Prep Profile - Brewster Academy
Brewster Academy won their sixth National Prep Championship last year to round out what has been a decade of dominance, not just in the New England prep ranks but across all post-graduate programs in the country.
Last year’s championship though might have been the most unexpected. While the season began with great expectations, this was a team that experienced adversity early and then never seemed to put all the pieces together, until literally the very last two days of the season, going on to become the first team to ever win four games in a 48 hour period to win the national championship.
While that’s an incredible accomplishment, it’s safe to assume that it’s not a recipe that this year’s Bobcats team is hoping to model. Yes, they are again loaded with talent but if they want to be on par with some of the best Brewster teams we’ve seen over the last decade, they’ll be satisfied with nothing less than dominating all season long, not just at the 11th hour.
Terrence Clarke returns for what will now be his final season in the prep ranks after his commitment to Kentucky and subsequent reclassification to 2020. Clarke has been the top ranked prospect in New England for literally his entire career and is one of the most naturally talented prospects we’ve seen in the last decade-plus. He’s widely expected to be a McDonald’s All-American and is already being mentioned as a potential one-and-done candidate. The real challenge for Clarke though is to block out the noise and distractions that comes from being such a high-profile national talent at a young age and instead focus on the process of getting better daily, maximizing his potential, and being able to do so while taking on a leadership role of a championship team. He was buying into all of that this spring, and playing the best basketball of his career as a result. If he does it again, it’s hard to imagine there will be many better players or teams in the country.
The other prominent returner is Jamal Mashburn Jr., who was as consistent and reliable a guy as Brewster had last year, and looks poised to be one of the leaders of this year’s team. Mashburn, who committed to Minnesota earlier this week, is a skilled and tough shot-maker, but perhaps even more importantly is his approach as he’s tough, hard-working, and unwavering with his approach.
Also returning from last year’s team are Gabe Berardi, a 6-foot-7 big man with vastly improved conditioning and consequent potential, and Josh Loblaw, who provides daily experience in the backcourt.
The newcomers include plenty of familiar faces in New England, most notably Matt Cross and DeMarr Langford Jr. Cross is coming off a breakout spring and summer, in which he finished in the top ten in the EYBL in both scoring and rebounding, and ended up committing to Miami amidst several offers from the highest levels of college basketball. Langford, who recently committed to Boston College, is one of the most established two-way players in New England and someone who has already won at the highest levels, at both the prep and grassroots levels. They’re also cut from a similar cloth in that they’re known for their toughness and gritty approaches.
Kadary Richmond is no stranger to the region either after having played his grassroots basketball in New England in each of the last two seasons. Richmond is already an ESPN 100 prospect, but could nonetheless be a big riser in the coming months as his combination of size, feel for the game, and playmaking ability makes him tremendously unique.
Other prominent newcomers include Marcus Dockery, a highly skilled southpaw shot-maker who is already committed to Maryland, and Javohn Garcia, a versatile combo-guard who put up big numbers during the recent EYBL campaign.
Recent Valpo commit Connor Barrett provides a shot-making wing while Jamil Safieddine and Jack Brown offer similar combinations of perimeter size and skill to fill out the rotation. Jake Nichols has been limited by an injury this fall but is expected to add depth to the frontcourt.
Alex Tchikou is a 6-foot-11 junior that is very likely to end up the top ranked prospect in New England’s class of 2021. He’s similar to Kai Jones in that he’s long, athletic, and mobile with some budding face-up skill, but probably even farther along physically with the benefit of having two years in Wolfeboro. His long-term potential is off the charts but the Bobcats will need him to play an immediate role this year in the middle of their line-up.
The local New England flavor to this year’s team will be appealing to fans, but from a style of play perspective this is a smaller and more perimeter-oriented bunch than we typically see in Wolfeboro. They have good perimeter size, and interchangeable parts in the middle of the line-up, but not the same true big men we’ve seen in years past. That means you’re going to see a quicker and faster team who will spready you out and pick you apart with multiple playmakers and be able to turn you over defensively.
This will be a different type of Brewster team but what remains the same is that they’re the favorites going into the season as no one can match the sheer talent on their roster or the proven history on the sidelines of being able to put all the pieces together.