience and fit to emerge into a sneaky contender by the time February and March roll around.