2019 Rankings Begin in Maine
2019 rankings begin the same way 2018 did, in the state of Maine, as we'll begin up north and gradually work our way down.
As a reminder, NERR rankings are based on projected level of play in college, not on high school productivity. There is, of course, a correlation between the two but it isn't quite as high as most parents or casual fans would think.
Addtionally, our post summer rankings only take into account players who are returning to the region. In other words, first year prep products (assuming they transferred in from outside the region) won't be added until we've spent the fall traveling to various open gyms and events in order to evaluate everyone.
Finally, we'll rank fewer players in the class of 2019 than we did the class of 2018 as they are now only halfway through their high school careers and still have so much left to prove.
Without further ado, Maine's 2019 class is led by a big man who is new to the state, and was flying low under the radar in Massachusetts until very recently.
Wildens Leveque will be making his debut for Gould Academy this winter after having transferred from Foxboro Regional Charter. A year ago, no one had ever heard of Leveque before and after he missed most of his first season on the grassroots circuit, his name is hardly well known just yet. He does, however, already hold a Big Ten offer to his name after Rutgers saw enough to pull the trigger this summer. He's a player who hasn't even begun to scratch the surface of his potential. He has good size at every bit of 6-foot-9 with plenty of tools to develop - good touch, a solid build, and mobility for his size - but he's still raw and inexperienced in the game. He'll be a work in progress for the next two years, if not longer, but there's a very bright light at the end of the tunnel.
Up next is a trio of local products who have managed to differentiate themselves so far. Bangor High School's Matthew Fleming, Deering High School's Ben Onek, and Oceanside High School's Cooper Wirkala have all been succesful at the local level while simultaneously showing tools that could translate to the next level as well. Fleming, the younger brother of Maine's Andrew Fleming, comes from good roots and already has some early division I interest thanks to his solid size on the wing along with the development of a potentially versatile skill set and a willingness to mix it up inside some. Onek is the best athlete of the bunch as the lefty forward is capable of playing high above the rim and has a lot of potential, and versatility, on the defensive end of the floor as well. Wirkala caught our eye back at the Northeast Hoops Festival with his size and shooting range and as he continues to grow into his body and develop his game will be another prospect we'll watch closely.
Rounding out the top five was no easy task. Ultimately we went with Berwick Academy guard Xahn Frater, a playmaking guard we've seen quite a bit of over the years, as he has distinguished himself both at the high school level as well as in front of our team of scouts, Portland's Trey Ballew, Kennebunk's Cameron Lovejoy, Hyde's Laqu Howard, and Orono's Connor Robertson also received consideration as prospects who are well on their way to playing at the college level. There's also a handful of prospects that we've heard good things about and are looking forward to seeing more of in the future including Edward Little's Wol Maiwen, MDI's Derek Collin, Lincoln's Alex Brown, and Scarborough's Nik Fiorillo.