Prep Profile - Vermont Academy
There may not be a Bruce Brown, Jordan Nwora, or Simi Shittu on this year’s roster, but Vermont Academy and head coach Alex Popp still have a roster that could contend in what appears to be a pretty wide-open year for Class AA of the NEPSAC.
Symir Torrence is back for his second season at Vermont and ready to take on a leadership role. The upstate New York native has made tremendous strides in the last year, and specifically the last six months, to emerge as one of New England’s best prospects in the class of 2020 and very likely one of AA’s best players this coming season. His recruitment has grown alongside his game with new offers from a host of high-majors.
Jack Scotnicki, Deng Adiang, and Seth Buchanan provide a trio of experienced seniors. Scotnicki is a local Vermont native and proven shot-maker who can provide instant offense off the bench and recently committed to St. Lawrence. Adiang is another local Vermont native who will provide toughness and leadership off the bench. Buchanan could be an X-factor for the team as the 6-foot-8 big man is talented with vast untapped potential and starting to show more signs of tapping into it.
The Wildcats will rely heavily on a trio of incoming post-graduates, tops among them is Harvard pledge Tommy ONeil. The St. John’s Prep graduate is coming off a huge grassroots season in which he went from virtually no committable D1 offers all the way up to the Atlantic 10 before deciding on the Crimson. The southpaw is tough, hard-working, and undeniably productive.
Travis Evee, a Boston College HS alum, is an ultra-quick southpaw guard who can make plays off the dribble and defend but has also been shooting the ball extremely well this fall. Tripp McEachern, who comes to Vermont from Tennessee, provides a shot-maker on the wing.
Equally important for VA this season will be their incoming juniors. Jake Cook is another upstate New York product who provides a bouncy athlete around the rim who can finish and block shots while continuing to extend his skill set.
Bijon Sidhu is a versatile 6-foot-5 prospect from the Seattle area who is capable of playing all three perimeter positions. Josh Hall is a 6-foot-6 forward who will also be capable of plugging various holes in the line-up.
Josh Bascoe is a Canadian import who looks like the early favorite to start at point guard. What the sophomore may lack in size and length, he more than compensates for with skill and feel as he shoots it from long-range, is a crafty facilitator, and is tight with his handle.
Nana Owusu-Anane is another Canadian native in the 2021 class. The 6-foot-8 big man is strong and agile after growing up playing soccer. Nate Gryczka is another long-term prospect to keep an eye on. The 6-foot-4 shot-maker has good size and a translatable niche from behind the arc.
This is the youngest Vermont Academy team that we’ve seen since Alex Popp took over the program. Despite their youth, and relative inexperience against NEPSAC competition, they feature an abundance of length and versatility, a formidable collection of three-point shooters, and a potent one-two punch with Torrence and O’Neil.
Vermont Academy may not be the favorite coming into this season as they’ve been in the past, but if Torrence can assert himself as a league MVP candidate, O’Neil can live up to the productivity he showed this summer, and a young, but deep and talented, supporting cast can make a quick transition, they could be among the contenders this year in AA.